The first weeks after a new baby are purely survival. The first months are filled with adjusting, recovering, and learning your new normal. But what happens to the marriage relationship during all that time? Sometimes you can lose sight of how important it is to maintain the connection with your spouse because well lets face it....your exhausted!! I feel like there is an acceptable period of time where its okay to just sleep every moment you can and really not put too much emphasis on the marriage as you adjust. But if its months later, I can first hand tell you that it will start to affect the relationship.
Now since I have been through this now 3 times, I am by no means an expert except I am an expert at handling it wrong and learning after the fact what I had done. But I feel like this 3rd time going through it I am trying to remember things I could improve on from the first 2 times, so I am writing about that today!
I feel like covering the 5 love languages is a good place to start.
Dont forget they havent been cuddled, kissed, and touched all day long. I know the LAST thing you may want to do is hug or cuddle someone else, and want to be seriously left alone but especially if your spouses love language is touch, you cant neglect them of what they need for too long. My lesson learned here is dig deep and give them the touch they need so they are still feelin the love from you, even when your body is being used as a jungle gym and human soother for most of the day.
This one is hard in the first weeks because all you want to do is sleep every chance you get, and I think you should sleep every chance you get. But as the months go on, its important to give that quality time a priority for the marriage. Now that my son is 4 weeks old, we get the two older girls in bed and then go downstairs and watch TV or talk together. Even if the baby is there he is usually sleeping so we can do this. Lately he has starting screaming so that has been tough for this plan, which is showing me how important that time together is and how much it reconnects us in this crazy season! So my lesson learned here is spend time together, especially alone as much as you can.
Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service
I think for dad's, the newborn stage can be hard. They do not have as much to do as the mom (aka feeding the baby or being the one the baby wants to cuddle with) and since they cant really engage with the baby, I feel like dad's can sometimes get lost or feel useless during these months. I believe we can help them by affirming them and building them up with our words, and encourage them that they have a role and are being helpful. My husbands love language is acts of service so he usually finds 'acts' he can do in those beginning months to show love to me and the baby. Like taking on diaper changes while he is home, or cleaning up the dishes etc.I have also learned to ask for help. Sometimes my husband has no idea what I need (maybe more than sometimes 😉 ) and so he doesnt run around trying to figure it out. I
have learned to be direct and say exactly what I need and he is more than willing to help. Recently I had a rough day with the kids and needed a break. I told him I need to go out to the store down the street, I needed a breather. He then suggested I go into town and go grocery shopping and take more time then I asked to go for which was such a nice offer. Had I not communicated what I needed, there is no way he would know I had a rough day and needed a break. So my lesson learned here is build him up with your words and look out for ways to love on each other without words.
Gifts isnt really one that applies to me in this case, maybe other than the fact that your spouse can buy you as many gifts as they want (if my husbands reading this, feel free)
Asses their adjustment to the change
Dads often get forgotten in the adjustment period. People always ask about the other kids and mom but dads not so much. The thing is there life has changed drastically too, and yes they don't have crazy hormones raging but they are taking on new roles and probably not sleeping great either, and can sometimes have a hard time with all the changes. Especially if you have a baby that screams a lot- that can send anyone over the edge. Its important to communicate with your spouse so you each know how each other is doing in this very crazy season of life, and then you can find ways to support one another if things arent going so well in one area or another.
This season of new baby is so consuming and you forget it will ever end. We have been dreaming and brainstorming recently about the future and it has been really exciting, encouraging and hopefully. It also allows us to focus together on a time life wont be so crazy, and also allows us to share with each other things we want to do together in the future. Its been a really cool way to connect in this season for us.
So these are some things I have learned after now being the 3rd round of trying to survive with a newborn. Hopefully something I said can help you if your in this crazy season too!