Marriage With a Baby
"When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different." --Nora Ephron
This is an update to Eric's post on how having a newborn affects our marriage. A lot of you left awesome comments on that post, so thank you! Not to be vain, but we write a blog about intentional marriage. We get along really well. Kind of freakishly well. So, I didn't think we'd struggle as much as we did when Rooney arrived. The truth? My maternity leave was ROUGH on us. Almost daily we had a blip. And by blip I mean argument. Whether it was because Eric didn't walk in the door and directly come sit by me on the couch to ask how my day was, or because I thought it should be his turn to feed her since I just did the last five times, or because he wanted to talk about something that wasn't about the baby, or because Rooney was crying and we didn't know how to make it stop. (That can seriously make you crazy.) I was pretty sure I had the harder job of staying at home all day with a baby who was entirely dependent. And he was working hard, too. He would get up with me to feed her during the night, and then wasn't able to nap during the day. He had to bring home the bacon instead of bond with our daughter. We didn't know how to parent as a team; how to fit this little thing into our marriage. We were each giving all that we had, and we were empty and irritable. Our true colors came out in those moments. Adding a baby to your family is a big change. And it's easy to be distracted by the baby or the laundry or the dishes and not pay attention to your spouse and what he or she needs. I just want to say...give it time. Get through it one day at a time, and at some point you will find yourself on the other side. Let things settle and know there will be an adjustment period. I'm wondering if it will take an entire year for us to feel like we've got the hang of it. Sure, it has already gotten a lot better. But it's not like it was before Rooney. (Mini-success: date night feels more like it used to!) Our experience made it so clear to me how important it was for us to have a strong foundation BEFORE we introduced a baby. To have years of trust and loyalty built up. Because when we mess up, I know that we're fine. I don't dwell on it. Yes, it makes me sad, but I can't let it ruin my day; there is no time for that. Our daughter needs us to pull it together. So we always circle back and apologize and forgive. We do it in front of Rooney. I don't think you can show your children too early what a strong marriage looks like.
How We Serve Each Other Now
- We trade night duty every other night. This means that on your night, the monitor is on your nightstand and you get up if she cries before her official wake-up time. (We typically get her up together in the morning.)
- We encourage each other to have alone time and to exercise, and watch Rooney while the other one is out.
- We each get one weekend morning to sleep in.
- Eric let me pick the Redbox movie the other night because he knew I needed a little romance in my life. (The Vow is so good!)
- When one of us is running low on patience or feeling down, the other one steps in.
Our New Routines
- We eat dinner after she goes to bed, so we can make the most of our time with Rooney and then focus on each other as we eat.
- The 10-minute rule happens after supper instead of after work.
- We're watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix. We needed something that we were both interested in that we can connect on. To laugh together and cry together. We love that show!
- We carpool to work, and use that time to connect. We stop by each other's desks during the day more often and eat lunch together. And we just set up iChat on our computers so we can talk throughout the day. It kind of feels like college again!
- We created a date night envelope so we can go out together at least once a month.
How do you and your spouse connect with young children at home? Similar posts on other blogs that I enjoyed: