Thursday, 24 February 2011

After the Baby Comes

One of the greatest gifts God will ever give you is a child. One of the greatest challenges to your marriage will be that little bundle of joy. Post partum depression and sleepless nights are often your introduction to parenthood. The once radiant mother to be often feels less attractive, partially because she has been unable to shed unwanted pounds and most of her outfits don’t go with spit up. The time and energy you used to devote to each other is now being poured into your adorable child. Trust me these are the good times.

As baby gets more active, mommy gets more drained. The attention that mommy used to give daddy is going all toward your precious namesake. In the best of cases daddy gets totally involved, it is a shared responsibility of sorts. In the worst of cases, daddy feels excluded. Date night is a vague memory as is sitting and talking, doing fun things together and being spontaneously intimate.

You might think this is an ad for anti-depressants or Planned Parenthood. Here are some suggestions for “child-proofing” your marriage.

1. Be intentional i.e. develop a very specific strategy for keeping your marriage vibrant and alive.
2. Find a support system. This might be family, friends, an older couple at church, etc. Someone you can entrust your child to so that you can get away at least for an evening.
3. Make alone time. Spell one another off so that one of you can go to the gym, or take a long soak in the tub, or read spend some time reading.
4. Make together time. New parents seem to think that their child requires 100% of their time – that is unhealthy. Find at least two hours per week to be able to sit and talk and not about baby.
5. Go on one or two date nights per month. Go on a picnic, go to a movie, go to your favorite restaurant.
6. Be extra attentive toward one another. Love notes left in conspicuous places, affectionate hugs, words of affirmation, etc.

One of the best gifts you will ever give your children is for them to see a happy, affectionate mom and dad. It will help your child to feel secure and model for them what a healthy marriage relationship is like. This doesn’t mean you don’t ever disagree but even in sorting out your differences you can do it in a way that glorifies God and teaches your child an effective way of handling conflict.

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to train up a child into a Godly man or woman. The most effective way to do that is to model it.

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