Bringing a newborn baby home may very well be the most meaningful moment that a husband and wife share. And then, the meaningful moment passes and a flurry of activity and excitement associated with welcoming baby home ensues. Shortly thereafter many husbands and wives are surprised to learn that they are ill prepared for the ways in which becoming parents influences and ultimately changes their marriage.
If you want to know the truth, the transition to parenthood can be one of the most challenging experiences that young couples endure together. Having said that, there are many simple strategies that couples can practice to manage matrimony harmoniously when baby makes three. Here are a few suggestions:
- Find comfort in commonality. Many many couples experience marital strain after bringing baby home. The transition to parenthood is challenging for married couples for myriad reasons all of which are valid and legitimate. In most other times of crisis we find comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our struggles. The same goes for new parents. So, don’t doubt for a moment that others are experiencing marital strain during their own transition to parenthood. They are and in many cases it is simply part of the journey.
- Curb your expectations of yourself and your spouse. Those of us inclined towards perfectionism can have a particularly difficult time transitioning to motherhood because it becomes nearly impossible to live up to our own standards of neat, balanced, tidy, orderly living. I daresay the transition may be even more difficult for those husbands who were brave enough to marry said perfectionists. These husbands also have a difficult time meeting our standards when there is suddenly so very much to do and so little time to get it done. Give yourself and your spouse a break. Period.
- Work as a team. From time to time, parenthood invites us all to slip into the behaviour of tallying up the workload and all of the ways in which it has become unfairly unbalanced. It was during one of these slip-ups that my husband poignantly reminded me, “we’re on the same team here.” Powerful words to live by!
- Talk about ‘we’ more than ‘me’. There is a lot of literature to support the notion that ‘me time’ is a necessity for moms during the early parenting years. For new moms 30 minutes of solitude is pure bliss and I fully endorse the value of ‘me time’. I also have no doubt that healthy marriages require a similar kind of restorative ‘we-time’ on a regular basis. In addition to finding moments of solitude, couples must also endeavor to find moments of ‘we time’ so as to foster connection.
- Investigate opportunities to attend local marriage education seminars or workshops to boost your knowledge about behaviours, skills, and mindsets that cultivate happy marriages post baby carriage.