All three of us have been sick lately - poor baby James has RSV (and so do I) and Ryan has some kind of ear infection, so we've been staying in and trying to sleep (except James, who seems to believe sleep is for the weak).
In the midst of this, if you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed our entry in a Cincinnati's Cutest Couple Contest (and thanks for all of ya'll's support!). We didn't win, but it was so much fun to have this little thing with me and my sweet husband constantly posting pleas for votes, checking the site for updates, and talking about how cute we are together.
This reminded us of how important it is to maintain your marriage as your family grows - which my wonderful husband is especially good at remembering - and so we compiled this list of things we do to intentionally stay close as a couple, even with a new baby.
|On our way to our Valentine's date!|
- Enter cutest couple contests - free, fun, and it tells the other that you find them attractive and you are proud of them!
- Leave encouraging notes for them to find (on the pillow, on the mirror, in the car, lunchbox, computer...).
- Bring surprise treats (cookies, lunch, sonic drink) to them at work or during the day.
- Discuss awesome dates or adventures you had pre-baby
- Plan fanciful future adventures (from going to the zoo to visiting Italy)
- Make the extra effort to make a fancy meal once in a while with nice dishes, fancy dessert, and pretty centerpiece, like a party just for you!
- Look for small acts of service that really serves the other, like setting up coffee for him or gassing up her car.
- Be mindful of tone-like sounding cranky when you're just tired or like sounding accusatory when you're just asking.
- Remember to communicate with each other--take time to talk when baby is asleep.
- Give each other alone time to recharge (just cuz he wasn't babysitting all day doesn't mean he was relaxing...and just cuz she was home doesn't mean she rested)
- Remember each other's physical limitations, both in terms of intimacy and in normal activity/sleep deprivation, etc. Guys-her body took a beating, some of which will never completely heal or go away (stretch marks, anyone?). Also, hormones make her certifiably crazy for a while yet, even if she doesn't get PPD, so be patient. Ladies, he can only handle so much. Don't dramatize your suffering unnecessarily and don't needlessly draw out your recovery--and don't let your new curves, scars, and tiredness keep you from being his sexy little thang!
- Verbalize specific things about the other for which you are thankful. Not just, "I'm thankful for you," but, "I'm thankful for how you cleaned out the car without me even asking," or "I'm so thankful for how well you keep up with our bills."
- Go on a real date with a baby sitter. Seriously. At least for Valentine's, anniversaries, etc., preferably at least once a month.
- Pray together about both big and little things.
- Allow for flexibility...sometimes when you get home from work, just take the baby. Sometimes just let him relax a while after work.
- Say "I love you." Lots. And, "thank you."
- However much you think you serve your spouse, double it. Then double it again.
- Try to always be the one volunteering for baby duty...then thank the other when they do it.
- .Brag about each other-to friends, on Twitter, Facebook, and to your families.
- Never take your exhaustion and frustration with the new dynamic on you marriage outside your marriage. (You can seek support but do not whine)
- Men: constantly reiterate to your wife that she is beautiful, losing baby weight, etc. Ladies: encourage him and do not criticize, especially in how he cares for the new baby. Remind him that he has your respect.
- Be creative in keeping romance alive. It's easy to forget whose your main squeeze with the new little snuggle-bug.
- Take lots of picture and video featuring not just the little one.
- Play with the baby together. Bond not just as daddy-baby and mommy-baby, but as a whole family.
- Pray for each other and with each other daily (and all the time!)