Monday, January 02, 2006

How A Baby Changes Your Marriage

I have been surprised - shocked, even - at how much a baby can change your life. While I adore my son and am so glad that we have him, it has made many parts of my life change in the months since his birth. My relationship with my husband is no different.

First, our son takes up a good bit of our time. While I wonder what I did with my time before my son arrived, it is clear that now that he is here, he is at least somewhat in charge of the schedule. When baby first gets here, you will be surprised at how someone who basically poops and sleeps can take up so much of your time. You will find that your baby will need to eat often and that you will spend the time between feedings getting caught up on what you need to do. That means that you will have little time to spend with your honey.

One simple way to solve this problem is to carve out spaces of time for you and your partner. You can make a certain time everyday or just endeavor to spend a minimum amount of time together everyday. The important part is that you spend the time talking or just hanging out together not dealing with the baby. Be sure that you reserve the time for you.

Another way that our son has changed our marriage is that he actually stops some of our arguments. Now, the qualifier to this statement is that my husband and I rarely argue. We sometimes snap at each other when we are rushed or frustrated, but we really do not argue much. Still, it is difficult to argue when you need the other person to make a bottle while you change the baby's diaper. That means that you can use the baby as a diffuser. You also will find that baby does not care if you are arguing. If she wants to show you her toy, she will crawl over smiling. You will find that the baby will ease tension in that way. Your baby will be able to help prevent everyday tension.

One of the other changes that baby makes for us is that we are more committed to our relationship. While there has never been a point when I actually believed that my husband and I would end our marriage, there have been rough spots in our relationship. With the baby here, though, the perspective changes. Instead of arguing about whether I want to move across the country while he wants to stay, the argument becomes about what is best for the baby. Disagreements become obstacles that you can fix easily instead of something that you can think about splitting up over.

Decisions also become more long-term. While you may have been a fun and spontaneous couple who packed up for road trips at the drop of a hat, you will find that with a baby that is not possible. While it does not mean that you and your partner have to give up being who you are, it does mean that you will have to change your angle. You still will be able to go visit new places; you will just learn to plan ahead a little. After a couple of quick trips without planning, you will begin to appreciate the value of organizing. Being sure that you bring all of baby's things makes it much easier when you get there.

There are so many ways that babies change your life, and your partnership will be only one of them. Instead of dreading this change, however, as many popular magazines and websites will suggest that you do, you should embrace these changes. There are beautiful things about having a baby. While all will not be rosy, you will find that your baby will enhance your life in ways that you could never imagine. The joy and wonder at another person's life being in your hands will outweigh any of the negative changes baby may bring. You will learn to look at the baby as a new part of your life who deserves your love and attention. That will make all of the changes worth it.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: