This is Pt. II of Diapers, Weddings and Sex, Oh My!
Your lips were barely dry from kissing the bride or groom when you found yourselves neck deep in the diaper zone. Yes, that fifth dimension of baby showers, childproofing, unmanageable car seats and perhaps even shopping for nursing bras.
You sang the Song of Solomon, and now your baby sings a little something, too—all night long. Your child demands more than you think you’ve got. Mom, you’re too tired to stand by 9 o’clock. You finally dislodge the bambino from your breast, but it feels like he’s still sucking. Dad, you get home looking for a little downtime. Ah, but you get second wind—and into your nostrils blows the hope of romance. But it won’t come. At least not tonight. And you, sir, get a little miffed.
Remember when your pastor’s wife said it was important to schedule romantic dates? You laughed. You didn’t want to hear it. But now you’re not so naïve. Spontaneity is an art, sure, but you’re beginning to realize you can’t depend on it. So, what to do with these feelings of frustration about your sex life … about intimacy … about love? For many, these issues are hard enough to put into words, let alone discuss eye to eye. Beneath the day-to-day chitchat that keeps couples comfortable, yet unfulfilled, there’s a level of honesty that can be downright scary. Do you feel that gnawing for truth? That hunger to understand something of the soul of your mate? Most women reading this article just answered yes! Most men aren’t given to exercises in soul baring—and that’s a learned observation, not a criticism—so some have already tuned out. (Stay with me, guys.)
As in part 1, our discourse is meant to encourage those young couples, with young kids, who might be hesitantly treading uncharted waters.
[ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED] When a baby enters the picture, love lives change, even for a sprightly young couple. And if your idea of intimacy isn’t flexible, you’re going to hurt your spouse’s heart. Hubby, your wife is not always going to, and shouldn’t be expected to, make an immediate leap from freeplay to foreplay. Sometimes it’s just not there. It’s the same deal if she works out of the home. You’ve got a license to chill. Take that frustration to the feet of Jesus. Get still, take some deep breaths and meditate on how you can shift focus back to your wife’s needs. Ask her what love looks like to her. Get to know her. Pursue her heart, and you will find that her love is a much deeper thing than sensuality.
It would be a mistake to ignore the issue of postpartum depression. You’ve heard it’s real; you’ve heard it’s fake. You think it’s spiritual; you think it’s physical. You believe it; you don’t believe it. (Some people believe that a Christian can’t be depressed.) If this issue visits your home, however gritty it gets, honor your wife with long suffering. Keep any doubts to yourself; rather, pray for her and listen to her. Loose-lipped mistakes here (i.e. “snap out of it”) can cut to the quick. It will pass, and when it does, what a joy if she can thank you for having been her rock.
[TIME OUT] Back to those scheduled dates. There’s no highbrow way to say this: Keep baby and romance separate. Get a babysitter. Put little missy to bed. Go out to eat. Cuddle. Stay home. Make cookies. Look into each other’s eyes—eyes that have seen so many changes, eyes that look for validation and acceptance. Encourage each other. Lord knows how Satan lives to divide young couples and steal the true intimacy they crave, even through their children. Protect your time together. Communication skills are used here to their very best. Don’t make your spouse guess the time of day or day of the week when you’re totally beat. Plan ahead. You can always spontaneously show your love and affection, but when you’re talking about, well, a full-blown date, put it on the calendar. Build to it. Baby’s going to survive a few hours without you.
[LEAVE AND CLEAVE]
Now I am going to dive headfirst into the shallow end of the kiddie pool. Yes, giving advice to newlyweds about their parents and friends is risky business, so let’s consider two scenarios, using the familiar names Jack and Jill.
Jack is still pretty attached to his mama. And since mama lives two streets over and obviously knows best, she all but lives at Jack’s house, which causes Jill to go bananas. Jill’s need to establish her own home is real, and if Jack doesn’t figure that out, he’s going to be in the dead center of a ruthless circle of resentment.
Jill had many male friends prior to marrying Jack, including two or three—her “best friends”—that she continues to chat with on the phone and meet at the bowling alley. Just as friends, of course. This isn’t working for Jack, but he doesn’t want to be overbearing, so he stews instead of trying to talk about it. Jack needs to know that Jill will forsake everyone, even if that means throwing out photos and be his alone. If Jill doesn’t make that choice to cut off her lifelines (vulnerability scares her), Jack is going to start wearing stronger cologne to work.
It is so very important to work together to make your home your own. A bride quickly tires of “the gang” inhabiting her living room into the wee hours. A groom winces at his wife’s chaotic social calendar. And, hey, accepting wise counsel from parents will never be wrong, but letting your parents dictate policy to you and your spouse will never be right. If you don’t understand boundaries, find a wise person who does and twist their ear. In some instances, this could be a marriage-saver.
[GOD BLESS YOU!] Whew. That’s a bunch of ideas in a little space. Hopefully, you are enjoying the best, not the worst, case scenarios with your spouse and little one. Marrying young with children should be a graceful, passionate experience. Keep your eyes open, your hearts pliable and your souls hungry for the Lord, and you will live well.
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