How to Strengthen Your Relationship/marriage
QUESTION: Hi, thank you for taking the time to advise people, I apologize if this question is a bit lengthy. I am 21 and married with a newborn. Before the baby was born my wife (whom I love very much) and I got along very well, we had the occasional argument, which were usually short livid, but few serious fights and we communicated very well when it came to most issues, since the child was born however, we seem to argue more then not. What was once a very relaxed atmosphere when we are together has been largely replaced by tension and stress ( not always, but alot of the time)I have a full work and school schedule, but I do try and help with the baby as much as possible, it doesn't seem to help. It seems every day she slips away more and I am becoming really frightaned. I apologize for the length once again, obviously, u do not have to answer, but any advice would be great. All the best
ANSWER: Dear Charles,
I am so glad you wrote. It shows that you care and want to have a good marriage and family. It would be nice if I could talk to your wife to see what is happening but I will say that this is very common when a little baby comes into the family. Things do change.
A baby takes up a lot of time and emotional energy, especially for a few months with very little sleep. Even then, there is constant concern about the new member of the family with illnesses, making sure the baby is fed properly, etc.
You are under a lot of stress, too, with work and school; and it sounds like you are trying to help at home as well, which is really wonderful.
Now, I would try this. Try to hold your wife as much as possible. Just sit and hold her. If she is holding the baby, sit and hold her and the baby for maybe 15 minutes. Tell her what a good mother she is and how much you appreciate her.
Now, she might be afraid to get too close for fear she will get pregnant again, or she might have hormonal changes that sometimes women get after a baby and sometimes there is depression that is serious enough that she might need to see a doctor. There are a lot of mixed feelings going on in a woman with all the changes in her body. Sometimes a woman feels like because of her body changes she is no longer attractive so tell her how beautiful she is. It is hard to say what is going on but be patient and take those few minutes every once in awhile to hold her without any sexual agenda. Just a loving and comforting type of love. Maybe stroke her hair or her arm. Just soothing and caring. With or without the baby there.
Usually what couples fight about is not the real issue. Ask her how she thinks you both could work together to make the marriage better and try not to fight. It takes two people to fight and so instead of fighting, stop and ask her what she is feeling when she gets upset. Really listen. Listening is a very important part of marriage. Instead of replying right away, stop and ask her what she means, and what she thinks you both could do to solve the issue. Get out of the cycle of snapping at each other and instead ask what is the real problem and then talk it out. A good marriage is negotiating your differences. I will do this if you will do that.
Your question was actually short in comparison to many I receive and so feel free to give me more detail and ask any other questions concerning this that you might have.
Try this and let me know how it works out.
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QUESTION: Thank you very much for getting back to me,and so quickly too. A lot of your advice sounds really helpful. The thing is, in my religion (judaism) there can't be any touching at all for six weeks after the baby is born, which has made things alot more difficult, not for sexual reasons but for being unable to hug, cuddle etc.But I will absolutely try to communicate better with her when something seems to be the matter. Well I do have another question and I hope it doesn't make me a mean person, not alot of work gets done around the house, unless I somehow make time l. I do all the cooking and a lot of cleaning. This was an issue before the baby, but from the later stages of the pregnancy until now I havnt brought it up, is there a time after the birth that you would say I can ask for some more help from her? I don't want to stress her out and harrass her, I just want to be reasonable. Thanks very much for your advice and time
Now that I know that the baby is not even six weeks old then that makes a big difference. You cannot expect things to be the same as before the baby as right now it is a very stressful time. It takes about three months before the mother gets used to the baby and gets used to understand the signals from the baby and also for the baby to start sleeping more so that you can get more rest.
It takes extra understanding and kindness while the mother's homones adjust to being back to more normal, which takes several months at least. The woman's body, physically alone, takes time to heal. It takes almost a year to completely get back to normal. If the baby is less than six weeks, she shouldn't be doing much house work at all. women can damage their body seriously if they start doing housework too soon. Especially sweeping and vacuuming or mopping the floors and of course, no lifting.
After three months she can do most things but will still need more rest and I don't think she should be doing much lifting until six months.
Doing things physical is also more difficult during pregnancy and again, no heavy lifting should take place. After your six week period then do lots of hugging and reassuring her as I suggested. Until then, be kind and patient. The first few months are pretty tough on both mother and father.