Joining me is a guest writer, Luisa Crane. Luisa resides in Southern Florida with her husband Casey and daughter Isabella. Through her powerful testimony she will share with you her own personal thoughts, experiences, and wonderful words of advice that are sure to leave you moved, encouraged, and inspired.
Guest writer, Luisa Crane
Valuable Lessons By Luisa Crane
We were able to learn some very valuable lessons through our struggles and I have chosen my favorite to share with you. My prayer is that you will also see these struggles as a valuable time of learning. Understand that the changes you’ll have to make with a baby can help you and your spouse both develop stronger relationship skills. Make it your goal to emerge from this time with a more mature marriage. Assure your spouse that you still care and love for them daily, even when you may be too busy to show it in the same ways you previously did.
Remind yourself that the world doesn’t revolve around your baby. During this busy season of life, you need to set priorities, and your top priorities must be God, your spouse, and your kids. In that order. What you can fit in after that is up to you and your spouse. There will be plenty of time for some of those other activities in your other seasons of life. Your child won’t be a toddler bouncing on your knee for very long. Remember: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Recognize the power of words. Don’t allow your stress to cause you to speak negative words to your spouse. Realize that negative words will hurt your spouse and your marriage, while positive words will strengthen your bond as they bring hope, encouragement, refreshment, and healing. Affirm and encourage your spouse verbally as often as you can. Ask yourself how you can alleviate your spouse’s anxieties and bless him or her with your words.
Recharge your spouse’s batteries. Plan practical ways that you can refresh your spouse, such as by cooking a meal or letting him or her go out for an evening. Remember that when your spouse is refreshed, he or she will be in a much better position to refresh you. Share with each other what you need to be energized. Commit to do at least one of those things for your spouse in the next day or so.
Be honest. Don’t waste time or energy trying to keep up appearances around family and friends to try to have them think all is well when it isn’t. If you’re struggling, go to your spouse first, admit it, and ask for help. Discuss ahead of time what you’re willing to share about your relationship and your struggles in front of your family and friends. When you need help, reach out for it in ways that don’t embarrass your spouse. And remember not to compare your unique situation to someone else’s.
Don’t stop having fun! Plan and look forward to at least one thing you enjoy doing that isn’t related to your baby, such as maintaining a hobby you pursued before your newborn arrived. Keep in contact with friends. Arrange babysitting so you and your spouse can still go out on dates. Exercise as much as you’re able to elevate your mood and enjoy some recreation.
For me the hardest lesson learned during this past year was to let go of the past and embrace the future. Rather than grieving for the lifestyle you once had, embrace the changes that have come into your life and celebrate the new ways they can help you grow, individually and as a couple. Discuss what you’re each looking forward to in the future. Make plans together. Seek solutions for your individual family and learn to be flexible. Each baby is unique and often what we dream or plan is quite different than the actual outcome. All of us, at whatever stage in life we find ourselves, have discovered that reality doesn’t always measure up to our expectations. I had to learn to be content, true contentment is a rare treasure.
Keep the spark of romance lit. Identify and deal with whatever issues are hampering your ability to enjoy intimacy with your spouse. Remember that intimacy is about more than just sex – it’s about the connection between the two of you. Make it a priority to continue to interact romantically, both at home and on dates. Don’t be shy about arranging babysitting for whenever you need it.
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