Dating After Baby Comes

Monday, April 11, 2016

I think we've all heard it before... the dating doesn't end after the wedding.
You need to continue dating your spouse throughout the rest of your life together.

Hunter and I are high school sweethearts.
We met when I was 14 and he was 15 at a pool party.
For me, it was love at first sight. For him it took a little longer, but when he did come around (ha) there were some serious sparks.
We would have spent every waking moment together if we could have.

When we got married, we couldn't stand being away from each other longer than a few hours.
I know, that sounds like the typical newlyweds, but seriously we were smitten.
We loved just being together and the romance was always there.
The first year of marriage for us, was literally pure bliss.
We loved going on dates together whether it was a trip to the water park, a hike, a nice dinner, or just a picnic at the park.

A few weeks before having our sweet daughter, I noticed my mind starting to shift from being consumed in my husband to consumed in my baby.
I couldn't sleep... like ever... so I would lie awake in her nursery praying for her, making bows, adding last minute decor, and looking through all her little clothes.
There was a piece of me that was sad that this was the last little bit of time we had to spend together as just me and Hunter, but I couldn't take my mind off becoming a mother.

Once Oaklyn made her arrival, I was consumed in chores and soothing my baby and my husband quickly took the back seat.
I think this is probably quite typical in most families.
 Obviously the tiny person that just made their entrance into the world needs more attention than your fully capable husband, but it doesn't mean your husband doesn't still exist. 

Occasionally during the first few months of Oaklyn's life I would be rocking her to sleep in the middle of the night and I would glance over at Hunter sleeping in our bed. 
I longed to just snuggle up next to him and drop all of my responsibilities.
I loved my sweet baby, but I missed my spouse.
I missed just sitting on the couch and talking to him, I missed going on spur of the moment dates, and I definitely missed being spontaneous in every area of our marriage.

The first few times Hunter and I finally got the guts to take some time away and go on a date together, I was a complete wreck.
I was so excited to be with him, but I missed Oaklyn like crazy!
I couldn't just relax and be the wife I once was and I missed my old self.
It took time to get used to leaving her, but I'm so glad we decided to take time to focus on our marriage after having a baby.

So much of my time and energy is spent on Oaklyn.
I'm holding her, feeding her, talking to her, playing with her, getting her dressed, washing her clothes, cleaning up after her, changing her diapers, and so on all day everyday.
When Hunter comes home, I'm exhausted and really just want to lay on the couch and scroll through my insta feed mindlessly... and that is why dates are so important after having a baby.

When Hunter and I have a date planned, I get so excited to reconnect with him.
Going out to dinner as a family is fun, but it is usually spent trying to tame Oaklyn and find something she might actually eat.
When Hunter and I go out to eat together we are able to have a good conversation and focus on just each other. 
I love my daughter, I love her more than I can possibly say, but Hunter and I need time away from her.

We need to remember who we were before she came along.
We need to reconnect and talk about something other than sippy cups and dirty diapers.
We need the time to grow closer as a couple.
We need to remember how and why we fell in love in the first place.
We need to plan something special because our marriage is special.
We need to be able to stare into each other's eyes and say I love you without interruption. 
We need to take time for each other. 
We need to keep the fire we once had, alive.
We need to be playful with each other and take time away from responsibilities.
And, we need to miss our child so coming home feels that much more special. 

Having a baby is the best decision we have made yet as a married couple, but it has also been the hardest.
Our alone time has become limited and our minds are constantly distracted.
Hunter planned a date night this past weekend and it was just what we needed.
He made arrangements to have a babysitter and even chose the restaurant that I have been wanting to try for a while.
That is what sparked this post. It meant more to me than I can say to have him go out of his way to plan a date night with me. ( We went to Station 22 and highly recommend it.)
We love our daughter and find ourselves talking about her more often than not when we are away from her, but are learning more and more that our marriage needs to come first.
It has helped our relationship tremendously to ask family or friends to watch our little girl for a few hours while we take time to be together.
By dating your spouse on a regular basis after having a little one, your marriage will be strengthened in ways you didn't know needed to be strengthened. 
So, take some time out of your busy schedules to spend time together. 
Then, go home and snuggle your little one together ;)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

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