It wasn’t a candle lit dinner.
He was wearing a t-shirt, and my hair was in a messy bun, cocked to the left on the top of my head.
It wasn’t under the moonlight; in fact, the sun had just made its way above the horizon. There were no roses or chocolates, just breakfast and a grocery run.
It was one of my favorite dates ever.
This morning, a sitter came over to cuddle our daughter while Austin and I went on our first post-baby Valentines day date. To put it lightly, dating my husband has been a little more complicated since our baby girl arrived.
Here we are, nearly nine months in to parenting, and we are learning more every day about what marriage looks like as new parents. And can I tell you a secret? It’s a lot harder and a lot sweeter.
Those two things don’t seem to go hand-in-hand very often, I know. It came at no surprise to me that marriage would be different, but I never could have imagined how much it might flip our worlds upside down.
Before our Eden arrived, Austin and I found it easy to “date” each other. We ate dinner at the table across from one another every night, eyes locked and hearts fluttering. We cherished our evening Netflix cuddles. We took full advantage of exploring the city we call home, going to impromptu dinners and enjoying walks in the little neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown. Every day was a new adventure. We loved it.
I am so grateful for the years we spent together, just the two of us.
But I am even more grateful for the slivers of time we have now, just the two of us.
Those moments are a whole lot fewer, and much further between, but they are the most special moments ever. They force us to hold tight to one another, to cling on to our marriage as the reason we even have with our daughter in the first place.
Dating post-baby is intentionality.
It is doing everything in our power to sneak in some alone time when it would be easy to slip through life, never breaking the routines. It’s easier to rely on naps and bedtimes for alone time. But then those moments come around, and we crash from all the mental and physical energy we just spent on our child.
Dating post-baby is getting a sitter whenever possible—even if it’s 8 am.
Or 10 pm. It’s putting aside my need for control and trusting that my baby will be better off without me for a few hours. Her parents’ marriage is worth it.
Dating post-baby is putting down our phones because any alone time is to be cherished.
And that is so much easier said than done.
Dating post-baby is asking questions that I think I already know the answer to.
Becoming a parent changes us. It changes the make up of our brains, and it changes the way we see the world. He is processing his work differently, thinking about God’s Word through a different lens, and He is better for it. I now have a whole new husband to get to know.
Dating post-baby is treating every moment of alone time as if it is a date.
For us, dating post-baby is sneaking off to breakfast before going to the grocery store without a carseat in the buggy. (And all the parents of infants clapped).
It is walking through Trader Joe’s or Aldi or Kroger without worrying that our daughter might cry and disrupt everyone’s shopping experience. It’s looking at parents with older children and imagining together what that day might be like. It’s grabbing hands when we pick out our daughter’s favorite food and laughing when my husband turns his nose up at the “healthy” salad dressing I am splurging on.
Dating post-baby is interlocking fingers in the car.
It’s holding onto the tiny moments of intimacy, cherishing them and not letting them slip by.
Dating post-baby is doing whatever we can whenever we can.
It looks different every moment, every day, every week.
Dating post-baby is not something that will just happen. It isn’t an afterthought. It is done with planning. It has to become a priority.
Having a baby thrusted us from our “every day is a date” reality to our every day being consumed with keeping a tiny, fragile human being alive and happy. We could not be more grateful for our daughter, but it is easy to become so consumed with her that we forget to invest in each other. Even in my motherhood, I need intentional love from my husband. Even in his fatherhood, he needs to be prioritized by his wife.
We make each other better.
We make better parents when we are better husband and wife, which makes dating post-baby oh so sweet.
It’s not going to look like getting all dressed up and dancing the night away. It’s going to have to happen during nap time. It may even take place at the grocery store.
But can I tell you a secret? Every moment I get with him, just the two of us, is more special than it’s ever been before.
It is my favorite date ever.
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