Good Dad And Loving Husband: Can I Be Both?

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Good Dad And Loving Husband: Can I Be Both?
Becoming a father and stay-at-home dad puts a strain on a couple's marriage.

The fall of 2008 was one of the most difficult periods in our marriage. All the little cracks that existed before our son arrived were magnified. The time we took for ourselves became more and more scarce. Neither of us was thrilled with giving up our "me" time, so we ended up giving up our "we" time instead. Miscommunications and frustrations became frequent.  Read: Why Having Children May Wreck A Marriage

My wife would request a time for us to just sit and talk, but I would say that the baby needed me, or that I had to complete the other household tasks (cleaning the kitchen, mowing the yard, doing laundry) that I couldn't do when he was awake. It was an intensification of the problem we had before the baby: I wanted to love my wife by doing things for her, but she wanted to be loved through our genuine conversation and connection.

 

So what did we do? We sat down together and agreed to have a date night once a week, no matter what else was going on. For us, Sunday nights worked best. My brother watched our son, and we went out to talk about our life together without any distractions. We shared our joys, vented our frustrations, and simply enjoyed being together. We set aside time to meet our challenges head on, and started working together on all the tasks in front of us. While that didn't fix everything, it sure helped.

Our marital rut was the result of a gradual decline, and the recovery was an equally gradual incline. We realized that it takes both of us to run our household; things work better and more enjoyably when we do them as a team. And I've found that while my son needs my love and attention, I'm better able to provide for him when I first give love and attention to my wife.

 
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