Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Parents: Guard Your Relationship

Several new grandsons have been born into our family the past few years. Yes, little Liam David is one of the cutest babies in the world (pictured here) and was born to our daughter Amy and her husband David over four years ago now. I experienced all the usual grandpa feelings and wonder that most grandparents feel. I glowed as I watched my wife Jackie cradle that little bundle in her arms while my daughter and her husband beamed in pride and awe knowing they had begun the venture known as parenthood.

However, a couple of weeks prior Amy mentioned to us that she was also realizing that the birth of Liam would bring a whole new era in their relationship. After five years of marriage, their world would never quite be the same. They would lose the freedom to simply leave the house whenever they want to just go have dinner or get an ice cream cone. Liam would become, as he should, a special priority who would take an incredible amount of time, effort and commitment.

Amy and David were of course excited about having entered this new phase of their marriage but they were wise to realize that, yes, things will change and they would need to adjust accordingly to keep their marriage fresh and invigorated along the way. Now they have three, all boys.

Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the impact a child or children will have on them as a couple. Instead, their communication and intimacy in general take an unfortunate hit that doesn't need to happen if we'll just become a bit more intentional about our time together as well.

Now, of course, there will be periods when you can't sustain your marriage relationship with the same time and intensity as you have in the past or will later. And a newborn in the home generally fosters one of those times. Parents tend to become pretty exhausted and if mom's breastfeeding it's even more challenging to just get away for even an hour or two. We have to accept those unique settings and be especially sensitive to one another's everyday needs at that point.

However, new parents need to also continue to think about and nourish their marriage relationship as much as possible. First of all, get rest whenever you can get it. That will give you energy to both care for the new baby and to have at least a little interaction with one another in those few moments you have time.

Talk when you can about both the joys you're experiencing and the challenges of being a new parent. Your attempts to be understanding especially during these new pressure-filled days and weeks will pay great dividends. Even if you only have a moment or two, pray for and with one another.

As time allows and the baby matures, try to find someone who can watch the baby even for an hour or two so you can go get coffee or that ice cream now and then. Hey, that's what grandparents are for, right?

My point is this: no matter what age your children are, you must continue to build life into your marriage. As we sat in the hospital drooling over little Liam, I was again hit with how one little life can change everything. And it's wonderful - don't get me wrong! Amy and David are going to have some of the greatest joys they've ever known having little Liam and likely others around. Grandma and grandpa are already enjoying every time we get to see him as we have with our other grandsons in IL.

But let's not ever make the mistake of allowing our marriage to slowly lose its vibrancy because we put one another on the back burner for the next eighteen years. Let's not become parents-only and miss out on becoming the loving man and woman we promised to be at an altar years before.

And, by the way, if you can't get in touch with me these days, I'm probably over playing with Liam. Do you think he can catch a ball yet?
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. It's good to have that extended family around to help during these times, and nice that grandparents are so willing. Being new parents is especially tough on young couples who've relocated far from home.