You may be surprised at the idea of having to re-learn communication. After all, you and your spouse have been communicating effectively for years.
That may be so, but being new parents can be overwhelming, time-consuming and stressful. When was the last time you had a real conversation with your spouse? If you cannot remember, a little refresher course is in order:
Set regular ‘talk’ times
Set aside time just for yourselves to talk – at breakfast, while taking the baby out for a stroll or at bedtime. Be specific and commit to these dates. If you need to cancel, be sure to reschedule.
Do not assume you know each other inside out. Neither of you are mind readers. Get into the habit of asking questions before you decide what it is your spouse is really trying to tell you.
Being a good listener means listening without interrupting and being able to reflect back what your spouse said accurately. Put yourself in his shoes. Hear him out before interjecting or making conclusions.
Equal opportunity & time
Every conversation is a give and take. You may feel that your spouse has taken you for granted and want to rant and rave for hours but do not monopolise all the ‘talk time’. Let your spouse talk too. You may feel differently once you listen to what he has to say.
No complaints, just requests
Complaints are negative and make your spouse feel defensive. Why not turn them into requests? Instead of saying, “I’m doing everything myself and you’re not helping!”, say, “Can you help prepare dinner while I give the baby a bath?”
One at a time
Several problems can plague a couple at any one time: baby, money, work or in-laws. Do not be overly ambitious and be pressured to resolve everything at one go. Tackle one problem at a time.
SHARE THE GOOD AND THE BAD
‘Talk times’ are not opportunities for you to blame or criticise your spouse. Being new parents is not easy and you both need encouragement and support. Try to talk about the positive and the negative, share concerns and celebrate successes, reaffirm each other’s strengths and find ways to overcome weaknesses together.