Our son was just a few weeks old. His high-pitched scream in the middle of the night pierced my ears and made me cringe a little. OK, a lot. I was new to being a dad, a role I had strongly desired.

Even though I was excited to be a new dad, in all honesty, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to help my wife when nursing was painful. I didn’t know how to help my son when he was colicky. I relied on God to help me in this new role of being a father, and I prayed more than I ever had.

Although the transition into this new role was a bit of a shock, my gratefulness surpassed any difficulties we faced. I knew my wife and I were in a season of learning. I was excited to see how God would use this change to mature us.

Now we have four little ones. That inexperienced start feels long ago. Still, I’m sure you can imagine all of the areas of life that having four children under the age of 6 can affect. One of those specifically affected areas, if not approached soberly and patiently, can drastically hurt all of the other areas of marriage.

Sex. When and how do you get back into physical intimacy with each other after a baby has made his entrance into the world? Having experienced this season of change four times now, we are learning a handful of things about getting back to enjoying our martial perks after having a baby.

As the husband, I have learned three nonnegotiables when it comes to transitioning back into sex after baby. Plus, the reality that needs to be dealt with in our own hearts.

1. Be patient with sex after baby

The doctor said, “Six weeks and you’re good to go.” So, “Let’s go!” is what I heard. This was my actual thought process. It was most likely my exact words toward my wife when it came to jumping back into sex after our first baby.

Which didn’t exactly get her in the mood.

Guys, I hear you. Even though the benefit and blessing of having a baby is incredible, going weeks—sometimes months—without sex is not easy. I desire my wife. I couldn’t wait to be with her again.

But what I have learned over the years is that during the delicate postpartum phase, it is crucial that I am a patient husband. My wife needs me to be patient. And with how much she has endured physically, I can endure too! I can wait for my wife to be ready for sex after baby too. I can have self-control with my body and my mind in the meantime.

2. Be a team

Remembering my wife and I are a team, also reminds me that I am playing a vital role in this family-building adventure. It may be my wife who carries the baby during pregnancy, nurses, and perseveres through postpartum, but I also have a responsibility in all of this. My wife needs me to be present, to have an understanding heart for what she is going through, to encourage her along the way, and to do whatever I can to help her and help with the baby.

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3. No matter what

No matter what changes after having a baby, whether it’s our sleep habits, my wife’s body, or sex, my wife and I are one and will always be one. We cannot get caught up in wishing things were how they use to be. We cannot let bitterness root in our hearts for desiring a different outcome. As mature believers who walk in faithfulness, we cannot let selfish thoughts lead our hearts. So when change comes, like having a baby, we need to accept it and persevere. As a couple, we need to affirm one another that changes in life do not dictate our love for each other. So no matter what, even if it takes a while to jump back into sex after a baby, we need to continue faithfully in love and hope with each other, and affirm those things daily.

Keep in mind that you and your spouse have your own perspectives of all that you are experiencing in marriage, too. We encourage you both to talk about those perspectives, see if they are different or the same. (We talk about it here.)

Hear each other out

Maybe you see something from one vantage point and your wife from another. (My wife shares her thoughts about sex post baby here.) It is not about who is right or wrong. Rather, it is about truly listening to each other and understanding what each of you are going through. Be willing to talk about what you are learning through your experience.

Lastly, pray together. Going before God, especially for marriage, is a humbling experience. Keep God at the center of it all, because He cares for you and He will help you endure!

Copyright © 2019 Jennifer Smith. All rights reserved.

Aaron and Jennifer Smith share personal stories of failure and victory in Christ through their books, blogs, and online ministries. They’ve been married for 12 years and have 4 children. Check out their latest Marriage After God site. Find them on social media @MarriageAfterGod @HusbandRevolution and @Unveiledwife.