Parenthood has a profound effect on a couple’s relationship. After all, you’re worried, sleep-deprived, and you simply can’t prioritize your relationship any longer — at least not while caring for a helpless newborn.
Being a mom is hard work, especially if you’re a first-time mom. But sometimes, because of how much work it takes to take care of your child, you might find yourself spending less bonding time with your husband.
That’s why, after having a baby, it’s critical to take care of your relationship. It’s easy to let it go to the bottom of your priority list; after all, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
When you think about it, having a healthy connection is most vital during times like this – when you’re anxious, vulnerable, and confused.
What can you read in this article?
- How does having a baby change your relationship?
- How to navigate life after having a baby?
- Ways on how to keep the relationship strong after having a baby
Yes, having children will create new challenges for couples. People tend to think having a baby will bring them closer as a couple after they announce “We’re going to be a family!” but it can be just the opposite.
It’s no secret that having a baby can be a big challenge for your relationship.
Many people find that having barely had many fights at all up to this point, they’re now squabbling and sniping at each other on a regular basis. So, how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby? Read more for more information.
Life after having a baby: How does having a baby change your relationship?
Becoming a parent often puts a strain on relationships, regardless of what they were like before. Part of the problem is that you’re tired and have so much less time to spend with your partner than you did before the baby arrived.
In fact, research has shown that couples typically experience an increase in conflict and a decrease in overall satisfaction when their first child is born.
How to keep a relationship strong after having a baby? | Image from Shutterstock
There are several factors that contribute to these feelings including adjustment to new roles and depleted resources like time, sleep, and money.
It’s a lot harder to go out together and enjoy the things you used to do. Your partner may feel left out, and you may resent what you see as a lack of support. But the stage when babies and children take up all your physical and emotional energy doesn’t last forever.
How to navigate life after having a baby?
So, is it really impossible to take care of a newborn and still have time for your husband? Here are some tips!
1. Share the work!
The task of taking care of your child isn’t yours alone. It’s important for married couples to share the load of managing the household and taking care of the kids.
There’s nothing wrong with asking your husband to help out with the housework. Working together makes it easier to finish whatever you need to do so that you can spend more time with your husband!
Plus, doing household chores together is also a great bonding activity. It’s a win-win situation!
2. Make time for one another
If you want to keep the romance alive in your marriage, it’s always a good idea to always make some time for each other.
Set aside one night in the week to serve as your date night. You could ask a relative or a close friend to babysit for you while you spend some time with your husband. Go to your favorite restaurant, watch a movie, and just focus on the romance in your relationship.
How to keep a relationship strong after having a baby? | Image from Shutterstock
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Talking is one of the most vital aspects of every relationship, and it becomes even more so following the birth of a child. When you do speak, make sure you do so efficiently.
It’s difficult to express your anger and displeasure in a way that doesn’t make your partner defensive. Avoid harsh criticism and be explicit about what you require from your relationship, according to Best. “Saying, ‘I’m feeling really overwhelmed and would really appreciate it if you gave the baby a bath tonight,‘ will probably go over a lot better than saying, ‘You don’t help!’ A statement like, ‘I’m starved for adult conversation and would love to have dinner at the table so we can talk,’ will probably elicit a lot less defensiveness than, ‘You never pay attention to me,‘ will probably elicit a lot less defensive.
Ways on how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby | Image from Shutterstock
It’s not always about coming up with practical answers to problems when you’re talking (although this can obviously be a useful thing to do).
It’s primarily about reconnecting, feeling close, and keeping in touch. Talking allows you to express or learn about anything that is troubling or concerning you or your companion. It allows you to both speak and listen.
4. Take time to listen to your partner
Your partner can’t read your mind, no matter how close you were before the baby was born. Your lives are changing for the better, and you need to talk about it.
If you’re resentful, angry, or irritated, you and your partner need to communicate what you want and what’s upsetting you.
- Be open and honest about your needs: do you want a hug or to be understood?
- Enlist the help of a friend or relative to babysit so you can spend time together, even if it’s only for a stroll around the park.
- Split up the household chores so you may spend more time together.
- Share the childcare duties, too.
It’s essential to discuss how you want to raise your children. You may discover that you disagree on fundamental issues such as discipline and attitude.
When it comes to resolving problems, it’s important that you’re able to communicate freely about any problems you’re having so that you can work through them together.
Your partner may believe you haven’t been supportive enough. Or it’s possible that you’re not collaborating on difficulties anymore, and that a barrier has formed between you. Or maybe you’re not sure what’s wrong; you just have a feeling something isn’t quite right.
Find a strategy to address these concerns without arguing in front of your child. If you believe your relationship is on the verge of failing, seek help.
5. “Parent” each other
We have a lot more patience, compassion, and forgiveness for our children than we do for our relationships. You may do everything you can to calm your infant when she cries for no apparent reason.
But “when our spouses snap at us in the mildest way,” Best points out, “we feel outraged.” “Taking the same empathetic attitude you use with your kids and applying it to your partner will go a long way.”
It’s possible that your post-baby relationship will not be the fairy tale you imagined. But keep in mind that battle bonds are strong, and while having a kid can change everything, incredible things can happen when you learn to change together.
Being a new parent is challenging. Because you’re both coping with something new and tough, you’re both prone to make mistakes – to snap, to dispute, to be distant at times.
It’s sometimes just preferable to be kind to one another and, when necessary, to let go. Because caring for someone is recognizing that they will not always get things right.
A happy family relies heavily on communication.
Image from Shutterstock
7. Sometimes, you just have to deal with it
You’ll have some moments when you really can’t find a way to spend time with your husband, even just for a couple of hours. It might be frustrating, and your husband might even feel sad about it, but that’s just part of being a parent.
Once you have a child, your relationship shifts from being about you and your husband, to being about your child. The important thing is to keep the romance alive and know that even if things don’t go back to the way they used to be, you’re still very much in love with each other as wife and husband.
8. Seek counseling
Too often, couples put off seeking counseling until they are on the verge of separation. Instead, consider coming in early, when you’ve reached your first snag and can be easily steered back on track.
Seeking professional help for relationship problems should not be seen as a sign of weakness. It should be a source of pride that you value your relationship enough to go to great lengths to make it the best it can be.
One of the most wonderful joys that God can give to a couple is having a child. Despite the difficulties, having a baby can be a lot of fun!
It’s only a matter of striking a balance between parenting and your marriage. Don’t become so overwhelmed that you lose track of your identity or other important relationships in your life.
There will be days when you feel on top of the world, and other days when everything seems to be too much. These are the occasions when you and your partner must be united.
Be gentle with yourself and your partner. Make an effort to forgive one another and cultivate patience.
Take pleasure in this lovely union of your marriage and parenthood. The most wonderful journey of your life awaits you!
Updates by Matt Doctor