It’s a reality that having a baby can be a big challenge for your relationship. The stress that a new baby causes can totally turn couples against each other – severely impacting how they feel about one another and even casting their future together into doubt.
About 70 percent of couples experience a significant slump in the quality of their relationship quality within three years of their children’s births, according to research by the Gottman Relationship Institute in Seattle.
That is why it is highly important to monitor your relationship after having a baby. The temptation can be to let it drift down the priority list, as you have hundreds of things to worry about. Having a healthy relationship is most important so that you do not feel stressed, confused and vulnerable over time. There can be several things you can do.
Needless to say, the birth of a little one is a magical experience, but it is also a demanding one. Romance and intimacy fall last on the endless list of chores on our plate. The focus is to be efficient, not romantic, for obvious reasons. Amidst all the chaos and confusion, a marriage always suffers. Studies have shown that 64% of married people feel concerned about their relationship after having a baby. Hence it is even more important to know how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby.
Ways to Keep a Relationship Strong After Having a Baby
A happy couple makes for great parents. Happiness is contagious, and the happiest, healthiest, well-adjusted children come from homes where parents are happy, are in love and respect each other. Probably this is a big reason to strengthen the bond with your spouse, especially after you have a baby.
Here’s advice from experts as well as couples in the trenches on why this transition is so hard and what you can do to smooth things out.
Most couples find that their quantity of sleep decreases in the first few months after having a baby. And less sleep means less rest, less patience and a greater chance of having an argument. You might be one of the lucky couples whose baby can sleep through the night, but most babies don’t. It’s imperative that the problem of sleep is treated as a team. Communication and planning is the only way out. Agree on how you’re going to tackle things when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night – talk about taking turns.
Talking is the most critical part of any relationship and becomes even more important after you have a baby. Talking is about coming up with practical solutions to any problems. Talking is mainly about feeling close and reconnecting with one another. Talking gives you an opportunity to express or find out about the difficulties or worries. It gives you a chance to speak and to hear.
You should be able to communicate openly about any issues you’re experiencing regarding the baby so that you deal with them together. Your partner should not feel you haven’t supported them in a certain way. If you aren’t working together on problems, then a distance can develop between you. Being able to say anything directly to each other – and work together to address it – is crucial as you work your way over the bumps in the road this journey.
It is useful to develop a knack for planning. Part of maintaining a healthy relationship is making time to have fun together – so you might expect to take some time out. Plan out ‘date nights’ where you go out and do something together and those can be really fun, positive ways to bring some variety back into your schedule and spend quality time together. Likewise, planning things doesn’t have to mean planning big things. It could also mean planning little things too, like spooning in bed one evening.
But I don’t want sex since having a baby, you might say. It’s a big temptation to simply let your sex life slide after having a baby. But sex is a really important part of most relationships. It is a common way to bond and reaffirm your sense of intimacy with one another. At times you may not find as much energy for sex after having a baby. And there’s nothing wrong with this. But being intimate can just mean being physical and close with one another, without necessarily having expectations to go any further. If you struggle to find the time, this can be remedied with a little thoughtful scheduling – or being creative when you do it. Probably your baby’s afternoon nap can be an excellent opportunity or you may just like to go to bed early.
With loads of things to attend to and the demanding needs of a baby – finding the time to connect may seem to be the last thing on your list of priorities. Once the baby comes in the picture, the way a couple feels intimate and showers love and affection with each other has changed drastically. The best solution is to accept the new reality and find newer ways to connect and bond together. Order in food from your favorite restaurant or watch a romantic movie if time permits.
When you actually become a parent, you also become compassionate and patient in nature – if only reserved for the baby. The important thing you might want to think about: going easy on each other. Being a new parent is difficult for both to manage. Both of you are likely to make mistakes – to argue, to snap, to be occasionally distant, because both of you are dealing with something challenging and new. Most often it is just better to be kind to one another and to simply let go of things. If we could also ‘parent’ our partner during this delicate time, the chances are that we will have a comfortable and peaceful environment at home.
Relationship after the baby is not a TV show. The transition is not easy for both, but there is a lot of love involved which will surely get you through these times as well. There is no magical solution – the hard work is on both, so invest your time in taking care of your marriage, the relationship that gave you this priceless possession: the baby.