Most of you are probably familiar with the childhood song that teases friends about a crush, falling in love, getting married, and having a baby. However, as many couples may already be aware or have experienced for themselves, it is not uncommon for the marriage relationship to get put on the back burner once that new bundle of joy has entered the world.
From sleep deprivation, raging hormones, lack of intimacy, and complete devotion to this new love of your life, it is easy to lose a sense of yourselves as a couple in the relationship. It is not uncommon for one partner to feel like they are no longer important or are not receiving enough attention because their spouse dedicates so much of his/her time and energy to the baby. According to research from the Gottman Relationship Institute in Seattle, within three years of the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in their relationship quality and a dramatic increase in relationship conflict, hostility, and dissatisfaction. That’s a very high percentage of individuals becoming unhappy. If the issues are not addressed, it can snowball and create bigger problems in the relationship which can also have an effect on the children.
The following are a few helpful tips on how to keep your marriage a priority after your baby is born:
- Find time for yourself and each other. It is important to find a little time now and then for just the two of you, but everyone needs their own alone time as well. Find something that works for the both of you. A scheduled “date night,” even if only once or twice a month helps you to focus on each other without interruption.
- Talk about your finances before, during, and after the birth of your baby. Raising a child is expensive and both finances and raising a child are stressful. If both of you are not on the same page with your financial situation, it can be an added stressor to an already tense situation.
- Respect one another’s opinions and listen to one another when it comes to what you believe is the best way to raise your child. Remember-you are both in this together and constantly arguing about who is right and who is wrong will leave you angry and resentful.
- Don’t go to bed angry. You’ve heard it all before from older generations, but it’s true. Going to bed angry and waking up angry is no way to live and is not going to benefit your relationship or the raising of your child in any way, shape or form.
- Share the tasks of raising a child. It is common for the female to take on the role of handling everything from cooking dinner and cleaning the house to changing the diapers and entertaining the baby, but in today’s world there is no reason why both parents can’t find the time to share those tasks.
Raising a child is never an easy task and marriages will always continue to need work and effort. Reminding yourself that your relationship is just as important as caring for your child will help to make both processes easier and hopefully more enjoyable for both individuals involved. If you feel that you are at a point in your marriage that requires help, there is no shame in seeking assistance from a therapist.