There's no doubt that having a baby changes your relationship. You’re adding an entirely new person into the mix, how can it not?! Just how a marriage or relationship will change after having a baby is different from couple to couple — the one thing that is inevitable is that it will. But change isn’t always bad, right? It doesn’t have to be. We’re sharing five tips for taking care of your relationship after babies below!
Don’t keep score. This one is hard, you guys. Like, really hard. But it may be one of the most important things on this list. While it’s tempting and natural to keep a mental list of every time you changed a diaper, did a load of laundry or took over baby duties so dad could watch the football game with his friends, going down this rabbit hole of keeping score is a slippery slope that leads to resentment and bitterness between couples.
Know and understand your “Love Languages” and use them. Maybe you feel most loved when your partner gets you a really nice gift. Or when they clean the kitchen after dinner. You might feel most loved when your significant other says “Thank you for everything you do, I know it’s not easy.” Or when they give you a massage after a long, hard day. These are all different love languages. We all have different ways we show and like to receive love. According to Dr Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, people give love in the way they prefer to receive it. With time and energy at such a minimum after having kids it’s so important to be intentional about giving your spouse love the way they like to receive it and vice-versa. A daily check-in — asking “What did I do that made you feel loved today?” — can keep the lines of communication open and help you recalibrate quickly when things seem to be going off course.
Communication is key. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes the most obvious things escape you when you’re sleep deprived or overwhelmed with day-to-day life. Being overly communicative about your expectations, desires and needs is key to nurturing your relationship. This can be about something as mundane as household chores or as heavy as intimacy post-baby. Keeping lines of communication wide open will make sure you and your partner stay in sync.
Make self-care a priority — for both of you. You’re so busy taking care of your kids it can be way too easy to forget that you have to take care of yourself, too. Well, you can’t pour from an empty cup. It is so important for both you and your partner to do the things that make you feel energized, happy, relaxed and alive! Fill your cups! Help each other find the time to make self-care happen — everyone in the family will benefit.
Parenting isn’t easy and finding time and energy to prioritize your relationship is just plain hard. While there isn’t any magic pill that will make all these challenges go away, these tips will help you give your relationship the attention it needs. Good luck!