Every relationship requires hard work and commitment, but when you add a new baby to the mix, your relationship with your partner often gets put on the back burner. The transition into parenthood can be one of the biggest adjustments of your life. Your dynamic as a couple completely changes and you suddenly have diapers to change, round-the-clock feeding schedules, sleepless nights, and new demands in your life that you've never dealt with before. It is very common for new moms and dads to feel a strain on their relationship when they become parents.
Those early months as new parents can be very demanding, but there are several things that you can do to keep the spark alive while you are adjusting to your new life together.
Don't stop the little things:
Make an effort to remind your spouse how much you love them. Try writing a small note or letter, it doesn't need to be a long, emotional letter, just a quick note to let your partner know that you are thinking of them. Little things like this can brighten their day. Flirt with each other through the day, compliment your spouse, and remember to do thoughtful things for each other. Even if it's just grabbing a drink for your partner when you get one for yourself, or offering a quick foot rub at the end of a long day, small favors and common courtesies can be more meaningful than you realize, especially during the early days of parenthood.
Get on a schedule:
Once your baby is old enough, get him or her on a bedtime schedule. Having your baby in bed at a certain time each night will make life easier for everyone. You and your spouse will have a couple of hours to yourselves to hang out together. Spending time together on a regular basis is very important, even if that means lounging on the couch and watching TV together after a long day. Having a schedule will make this much easier to achieve.
Almost all parents agree that date nights are essential to keeping the spark alive in your relationship. If you can't get a babysitter, or if you just aren't ready to leave your baby yet, then you can have a date night at home once your baby has fallen asleep. Pick a night each week to get take-out and watch a movie at home. Make it feel a little more special by lighting candles and eating on regular, dinner plates instead of out of Styrofoam boxes. If you're on a budget you can cook a quick dinner together then light some candles and dance in the family room. When you're ready, have a family member or friend watch your baby for a few hours so that you can get out and spend some quality, alone time together.
Find a mutual hobby:
It can be hard to find time to do much of anything when you're a new parent. Your free time is very limited during those early days. When you and your partner have a mutual hobby or interest that you both enjoy it brings you together as a couple, offers a bonding experience, and makes it easier to spend a little time together when you may only have an hour or two of free time.
Don't take each other for granted:
It's very easy to take your partner for granted at times. Make the effort to tell each other how much you appreciate each other and how well you are doing with your new roles as parents. Tell your wife that you think she is an amazing mother and that you appreciate everything that she is doing for your family. Remind your husband that you are thankful for everything he is doing as well. It's very important to make each other feel appreciated and to know that everything you are doing is not going unnoticed.
Put a little mascara on:
Everyone knows that the last thing on any new parent's to-do list is getting dressed up and doing their hair. But wearing jeans instead of yoga pants and taking five minutes to dab a little concealer under your eyes and to put on a little mascara will make you feel better about yourself and put a little excitement back in your relationship.
Choose your battles:
You and your partner are not going to agree on everything and that also applies to your parenting techniques. It is going to take time to figure out what works best for you as a couple and as new parents, and you may find yourselves arguing much more than you used to. It can be very easy to get into arguments over your differing points of view, but try to discuss your differences with each other, compromise, and work out a plan that you both feel comfortable with.
Girls day out/Guys night:
You definitely need to spend quality time together as a couple, but you also need to spend time alone and with your friends. The constant demands of parenthood make it so easy to forget about yourself, and to forget about your passions and interests. Every once in a while it's important to find the time to recharge your batteries with a couple of hours out with your friends so that you can focus on you, your friendships, and your interests, and return to your spouse and family a little more relaxed.
Talk about your day:
Many new parents find that when they do have some alone time together all they talk about is the baby. It's natural to want to talk about every detail going on with the baby, but take the time to ask about the other details of your day as well.
Get out of the house:
Take a walk as a family, go to a park and get some fresh air, go walk around the mall, just get out of the house. Many new parents spend a lot more time at home than they ever did before and that can cause anyone to go stir-crazy. Whether you want to walk the nature trails in your area or spend some time window shopping, just getting out of the house can work wonders for everyone.
Screenwriter and producer Nora Ephron once said: "When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different."
This is very, very true. Of course your relationship is going to be different once you become parents, but you can take little steps to rekindle some romance and enjoy each other and your marriage.