Caring for your new baby can be all consuming for at least three to six months and it is to be expected that your relationship gets temporarily put on hold. However, it is very important to begin rekindling that bond soon after. So many couples lose sight of their separate relationship following the introduction of their new baby, and marital satisfaction usually declines. This is normal although with some effort you can develop a new even stronger connection.
Here are five ways to reconnect with each other:
Take at least 10 minutes each day to talk about anything other than the baby. This sounds simple but can actually be a challenge. Make a game of it. Whoever says “baby” has to do a favor for the other. This is especially important for the stay at home parent who often gets caught up in all those baby stories to tell. At the same time the parent who is home with the baby may want to desperately use adult words and full sentences with someone and needs to decompress from all the baby care stress.
Make a regular time weekly to review new parent challenges and successes related to parenting. You are learning as you go both with your new baby and each other. It can be very helpful to air these concerns in a safe and structured way vs. snapping in the moment, and this time will give each other a way to think things through and express yourselves more effectively. Try to be productive and come up with possible solutions rather than just using the time to complain. Also make sure to identify what is working well for you both.
Acknowledge each other’s efforts. Couples often compare who is working harder or doing more for the family. Both of you are most likely doubling your efforts to manage the added responsibilities. It is not a competition. This is not a way to get compassion or support from your partner. If you are feeling burnt out and need more help then ask for it directly. Chances are if you are feeling undervalued your partner may be as well. Just a few words of appreciation and encouragement can go a long way.
Schedule intimate time with each other. Yes, that’s right-schedule it. Better to ensure that you both get your romantic time at all then get hung up on loosing spontaneity. If you manage to sneak in some romance otherwise then great, but this way you are both choosing a time that works. Usually shortly after the baby goes down is best before you may get too tired and scrap your plans. This doesn’t mean mandatory sex. If you are feeling disconnected for some reason then take the time to just snuggle.
Have a regular date “night”. This one may take some time to get started depending on your resources and baby’s sleeping habits. Try to get someone you trust and know well like a friend or relative to watch your baby for starters for just an hour and then get progressively braver. You can even do trade babysitting with other couples. Eventually, establish a regular time to do something you both enjoyed when you were just a couple once a week even if only for a few hours. Remember not to talk about the baby or other stressful topics during this time.
Written by: Sarah Levoy, Psy.D.
Read more at: www.thepreparedmom.com