The bliss of being a couple in love, with only each other to worry about, is about to end with the arrival of your first child. Is this a time to panic? No, it’s a time to enjoy the challenges of when a two-person relationship becomes a three-person family. Here are some tips to help your marriage survive this joyous upheaval!
- Divide the chores. With a new baby comes a whole new set of household tasks. One person doesn’t have to be responsible for all of them so discuss with your partner who will do what to help out. Be flexible and ready to pitch in with extra help if your partner has had a sleepless night and can’t get motivated to do the laundry. If the baby is breastfed by your partner there are still plenty of things you can help out with, such as bathing, changing diapers as well as all the household jobs that go with having a child.
- Let your partner have an opinion on parenting. Both of you had input into making this baby so both of you have a right to voice your opinion on certain matters such as routine, sleeping patterns and even how you dress your baby.
- Keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner. Try and discuss the issues as they come to hand, even if there never seems to be a moment to have a chat. Let your partner know how you are feeling - do you think they don’t do enough? Or do you want to be more involved with the baby? As with all aspects of your marriage if you don’t let your partner know how you feel, you won’t be able to resolve anything.
- Sex. Is there ever a good time to enjoy some intimacy once children have been brought into the marriage? Of course there is, but you might need to be more creative in finding an appropriate baby-free time when you aren’t exhausted. Discuss your needs with your partner.
- Money now may be tighter with an extra mouth to feed and possibly a reduction in income. Discuss how you will cope financially before the baby arrives. Can you put some savings aside before baby arrives to help you through this period of adjustment?
- Arrange for some regular couple time for you and your partner. Get a babysitter so you and your spouse can be a couple again and remember why you wanted to be together in the first place. Finding time for each other is essential in any marriage.
- Be prepared for well-meaning grandparents to put a strain on your relationship. Grandparents usually want to be involved and this can be a wonderful help for you, unless they take over. If possible work out how you are going to deal with interference in this way before the baby arrives.
- Enjoy the journey of parenthood. No one is perfect so don’t put stress on yourselves to keep an immaculate house or to have read all the latest baby books. Follow your instincts and work together. Your marriage will benefit from the whole baby experience!