Two Shall Become One. . . and then three. What happens to the couple relationship when a baby is introduced into the mix? Well, for one thing, life gets very exciting! And exhausting. And challenging.
Amid the chaos and the joy and the fear, it is possible to continue to develop a strong, healthy couple relationship.
Here are some tips to help:
- Cut yourself some slack. Supermom and Superdad are mere myths – they don’t exist!
- Cut your spouse some slack. Assume he or she has good intentions rather than interpreting everything as a dig against you or a sign of incompetence.
- Learn to forgive yourself. You’ll be a great parent, but you won’t get everything right 100% of the time. No one can.
- Remember that your marriage is a partnership, not a competition. You’re in this together! Learn to approach chores and decision-making as a team.
- Reach out to friends. You’re not in this alone! Lean on the support and friendship of those who’ve been there.
- Accept that your relationship with your spouse will inevitably change – don’t let this be a surprise that you end up resisting.
- Take care of yourself. Rest when you can. Ask for help when you need it.
- Stay flexible. No matter how much you prepare, you can’t really know what you’ll do in every circumstance until you’re in the circumstance.
- Set boundaries with parents and in-laws. Grandparents reared a family and the temptation is great for them to offer advice on how to rear yours. Take a deep breath, listen respectfully, stay non- defensive and don’t burn bridges.
- Realize that taking care of a baby requires more work than most full-time jobs – it’s important to recognize and affirm the efforts each of you puts in.
- Communicate! Remember that neither of you is a mind-reader. Be clear, patient and gentle in letting your wants and needs be made known.
Yes, life will change. You and your spouse will make memories that will last a lifetime. Keep the marriage as the number one priority. It’s hard to imagine now, but Baby will grow up and leave the nest – your marriage will remain. Keep it strong for a lifetime of joyful parenting.