It is wonderful that expecting parents put so much time, energy and resources into preparing for childbirth by taking childbirth classes, and new-baby care classes. Making sure that baby’s entry into the world is as peaceful and joyful as possible is important. Learning how to properly care for a baby is the responsible, loving thing to do.
Aaaannnnd, as a marriage counselor, I so wish that more couples would put even a fraction of the same thoughtfulness into learning how to keep their relationship healthy after they have a child. Because, in my opinion, the greatest gift you can give your children is a strong, stable family with parents that love and respect each other. And while that is absolutely possible after babies arrive, it requires intentional effort to make it happen.
Babies Change Don’t Have to Change Everything
It is true that having a fun, enjoyable relationship feels naturally easier before babies. Date nights happen on a whim, weekend music festivals or snowboarding trips are not out of the question, meaningful conversations are not interrupted by howling, and sex is, well, sexier without a bassinet in the room.
It is also true that after babies arrive, amazing, hilarious and joyful experiences are still possible for your relationship — PLUS you now have a shared sense of meaning and purpose that was unimaginable before you looked at your precious child’s face together for the first time. However, parenthood requires you to take your teamwork and communication to a whole new level, while also providing each other with unconditional emotional support as you navigate a new chapter of your lives.
Upping your game as a couple is not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Throw in some baby blues, new-mom / dad anxiety, sleep deprivation, and a “Holy-Crap-I-Have-a-Kid” existential crisis, and interactions can get intense. Nurturing and nourishing your marriage as you journey into parenthood together requires intention, thoughtfulness, and some practical strategies.