How to Stay a Couple after Having Kids
Thursday, September 22, 2016
If you’ve recently become a parent, you know how extreme the adjustment can be. All of a sudden your attention is completely on your new baby. However, long after your child or children grow up and move away, your partner will still be there. Therefore, it’s extremely important to nurture your relationship with your partner even when you enter the crazy world of parenthood.
At CSP, Inc., we are always so happy to see families receive their new bundles of joy, but want to help you keep your relationship with your partner strong as well. Follow these tips as you’re learning to distinguish being a couple vs. being a parent.
Before you became parents, spending time together alone was effortless. You could go out to eat, see a movie, or just spend a quiet night together at home. Now that your life involves a little less sleep and a lot more joy, it takes effort to set time aside for just the two of you.
If you live near family, don’t be afraid to ask if they’d be willing to watch your baby while you two go out. If you don’t live near people you already know you can trust to watch your little one, you can go through an agency to find a sitter for you. They’ll complete a background check and you can interview your future sitter before committing to make sure you feel comfortable with your choice.
Once you have a babysitter in place, schedule your dates in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts. If you want to start slow, simply set aside one night a month where it’s just you and your partner. If you know you’ll be going out the first Saturday of each month, there aren’t any excuses!
Just like before you were parents, it’s essential to keep up constant, honest communication between you and your partner. Avoiding conflict about baby duties will keep your relationship going strong, as little as these issues might seem. Be clear about what each parent is expected to do as far as feeding and changing the baby and well as housework. If you know exactly what your partner expects of you and you follow through, issues that could potentially cause conflict will disappear.
If you need to communicate something that’s bothering you to your partner, choose a time when your baby is asleep and you’re both well rested. This will help you both avoid taking out issues on your partner simply because you’re frustrated over lack of sleep. Always listen to what your partner has to say without criticism, and always be willing to compromise and solve whatever’s going on as a couple.
According to Philip Cowan, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of California at Berkeley, and his wife, Carolyn Pape Cowan, Ph.D., adjunct professor of psychology at Berkeley, most couples become less satisfied with their marriages after having kids.*
In their study of families with children, 1 in 4 couples considered their marriage to be in distress by the time their child was 18 months old, not including the 13% of couples who had already divorced or separated.
While these statistics might seem intimidating, there are some key ways to remain happy as a couple with kids. Knowing that every couple has their problems is a start. Your ability as a couple to adjust to your new lifestyle with cooperation and love for one another can be the difference between a healthy and a struggling relationship. Remember that apologies go a long way and swallowing your pride and admitting when you’re wrong is a big secret to relationship success, before or after kids!