Remember those days when you could spontaneously head out on a dinner date together? There was a time you could whisk her away for a last-minute weekend break without much organizing. That probably all stopped when you became parents. And the chances are these kinds of changes are just the tip of the iceberg.
There is no doubt that becoming a parent is one of life’s most amazing offerings. But life as new parents is tough. Life as you know it turns upside down. Completely and utterly. Without mercy and without warning.
The pressures of work continue. The mortgage or the rent still needs to be paid. There are still obligations pulling at you both whilst you both deal with the steep learning curve of parenthood. On top of that, you have to redefine your marriage using a whole new set of game rules.
Parents often become more distant and businesslike with each other as they attend to the details of parenting.” FORTUNE: Decades of Studies Show What Happens to Marriages After Having Kids
Your social life changes. New parents often feel socially isolated.
Leisure time is constrained. There’s a third person to think about.
Time spent alone together as a couple is drastically reduced. It’s easy to slip into a pattern of neglecting each other and your individual needs.
Becoming parents is stressful. You may feel underequipped and unprepared for your new role in life. And maybe sharing those feelings makes you feel inadequate. So, often they stay bottled up.
Here are 10 tips to avoid damage to your marriage whilst you figure out parenting:
1. Repeat to yourself daily: a marriage needs work. Every single day. There are no days off.
2. Keep talking. Make time. Make room in the chaos of a day.
3. Keep it intimate – the hugs, the kisses, the little physical touches are important. Even and especially when you are all touched out.
4. Lean on whoever you can to get support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
5. If your parenting styles differ don’t ignore those differences. Talk about them. Go to a professional if need be.
6. Work as a team.
7. Be kind to each other every day. Show some small act of kindness – bringing coffee, giving a foot rub, making each other smile in the midst of chaos.
8. Go see a marriage counselor if you are struggling. The earlier the better.
9. Remember that your children are learning about relationships from you. They are watching you and how you treat each other. Be the example you want them to carry forward into their adulthood.
10. Keep talking. I’m saying it twice because it’s important.
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