A baby might be tiny, but they can really impact a couple's relationship. The dynamic shift from a couple to parents is absolutely beautiful, but it is also incredibly stressful. A new baby brings joy and excitement. It also means exhaustion, stress, and figuring out parenthood.
Though babies can certainly add more stress and frustration to a relationship, sharing parenthood with the person we love is a life-changing experience. It's beautiful and priceless. It's something that any parent can agree, they wouldn't trade for all of the money in the world.
It takes a strong relationship foundation to be a successful couple while tackling parenthood. A baby definitely does not make things easier. Few people are more pleasant or patient when they are sleep deprived. If things were not working before, bringing a baby into the mix likely won't make things better. It will probably be the straw that broke the camel's back so to say.
Parenting is all about teamwork. As a couple and as parents, it is important to be able to lean on one another when times are tough. Parenting is tough. It's frustrating and difficult at times, but it is a wonderful, life-altering journey as well. Creating a life and raising a baby can easily bring two people closer together. It is something that bonds them forever no matter what.
20 They're In Love
Having a baby can put a great deal of strain on a relationship. The time and attention we previously had for our partner is now probably focused on our little one. Couples who are in love often see their baby as a product of their love (as they should). This makes it a little easier to accept that things are going to be difficult for right now, but they will get better.
According to one mom from HerViewFromHome.com, her love with her husband grew "a thousand sizes" because of their babies. Taking on parenthood with the person we love is a gift. We get to see an entirely new side of our partner.
19 They Have Financial Stability
Babies are expensive. From diapers and formula to medical bills and all of the clothes, we are looking at a small fortune just in the first year alone. According to BusinessWire.com, the most fought about topic in a relationship is money. Money fighting is the second leading cause of divorce.
We are more likely to fight about not having enough money than having too much money, so the financial strain that comes with a baby can quickly turn into a marital strain as well. If we aren't pinching pennies before our little one arrives, we can hopefully manage to budget well, communicate, and avoid problems.
18 They Are On The Same Level Of Maturity
It is pretty common knowledge that women mature faster than men. The maturity influences our relationships in all kinds of way. It influences our priorities, time management, and communication skills. According to Telegraph.Co, almost 50% of women felt they had to "mother" their partner too much. No one wants to have to mother their baby and their husband.
According to Telegraph.Co, women mature around age 32 while men take until age 43. That's an eleven year age gap right in the prime of our child-bearing years. The gap in maturity can be really hard on a relationship especially when we are trying to parent. Parenting will really shine a light on some of those differences because a child comes with a great deal of responsibility.
17 They're Selfish With Their Relationship
It is well known that parents are selfless creatures who would do just about anything for their kids. But when it comes to our priorities, according to Fatherly.com, couples should prioritize each other and their relationship ahead of their children. Not only will this benefit mom and dad's relationship, but it will be better for the kids as well. It sets a good example and a united front.
Many would find this concept to be a bit surprising because our kids, especially as babies, require so much of our attention. Even then, we should still be attentive to our partner and spending time with him/her.
16 They Can Laugh At Themselves
Frankly parenting can be pretty gross. There will be messes of all kinds. We need to be able to laugh at each other and ourselves to make it through it. Everyone has heard that laughter is the best medicine. According to HuffPost.com, it is important to maintain a sense of humor as well as actively laugh. When we have a baby, we are looking at years of situations that will require us to laugh at ourselves.
The lost sippy cups with milk, the fights over spoon color, and the many missing mini socks are going to require some laughter. Not to mention, the many bodily fluids that our kids are going to get on our floors, cars, and bodies.
15 They Enjoy Kids
Babies can add a great deal of stress to a relationship. If a couple cannot agree on the baby itself, this can cause severe marital problems. According to SmartMarriages.com, couples who cannot agree on how much they want or don't want kids are twice as likely to end their marriage on average.
If we're on the same page regarding having kids to begin with, that is one less obstacle that we have to face. If the couple want a child, it is likely that having such child will create a special bond between them. Their new family will be something they actively fight for and not against.
14 They're Flexible
Babies really change our lives and relationships. Our life and time isn't just ours anymore. We have a little one to think about when it comes to the future, schedules, and pretty much every other choice we make.
In the beginning, we worry about sleeping and eating schedules. According to WebMD.com, a breastfed baby should eat every 1-2 hours. That can really hinder our time and travel. For such a tiny person, we have to be ready to adapt to the large space in our life that our baby is going to take. Many of the changes we will welcome with open arms, but it can be difficult to give up so much of our time, personal space, and freedom. If we can handle those changes and go with the flow, it'll make things a lot easier.
13 Have A Healthy Means For Handling Stress
Having kids and increased stress levels basically go hand in hand. Having a healthy outlet for that stress is often times what determines if a relationship sinks or swims. Parents.com came up with a list of some of things that stress new moms out including how much time is spent breastfeeding, the lack of sleep, and of course the lack of grown up time for mom and dad. All of these things affect us as individuals and as a couple as well.
It's important to continue to talk with our spouse about how we're feeling, even the bad stuff. In fact, it's probably more important that we keep an open dialogue going about the bad stuff because that's what's harder to talk about. Avoiding it is where the problems stem from often times too.
12 No Bickering
Babies are great at both bringing a couple together or tearing them apart. They come with additional stress, and stress tends to point out the already present cracks in a couple's relationship. While some bickering can be harmless, the constant bickering between a couple can be detrimental to the relationship.
According to PsychologyToday.com, feeling regularly criticized by one's partner can be detrimental to the relationship. When we have a baby, we're exhausted and on edge just as much as we're joyful and in love. Sometimes it takes a more conscious effort to focus on the positive and avoid silly bickering and arguments with our spouse that could grow into more serious issues.
11 Have One Another Other's Back
Nothing brings out a feisty mother-in-law like a grand-baby. It's the time where criticisms, nit-picking, and disagreements can really start to blossom and sting for a new parent. Not everyone is willing to stand up for their spouse to their family, though they should be. If spouses are loyal to one another, it will strengthen their bond and relationship.
According to PsychologyToday.com, when a spouse chooses to side with their biological family instead of their spouse the spouse is left feeling betrayed. It is important to have set boundaries and loyalties in our own relationship and between families. If these are established before baby arrives, it will hopefully limit conflict.
10 Make One Another Top Priority
Between invasive family members, critical opinions, and all of the attention a baby requires, it is difficult to find time for our relationship with our spouse. Sometimes we get too comfortable and caught up in the chaos and the person who should be our number 1 takes the back-burner.
As mentioned on Fatherly com, the health of our relationship with our spouse impacts our children. We know our spouse should come before our parents, job, and even buddies. When a baby joins that mix, things can get complicated because a baby requires a great deal of time and attention since he/she relies on mom and dad for everything. As silly as it sounds, we still have to prioritize giving our spouse attention.
9 Have A Solid Support System
It takes a village – seriously they weren't kidding. Having a solid support system when we start a family is helpful for our relationship and our sanity. Having someone in our corner for advice, support, and even for the occasional babysitting provides us with some breathing room. Maybe we can even squeeze in a date night when someone else can watch the baby.
According to GoodTherapy.org, "all parents can benefit from support." Whether that be our family members, friends, or community members, support will be beneficial because we won't feel so alone and will have others to share the stress. Through sharing experiences, lending a hand, or even just an understanding smile, we can make a difference with a new parent.
8 Set Aside "Grown Up" Time
"Grown up" time is important in any relationship. It can fall to the wayside though when we add children into the equation, especially sleepless babies. It may not sound all that romantic to schedule ourselves this time, but it's important. It won't be as easy as before. There are interruptions, time constraints, and sheer exhaustion that can get in our way.
With a new baby, we're exhausted. Our sleep is probably often interrupted, and we want to get it any chance we can. Parenting.com suggests though that we not think of it as an either or situation. We can find time to do both, and "grown up" time might even help us get a better night of sleep.
7 Function Well With Little Sleep
That first year is full of sleep deprivation. Lots of people have troubling functioning that way. We're tired, cranky, and unpleasant especially with those closest to us. That can be really harmful to a relationship for obvious reasons.
According to FitPregnancy.com, one study found that nearly half of all parents with children under six months get just one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. That would leave any sane person pretty irritable.
Those of us who can function well with little to no sleep (yes they exist) have a leg up on the rest of the crowd though. Unfortunately for most of us, life goes on shortly after having a baby. Not only do we have a tiny human to care for, but we have jobs and relationships to get back to.
6 Have A Strong Relationship To Begin With
Having a baby is a beautiful experience that can definitely bring two people closer together. In many ways that baby is a physical symbol of a couple's love. Having a strong relationship means we are probably better equipped to handle stress. We probably are already pretty good at working out difficulties, disagreements, and communicating. Those are all important as we make the transition from just husband and wife to mom and dad.
According toParents.com when both parents are on the same page with having a baby, it can bring them closer together and positively influence their relationship. Going from party of two to party of three is a life changing experience that is best shared with someone we love.
5 They Have Realistic Expectations
Having a baby isn't always adorable snuggling all of the time. Parenthood is hard work, and it's exhausting. Our best bet to tackle it and not want to punch our spouse is to be a team. According to Parents.com, we should have realistic expectations about parenthood and all that it entails. Splitting things 50-50 might not be realistic for every couple, but if we know what we can expect from our partner (and what they expect from us), we will be better off.
Having a baby is obviously a life changing event. We should know what to expect from our partner when it comes to their parenting style, values, and what's really important. We won't always agree on everything, but we should know about the big, uncompromisable things ahead of time if possible.
4 Lots Of Communication
Communication is always important. Communication is necessary both pre and post baby is born. It's an essential component of any healthy, successful relationship. Having a baby bonds two people for life (or at least for 18 years), talking about our values, expectations, and basically everything else under the sun is extremely important.
According to Parents.com, it is important to be open and honest as well as willing to compromise on some things. We may not agree on everything, but we should be able to talk about it and work out a solution. In fact, we're going to have to in the best interest of our little one.
3 They're Equals
Splitting everything baby related 50-50 is not always plausible. Most times 40-60 is even pushing it, but we should view our spouse as an equal, as a teammate. We have the same goal, and so we're on the same team. According to Parents.com, it is going to require some give and take. That might mean sacrificing 15 minutes of sleep or work so the other can shower or skipping a shower in exchange of a much-needed nap.
It's important to remember that it took two to tango so we should both be putting in our fair share of work for the rest of it as well.
2 Willing To Compromise
Relationships are full of disagreements. We can't both get our way all the time. Just as Parents.com states it's important to talk about our expectations, we might also need to come to a compromise if our expectations don't match up.
Chances are we won't agree on everything when it comes to parenting. We will make thousands of decisions in the next 18 years, and we aren't always going to get our way. It's all about give and take. If we can settle our differences well before baby comes, chances are we will be able to do so after baby's arrival.
1 He's Involved In The Pregnancy
If dad is hands on and involved in the pregnancy before baby is even born, it will bring the couple a lot closer. Mom will feel supported. Dad will feel included. The trend will hopefully continue after baby is born as well.
TheBump.com suggests including dad in doctor appointments, ultrasounds, and the pregnancy announcement. It is his baby, too, after all. Including him in all of this will hopefully make him more comfortable and more knowledgeable to jump right in when baby arrives. Not only will dad feel included, mom won't feel like she's doing everything alone. They'll be a team, as they should.
Sources: HerViewFromHome, BusWire, Telegraph, Fatherly, HuffPost, SM, WebMD, Parents, Psychology Today, PsychologyToday, GoodTherapy, Parenting, Fit, Parents, TheBump