Many new parents will tell you that after your first baby is born, it’s hard to find and keep that new rhythm in your life. After all, they're now responsible for a new little human being and life as they once knew it will never be the same again. But, that doesn’t mean it will get any worse or any better. It will just be different and it will be an adjustment that everyone will need to get used to.
With that being said, a lot of couples can’t help but wonder: with a new baby in the picture, how does that change their relationship with their partner? Well, all we can say is that it will change, but it depends on how much work and effort the parents are willing to put in to make sure their marriage stays afloat. A lot of people believe the misconception that it’s “kids” or “family” first when in fact, one should be putting their partner first. Needless to say, two people can’t build a home without a foundation.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that new parents still bond with one another, even after the baby is born. In other words, keep that flame going!
20 Make Time For Designated Date Nights
If you have the means, the time, and the resources to designate date nights at least once a week (or even once a month), then by all means, do it. Remember, the two most important people in your family are you and your partner. One mom named Melonee wrote on Facebook, “We have five kids but we don’t forget to put each other in front of our family. We don’t wine and dine each other like we used to, but we do try and make an effort to see a movie, go to a football game or even check out the food trucks in our neighborhood without the kids.”
19 Have Regular "Netflix And Chill" Nights
No, we are not talking about that kind of “Netflix and Chill” although the “chill” part is probably why you are already here. Let’s face it: parenting can be a very exhausting and daunting task. You have to prepare that your life is going to change and that you will change, both physically and mentally. Sometimes it’s best if you just spend a little time cuddling with your loved one, hanging out on the couch and just saying nothing at all. Sure, it might not be exciting, but you are technically spending alone time together, aren’t you? Trust us, it counts.
18 Get Creative With Your Dates
A date doesn’t necessarily have to be one where the two of you are dressed to the nines, have a reservation at a fancy restaurant and are willing to pay a lot of money for a steak dinner. One husband named Jack says, “We have day dates, and it mixes running errands with just being together. My wife will meet me during my lunch date at Sam’s Club. We’ll have some hot dogs together before we buy our groceries. She ends up taking them home and I go back to work. It might not be romantic, but with our hectic schedules, we do our best to make it work.”
17 Devote Ten Minutes A Day To Each Other
Ten minutes might not seem like a very long time for you. But when you are caught up doing so many things at once, sometimes that’s all you need to remind yourself that you are married and that your partner needs you, too. The Huffington Post puts it this way, “The happy couples in my study talked to each other frequently -- not about their relationship, but about other things -- and felt they knew a lot about their spouse in four key areas: friends, stressors, life dreams, and values. Set aside 10 minutes a day -- I call it "The 10-Minute Rule," to talk to your partner about anything other than work, family, the household, or the relationship.”
16 It's Possible To Fall In Love All Over Again
As the saying goes, roses will wilt but weeds are always hard to kill. In order to keep the flame burning and alive, you have to learn how to fall in love all over again. And yes, that takes a lot of work, my friends. The Huffington Post says, “Keep your love relationship healthy with a once-a-week date -- dinner out, a movie, dancing, an art show, couples yoga -- whatever. Take turns planning it. Men: studies show that women are more passionate and their libido is stronger when they are out of their home setting--away from kids and chores.”
15 Ask The Grandparents to Babysit
Or better yet, ask the grandparents to babysit, especially if they live in near proximity. If they are willing to help you out when and where it’s needed, definitely take advantage of this. Some like to call it “free babysitting,” others like to call it a way of having the kids bond with their grandparents. Either way, there’s nothing wrong with dropping off the kids at their grandparents house, as long as all of the expectations, rules and regulations are communicated and everyone is one the same page. No one wants to feel like they are being taken advantage of.
14 Show Each Other Random Acts Of Kindness
One random act of kindness can sure go along way, especially for couples who get lost in the midst of their daily lives. It can be small and insignificant to you, but it might be a huge deal for your partner. The Huffington Post writes, “He fills up her tank with gas, she brings him a steaming cup of coffee in bed. Hand holding, touching or a midday love email are all small ways of showing affection. Research shows that the accumulation of small gestures has a bigger impact on couple happiness than grand, less frequent gestures.” We definitely agree with this one.
13 Change And Grow Together – Not Separately
Or rather, change and grow together. It takes two to tango, after all. Remember that you are definitely not the same person you were when you first met your significant other. And yes, being a parent changes and shapes you even more ways than you’ve ever imagined before. The Huffington Post puts it this way, “Your love relationship is a living thing that needs nourishment to grow and develop. The best way to nurture it is to infuse it with change. Much like fertilizer for a plant, introducing change into relationships has been shown to be a key ingredient to couple happiness.”
12 Be A Caregiver To Each Other
A lot of couples complain that it’s a lot of take, but not much give. Both sides have to learn how to be caregivers in order to make their relationship work, especially after the baby is born. In other words, no one can be selfish. The Huffington Post writes, “Men often like to give instrumental support -- the kind of support that fixes or solves a problem. Women often like to give emotional support -- empathetic listening and constructive feedback. Find out what type of help your partner really wants first, and then give it to him or her -- often and consistently.”
11 Keep It Light And Don't Exceed Your Budget
As many married couples have pointed out, you don’t have to show your love by doing expensive date nights at fancy restaurants that exceed your budget. Keep it light. There are many ways you can show your love without burning a deep hole in your back pocket wallet. The Huffington Post writes, “Yes, you need to do certain things to keep your life orderly and your partnership secure. But don't forget to play. Try to rediscover the pure delight of playing a game, acting childish in the snow, watching a silly movie, dragging her onto the dance floor, and so on.”
10 Have Meals Together Regularly
This might seem like another simple, no-nonsense concept, but doing something as easy as just having a meal together can help you bond in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise expect. Whether it’s a quick bite at Panera Bread or even eating your dinner in front of the television on a Tuesday night (you refuse to miss an episode of This is Us), it’s a good way to just “be” with one another, if you know what we mean. One mom named Lena says, “Before all of the hustle and bustle, I make sure to always have coffee with my husband every single morning. It’s our way of saying, ‘Hey, I’m still here. I love you’ before all of the chaos begins.”
9 Pursue Other Interests Outside Of The Home
8 Plan Your Goals Together
Remember, the two of you came into this together. There’s nothing that you can really do (or should do) on your own, and vice versa for your partner. With that being said, try planning your goals together. Think about your investments, where you want to be in the long term and how you want to do things. Heck, even planning your future vacation will help you bond. One dad named Alex said on Facebook, “Every year we pick a new destination to visit. We do the research, we budget, we make sure that the timing is right. It gives us something to look forward to.”
7 Find Healthy Ways Of Communicating
This is very important, especially when you are looking to bond with your significant other after the baby. Find healthy ways of communicating. No ugly text fights, please. Instead, write a love letter. Yes, a real one! Show them how much you care with a stamp if you have to. The Huffington Post writes, “This means not only asking your partner what he or she needs, but telling your partner what you need. It means checking in regularly to find out what stressors are rearing their ugly head in your partner's life, and it means learning how to fight fair -- no name calling, shaming, or kitchen sinking.”
6 Work As A Team
A lot of couples forget that they are a team, especially after the baby is born. But that’s the most important thing you should remember. Designated “his” and “her” chores just doesn’t cut it for some couples. One mom named Kayce admitted on Facebook, “We try to prepare dinner together. We don’t have time to sit as a family and eat every night of the week, but he does the grilling, I’ll do the salad or veggies on the side, and we’ll set it up and yes, do the wash up together afterwards, too. Plus, it shows our kids how team work is done.”
5 Work Out Together
The couple that Crossfits together, stays together, right? I mean, there’s no better way than to commiserate or get excited about your next WOD, depending on how much you love your workout of the days. “For couples who are in shape (or trying to get there), races can be exciting and also provide time to bond,” says David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert, according to Best Life. “There are many fun themed races (Color Run, Zombie Mud Run, etc.) and more extreme ones (Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc.), allowing for enough variety to keep couples busy all year.”
4 Don’t Forget The Vows You Made
Now, we don’t want to go into preach mode here, but it’s very important that couples don’t forget the vows that they made on their wedding day. In other words, trust, loyalty, and honesty are the key elements in making a marriage work. And all too often, many people forget why they even got married, especially when they are in the midst of the everyday shuffle between work and home. One mom named Kellie said, “I would actually like to renew our vows to each other each year. It doesn’t have to be a big ceremony. It can just be a simple date and us saying them again on our anniversary.”
3 Skip Work And Go Out For A Day Date
It’s not considered a crime if you call in from sick for just one day, right? You’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have if you skip a day from work just to hang out with your significant other instead. It can easily be in the comfort of your own home, a matinee movie, your favorite restaurant for lunch or even a theme or adventure park. It will feel like your high school days all over again! Of course, don’t make it a habit as you wouldn’t want to put your job on the line, but once in awhile there’s no harm in playing hookie. Especially if it’s with the one and only person that you love!
2 Support One Another
When you’ve got a newborn in the house, a mortgage to pay, endless bills, and a very demanding job that you have to wake up for every morning, you tend to forget about all of the little things that make life so special. With that being said, you should support one another, no matter how hard it gets. One mom named Liz said, “My husband is an elementary school teacher. By the time he gets home every day, he’s exhausted. I do my best to listen to his complaints, try to give him advice, and be the first person to tell him that it will get better, even when I have some doubts of my own. But someone has got to stay positive.”