Everyone’s marriage after baby experience will differ.
Becoming a parent for the first time is an extraordinary experience.
Some, very few, will say their relationship got stronger organically due to becoming first time parents together.
Postpartum is extremely difficult for even the most seasoned of parents, let alone for two individuals about to roam uncharted territory.
As expectant first time parents, we are preparing for the arrival of our baby through the lens of purely baby materials, such as binkies, lovey’s cute clothes, and nursery decor, and that’s all well and good.
But what about preparing for the hit your relationship will most likely take after the arrival of your bundle of joy?
According to John Gottman’s research study on marital satisfaction after a baby, 66% of couples experience a sharp decrease in marital satisfaction, especially in the first year.
This is why having a baby to save a marriage is the goofiest and worst idea ever.
Yeah, babies can be soul-sucking at times, to put it bluntly, leaving very little behind for your marriage during those early months.
Leaving some concerned over their marriage failing after baby.
However, according to Bringing Up Bebe, this period is viewed as a finite and harsh reality of parenting in France.
However, it’s not permanent, and most French relationships/marriages around 4 months postpartum actively pursue a more satisfying dynamic and foster a fulfilled marriage with a child for the long run.
All in all, a marital hit after the arrival of a new baby is par for the course, so don’t freak out.
However, if you don’t want it to stay that way forever, it takes great intention and drives to want to get that pre-baby marital satisfaction and fulfillment back.
Keeping a good marriage after baby is possible.
My husband and I have never been closer, more intimate, fulfilled, or happy in our marriage, and we have a very angry, teething 20-month-old at home that takes us to hell and back every day until those daggers cut through.
Of course, this doesn’t mean marriage after baby for us is all sunshine and rainbows, it’s still hard AF. Like A LOT.
Parenting is hard enough without being at odds with your spouse.
A happy and healthy marriage is good for you, your spouse, and your baby.
It’s important to put your relationship first once you become a family to ensure a strong and thriving family unit for your baby to nourish in.
If your marriage suffering after baby, hopefully these 15 tips can help.
I know this seems so basic right?
It really is one of the best new parent tips though.
But let’s be honest, a lot of us suck at communication.
We often get lost in translation, and after the arrival of a new baby, you best believe your stress and tolerance levels to decode where your partner is at or what they mean will be at an all-time low.
Babies are after all one of the great relationship strains due to the stress they bring to a union.
This is one of the biggest reasons why marriage after baby is so hard; they are little torpedos that bomb our marriage ship!
With proper communication and honesty, you can patch the damage and sail away with all three of you happy in the sunset.
Keeping an open, honest and transparent line of communication is crucial to keeping your marriage healthy after a baby.
Honesty and transparency build trust, and where there’s trust, there is safety, the best thing for you and your baby.
Trust is the best ingredient you can have in your marriage after baby.
I promise you, postpartum as first time parents will be one of the most challenging transitions you will ever experience as parents and as a couple.
It’s okay; it’s normal, but knowing is only half the battle.
It’s important to promote a teamwork mentality during this early phase and what does a great team have?
It’s better to tell your partner you need something from them than expect them to know and then inevitably get pissed when they don’t, and now you’re at odds.
Postpartum anger towards husband is common.
Remember you’ll be stressed, tired, and in survival mode; communicating effectively with your partner will only make the process smoother.
However, communication doesn’t just mean proper delegation of tasks; it also means being a steady support system for each other and how you feel.
Being open and honest about each other’s experiences will bring you closer together during this adversity.
Unfortunately, you can do everything right, and due to the nature of becoming a first time parent, you will inevitably fight. Still, the closer you are, the easier it is to come back to each other stronger than ever.
Marriage after baby takes a ton of work and it never stops!
Marriage difficulties after baby are common and ensuring good communication can smooth out this transtition.
Seek Support and Resources
This is one of the best tips for new parents or mom advice; seeking as much support and resources to aid your postpartum journey makes a huge difference in your overall experience.
This can help your marriage after baby.
In my 21 Best Postpartum Essentials in 2023, the first component I list is a third body to help you out those first 3-5 weeks as you transition.
I had my mom stay with us for the first 3 weeks after Annabelle was born, and I know it made a night-and-day difference in our overall experience.
Whenever Annabelle had a particularly sleepless night, no biggie, I could hand her over to my mom in the morning and get a few hours’ sleep.
Also, if my husband and I wanted to go out and grab a coffee or watch a movie or show in our room, we could.
Having that just one additional body to help make it possible for us to tend to our relationship and get closer during postpartum makes baby-rearing much more doable.
Still emotional AF, but doable.
If you have any friends or family that can help out for a bit while you get your footing as parents can be a huge help.
Marriage after baby is a whole new dynamic and way of life you have to navigate; having an additional person can smooth that out.
Regarding resources, we all know how few men are interested in traditional therapy; they can’t stand the formality and, at times, pretentious nature of it.
My husband and I use the Lasting App as our tag in therapy.
What is super cool is you can choose different categories you want to focus on, they have postpartum in there, and they will have questions and exercises for you to complete individually.
It will notify your partner once they have completed and you can do your portion.
Once you both finished, you can schedule a time to review what you both said.
It helps open the door for communication and feels safer for your man to be vulnerable.
This also gives him no excuse to poo-poo getting help; it’s as private and non-traditional therapy as it gets.
So remember, there is NO shame in asking for help from a family member or friends, or getting traditional or alternative therapy; all first time parents need help in their marriage after baby; seek it!
Make Time For Each Other
This is SO important after becoming first time parents.
One of the fundamental variables for a happy marriage after baby.
Remember what I said about those French parents in Bringing Up Bebe being aware that the baby will only bring a temporary hit to their relationship but is expected to recover after the fact fully?
We need to have that same mentality.
Too often in American culture, parents put their spouse in the backseat with their kids co-piloting instead, and we wonder why we have such unhappy and unfulfilled marriages.
In my post Ayesha and Stephen Curry⎢ Why They Put Their Marriage First, Ayesha Curry emphasizes that the success of their nearly two-decade union is due to them putting their marriage first, not sacrificing their marriage to indulge their kids.
Ayesha Curry says, ” When we’re good the kids are happy.”
The French follow a similar philosophy.
They remember that they chose their partner long before the children came, and if their kids have any chance in being raised in a balanced, happy and healthy household, it means having balanced, happy and healthy parents who love each other.
This means hiring a babysitter and getting a friend or grandma to come in every Saturday for a couple of hours so you can grab lunch together or even watch a movie in bed.
Marriage self-care is a thing, do NOT neglect it if you want your children to grow up watching two parents who love each other.
Model the type of marriage you want your child to be in, make time for each other, and enjoy one another as you used to!
My husband and I have always put our marriage first; this doesn’t mean neglecting the baby; it simply means carving out time to dedicate to each other instead of blowing it off as unnecessary.
We also have a habit tracker that tracks how often we are intimate per week; it takes intention!
Our goal is to be intimate 2x per week and having a habit tracker keeps us accountable.
Unless we are sick, we always meet and exceed that mark; sex begets sex, after all!
This keeps us close and loving toward one another, which is great for our daughter and family.
The last thing you want is a permanent sexless marriage after baby.
Sex postpartum takes work, but it’s super important to maintaining a healthy marriage.
Remember, you were a couple before baby; that is what made your baby a reality in the first place which is a blessing, don’t take each other for granted, love and respect each other, and make the time to nurture your marriage and create a strong foundation for your children to grow in.
Do you want a solid marriage after baby?
Tend to it!
Remember to laugh and play with each other like when things were light and carefree!
You love each other, so take time to enjoy one another.
I can’t emphasize this enough, this is why marriage after baby is so hard.
Because we become, parents doesn’t mean our needs and feelings become null and void.
We cannot be the best parents without taking care of ourselves.
I believe a correlation exists between how we parent ourselves and our kids.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, nor can you run on fumes forever, nor should you let yourself get to that point if you can help it.
This means coordinating with your spouses, friends and families to help you carve time to care for yourself.
This means demanding this time, no more people pleasing or being nice girl!
Too often the husband doesn’t help with kids leaving mom to atrophy.
DEMAND YOUR TIME.
You are a first time mom, you birthed your baby, you NEED time for yourself and you deserve it!
If this means pumping breast milk so your husband can take an evening feeding shift and put baby to bed so you can grab a soda, some food and watch your favorite show in bed, do it!
My husband set out a weekly schedule for when we got up/put down my daughter so we would each have mornings and nights to ourselves to do whatever, we still do this now and it works.
I get my RuPaul Drag Race on all the time!
Remember, before we were parents or spouses, we were individuals.
Taking the time to dedicate to ourselves to do what it was we love as individuals help prevent us from getting sucked into our marriage and getting consumed by parenthood.
We are more than moms and wives, we are writers, artists, scientists, activists etc., and taking the time to do what lights us up as individuals makes us well-rounded and balanced people that gives us more purpose and fulfillment than ever.
This is why marriage after baby is so hard, you have to carve out time for yourself, your spouse, and your baby, shits hard!
Us moms have a hard time stopping.
Our brains are just so hardwired to multitask and take on a bajillion projects we can get into mom autopilot fast.
Men also don’t struggle with the guilt issues moms go through so they can take their golfing or fishing trip without a second thought.
Still, you need a full ass jury and trial to decide whether or not going to Starbucks by yourself for a peaceful cup of coffee for 30 minutes will turn your kid into Casey Anthony.
Give yourself grace mama, in my First Time Mom Tips⎢ The 3 Arrows of Self-Contempt and How to Be a Happier Mom, I go over the mom guilt trap and how to conquer it so you can give yourself the love and compassion you deserve.
Marriage after baby means a lot of personal self- growth too to make it happy!
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Satisfactory intimacy levels are a key factor in a satisfying marriage after baby.
No I’m not just talking about sex, although sex is also crucial.
I’m talking about literally staying lovey-dovey with each other.
Maintaining closeness is a great way to keep your marital satisfaction up.
I know some moms feel touched out who breastfeed, and I don’t know what that is like as a mom who didn’t breastfeed.
However I do know the more my husband and I hugged, kissed, snuggled and held hands, the closer we felt to one another.
Not only that it’s healthy!
Physical closeness and snuggling helps produce the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which reduces stress, increases your immune system and makes you feel good!
That is why it’s so good for baby, staying physically close to the ones we love is fundamentally good for our health and wellness.
If you want your marriage after baby to thrive, maintaining as much physical closeness is important.
As for breastfeeding moms, I understand that breastfeeding is a taking one, one where baby is taking from you, alot.
So I can see why any physical touch from your spouse could also be automatically perceived as a taking act from you again.
Remember, physical closeness with your spouse is good for you too!
You will also receive, feel good, be healthier and have your cup be filled up more!
If you want a happy marriage after baby, care for each other too!
Get a Babysitter
Everyone and their mom ( lol pun intended ) talks about how terrified they are of leaving their kids with anyone but them.
As funny as we like to make it sound that we don’t let anyone watch our kid because we are just sooo sure they won’t do well without us, it’s not only not true, it’s not healthy to NEVER let anyone else watch them.
That is a recipe for codependency and enmeshment, which isn’t fair for your baby or you.
You NEED a break.
If you want a good marriage after baby and to be a healthy balanced individual, you need a break.
You cannot parent the way you want if you never get a break, nor will you feel your best.
Being a good mom doesn’t mean never letting anyone else watch your kid ever, it means knowing time for yourself outside of parenting is essential for your well-being along with creating a healthy separation and individuality between you and your kid.
Avoid enmeshment and codependency as much as possible and get a babysitter!
Whether its your grandparents, a sibling, or you hire someone, I promise not only will you get a well-deserved break, your baby will learn that even if you aren’t around all the time, you WILL come back and it’s nothing for them to worry about.
Getting over the fact that nobody else will swaddle, bottle feed, play or diaper change EXACTLY like you and nobody else will take care of baby as good as you, but that’s not the point.
The point is your baby will learn flexibility ( as well as you ), learn to be comfortable around other caregivers which is super important and healthy, you get a break and you’ll see the world didn’t collapse under itself without you watching them.
It helps them socialize and learn that they will be okay for a short time without you.
You will feel rejuvenated when you return, and your baby will be so happy to see you too!
Getting regular babysitting help is a quintessential ingredient to a happy marriage after baby.
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Show Appreciation + Gratitude
A little appreciation goes a long way!
This is super important in marriage after baby.
Everyone loves being recognized for their efforts and hard work; parenting and keeping a house is no different.
This isn’t just you, your spouse must showcase more gratitude and appreciation, even for the simplest of tasks.
There is something to be grateful or appreciative for your spouse every day, and if there isn’t look for one, and if there still isn’t, there are more significant issues present than a lack of appreciation.
Showing appreciation for your partner is a great marriage’s sweet honey and nectar.
I tell my husband how much I appreciate him every day at least once.
Even if it’s just saying, “ I appreciate you so much and everything you do for me, I love you.”
It makes a such big difference in your overall marriage morale.
When we showcase appreciation of each other it fills up our cups, and helps us give more.
The energy is better, we don’t become resentful or neglected because we feel seen and well, appreciated!
There are so many couples vehemently against showing appreciation for things that are technically supposed to be done like, doing the dishes or taking out the trash, like we shouldn’t say thank you because it’s expected, I guess?
To me, it’s just an entitled attitude to have. We wouldn’t want our partners poo-pooing our efforts to cook, take care of baby and keep a job because its what we are technically supposed to do, so why withhold it?
I told my husband the other day I appreciate him taking out the trash because that bitch fills up I swear a couple of times a day and I NEVER take it out because I never have to, he always gets to it!
Therefore, I wanted to tell him thank you for always getting to it because it’s a big help and makes a difference, so I appreciate him.
Please, avoid the immature and goofy power play of:
“ I’m not telling them Im grateful they take out the trash/does laundry or (Insert any chore here) because it’s a necessity and they just need to do it without praise ”
Does that philosophy make you feel good or motivate you or your kids to do better?
That sounds more like the philosophy of a drill Sargent than a spouse.
If we routinely cook delicious meals for our family and everyone gobbles it up without saying thank you, good job or showing their appreciation, after a while, you will feel taken advantage of.
Even though cooking dinner is necessary, it’s still nice to get recognition for it from time to time right?
If you want a good marriage after baby, spread kindness and love, don’t withhold it out of pettiness, you’ll be shocked by gratitude’s domino effect on a house!
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Having sex in my opinion is like a Swiss army knife for reconnecting.
However, it is essential for marriage after baby.
Sex is the glue to a marriage due to the fact this act is kept exclusively between you and your partner is what makes it so special.
Ensuring you got the green light to be intimate again, you’ve stopped bleeding, you’ve healed and if necessary, receiving treatment to keep your mental health in check, have sex!
There is truly an energy emmited between a couple that is actively having sex on the reg vs one that is treated like a roommate situation.
Keeping intimacy alive and having mutually satisfying sex is a great way to avoid getting into a rut and having your marriage turn into a dreaded roommate situation.
Keep the light, interest and intrigue alive in your marriage after baby by having sex.
With the babysitting help mentioned above, making time for it should be doable!
Don’t Watch Porn
If you have read my Porn Addiction⎢11 Recovered Addicts Share Their Stories, you’ll know how problematic porn consumption is in our culture and modern marriages and relationships.
So often I see posts of moms who want to be intimate with their husbands but they took up the porn habit and have no more virility or sexual prowess left for their spouses after wasting it on virtual women.
Porn takes your sexual energy away from your spouse and you would be surprised how much better sex gets once you ditch porn.
Porn consumption in a marriage is an extremely slippery slope.
In Fight the New Drug, they found this:
“To start, dozens of studies have repeatedly shown that porn consumers tend to have lower relationship satisfaction and lower relationship quality.
Porn consumers tend to experience more negative communication with their partners, feel less dedicated to their relationships, have a more difficult time making adjustments in their relationships, are less sexually satisfied, and commit more infidelity.
Research also shows that porn consumers tend to become less committed to their partners, less satisfied in their relationships, and more accepting of cheating.”
If you want a good, healthy and sexually fulfilling marriage, keep porn out of it, ESPECIALLY in your marriage after baby.
My husband and I have been Porn free for almost 5 years now and we have never been more committed, in love or hot for each other in our relationship, even early on when it was fresh.
We have more frequent satisfying sex than ever and it has only reinforced my belief that porn has no place in a marriage if you want it to be healthy, genuinely committed, and sexually fulfilling LONG TERM.
Keeping the household and life duties adequately distributed between you can make or break a marriage after baby.
Too often the mundane duties of postpartum aren’t discussed beforehand, and both partners expect the other to do x,y and z.
Then when it doesn’t get done, chores pile up along with the stress, you fight on why it’s not done, then you’re left feeling sour with a mess to clean, figuratively and literally.
Coming together while pregnant before you give birth to discuss the game plan and expectations of responsibilities postpartum can make a huge difference.
My husband and I, while I was pregnant, put together a list of what needed to get done around the house, chores and errands.
We each went through and assumed whatever chore we felt we could take on, and discussed expectations for each other for postpartum.
This gave us a clear picture of what is to be expected as far as the workload once the baby is here.
We never argued over chores, they were always done, if they weren’t, we gave grace and know they would get done since the expectations were held, and they would be!
This left us feeling good in our marriage and taken care of, like a team.
It also enabled us to have more energy for each other since one person wasn’t inadvertently stuck to do EVERYTHING because it wasn’t discussed.
While pregnant, get together and discuss the responsibilities and expectations once baby arrives, leave it all on the table.
That is one of the easiest tips for surviving in your marriage after baby.
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Be Patient + Give Grace
Parenthood is the ultimate exercise in patience and is crucial in a marriage after baby.
Many of us who believed we were patient find out we aren’t that patient once we have kids.
However we can’t just give patience to our kids, we must be patient not only with ourselves but our partners as well.
When we are stressed, tired and spread too thin, not only can we be critical of ourselves, but our spouse too, sometimes overtly critical.
As frustrating as these little annoyances can be, it’s essential to be aware of the huge shift you are both undergoing as parents, you are both trying to find your footing and figure out your new dynamic.
You will make mistakes with everything, if you go off on every one made, you will always be upset.
Especially during sleepless nights with baby, give each other as much grace as possible and be patient.
This doesn’t mean you subject yourself to abuse, I mean minor bickering and unnecessary comments are par for the course when we are sleep deprived and cranky.
Do your best not to take this to heart if you know your partner isn’t being malicious, to give each other grace in a small lapse in judgment; we are only humans trying to figure out this baby thing!
You and your partner will make mistakes postpartum.
You will make mistakes with baby as well as each other.
Postpartum is the last place to hold grudges and carry crappy feelings for a power trip.
You must work together during this sensitive time and if you refuse to apologize or see the err in your ways or vice versa, you aren’t working together but against each other.
The last thing you need in your marriage after baby, especially as first time parents.
Work hard at being intentional and growing during this time, recognizing when you make a mistake and owning up to it then apologizing.
It helps build trust and security in your marriage after baby which everyone desperately needs as first time parents.
Give Each Other Breaks
When you or your spouse step up to watch your baby while the other can enjoy some time off parenting is another way to keep your marriage alive.
This only works if you both take advantage of it though.
Too often I see in mom groups about how the husband goes on fishing trips or golfing and they routinely get stuck with the kids but never ask for time off themselves.
This is a recipe for resentment in a marriage after baby.
You must both give each other trips, and demand it, that way you both reap the benefits of having time away from parenting and nurturing yourself as a whole rounded individual.
Not only is this important in your marriage after baby, but modeling empathy is crucial for your children’s development.
They do what we model, so if you model empathy, they will learn to practice it too.
When you both practice empathy for each other’s plights in your marriage, will have you more patience with each other.
We talked about how patience is crucial in marriage after baby and it starts with empathy.
This means communicating to your partner what you are going through and being open and vulnerable with them.
They can’t truly understand how you are feeling if you don’t share it, they don’t know what they don’t know.
Try to see things from each other’s perspectives and validate feelings.
Remember Why You Are In Love
Rediscovering your partner in your marriage after baby is crucial.
Us moms can at times find it hard to get out of mom mode and forget to view our partner as a romantic one instead of a roommate.
Try to find the things you love about your partner and what made you grow in love with them in the first place.
Remember, your baby is a result of the love you share, that is a beautiful thing.
It helps you stay connected and prevents you from taking each other for granted.
This will also help you appreciate each other more like we mentioned before how important appreciation is, and will remind you of your love story.
Go back, look at your wedding photos or videos together, and reminisce in the romance and your partner.
Marriage After Baby
Your marriage before kids will be a stark contrast of what it will evolve into.
Those first few years of marriage can be hard especially if you got pregnant right away ( me!).
The arrival of a new baby can be a time of great joy and excitement, but it can also strain even the strongest marriages.
Marriage after baby is no joke and not for the weak.
As exciting as a new baby is, couples need to recognize the challenges that come with parenthood and take proactive steps to maintain a strong and healthy relationship.
Research has shown that communication, honesty, seeking support and resources, making time for each other, and maintaining intimacy are all key components of a strong marriage after the arrival of a new baby.
By prioritizing these elements and working together with your marriage after baby, couples can navigate the challenges of parenthood and maintain a strong and healthy relationship.
Ultimately, a strong marriage not only benefits the couple, but it also provides a stable and supportive environment for the new baby to thrive.
So just like Ayesha and Steph Curry, putting your marriage first is key to setting the stage for your whole family to thrive, be happy, healthy and reach their dreams.
It sets a positive example for children and can help to create a sense of security and stability in the family.
As couples embark on the journey of parenthood, they must remember to prioritize their relationship with each other, and to take the necessary steps to maintain a strong and healthy marriage.
By doing so, they can create a foundation of love, support, and stability that will benefit their family for years.
Marriage after baby is hard, your relationship will most likely take a hit temporarily, and that’s okay as long as you are intentional about bringing back that closeness you had before baby at some point.
It your marriage suffering after baby, remember, you were an individual before marriage, and a couple before baby, don’t lose sight of this!