5 Tips for Maintaining a Strong Marriage After Kids
Have you ever heard people say, “once a parent, always a parent!”? Well, no matter whether you like it or not, it’s true. However, it is not the only truth because you are much more. More than anything else, you are still in a marriage after kids too. And now, you must team up more than ever before to raise your tiny version into a responsible human.
However, couples often lose track of being themselves after becoming parents. Hence, if you are also struggling in your married life after having kids, you are not alone here.
A study suggests about 67% of couples feel a sense of dissatisfaction in their relationship once they hop into parenthood. But luckily, studies don’t signify that it is irreversible or something that you won’t be able to fix.
So, are you going through a rough patch in your marriage, postpartum? Do you want ideas to babyproof your married life? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading further to lead a strong marriage even after kids.
Relationship Problems After Having a Baby
Parenthood is an overwhelming stage, especially for first-timers. The challenges in a marriage after kids are universal, but they might differ from person to person. Read further to find out about some common relationship problems after having children.
- Lack of “Us” Time
Do you remember when you got married and loved to steal even a few extra minutes to spend some quality time together? It doesn’t remain the same in a marriage after kids. It is because you are tired all the time once the baby arrives. So, as soon as you get lucky to have a small break from your baby, you want to spend it sleeping. Also, with the baby entering into your life, all of your “couple time” is replaced by “family time.” Since moms are the primary caregivers, they find it even more tiring as the baby is like their extended part of itself. So, spouses often experience a lack of support and interest in their partner. It makes the situation even worse. Usually, the husband feels neglected by the wife after the baby or vice-versa.
- Increased Domestic Chores
Besides being in parent mode 24/7, the domestic duties also double in a marriage after kids. Earlier, when it was just the two of you, delaying some laundry and dishes was feasible. However, after the addition of the newborn, duties have doubled up. Now, your daily mantra goes like this: feed, clean, and repeat that too on time! Procrastination is not an option anymore, as the baby also depends on you for survival. Besides this, you don’t want to miss any chance to keep your baby healthy and leave all the cries at bay. So, the increased domestic chores also create a mess in your marriage after kids. You might have taken a break from your professional life, and now you are always at home cleaning, doing laundry, bathing the baby, or cooking food. And if it is not enough, seeing your partner resting while you are up due to your infant’s cries makes you snap naturally.
- Observable Differences in Parenting Style
Different ways of parenting cause conflicts among couples more than any other problem in a marriage after kids. Contrasting parenting styles are a major concern for first-timers. You both might be of poles apart personalities, and it was all about the “opposites attract” philosophy earlier. But now, when you are parents, it can bother you and might express trust issues because both of your ways of parenting would be cancelling each other out. As no one is an expert here, you both might approach parenting differently. You, as a concerned mom, must like to get your baby a scheduled nap, meal, and playtime. However, your spouse might want to let your kid be himself for a while. However, this difference in parenting leads to never-ending arguments and creates a toxic environment that lacks understanding and support.
- Absence of Physical Intimacy
Sex and physical intimacy are also vital factors in maintaining a healthy marriage. However, it becomes a distant memory for couples once a baby arrives. Making time in a marriage after kids to have physical intimacy is not everyone’s priority. Various factors are responsible for this- hormonal imbalances, lack of communication, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation, to name a few. Also, it creates a lot of physical and emotional stress that forms a romantic void. Sometimes, it is not about your lack of interest in keeping the spark alive in your marriage after the kids. But both the partners prefer to sleep and relax a bit whenever possible due to physical and mental exhaustion. It makes a marriage monotonous, causes a lot of nagging, and creates a challenge in a relationship.
- Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is also a concerning issue that some mothers often experience after delivering a baby. It also affects their relationship with their partner. And if you are lucky and mentally strong enough to fight it, encountering “baby blues” is quite common among new mothers. It also makes marriage challenging after kids. Due to swift hormonal drops, about 80% of women encounter baby blues after delivery. So, if you also feel overwhelmed, have mood swings, and are agitated, you are not alone. However, these unacknowledged symptoms drift the couples apart. Such relationship challenges could elevate postpartum depression, or sometimes it is the other way around.
Secrets to Maintaining a Strong Marriage After Having a Baby
Moving from couple to parent is a huge transformation, and like any change, big or small, it also takes time for a better adjustment. Besides, it is still possible to maintain and work on your marriage after kids to keep your relationship alive. So, here are a few tips to fix the ongoing challenges in your married life while adapting to this new lifestyle as a parent.
- Make Room for Communication
Yes, you read it right! One of the root causes for marriage issues after a baby is the lack of communication and discussion between spouses. Raising a baby brings a lot of responsibilities, which makes it an overwhelming and tiring task. While carrying out new duties, couples often start taking their relationship for granted. Despite always complaining to your partner, adopt an approach to keep the communication going. Always keep your perspective over the table instead of snapping and arguing with your partner. Dr. Carol Ummel Lindquist quotes, "women tend to think if they say what needs to be taken care of, the other person will volunteer to do it. But men often respond to direct requests." So, communicating more often than always storming away and making your partner feel guilty is helpful.
- Plan a Date Night
When was the last time that you deliberately took time for your partner? Are you facing difficulty while remembering your fancy date night? It happens with couples in a marriage, especially after kids. But no worries, you can plan a night out or maybe a lunch together where you can reconnect with your partner. If you are a new mom, it is naturally not possible for you to stay away from the baby for too long. Or you might not get long hours to get a fancy dinner after a three-hour-long movie. But you can save an hour while you make a family member or a friend to babysit. Spending even a short amount of quality time with your partner can help bring your married life on track. Make sure to take actions to strengthen and prioritize your relationship to keep the spark alive.
- Explore "Your Thing" as a Couple
Every relationship has some cute unique things or activities that only the partners can understand. But as soon as you have switched that parent mode on, such things are natural to fade away. However, it is never too late to rekindle your marriage, not even after kids. So, make time to discuss your partner’s newly found interests and share yours too. Find your common interests and make time to practice them together. It can be anything from watching a show, reading a book, or going on walks together. As investing in mutual funds leads to financial stability. Likewise, investing in mutual interests leads to emotional stability.
- Bring "Sensuality" Back on the Table
It is not easy to have romantic nights like before. After changing a diaper for the zillionth time and a day full of spit-ups, you might not be in the mood or comfortable having sex. But physical intimacy is a key to keeping your love life fresh in a marriage after kids. Take your time to reconnect with your partner sexually, but you can always find some time to cuddle or at least hold hands. And once you are ready to have sex, you can plan it as you used to, when you were dating or new to marriage.
- Seek Professional Help
Besides these, challenges like financial stress and postnatal depression also affect a marriage after kids. And they cause severe damage not only to a relationship but also to your baby and you as an individual. Most of the marriages don’t survive with such struggles or become dysfunctional. It causes mental and emotional strain on kids as well. Hence, it is indispensable to seek professional help immediately. Seek help from your doctor or a marriage counsellor if your baby blues persist for more than two weeks. Juggling between being a perfect spouse and a parent is a challenging task. But it is possible to manage both at the same time. Becoming obsessed with your kid is natural initially for a mother. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship with your spouse has to take a back seat.
All in all, take actions to work on your marriage even more after having kids. Because in the end, it will be worth it even if it requires you to take an extra mile. So, without further ado, follow these sure-shot tips for maintaining a strong marriage after kids.
Vaishali Joshi is a content writes from India who aspired to leave a lasting footprint as the most relatable wordsmith. She has been working as a writer since 2020, experimenting with various niches, and aspires to become the most loved author soon. Connect with her on Linkdin.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.