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8 Things to Know About Your Relationship After Having a Newborn

A pregnant, smiling couple sit on a couch and talk about marriage after newborn

Having a baby is a happy occasion – but it changes everything, including your relationship with your spouse. Here are some things to know about marriage after newborn.

Key takeaways:

  • Two-thirds of couples report a decline in relationship satisfaction after having a newborn.

  • Many couples work diligently at baby-proofing their homes, but don’t put as much thought into baby-proofing their relationships.

  • There are some common areas where new parents struggle, like ensuring a fair division of labor, consistent parenting styles, and rebuilding intimacy post-partum.

  • Having weekly check-ins and using active listening can help couples iron out some of these relationship difficulties.

  • Couples counseling is a great option for any couple going through a major life transition and/or wanting to improve their communication and strengthen their relationship.

When the stork shows up, sometimes other issues do, too. Although having a baby is supposed to be a happy and joyous occasion, two-thirds of couples report a decline in overall relationship satisfaction for up to three years after the baby’s birth. While many make painstaking plans for all things baby, and baby-proof their homes, very few couples put a lot of effort into safeguarding and baby-proofing their relationship.

Having a baby changes everything. It changes the family dynamic, the roles and responsibilities, and even how you interact with outside support systems. Many people fail to plan for these changes, later leading to conflict and relationship distress. Here are some things to watch and plan for.

The division of labor

One of the biggest sources of conflict following a newborn is the division of labor. A newborn is a lot of work! There are likely to be big changes to your routines and lifestyles. Coming up with a plan to fairly delegate household labor and childcare is essential to keeping the household – and your relationship – running smoothly.

Weekly check-ins

Couples who communicate regularly fare much better than couples who struggle with communication. One of the things you should implement with your partner is a weekly check-in. This can just be 15 minutes you set aside each week to ask and share how things are really going – what went well, what didn’t go so well, what’s coming up in the week ahead – and identify ways to support each other.

Learn to be a better listener

Of course, weekly check-ins will be ineffective if you or your partner are not using active listening. Being a good listener is crucial to being a good communicator. Understanding what your partner needs – or being able to communicate your needs – is important for conflict resolution. It’s okay to ask each other what the other seeks from the exchange. It’s okay to ask “What do you need from me right now? Validation, to vent, or advice?”

Understanding parenting styles

People typically tend to parent the way they were parented. For those who grew up in chaotic or traumatizing environments, this may become problematic. There are four primary types of parenting styles. You and your partner should ideally find out what style each of you naturally gravitates to, and agree to adjust your parenting so that you are parenting clearly and consistently.

Finding time for intimacy

Having penetrative relations is generally off the table for several weeks after giving birth. But some couples find themselves having no physical intimacy after having kids. To remedy this, it’s important to understand exactly why the drop in frequency is occurring. There are many reasons why having a baby can lead to low libido, such as health issues, body image, and self-esteem issues, post-partum anxiety and depression, and even physical exhaustion due to responsibilities.

Be intentional about “me time”

During pregnancy, your body undergoes tremendous changes. This can lead to a changed relationship with your body and body image, which may not have been the healthiest it could be to begin with. Be protective and intentional about getting “me time” in; this goes for “dad” too. Mindfulness is a great tool to help you connect with your body again in a helpful way.

Consider couples therapy – even if you don’t think you need it

Being proactive has huge benefits; so does being proactive about seeking professional help. You don’t need to wait until the relationship is at risk or in crisis to engage in couples therapy. In fact, one of the highly recommended times to seek couples therapy is during a major life transition, such as having a baby.

There are many reasons couples seek therapy before hitting their breaking points. Therapy isn’t just for couples heading toward separation or divorce. It’s for anyone who wants a strong, healthy, relationship.

Therapy can help you and your partner:

  • Develop a plan for a fair division of labor

  • Improve your communication

  • Learn about and choose a consistent parenting style

  • Learn about the stages of child development and age-appropriate parenting tactics

  • Recover intimacy post-baby

  • Better understand each other’s point of view

  • Teach coping skills to manage stressors

  • Understand each other’s love languages

Attending therapy can help you and your partner get on the same page and be the best parents – and partners – you can be.

Signs it’s time for couples therapy

If you notice any of the following occurring in your relationship, it can be a red flag that you and your partner should attend therapy sooner rather than later.

  • Bickering or fighting frequently

  • A lot of resentment or contempt in the relationship

  • Having arguments about the same things

  • Difficulty communicating or expressing yourselves

  • Feeling that you’re drifting apart

  • Having issues with intimacy

Couples therapy can help you redefine and reimagine your relationship in your new roles as parents. It can also help you enjoy each other and your new baby.

Get support from a qualified, caring therapist in the South Florida area

Having a baby is a joyful experience but it can also be quite stressful. Attending couples therapy to help navigate this major life transition can be a gamechanger in helping you and your spouse to settle into your new norm with ease. Couples therapy is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship, improve communication skills, and break unhealthy patterns and roles in the relationship. A highly-trained therapist can hold space for you and your partner as you work together on creating the next phase of your relationship.

The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to get started in therapy to help facilitate healing within yourself and your interpersonal relationships, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 305.605.LOVE (5683).

We are here to help you improve your mental health, your relationship, and support you during a challenging time in your life.


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