Marriage: the union between two people who pledge to spend their life together through thick and thin. But what happens when the going gets tough? Life changing experiences can be hard on a relationship. So, how can you make sure to keep a healthy marriage after you bring your baby home?
In my experience, it wasn’t easy. Eventually, the stress of having a newborn started to take a toll on my husband and I’s relationship. Both of our lives had completely been turned upside down in a matter of 24 hours. It was a lot to handle, and the unfortunate truth is, we ended up handling it separately rather than together.
When my husband and I first brought our daughter home, we both went into survival mode. Neither of us had any idea what we were doing and we were both terrified of doing something wrong. We were constantly stressed, anxious, and most of all, exhausted. Whenever things were stressful, we would attack each other instead of work together. It made what was already a difficult job, even harder.
A few months after our daughter was born, we realized what was happening to our marriage and we were able to turn it around. One of the strongest qualities in our relationship is the fact that we can be brutally honest with one another at all times. Which was awesome in this case, because it helped us return to our once healthy marriage. Now here we are, getting ready to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday, and our relationship couldn’t be stronger. So if you are feeling alone and scared about your relationship, just know that those feelings are more common then you realize, and there are things you can do to fix it and make your marriage stronger than ever!
1.Find a Way to Spend Time Together at Home
Yes, of course getting a babysitter to watch your little one is great. But the hard truth is, you probably aren’t going to want to leave your baby anytime soon. Braelynn is almost a year old now, and I still struggle with having someone besides a family member watch her. But the great news is, they take lots of naps and go to bed early! So what’s something you and your hubby can do together at home? Try to think of something both of you will enjoy. Maybe it’s making dinner, having a few cocktails on the patio, or watching your favorite show. Personally, my husband and I like to watch the Bachelor together and play The Bachelor fantasy game. A couple that bets together stays together!
2.Make sure some of your time together is away from technology
I can’t count the number of times my husband and I just end up sitting next to each other on the couch looking at our phones. Yes, technically this is time for him, but we aren’t connecting with each other. Relationships are built around communication, so talk to one with each other. To be completely honest, I think I prefer it over going out on a date, and it’s so much cheaper!
3.Be honest with one another
This is a completely new experience to the both of you. Because of this, some things might get overlooked by your partner. Instead of getting mad about things and building up resentment, talk to your partner about what is bothering you. Most of the time they have no idea that they were upsetting you in the first place. Most recently I was feeling annoyed at the fact that my husband never takes our little one outside the house on his own. I mean, I haven’t been alone in my house for almost a year now! I had been feeling for a while now that he needed to spend more one on one time with her, and it was starting to eat at me. However, once I told him how I was feeling he took her on errands with him that very day. I felt so silly for not speaking up sooner!
4.Support each other
Both of you are growing and changing during this process. It’s important to stay connected to one another and support each other in what you find important. Make an effort to learn more about your husband’s job. Maybe participate in a new hobby he is into. Showing your partner that you are interested in their life outside of the family, shows them that you still care about who they are as a person. For instance, when I told my husband I wanted to take some of our money and start blogging, he supported me the entire way. Even more so, he checks my website every day and listens to me go on and on about it. It reminds me that he still cares about who I am, and not just who I am as a mom.
5.Spoil each other
Getting spoiled every now and again is good! Especially if you are anything like us. All we want to do is spoil our little one instead of ourselves! Going out of your way to do something extra special for your partner will make them feel appreciated. Like this past week when my husband finally broke down and bought me a kitten. I have always had a love for cats, but he wasn’t very fond of them growing up. He finally surprised me on my birthday and we got to go pick one out! The hilarious part is I think he loves the cat more than I do!
6.Give each other time off
Every month or so, take turns watching the baby and letting each other go out and do things on your own. This will help you recharge as a human and overall make you a better partner! I will never forget after about a month postpartum, my husband watched our little one while I went to Target. This sounds so silly and juvenile, but I felt so refreshed afterward! Now we do this about once a month and do something fun with friends or family. Trust me, it makes such a huge difference in our marriage!
Overall, try to remember that this is a time in your lives where you are both going to be scared and overwhelmed. Be patient and understanding towards one another and your marriage will grow even stronger.
Josephine Anderson is a motherhood lifestyle blogger from the suburbs of Chicago. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is currently a stay-at-home-mom to their one-year-old daughter and fur babies. She blogs at Better As Us. Find her journey on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
A version of this article first appeared on Better As Us.