How to Keep a Healthy Marriage After Baby

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!

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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.

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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 FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

A version of this article first appeared on Better As Us.

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Makenzie
    April 30, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Our little is 2.5 months now and finding time to be us is pretty tough. These are great tips, thank you!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Oh Makenzie, I certainly know that when they are younger the journey may feel rough. Things are such a balance between feeling like you have it figured out and then some new dynamic or need developing. I pray that these tips may help you and hope you know that this time will be such fond memories and are so fleeting. I hope you enjoy every second!

  • Reply
    Emily Wykes
    April 30, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I really appreciate this post – My mom always taught my brother and I that our spouses would come first, even before the kids. It’s been hard to wrestle with that pull towards being a good mama and the desire to always be a good wife. It really does take stepping back and putting Ryan first. I like these suggestions, it’s good to have these in the back of your mind so that when you go into autopilot mode (like with a new baby or a toddler who won’t sleep…) youcan still pull these out of your arsenal. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Isn’t the struggle real? I found it so difficult, especially during the “fourth trimester” to do anything but obsess about my babies needs. I am glad I am not the only one who has gone through this. I know one day we will all look back and long for the days that our babies were the highest priority but our relationships will be stronger for constantly working on them. Thank you for reading!

  • Reply
    Susie
    April 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Oh man… we remember the first year after our kid was born, and it was nightmare. It simply sucked! We started family therapy when the kid was 18 months, and we still go every two months. That’s our safe space! We love it…

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      That is a great idea! Sometimes I really wish we had started going because I feel as though it would’ve been a great habit and experience. Maybe one day I will be able to convince my husband without some dramatics leading up to it. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • Reply
    STACEY
    April 30, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    So important to support one another! Great post!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks, Stacey! I appreciate you reading.

  • Reply
    Shelley
    April 30, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I love this because it can be so hard sometimes. We’ve learned that our marriage is FIRST and children must respect that. We’ve always stuck by bedtime because that is our time to spend together. Great read.

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      I was fortunate to date a boy whose parent’s were really so great at demonstrating that their marriage came first. They would kick their kids out of the house every other weekend so they could have a movie night and spend some time together. It has always been in the back of my mind. And I couldn’t agree with you more! Bedtime is our favorite time!

  • Reply
    Giulia
    April 30, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Everything you said is so true. Our baby is almost 1 year old but I don’t want to leave him with a baby sitter. I am Italian and I don’t have anybody from my family that can help me with the baby…sometimes is very difficult to find some “couple time”.. thank you for your advice 🙂

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Bedtime is the best couple time for us. It makes us feel like the people we used to be. You know, the ones whose lives don’t revolve around the tiny humans 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • Reply
    Isabel
    April 30, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Tara, really thank you for sharing this! I admire that you focus on this with one kid, as I only have realized how important it was after 3. Time away from technology is powerful… and I love spoil each other. You’re inspiring me to love my husband better today=)

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Josephine’s post was so relatable and I am thankful to have had her beautiful writing on my blog this week. I am also very thankful that we are figuring this all out with our first. Thank you for reading. I am glad these tips may help him get some extra attention today and I hope he reciprocates!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 1, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Great advice!!! And all so so true!! Having a baby is so hard on a marriage, and in my experience the first year is the hardest. Of course it’s amazing and joyful, but there’s also some really hard times too. I love the advice you give:)

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Yes! It is such a bittersweet time. So many wonderful feelings and so many difficult times too. I guess the ups and downs make it all the more worth it. Thank you for reading.

  • Reply
    With love from p
    May 2, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I enjoyed reading this as I’ve just had a newborn! He is very fussy so it can take its toll on my partner and I! Brilliant advice.. I also find that date nights work great!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Bless you and that baby! During the fussy newborn period, I had to keep telling myself that it would be such a short period in my son’s life and that one-day things would get better. It is hard, hang in there. I hope you are able to get a lot of date nights in the meantime.

  • Reply
    KrisBeeMama
    May 2, 2018 at 9:36 am

    The year after my first was born was the hardest of my life, both on me and my marriage. Having a child changes everything, even things you thought would never alter. I agree that open communication is key. I tell others not to be afraid to seek help (from friends, counseling, whatever works).

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      I am thankful to not be alone in the difficult times of parenting. I find that having people to commiserate with or have as a sounding board was some of the most therapeutic things for me. Thank you for reading, I agree that help navigating this rocky time is necessary, in some form or another.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    May 2, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Time away from technology these days is so hard, but you are so right! I need to work on that because it drives my husband nuts.

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Time away from technology is literally one of the hardest things for me because I always have my phone handy for pictures. Photography is my excuse but I know it’s also my greatest distraction. Hoping we are able to overcome! Thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Erica
    May 2, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Spoil each other…love it! I’m glad you posted this list, it’s so easy to just get into a baby routine and forget to continually invest and grow in your marriage. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      Thank you for reading! I love this post from Josephine!

  • Reply
    Veronika
    May 2, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Number 2 is do important. Something me and hubby need to work on. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you for reading! I hope these help people who have gone through some of the same things.

  • Reply
    Steph
    May 2, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I could relate to this so much. Those first few weeks were so tough for us. Also, we too, place bets on the Bachelor. Haha!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Isn’t the bachelor with your spouse fun? For years my hubby refused but eventually he couldn’t resist the chaos! We love watching the bachelorette too because of all the dudes bickering.

  • Reply
    Amir
    May 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Great tips!!! It’s so important that you don’t lose yourself in parenthood. My husband and I work together very well but we are always trying to find more ways to spend time together.

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      Finding a new normal way to “date” has been such a fun process for us. We have our shows now and a routine but really enjoy spending time at home. Thank you for reading!

  • Reply
    Tramayne
    May 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

    She is her dad’s twin!
    #5 is something that I love about my relationship. My partner and I both enjoy making each other ridiculously happy, which makes gift giving so fun in our family. I’ll definitely pass this advice on to other couples!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      YES! My hubby and I love thoughtful gestures! Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kassidy
    May 4, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I love this, I had the same problem with our baby and it’s hard to fix! Me being extra sensitive at the time… hated that I couldn’t even sleep in the same bed as my hubby!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Oh yes! The hormones after birth were way worse than the pregnancy hormones and I cried a lot. Looking back on it I giggle but it definitely took some time to work it out with my hubby!

  • Reply
    Holly
    May 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

    These are great suggestions. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks! I am so thankful for the wisdom from guest bloggers!

  • Reply
    Britney
    May 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I love how detailed you are with these tips! They’re all so important but definitely spending time at home, and being honest!

    • Reply
      Tara Marchok
      May 5, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Agreed! Being present and making most of the time you have together at home is vital for a healthy relationship. Thank you for reading!

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