No one expects life with a newborn to be easy. That said, nothing quite prepares you for the utter exhaustion and emotional highs and lows that come after the birth of your child. And while it gets easier, life never really returns to the old “normal.”
One of the biggest struggles new parents face is finding time for each other. Before baby, you were the most important people in each other’s lives. Now, there’s a little one at the center of your world and a lot less time and energy for the relationship.
Your relationship is the foundation of your family, so it’s important to keep it strong. When you’re struggling to find time to connect, use these strategies to maintain a healthy relationship.
Speak Your Partner’s Love Language
Do you know what makes your partner feel safe, loved, and appreciated? The ways we express and receive love are known as love languages. According to author Gary Chapman, most people have one or several of these five love languages.
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
Having a different love language than your spouse can lead to relationship strife. After all, if you’re expressing love in a language your partner doesn’t speak, they won’t understand what you’re trying to say. As a result, you’re left feeling isolated and your spouse feeling uncared for and unappreciated. Even with different love languages, you can learn to express love in the way your partner receives it. When you do, it becomes a lot easier to connect with small actions like a tender touch, expression of gratitude, or thoughtful favor.
Schedule a Date Night and Hold It Sacred
It’s fine if your weekly date night becomes a monthly date night, but don’t let it fall off the schedule entirely. It’s important for new parents to have couple time in addition to family time; otherwise, every conversation revolves around the baby and never the relationship.
Date night is your chance to show appreciation for all the hard work you’re both doing, let go of any resentments that are creeping in, and reinforce healthy communication habits. If you can’t imagine mustering the energy for hair and make-up, don’t stress out: There’s a lot you can do for date night without going all-out, from dinner and a movie at home to a nature hike.
Allow for Alone Time
It might seem paradoxical, but giving your partner a little space to be alone is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. As a parent, you have a little one latched onto you more often than not, leaving little time to think, relax, or just be. A little alone time is just what parents need to recharge and come back ready to be the best partner and parent they can.
That doesn’t mean either of you will get to take a week-long holiday with a baby at home. You can, however, find time for small acts of self-care. Encourage your partner to get out of the house for a long run or coffee with friends and carve out time for you to do the same.
Whatever you do, don’t put off making time for each other. It’s easy to tell yourself there will be time to reconnect later, but if you put your relationship on the back burner, it might not be there when you reach for it. By finding ways to nurture your bond, no matter how small, you make both your relationship and your family stronger.