When couples have a new baby, the relationship dynamic changes immensely. In order to avoid the need for actual marriage counseling, try using these at-home marriage counseling techniques.
It’s 9:36 p.m. and the kids are finally in bed. You come downstairs and are thankful that you can finally sit down and put your feet up, probably for the first time that day. There’s a debate going on in your head about whether you want a cherry popsicle or a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream. You walk into the kitchen, and your dream of checking out for the night is shattered when you see that the remnants of dinner is still on the table, the sink is full, your kid’s lunch boxes aren’t packed, there’s a dirty diaper on the floor, and your husband is sitting in front of the television. You want to yell at him, but you realize he has fallen asleep and you’re too tired to argue. Sound familiar?
When we first had our baby, I was in shock. Our life changed much more drastically than I thought and I was a little scared. I wondered if my relationship with my husband would ever be the same again. I wondered if our marriage would survive parenthood. During the past five months as parents, we have learned that prioritizing our relationship is important if we want to be good parents. Don’t keep track of who does what. I say this because I’ve been there and done that. When we first brought our little girl home, I began to keep a count in my head of how many diapers I changed versus how many diapers my husband changed. Did he wake up at all the night before? How come he got a shower today and I didn’t? However, I soon realized that it wasn’t about who was doing what. Keeping track of every little thing was driving us both crazy. We both did what we could and learned to help each other out, especially if one of us was tired or stressed. We thank one another for tasks taken care of.
Put your kids to bed early. I know this may be easier said than done. However, an early bedtime is such a blessing in our household, both for baby and parents. In the beginning, our daughter would get extremely fussy in the evenings and we finally realized it’s because she was just ready for bed. She was fussing to tell us she wanted to go to sleep. The first time we put her to bed early, she fell asleep almost immediately, and we had a whole two hours before we went to sleep. We had a conversation for the first time in a while and cuddled on the couch while watching some TV. Now we make it a point to spend some time together every night after we put her to bed.
Babysit for each other. I know. When you’re a parent, you aren’t a baby sitter. It’s your job to look after your kids. However, every parent needs some alone time, away from their kids. Once a week, I go to a coffee shop and read or write while my husband watches our baby. It’s what relaxes me. It’s what keeps me sane. And don’t try to take a break in your bedroom while your spouse hangs out with your kids in the living room. You’re still going to hear them. You’re still going to worry. Get in your car and actually leave.
Becoming parents was the best thing that happened to me and my husband. Our baby brings us more joy than we ever could have imagined, but we have realized that we have to use these marriage counseling techniques and put our marriage first to maintain a meaningful and healthy relationship.