Parenting is a beautiful experience that comes with its unique challenges and rewards.
It’s an adventure that can bring couples together or sometimes draw them apart. Most of us start our journey into marriage and parenthood thinking we know what to expect. After all, we’ve seen how our parents raised us and have many opinions about what we will do differently. Or we grew up in larger families, had babysitting duties, and came equipped with hands-on training.
Yet, when it’s our turn to be married with kids, things get much more complicated and surprising. The physical toll of getting pregnant, juggling work and home, and carving out me + us time becomes challenging. Post-delivery provides its own set of surprises with potential medical and emotional emergencies.
Sleep deprivation gets real and rough, fast. You quickly become the ‘walking dead’ as you face interrupted or non-existent sleep, endless diapers, and miles spent walking your fussy baby at night. Understandably, we can drift apart, and resentment builds, burdening us with our wonderful child’s extra load. Under this stress, it’s easy to fall into a nasty trap of counting what they don’t do and all that we are left to manage or take care of.
This is the beginning phase of neglecting ourselves and our partners. With the many responsibilities of caring for children, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ignoring one’s romantic relationship. While it may seem natural for couples to prioritize their children, it’s crucial to understand that making time for intimacy and communication is essential in keeping the relationship vibrant.
Even in the early days and months of being new parents, staying connected, and sharing frustrations, small wins, and unspoken needs is critical to keeping communication open and space for intimacy.
This article will discuss how to reignite fulfilling communication, reconnect as a couple, and restart the sexy times to help couples balance parenting and their relationship.
When children come into the picture, it often becomes the center of a couple’s attention, leaving little room for conversations about anything else. This dynamic can continue for years; the couple has grown apart before they realize it.
Reigniting fulfilling communication involves setting aside time as a couple to unplug and connect. It could be a simple activity like walking, dining out, or playing a game you both enjoy. Get creative; you don’t need a babysitter or much money to spend time together. It does require both of you to be intentional about finding space to prioritize each other.
Start slowly; after all, you’ve both had a lot of changes going on, and it might have been a while since you’ve both focused on your relationship. Be patient. Many couples want to rush the other person to get ‘it all out’ before the kids wake up. Understand that rushing or talking over them is not the key to reconnecting. You both might have to stop the conversation and return to it again, so be sure to write down your points so you will remember. Having your list lets you focus on them instead of your inner list.
It’s essential to be present, listen to each other, and avoid bringing up topics that could trigger arguments. Couples can also consider working with a marriage or relationship coach or counselor to learn how to communicate better and understand each other.
Parenting is demanding, and the responsibilities that come with it can be draining. When couples are exhausted, they may find that the last thing they want to do is spend time together. However, taking time to recharge and reconnect can be highly beneficial. Couples can consider taking a weekend getaway or attending a retreat focused on reconnecting. Or create quality time together by cuddling on the couch and watching a movie.
Reconnecting as a couple is vital to the success and quality of your relationship or marriage. There was a time when both of you felt excited and energized about spending time together. Think back to those early times of anticipation and fun. Even the simplest things, like a supply run to the hardware store, left you feeling connected—those moments when your dreams were becoming a reality.
So, be patient, kind, and understanding with each other, and remind yourselves that you are in this together. You’ve become parents and are living one of those dreams, including real-life demands.
When couples have been together for a long time, the bedroom can become predictable, leading to boredom, and the spark could die, especially after having children. It’s also become a place that often includes kids, sleeping, nursing, or generally taking up bed and emotional space.
Beautiful moments of intimacy don’t always have to be in the bedroom. In fact, after a drought of intimacy, it is crucial to focus on restarting friendship and fun first. Get the laughter and lightness back into your marriage. Couples can reignite the spark by doing new things, working out, taking a dance class, cooking, going on a holiday, weekend trips, or anything new and exciting.
It’s essential to be adventurous and playful; it encourages couples to be more spontaneous and creative and helps keep things exciting. Together, brainstorm a list of things to do that sound fun. Use Google and check out free or new events in your area. Take something you both enjoy, such as eating out, and create a foodie list of places you’d like to eat or movies you’d like to watch. Add them to the list, so when timing (kids asleep or babysitters available), you can easily pick something that fits your budget and interests.
After having a baby, it is common for relationships to experience a dip. Post-baby changes can be overwhelming, from physical changes to emotional adjustments. Couples must find a way to cope with these changes together, understanding that the dip in intimacy, libido, or connection is a side impact of what you both have and are going through.
Women are often worried about their bodies, which could lead to low self-esteem and difficulty in intimacy. Many have experienced physical changes due to pregnancy or delivery, which must be considered. Others feel touched by the demands of nursing, holding and generally feeling that they have lost some of their personal space and time. It’s vital to remember this too shall pass and to honestly communicate and support each other. Men also experience post-baby changes that can affect the relationship. Often quietly feeling wrong about the physical load their wife experienced during the pregnancy or delivery, they withdraw or shut down their intimacy requests. They may feel neglected or jealous of the attention given to the baby. Acknowledging these changes and understanding they are healthy and will pass is vital.
Reconnecting as a couple deep in parenting may require some work, but it’s worth it. It’s essential to continue making time for each other and nurturing your relationship while prioritizing your children. Caring for yourselves and each other can help create a positive and fulfilling family dynamic. Couples should also celebrate small milestones and achievements together and practice gratitude for the life they share, managing the different roles in their relationship.
Reconnecting as a couple post-parenting is possible, and it begins with nurturing one’s relationship. For couples to achieve a fulfilling and balanced family dynamic, prioritizing time for intimacy, communication, and new experiences is essential. While each couple’s journey is unique, they can take comfort in knowing that many others have gone through the same experience and become stronger. Remembering always that no amount of effort made in keeping the relationship alive, healthy, and fulfilling goes to waste, lasting benefits spill over into the many corners of every individual’s life.
There’s more at stake than just the two of you, so creating that loving, supportive, and exciting connection is a legacy for your children and others to see and learn from. It’s essential not to feel like you have to do this alone. Seeking a supportive Relationship Connection Coach or Therapist experienced in identifying conflict patterns and communication reconnection strategies is vital to helping you reconnect quickly and correctly.