Research shows that 67% of couples report lower marital satisfaction after kids. Generally marital satisfaction will stay at the same reduced level until the children turn 4 years-old. As a Psychologist and new mom of twin boys, here is what I have learned so far on how to stay happy and in love.
- Have a scheduled date night. Keep things interesting by taking turns choosing the date. Some of my favourite date ideas include: Trying a new restaurant, a double date with friends, comedy show, cooking class and wine tasting. It takes extra effort to plan since raising new babies is exhausting however it’s quality time to look forward to in the midst of the chaos.
- Invest in your relationship. Don’t get caught up in over-thinking the expenses of a date night or hiring a babysitter. It will be worth the investment. You can also find cheaper alternatives such as ice-skating and hikes. If you’re investing all your time into your baby and expecting your relationship to be fine it’s highly likely you will be disappointed.
- Be affectionate. When we touch our partner we release the biochemicals endorphins and oxytocin. These are feel-good chemicals that can help us feel close and attached to our partner. I have even had client’s tell me that if they cuddle before bed they find that they sleep better. I commonly hear from new moms that they cuddle so much with their new baby that they find they cuddle less with their partner. Knowing this, try your best to be affectionate with your partner, even during the busy day. It can be simple things, like greeting them at the door with a quick hug, a hug and kiss before bed and in the morning. These small things will sustain the relationship.
- Cherish these moments as a family. Enjoy this precious time. With your growing baby. Try your best to be present to this little miracle and how they develop and learn everyday. Watch them with wonderment. It is truly a beautiful time to be present to their little personalities unfolding. Do this with your partner, you are creating life long memories.
- See a Therapist.. Having a baby is such a life-changing event and can be a difficult transition for both your life and your relationship. Seeing a therapist, even when your relationship is good, can help you sustain what good you have and learn tools to make it even better. Often couples come into my office when their relationship is already in crisis. Instead try to see a therapist early and be preventative.
Life can be hectic and when you add a baby or two to the mix it can feel overwhelming. To avoid reaching the point of a relationship breakdown be sure you are scheduling time out with your partner and reconnecting everyday as often as you can. Most importantly, cherish the time with your baby together since before you know it they’ll be all grown up!