4 ways to protect your marriage after kids

Don’t let the bond with your spouse go south when the kids arrive ― stay a tight twosome with these tips.

From partners to parents, parenthood links the husband and wife forever, but it can also introduce conflict and stress, which can rock even the strongest marriage.

Marriage and family therapist Dr Hana Ra Adams points out, “A new baby brings along adjustments to all areas of life — sleep patterns, eating patterns, couple time, and the amount of effort given to household chores. Even the energy level of a new mum can change because of the demands a newborn has on her.”

Add these changes to your already existing list of responsibilities and it’s easy to lose patience and become more critical of each other. “Not only will this increase conflict and tension, but it will also start emptying that tank of compassion and goodwill, which is essential to fuelling your relationship,” notes Anoushka Beh, a psychologist and family therapist who runs her own practice.

Follow our experts’ tips to get your post-baby marriage back on track. 

1. Get on the same page
Welcoming a child into the world can strain your resources financially, physically and emotionally. Besides having to adapt to different roles, you’ll have new perspectives on parenting, as well as financial and family-support issues. While you both try to figure out a system that works, remember to keep the lines of communication open and compromise as much as you can. As for parenting philosophies, talk through difficult situations and be open to your spouse’s suggestions — even if you are the primary caregiver and spend more time with your child.

When it comes to money, be realistic about what is a “need” and what’s a “want”. This is especially important if you’ve gone from two incomes to one. Dr Adams suggests, “Look at finances as a team effort, versus the work of an individual. Support each other’s current financial role and adjust it as needed together.”

Find ways to put your marriage first, your child second and other relationships third. Beh notes, “You are always stronger as two, so, it’s important you pool your resources and this includes perspectives on how to raise your child.”

2. Divvy up duties
There’ll be tonnes of chores after baby arrives ― from laundry and cleaning poop, to cooking meals. Be realistic about what you can achieve. As a couple, decide which tasks take priority. Your main focus should be on the baby initially.

Beh says, “If other responsibilities around the house are starting to strain your resources, it’s important to reach for help and outsource.”

Rope in the extended family or consider hiring a helper. This will ease your burden and free up time that you and the hubs can use to concentrate on enjoying your little bundle together.