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Have you heard people say that a baby changes everything? Well, it’s very true and untrue at the same time. Having a baby will change many things but it doesn’t have to change everything. It can depend on when in your marriage you have your baby and if your baby came earlier than expected but I think there are some things that will change regardless. Here are 6 ways your marriage will change with a baby.
1. Quality time together needs to be planned
The first thing to go is quality time. Many couples find that date nights get put on the back burner when the baby comes. If your baby is a newborn it can be hard to make time for your marriage, the sleep schedule, feedings around the clock, and for some, you just don’t want to be away from your new bundle of joy. However, I think making time for your marriage is so important and when the baby comes it has to be planned.
For my husband and me, our time became family time. While this is wonderful to have, making time for just you and your spouse is critical. Spending quality time together is a reminder that you’re not only mom and dad but also husband and wife.
My husband and I discussed before having our daughter and we both agreed that it is important that we remember we are husband and wife first before we are a mom and a dad. When our marriage is in a good place, our home life runs smoothly, and more importantly, we are better parents.
There are many marriages I’ve heard that collapsed after their children were all grown up and moved out. I never understood why but recently learned that it is because they made their lives all about their children. Before children, these couples had happy marriages. After becoming parents, their marriage and their lives became about the kids. They never resolved the problems and underlying foundational issues they had before having children. And when the kids moved out they found they had nothing in common, nothing to say to each other and the issues still waiting for them.
We as humans are changing all the time and marriage is a lifelong journey of changing and growing together. If our growth as life partners depends on our children, once they are gone so is our marriage. Date nights might become fewer than before and that’s okay. The important thing is to have them and remind each other, why you chose each other, and continually work on your marriage.
2. It is no longer just about you and him
This was a hard truth for me, as I learned that in everything we did or decided to do we had to consider our new baby. We were unable to just pick up and go at a moment’s notice. Everything had to be planned.
I think many of my friends would agree that when we made plans I used to always say, “sure, I can do whenever just let me know.” I adjusted to other people’s schedules because I was able to come and go at my leisure. However, now as a mom, you have to consider the baby in every single decision, even the small ones.
It was a whole fiasco trying to get out the door. The baby needed to be changed, dressed, strapped in and ready to go then the diaper bag with diapers, wipes, change of clothes and food… the list goes on. We had to plan our day around her nap schedule and it was dependent on how she slept when she slept, and where she slept.
It is a weird thing, where the day needs to be planned but also flexible to many changes. It was hard as my husband and I were flexible but mostly to what we wanted to do. We had to accept that it was no longer about him and me. We couldn’t do what we wanted to do but we did what we had to do for our baby.
I hope I don’t make this sound like it’s terrible because as a mom I was and still am happy to do it. Our lives are different and changed but definitely for the better. We just needed to be a little less self-involved and consider this little life that relies on us so.
3. Intimacy becomes different
Intimacy is a big thing that changes in your marriage after having a baby. I can happily say that our intimacy, physically and emotionally, has strengthened in our marriage after having our baby.
Being a parent has really strengthened my emotional intimacy with my husband. I feel confident in my husband as my partner, my cheerleader, and my encourager. Having his support and encouragement during the childbirth and even after as I adjusted to motherhood has brought us closer as partners in doing life together.
Maybe it is not the case for all new parents but for us, it was harder to make time for physical intimacy with a baby. Especially those first few months where each spare moment of sleep was pure bliss but the closeness and joy of our physical intimacy are different after having our daughter. There was a genuine change in appreciation and respect I had for my body and I felt it from my husband too. Rightly so, as the mother’s body goes through immense changes to bring about life.
Prioritize time for physical intimacy. This is not something to be ashamed of or overlooked. A baby really changes the dynamic of a marriage. It will take time to get to a new norm. Physical intimacy in marriage is so important, make time for it.
4. You have to up your wife (and husband) game
When I became a mom, I severely underestimated the time commitment. I didn’t realize how little time I would have for myself and also as a wife. I really had to up my wife-game.
To keep our home running smoothly, we divided the domestic duties to what worked for us. After the baby came, both of us started to drop the ball a little. I would forget to do the dishes, we would run out of plates, cups, and utensils. Most nights we just ordered in because I was too tired to cook. Sometimes he would miss garbage day and our garbage would be overfull… there’s a lesson we learned the hard way, when the baby comes, the trash bin fills much faster with diapers and more so you don’t want to miss a single garbage day.
We both found that we had to up our game. We needed to be more present to our responsibilities as husband and wife as well as mom and dad. Of course, a year later we got a rhythm going but I know other households that run like well-oiled machines. Something my husband and I can work towards.
There was also a lack of other wifely duties too. There were days when my husband and I barely spoke to or acknowledged each other. Our days were so go-go-go that we didn’t show each other much love and appreciation. If you have read the book, The Five Love Languages, you know that it is important for you to show love to your spouse how they best receive it. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.
I didn’t realize it but I had barely shown my husband love and visa versa. We were running on a low and on some days, an empty love tank. Being a spouse and especially a parent is a labor of enduring love. When our tanks are low it’s difficult to power through the hard days. It will be easy to let your wife and husband roles take the backburner after the baby comes but that is not wise. Fill each other’s love tank each day, all day and you will see what a difference it can make.
5. You will have to adjust your finances
Some might think babies won’t be too big of a cost but there is a large initial investment. Your baby shower might get you some of the essentials but a crib, changing table, stroller, and a car seat are all big expense items that need to be taken into consideration.
It is not just baby things you have to consider, what about food? Especially if you chose to use formula. Diapers are a reoccurring expense and so are baby wipes. I also found that baby clothes became a reoccurring expense as babies grow out of their clothes so quickly.
Normally on a dual-income, it might not be too much of an added expense. And if you did what my husband and I did, you probably saved quite a bit on the big-ticket items. We shopped for the big expense essentials during the Black Friday sales and Boxing Days promos. However, there is also the consideration that one of you will be taking parental leave and there will be a decrease in your household income. (If you’re living in Canada and need help with understanding your maternity benefits, check out this post.)
Where does the money come from for the extra things that you need for the baby? For us, it came from different areas of our family budget. We had to incorporate into our food budget, food, and snacks, and other things for our baby needed, which meant less for us but being a growing family means making space for everyone in every way.
6. Communication needs to become intentional
Communication is a big one. I truly believe that for a marriage to last, to thrive, and to be amazing there has to be a solid foundation of communication. I can confidently say that my husband and I have very good communication. We can talk about a topic to death.
However, as I mentioned, after our daughter was born, there were days when my husband and I barely spoke to each other. I also found that when we found time to talk, everything was about the baby! The conversation usually started with how we were doing then quickly transitioned to what she did, how cute she is, what she ate, when she ate, if she pooped, how many diaper changes. We could talk about her for hours.
We realized that our conversations had to be intentional. Communication needs to be more intentional as parents. Intentionality had to go into with our questions but also how we answered each other. This kind of communication is something all marriages need and will help during those challenging years. It will also help build that solid foundation for the ever-changing life-long journey of “until death do you part”.
“This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link. Thanks for supporting this mama.”