Having a baby is not easy, and it can put even the strongest of relationships to the test. But some simple steps before and/or after having a baby can be the ultimate way to baby proofing your marriage to withstand even the worst of storms.
So much emphasis is always put on saving a marriage once it has already begun to crumble, but why not prepare a marriage and prevent it from crumbling in the first place?
We have put together a little kit for you to baby proof your marriage and make sure to keep a strong relationship after having a baby. Following these exercises and practicing the given tips is sure to build up that strong foundation that’s going to last.
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Having a Baby Equals a Failed Marriage
It is no secret that having a baby can either bring couples together or tear them apart. Sadly, a research done by Dr. John Gottman found that an average of 67% of couples find a decline in marital satisfaction in the first 3 years after having a baby. Something that can be so easily changed with a little bit of work.
But don’t be despaired, all hope is not lost. Research has also found that addressing obstacles ahead of time can lower this percentage, so it’s all about preparing and being pro-active rather than re-active.
And honestly, this does not mean you need to spend hours each day on your relationship, but the same research found that even two 45-minute counselling sessions was all it took to lower the percentage dramatically.
However, we know that not everybody has the time, money, or is willing to go into marriage counselling, so we prepared some conversation topics and starters so you can deepen and baby proof your marriage before having a baby.
A couple is composed of two people, meaning, this effort has to come from both sides and not just from one. It will not work if one person is willing to talk and listen while the other is unwilling.
The Couple Bubble
As a couple you have certain qualities that no one else possesses and a purpose that only you can have. Protecting and drawing from those qualities as a source of energy when things get though is what will make or break a couple.
This is what the following exercise will help you do in baby proofing your marriage: find your qualities and purpose as individuals, and what you bring to each other. Another great way to do this is to renew or revisit your vows and remind yourselves of the convictions you have made to each other.
Kimberly Ann Johnson, the author of the fourth trimester, has included this little exercise in your book to find your qualities and purpose as a couple I want to share with you today.
I can only rave about her book and see it as a must-have for any pregnant or postpartum mother as it has made all the difference in my postpartum journey. A definite must-read!
- Sit down with your partner with each a piece of paper and a pen. Set a timer for 10 minutes and complete the following questions alone:
- What I bring to us is…
- What you bring to us is…
- What we bring to the world, and what we have for each other is…
- What we already are is…
- Our compass or guiding principle is…
- What I am committed to for me is….
- What I am committed to for you is…
- The wounds I am healing are…
- The wound you are healing are…
- Our future dreams are…
- After 10 minutes share your answers.
- Take another sheet of paper and draw a Venn diagram. Label one circle with your name, the other with your partner’s name. Label the overlapping middle as “us”
Fill in the circles from your questions above and come back to this diagram when things get tough!
Some Things to Remember to Baby Proofing Your Marriage
Each of you has personal needs
Even though you are a couple, both of you are individual people with individual basic needs. If these needs aren’t met, you cannot fully show up in the relationship.
Having a baby does not mean these personal needs disappear and you are never able to fulfill your wants again. Instead, brainstorm ways to fit those personal needs into your life. Does your partner need time with friends? Does an hour on Tuesday’s work or the afternoon on a Saturday? Does your partner need alone time? Would a half day or an hour every day fulfill their needs more?
Building your schedule around these needs will help each of you feel fulfilled and happy, and two happy people make up a happy relationship.
You will experience stress
Having a baby is no easy feat… and it will be insanely stressful, maybe even the most stressful point in your life. Knowing how you and your partner deal with stress can be a huge game-changer when it comes to your relationship.
So, talk to your partner about this, be open and honest about how you deal with stress and how they can help in those situations. Consider these things:
- When stressed, do you withdraw, leave, talk a lot, or get angry?
- When you are stressed, what is helpful to you?
- What can your partner do to help you de-stress?
- What should your partner NOT do when you are stressed?
If there is one thing you should take away from this blog post it is the word “communicate”. Do this and so many uncomfortable situations will be avoided.
A person in a relationship cannot help the other person if they do not know what the problem is and how to help. Therefore, it is CRITICAL to communicate with your partner, even beforehand.
Here are a few conversation starters to get you started and help you baby proof your marriage:
- What are your basic needs?
- What are you scared of?
- What worries you about your relationship after having a baby?
- Are you afraid of losing intimacy postpartum?
- Are you afraid of being a disappointment?
- Is it hard for you to ask for help?
- Are you scared of becoming less important to your partner?
The Five Love Languages
Love is a tricky thing, and the way we show love may not be the way another person sees love. And each person is different. That is where the five love languages come into play.
We each fall into one (or more) categories of how we feel loved:
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
You may already know which love language you are most drawn to and which gestures make you feel the most loved. However, knowing what love language your partner has will reveal to you the way they see and perceive love, and help you love them in a way that exceeds their needs and expectations.
Not sure which one you are? Take the simple test at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ to find out which love language you are! Let me know in the comments below what you got on the test!
Navigating and remaining strong in a relationship after having a baby is not easy, therefore, taking these simple steps beforehand and baby proofing your marriage is sure to build that strong foundation that even the most stressful and hardest days cannot destroy.
And if your relationship has already begun to crumble, don’t take this as a sign to let it crumble even more, as these exercises and tips can help even a strained relationship draw back together and surge through that storm.
Until next time,