Email: lome@guidance2growth.co.za
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Baby-proof your marriage – how to keep the romance going

rings in hand

1.       Get support

Utilise the support networks around you as soon as possible. Parents are often afraid to leave their kids with family members or babysitters early on, but this could be detrimental to your marriage. Kids actually cope better with change and separation anxiety if they are exposed to other caretakers early on. Getting a good support structure will be crucial for your relationship in the years to come.

2.       Focus on your sex life

Breastfeeding mother often experience a decrease in libido due to abnormal levels of estrogen. During this time, husbands often feel neglected and disconnected to their wives. Sexual intimacy is an important part of a healthy relationship, and should be fostered during this time. Having said that, husbands should know that getting their wives excited about sex will mean something completely different. Helping with baby or house duties will most probably have a positive effect in this regard.

3.       Have regular date nights and a weekend getaway without baby

Putting aside time for you as a couple can do wonders. Try to stay away from baby talk during these events, and imitate the experiences you had when you were first dating.

4.       Gift each other with “me time”

Because time is such a precious commodity when you have young kids, take turns treating each other with “me time”. This will make your spouse feel appreciated and cared for.

5.       Don’t keep score

When my husband and I had our son, we unconsciously started to keep score. This meant that we constantly felt cheated and resentful towards each other. Rather spend your time planning out baby duties and clearly communicating roles and expectations for each party, so that both are clear about their duties and don’t feel cheated.

6.       Regular communication is vital

Take regular time to communicate. If possible put aside 30 minutes every day to communicate with each other without any interruptions. The Imago Dialogue is a great practical process that can be used to help you communicate about the more difficult things. For more information visit www.imagoafrica.com

7.       Attend a couples workshop

I suggest to all my clients with young kids to attend a couple’s workshop as an investment into their relationship future. Couples workshops help you to refocus on what you want out of your marriage and helps to put your frustrations and hurts into perspective. It also helps you to rekindle your passion. For more information on the next Imago Couplehood workshop, click here

8.       Maintain some mystery

Couples often fall into the trap of eliminating mystery in their relationship. Sharing bathroom routines, embarrassing personal experiences and so on, should best be left to yourself.

9.       Have lots of fun and laugh together often

Couples who laugh together, stay together. Draw up a list of fun activities that you can do together (with or without baby) and plan to regularly do activities from these lists. Laughter has a great physiological effect, as it elevates the level of serotonin and dopamine (happy hormones) secreted in your body and will help you both to feel more attracted, energetic and connected with your spouse.

10.   Place your marriage first

I know baby has many needs and that baby’s needs are important, but you also need to realise that baby’s biggest need is for mom and dad to be in a safe and happy relationship as this will enable a feeling of safety and belonging within themselves. So, place your marriage first whenever possible.

11.   Make a caring behaviors list

Make a list of behaviors that your partner can display to show you that he/she cares about you. We call this a caring behaviors list. This then becomes a “cheat sheet” for your partner, so that he/she is able to display target driven behavior towards you and to ensure that it has the desirable effect. The concept of love languages is a useful tool in this regard.

12.   Regularly appreciate your partner

A recent Berkeley study has shown that couples who display regular appreciations towards each other are less likely to break up in the next nine months and experience a deeper commitment towards the relationship. Create a time in your daily routine where you can offer small appreciations towards each other on a regular basis (i.e. at the dinner table, just before going to bed etc.).

13.   Get your kids in a routine asap

The quicker you are able to establish a routine the better for your marriage. This will assist you in managing expectations and making couple time. It will also help you both to cope with the demands of kids, work, home, family and so on.

 

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