Tip #1: Have time alone as a couple
With most couples, after the birth of the baby, the only time they are together as a couple is when they are looking after the infant, and so the infant becomes the focal point of their relationship. This pattern continues for most couples, even when the children start to grow up. Feeding the children, getting them ready for school, making sure they stay healthy, managing naughty behaviours, helping them with the homework, these all can become the only things married couples think and talk about if they are not careful.
The key is to create opportunities to see each other as lovers rather than just mothers and fathers. To do that the couple needs to spend time with each other in a different setting, without the children around. Some couples refer to these as “date nights” and I recommend couples to do this once every fortnightly at the very least.
Get someone you both trust to watch the baby for 2-3 hours so that both of you will not need to worry about the child
Couples can have dinner together, catch a movie or a concert, or if they are still wary of having to rush back if the child needs them, they can just have some coffee and dessert around the corner.
Tip #2: Clarify roles and expectations
Many couple struggle to cope with the arrival of their new infant because both mother and father have different ideas about what role the other parent plays. This is often the number #1 source of tension and conflict between spouses.
Wives may expect husbands to do more to help out with the new infant. Husbands may feel that the wives should handle everything, leaving them to focus on their occupations.
This difference in expectations can lead to tensions and conflict if they are not dealt with. They key is to communicate explicitly and clearly about what each person expects. Differences at the beginning are expected and discussion can lead to a compromise that both are comfortable with.
The enemy of communication is assumption. When we assume our spouse understand what we want and need, we fail to communicate with them.
Tip #3: Get help when needed
The reality is that many couples are unable to handle all their responsibilities by themselves. The sooner you admit that you need help the better.On certain days and at certain times you may need the help of relatives, friends, and perhaps domestic helpers in order to cope with the added responsibilities that having a child brings. Help may take the form of babysitting the child for a few hours a day, or helping with the household chores.
There is no shame in this. It does not mean you have failed as parent or spouse. This is the reality of modern day, urban living.
Failure to realize and embrace this will bring much tension to the marriage as both husband and wife struggle to cope and this feeling of stress and being overwhelmed can break apart marriages.
So be honest with each other. If you are not coping with the workload, come up with a plan to recruit help and resources which will give your marriage a bit more breathing space.