You meet, you fall in love, and you live as a couple. You do couple things and identify as a “partner” or “spouse” or “husband” or “wife.” When times feel stressful, you can dedicate the time and effort needed to tend to your relationship. Sure, you’ve got other obligations, but the couple’s life allows for a fair amount of flexibility.
Then… a baby makes three. You had many months to prepare but, well, it’s tough to understand this shift until it happens. You now identify as a “parent” or “Mom” or Dad.” You do parent things and flexibility feels like a dream from your past.
How Having A Family Impacts Your Relationship
This is a topic that has launched a thousand (or more) books. For the sake of this post, let’s sum things up into four broad categories.
Your days and nights are consumed with the needs of your child. This dynamic will bring you incredible moments of joy. It will also make you feel frustrated, limited, and maybe even resentful.
Gone are the days when you could focus all your love and attention on your spouse. You will enjoy what your child brings into your life. But, make no mistake, you will also miss aspects of your pre-parental lives. This includes being able to pay attention to each other. It’s not unusual to feel some jealousy torward the infant that dominates your life.
Money is a major stressor in most marriages. Starting a family involves a huge jump in expenses — for a long, long time.
This means physical and mental stress. You’ll lose sleep. You will worry. At times, you’ll doubt your ability to handle such a monumental change. When you and your partner hit a rough patch, you may not have the same time (see #1) or energy to devote to repairing things.
How Couples Therapy Can Help You Co-Parent
Making the Unnatural Feel Natural
There are many, many components of co-parenting that won’t come naturally. And then there’s the identity shift mentioned above. You and your partner will need to undergo an awful lot of trial and error. There’s so much to learn but you’re feeling exhausted and short on time. This can cause you to put undue pressure on yourself and/or your spouse.
An experienced couples therapist understands this process. Your weekly sessions become a workshop of sorts. It’s a safe space where anything can be discussed and explored. With time and patience, you can grow into your new roles while deepening your bond to each other.
Learning New Ways to Care For Your Relationship
You’ll have to be creative and resourceful and you will need help. It may seem impossible to balance out your baby’s needs with your relationship’s needs. A couples therapist is an unbiased professional who has guided many a couple through this maze. Committing to counseling together is a powerful first step toward regaining your balance and cultivating new dynamics.
Getting on the Same Page
Everyone has their own ideas on child-rearing. Then you have all the unsolicited advice coming your way from friends and relatives. Couples therapy teaches you that there is often more than one correct way to care for your baby’s needs. You learn to communicate, collaborate, and compromise. These are skills that are useful well beyond the realm of co-parenting.
You do not have to sacrifice your sacred connection in the name of raising your child. With help, you can both navigate the process and come out feeling closer than ever. It all begins with a phone call and a free consultation. We invite you to reach out today