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When kids enter the picture, it changes everything in a relationship. Whatever time you and your partner had together before kids is taken over by a little human being with big demands.
As your focus shifts entirely to parenting responsibilities, you and your partner may find yourselves drifting apart. Weeks turn into months and before you know it, you are disconnected. By the time life becomes more manageable and you can come up for air, you and your partner may feel like strangers.
Don’t think this can’t happen to you. When you’re young and in love, you may think that having children will bring you closer together. The truth is, no matter how strong the foundation between you and your partner before children, kids can shake it to its very core. Read 8 honest truths about life with a newborn.
Researchers who have studied how having children affects a marriage conclude that the relationship between spouses suffers once kids come along. In fact, the decline in relationship satisfaction is twice as steep for couples with children than for childless couples (ironically, couples with children are less likely to get divorced though).
That’s why it’s so important to make a point to be alone together — apart from the kids — with regular date nights (or mornings or afternoons).
It’s tough to find time and energy to do this, but it’s a necessity for your relationship. And it doesn’t take much. Even one or two hours away from the kiddos could be enough to keep you connected.
This is how to get started. Don’t wait until the love is stale. Arrange for date nights before the baby actually comes along. Line up a sitter and block your calendar once a week to be together. It may help to make it the same day and time each week.
Then do whatever you choose, just do it together:
During your date, turn off the cell phones, or use them only for emergencies.
And remember, try not to feel guilty about leaving your kids with a sitter. It’s better for your kids to have parents who still like each other. Besides, they will learn to adapt and gain some independence. It’s a win-win!
Aside from date nights, it’s also important to be partners in parenting. This means working together and sharing parenting responsibilities.
If you feel like your partner isn’t contributing, anger and resentment can build, which only puts more strain on your relationship. Read 10 ways to help Dad become an expert baby handler.
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