Becoming a new parent comes with a whole bunch of challenges. With all the diapers, laundry, and night feedings currently crowding your world, date night with your partner may seem like an unnecessary luxury. It’s not.
About two-thirds of couples become dissatisfied with their relationship within the first three years of having a child. Although this statistic may seem staggering, it really isn’t. How many partners do you know whose marriage takes a nosedive within the first year of having a new baby? I know dozens. Many couples start with having unrealistic expectations about how much time they will have for each other once their little bundle arrives. I’ve heard it and have said it! – “We are not going to change at all.” “The baby will conform to OUR lives, not the other way around.” These expectations, along with a laundry list of others, can create major disappointment in any relationship when baby finally comes home. With raging hormones and lack of sleep, the change in roles and expectations seem to play an even larger part in what divides partners.
Just as important as spending time getting acquainted as a new family, is the idea of getting re-acquainted with your loved one. After all, you got in this mess together! You both have entered a new chapter in your lives, start by getting to know one another again. A quick Rx for marriage troubles is going on date nights. And not just ordinary dinners where conversation is mostly about said baby. Try something different- a concert or a hike- as often as you can. You will start to associate your relationship with fun again.
I remember our very first date night when our son was just about 4 weeks old. I thought to myself, there is no way I can leave him. But I reluctantly got dressed in whatever I could find that fit my post-pregnancy body and put on a smile for my ever-excited husband. We went to a Tom Petty concert. We had a blast. We didn’t stay until the concert ended, but we did it. This really set the stage for us as new parents and we made having fun and exciting date night part of our schedule. It is okay to schedule time together. Intimacy doesn’t have to be less meaningful because it’s scheduled. Sometimes it’s all we can do to focus on our partner and not the spit up you thought you got out of your hair this morning. It becomes something we look forward to.
As cute and cuddly as your little one is, don’t let those gummy smiles wedge there way between you and your partner. Get a babysitter, and hit the trail-head running!