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Parenthood is an overwhelming job. Kids, especially babies, seem to need you there constantly. It's very easy for parents to get so into the role that they lose sight of the couple relationship they used to have. "Dr. Romance" shows you how to devote adequate time to your kids and still keep a special part in your relationship for each other.
Intimacy After Baby
The most powerful thing you can do to keep a marriage strong after starting a family is form a partnership, a team, where both parties feel respected, cared about and needed.
Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted. When this feeling is created barriers fall.
*Gentle touch, eye contact a gentle sense of humor and the right words all create the atmosphere.
*Commenting positively on your partner's looks or the day's activities will also help.
*With a new baby, understand that your couple relationship will be put on hold for the first few months, until the baby is sleeping through the night. Your relationship will not be a priority during this time, so the more realistic you are about this beforehand, the less resentful you'll be when it happens.
*After things settle down, the mother has recovered from giving birth, the baby is sleeping through the night, and you've established a routine, things will become somewhat easier.
*Try to organize your schedule so that you have some time together, without having to do chores or work, after the baby is asleep.
*Talk frequently about how you're both doing, whether your arrangement feels fair, and encourage your partner to talk about what's bothering him or her. Once you know how to express problems to each other, you have an opportunity to fix them before they become worse.
*If you can arrange for someone trustworthy to baby sit, take at least one night out a week together, or, if the baby can go to grandma's house, or a trusted friend's house, have an intimate, quiet night at home. Time by yourself will refresh you both for childcare and for the relationship.
*Hopefully both parents will be involved in childcare, which keeps the burden from being too great on one parent. If both parents contribute equally, each should have one night off while the other partner watches the child.
Here are four simple steps to create a successful marriage:
1. Talk frequently and honestly to each other -- about your frustrations, about sex, about anger, about disappointment, about your appreciation of each other, about the meaning of life, about everything.
2. Strive to work together to solve anything that comes up -- be a team, a partnership. Don't get stuck on who is right or wrong -- focus on what will solve the problem.
3. Keep your connection going -- through communication, sex, affection, understanding and concern for each other.
4. Have a sense of humor, give the benefit of the doubt, care about each other.
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., "Dr. Romance," is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Long Beach, Calif. since 1978 and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again and Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She publishes the Happiness Tips from Tina email newsletter, and the Dr. Romance Blog. She has written for and been interviewed in many national publications, and she has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and many other TV and radio shows.