10 Steps to a Stronger Relationship After Baby

Jan 09, 2024

Most of us have had the experience of going through the day-to-day and then realizing we haven't really connected with our partner lately. We might even feel like we are both just going through the motions, surviving with no real plan, direction, or thought about how to make space for our relationship as a couple. Being a parent is amazing, but at times we can be so in the thick of it that we forget this whole party (aka family) started because of the love shared with our partners. So how do we work back to that now that we are parents (drool stains and all🤪)?

You might think that we are going to suggest lots of sexy romantic things... this isn't what this blog is about. It's about learning how to stay truly connected through a few simple strategies backed by research. Date night and gifts are nice but feeling truly heard, supported, and a team with our partner... now that's sexy. 

So let's get to it! Here is a list of 10 steps that you and your partner can take to strengthen your relationship today!

1. Schedule time to sit with your partner to talk about what you want your family to look like. What do you want it to feel like, what are your top values, and how can you live that way? Researchers and longtime married couple John and Julie Gottman call refer to this as a "shared family vision"

2. Discuss what you will need to reach this shared vision. Do you need to work less, create more time together, seek a job that meets your family's changing needs, adjust your family budget, hire support, re-work family responsibilities and chores, etc. Remember the less stressed each of you are the more likely you will have the energy for connection and romance. 

3. Create a plan and ditch unrealistic expectations. Pick one thing at a time to work on as individuals or as a couple. Often we focus so much on the end result that we try to accomplish all of our goals at once, ultimately leading to failure in reaching any of our goals. The goal is small long-lasting sustainable changes. Start with the thing creating the most distress in the family and work from there. Oftentimes both partners need support learning to regulate their emotions, adjust to their new role, and learn to communicate effectively with their partner on top of things like figuring out household responsibilities, work balance, childcare, etc. 

4. Communicate often. This stuff is hard, set aside time regularly to talk about this stuff. Having a once a once-a-week or even once-a-month check-in can be a great place to do this. But you don't have to wait till your check-in to name that something not quite working. Using "I statements" can be a really helpful tool in communicating something difficult with your partner.

The formula looks like this: Name your feeling + the problem in a concrete way + what you need

Here's an example: Honey I'm feeling overwhelmed + we talked about you helping out more with putting the baby to bed at night but it doesn't seem to be working the way we planned + can we talk about this again later and problem-solve how we can make it work better so we can both get some rest?

5. Be flexible and open to changing needs. You may create a plan that works amazing... and then life and your family's needs change... so should your plan! Our lives are constantly evolving and changing so the plan that worked a month ago may need to be adjusted and that's okay. 

6. Keep things simple in all ways. Keep your plan simple, keep your house simple, keep communication simple. Things are constantly changing so keeping things as simple as possible can help reduce confusion, overwhelm, overstimulation, clutter, and stress. So start small and keep it simple.

7. Assume the best of your partner. Assume your partner is doing their very best even if it's not what you need, not what you understood as the plan, or are feeling frustrated. It's possible for it to be frustrating for you AND that they are doing their very best. Circle back to step 4 and talk about it. There may have been a miscommunication or what you agreed on is not working and the strategy needs an adjustment. 

8. Remain a team. Focus on the situation that's the problem vs each other. Avoid criticism and name-calling. These are relationship killers. It is always okay to have feelings about something, what's important is how we manage these feelings. Focusing on the situation or problem versus blaming or criticizing can help you make meaningful changes and strengthen your relationship instead of breaking it down. 

9. Say sorry when you make a mistake. We ALL make mistakes but when our partner doesn't take accountability for their mistakes we can feel completely alone in our relationship. It can make us question our thoughts or feelings and make us feel crazy. And ultimately, this leads us to feel less connected to our partner. Think about a time in your life were you knew someone who seemed to think they knew everything or never made a mistake. Pretty annoying or frustrating right? Owning our mistakes does not make us a failure, it makes us human, an amazing partner and an awesome teammate to have in parenting. We all make mistakes, that includes you. Own them. 

10. Find small ways to connect daily. Adjusting to parenthood is hard. A hug that lasts a few seconds longer, a touch of their hand on a hard day, an offer to help out even when they don't ask, or a gentle kiss every day when you get home. These small moments help us feel seen and connected. Even on the busiest of most stressful of days, these moments communicate I see you, I love you, and I'm here with you. 

We said these steps were simple... and they are. But they are not always easy. Give yourself and your partner grace as you start to work on implementing each step. Find the sexiness in your partner's efforts versus the annoyance in the errors they may make on a step. Practicing noticing the good can actually have a huge impact on how we perceive the situation, our partners, and our relationship. Intentionally noticing the good trains our brain to start looking for more good, versus getting in the habit of only noticing the bad. It doesn't hurt to share when you notice your partner's efforts too. We all love to hear that our partner can see we are trying. 

Great relationships take intentional work. And the word "work" doesn't have to be bad. Doing "the work" means that you care, this relationship means something to you, and you're in it for the long haul. 

Want more support connecting with your partner after baby? Check out our course, The Connected Couples Guide today! 


Sending love and support your way, 

Sasha and Alex ❤️


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