My partner and I were married for over seven years before we became parents, and during those seven years we went through a handful of tough experiences, from unemployment to moving to a new country to infertility. We grew closer through those challenges, but the unexpected ways our marriage changed after baby were no-less surprising. In fact, because the changes were unique to both our personal situation and process of growing our family, nothing we experienced as a married couple could have prepared us for how our daughter would change our relationship.
Like many married couples, we did a lot together and a lot as individuals. We made our own schedules and coordinated sometimes, but not always. We mostly found ways to ensure we could do just about everything we wanted to do, together and separate, without having to sacrifice too much. We even managed to make it feel like moving to my husband's home country wasn't too much of a sacrifice for me, the one who had the culture shock and struggled to find a job. On a daily basis, we spent lots of time together but satisfied all our own individual needs, too.
Once we became parents, however, everything was instantly superseded by one much bigger (although very tiny) priority: our daughter and her wellbeing. While we didn't just chuck everything we'd learned about marriage or what we needed individually, there was a subtle shift in many aspects of our marriage to align with this new priority. They weren't all amazing and they weren't all terrible, they were just unique and different and educational for our marriage.
If you're in the thick of new parenting with your partner, keep an eye out for these changes you're probably both experiencing: