"First comes love, then comes, marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage." Obviously that little song is outdated, but it still makes you wonder about what happens to the love you share with your significant other once a baby comes along. It's easy to get caught up in the life of your little one, and let the needs of your relationship fall out of focus. Fortunately, there are plenty of everyday habits that'll make your partner feel loved when you have a kid. That way neither one of you will doubt where you stand in each other's life.
One of the biggest mistakes I made shortly after giving birth to our son was assuming my partner knew how much I valued and appreciated all the things he did for our new family. But, unless science-fiction becomes reality, people can't read minds. So I had to be more mindful and recognize that my husband needed to hear how much he mattered. Thankfully, like most habits, once you get in the routine of nurturing your relationship after having a child, it will feel like second nature. So check out these ways you can ensure your partner still feels loved when you have a child.
1. Spell It Out
Remember the butterflies you'd get in your stomach as a kid when you found a love note? You can give your significant other that same thrill, too. As psychotherapist Dr. Erin Lebya told Psychology Today, writing a love note for your partner to find can be a physical way to show them they are loved. Plus, it can give you both something to look forward to if you make it a new tradition.
2. Set An Example
To be completely honest, sometimes I feel touched-out and don't want to be physical with my partner after a long day. But, as my best friend reminded me, how I treat my significant other sets an example for how our child understands relationships. Couples therapist Dr. John Jacobs, told Parenting that, "the number one thing you can do for your children is to have a good marriage." So if you're feeling burnt out, you don't have to force yourself to do anything. But if you let your partner know why you're not in a cuddling mood, then they'll know you still love them and just need time to recharge.
3. Stick To It
Everyone, from children to adults, need structure. Having consistency gives people a sense of security and helps create bonds. As psychotherapist Dr. Nikki Massey-Hastings told Psych Central, "eating together and talking about the day, for couples and for families, is a very powerful ritual of connection." The key element here is that you're making it a ritual. Sticking to whatever it is you decided to do is the main focus of this habit.
4. Don't Feel Guilty
If you're both new parents, the thought of doing things without the baby can be heart-wrenching. But, as psychologist Dr. Carol Ummel Lindquist told Parents, shouldn't view time away from your family as a bad thing. As always, talking openly with your partner about any guilt you may feel over spending time solely as a couple will only help you grow closer and stronger together.
5. Be Thankful
Regardless of what your love language is, letting your partner know how thankful you are for them is vital to making them feel loved. Dr. Terri Orbuch, a research professor at the University of Michigan, told PBS' Next Avenue, that "those who expressed frequent generosity to each other in the form of words, gestures, or acts reported the happiest marriages." So don't hold back when showing your significant other just how much you appreciate them.
6. Modify Traditions
It's completely normal to feel nostalgic for the early days in your relationship once a baby comes along. But that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to the way you used to do things forever. According to What To Expect, you can simply modify your old routines to fit your new life together as parents. If you used to go out for dinner and a movie, try ordering from your favorite restaurant and picking something out on Netflix instead.
7. Get Physical
No, I'm not referring to intercourse. I'm talking about body language. In an interview with Prevention, couples therapist Michael J. Salamon explained that a shift in your posture, "or a change in tone can indicate they are hearing, understanding and are being responsive to one another." So physically demonstrate that you are present, engaged, and care about how your partner feels.