Having a baby is one of the most amazing, life-changing experiences you will ever have. It's also a time when your marriage can be put to the test. Here are some tips to help keep your marriage strong during baby's first year of life! 

Expect changes in your relationship.

Things won’t be the same, and that’s ok! If you’re expecting your marriage to look the same post-baby as it does pre-baby, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Having a baby is a huge life change, and it will undoubtedly have an impact on your marriage. When you’re planning and expecting these changes, it can be much easier to navigate!

Spend time together without the baby

The truth is, especially in that first year, you'll have less time for each other. 

With a baby to care for, date nights and romantic weekends away will become a thing of the past - at least for a while. 

But it's important to still make time for each other, even if it's just watching TV together after the little one is asleep.

You can also get creative with nap time. If your baby is napping, use that time to have a quick check-in with your spouse. Take five minutes to chat about your day or catch up on each other's lives. Even if it's just a brief conversation, it will help you feel connected to each other.

Set aside some time each week (yes, WEEK) for quality time together. After the baby is in bed one night, take some time to relax together. Whether you watch a movie, chat over a glass of wine, or just sit in silence together, it's important to carve out some couple time each week (And don’t talk about the baby. What would you talk about if you were on a date before you got married?)

Work on communication and communicate openly with each other 

Amidst all of the chaos, it's important to make time for your spouse. After all, they are your partner in this journey! 

Sleep deprivation will take its toll. It's no secret that new parents are often sleep-deprived, which can lead to increased stress and irritability. Make sure to communicate with each other and take turns getting up with the baby so you can both get some rest. 

Share your triumphs and your challenges and listen to theirs. When you can see past what they can do for you and instead look at them as their own person with love and needs and stresses, it can help you feel more compassionate when you might otherwise be at your wits end! 

Care for YOURSELF and your own needs too.

You know the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup!”

Get out of the house for a bit, even if it’s just to run errands. Going for a walk around the block or taking a trip to the grocery store can be a nice change of pace. Getting some vitamin D on your skin for even just 20 minutes a day can make the world of difference in your mood and energy levels.  

Be proactive and hire a therapist or counselor.

A lot of people seem to think you only go to a marriage counselor if there is something wrong with your marriage. I like to think about counseling like working out, it’s a way to stay strong and become even stronger!

You can do it! The first year of your baby's life is a challenging but rewarding time. By expecting some changes and communicating well, you can keep your marriage strong and even thriving through your baby’s first year of life!