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 After the Baby is Born: Recovering Passion in Your Marriage

Every couple goes through specific developmental stages.  These are markers of growth and development in the marriage.  There is a particularly tough stage that a couple goes through after the birth of their children.

After the first baby is born, one or both members of the couple go into parenting mode.  For most couples, the spouses intensely focus on being parents and doing what it takes to care for and raise a new baby.  Typically, they shift out of a romantically involved couples mode and focus more exclusively on just being parents.  It is an intense transition to suddenly care for the needs of a baby and there isn't always enough time, energy or desire to focus on intimacy between the spouses.

After about 8 months to 18 months, if all things go on schedule, the new parents start to shift again, and re-focus their attention on rebuilding an intimate loving relationship.   If the couple doesn't go through this shift there will likely be problems in the marriage.  Both spouses may feel that something is missing.  There may be feelings of loneliness, alienation and lack of support or love.   A couple may start to bicker and argue more, or pull back in isolation, or develop a "friend-like" relationship that has little of the former love and passion. 

If you are in such a relationship that has gone past the 2 year mark, following the birth of your child, and haven't made the developmental shift, you will probably want to take action to push the shift to occur.

Being aware of it and being willing to take action is a good first step.  Another next step could be to start "dating" again with each other.  This means going out to dinner or some event, where it feels like a date.  This requires that you have a baby sitter for your child(ren).  You are not on a date if your  kids are present.  For some couples, this will require some work at developing a list of trustworthy baby sitters.  It is definitely worth the work of developing a list of baby sitters.

There are many other steps you can take to reestablish a loving and passionate connection with your spouse.

If you feel like you are stuck in this process and can't more forward, this would be good time to consult with a couples counselor.  There is no limit to how long a couple could be stuck, and it frequently happens that a couple does not move through this developmental stage and stays isolated or in bickering conflict for decades.   You do not want to let this happen to you.  Get help if it is happening.

 If you have any questions about this article, contact Don Wallach, MFT through his website at www.donwallach.com or call at (415) 339-7890 or (707) 583-2305.

 

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