The "Partner or Parent?" Problem
"Unfortunately, we don't seem to be one of those lucky couples that are even more passionate and loving after having a baby," says Kristen Chase, mother of a 6-month-old in Plainville, Massachusetts, about her relationship with her husband, Brian. "The romance has been put on the back burner. Right now we're more in mommy/daddy mode than we are in husband/wife mode."
The Chase's situation is typical: Couples don't make their relationship enough of a priority after a baby is born. Sex often disappears and their time alone diminishes, says Gottman. The standard advice can really make a difference: "Plan a weekly date, make sex a priority once a woman's desire returns a bit, and plan romantic getaways." Revel in the new light in which you can now see each other. Does your husband look adorable and sexy when he is rocking your baby to sleep? Is he amazed that your body could produce such a miracle? By focusing on all the joys of parenthood (yes, there are joys!) and remembering why it was you wanted to have a child together in the first place, the inevitable arguments you have with your partner will just be small bumps in the road.
Michelle Lee is a freelance writer based in New York City.