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Marriage after baby: Dos and don’ts

The arrival of a child upsets the entire couple-hood life, bringing drastic change and a torrent of stress. And while it may not be obvious at first, there is a sublime sense of fulfillment waiting when you overcome these early challenges together with your partner.

Snowballing stress
Right from day 1, your child rewires your inner clock. You lose sleep and lose concentration at work. You nod off and are kept awake at all the wrong times. It carries forward to the next day in an unstoppable cycle. The flip side to this, is you can develop a strengthened bond with your partner, as you learn to juggle, take turns with the child and operate as a team.

Less time
As whole new routines shift and arrange themselves around the child, you'll realize there's less time for both you and your partner, to do the things you enjoy both together and individually. The flip side: you'll appreciate the time you have more carefully.

Unexpected romance
When you can, take the effort to make time and make dates. A private night out starts to feel fun and exclusive again. That's good, but on the flip side, small things also start to count for more. Chatting about your day while washing the dishes, or catching up before bed - it's the plainly unromantic scenes that can yield surprisingly meaningful moments.

Fights
Passion tilts both ways. A stronger relationship usually allows for louder arguments. And if you happen to argue in front of a toddler, make sure he sees you make up too. The flip side to fighting is that it's an important opportunity not to be missed - to teach your baby about patience, understanding and conflict resolution.

Mixed emotions
Jealous that your offspring commands so much of your partner's attention? Guilty that you're tired of the child? And you thought only women get so hormonal. Don't be anxious about having mixed emotions. They go away after you stick it out. At the end of it all, you'll emerge fearless. You'll be a father, a man redefined, a whole new level of man. The flip side of all that fear and doubt, is an immeasurable courage.

So envision yourself as that natural hero. Be flexible, stay relaxed and in control - even as you learn to change diapers, carry the child properly, feed and burp him, then put him to sleep. The flip side to these minor headaches is simply that these chores are temporary. Treasure this experience, because the child grows up.

They grow up all too soon.

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