Here in Houston relationship counseling, I see lots of new parents come in asking for marriage help, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Even if statistics didn’t show that, within the first year of having their first child, a high percentage of couples are significantly less satisfied with their relationship, most people would probably think it a pretty obvious result.

After all, having a child turns your world upside down. Evenings that once were about friends or romance immediately turn into quieting a crying baby, seemingly endless feedings, and changing dirty diapers. If you have down time together, most likely you’d rather sleep than make an effort for the other person. And I haven’t even started talking about how that lack of sleep affects new parents, but I’m sure you can pretty easily guess.

With all of this going on, new parents tend to fight more often and care about each other’s needs less than before. While some of this is necessary to focus on the baby, over time it can lead to couples feeling frustrated and unloved and even seeking out marriage help.

Houston Relationship Counseling: Ways to Keep the Relationship Strong

While you can’t completely control how you’ll react to having a little bundle of joy disrupt your entire life, there are a number of things new parents can try to keep their relationship satisfaction from fading.

Set shifts with the baby. To no one’s surprise, a lot of relationship dissatisfaction comes when one parent is constantly losing sleep or trying to calm a fussy baby. Give each other breaks by setting up a schedule where you trade off on baby duties.

Make schedules and lists. Lots of chores fall by the wayside with a newborn, and when one or both of you are neglecting your duties, it can be enough to set off a firestorm of an argument. One way to alleviate this is to sit down together and make schedules and lists. Then check things off as you do them.

Use “pamper” cards. Because it’s so easy to neglect each other’s needs, I recommend each of you writing down things like “massage me,” “cook me dinner,” or even “feed the baby” and cashing them in when you absolutely need them. Obviously, there will be some situations where it’s just not possible for your partner to step in immediately, but at least these are a nice reminder that the baby isn’t the only one who needs to be taken care of a bit.

If you try these methods and still find yourself having trouble, you might want to check out Houston relationship counseling.