A beautiful new baby usually means a big reshuffle in life. How do we look after our relationship with our partner in all of this juggle? Now you’re parents not just partners. You’re two tired individuals trying to find your balance, and there is a high risk that your relationship will get the crumbs of what’s left over. Having a baby is one of life’s miricales, but we have to be real about the pressure on our relationships easily sliding down the rung as a last priority.

Your relationship is not only important in its own right because it is precious and it gives you support and joy, but your relationship is the foundation for all those things that you are busy being wonderfully distracted by, your baby, creating your nest, finding your new groove as a family. We want to love and to be loved. We want to feel understood, cherished, accepted and celebrated for who we are. So your relationship is a top priority. we just have to get amazing at juggling. Let’s break this down.

First of all this is an enormous topic to squeeze into an article. I have fleshed this all out in my 5th Signposts for Living book, Understanding Others; Loved ones to Tricky ones. But lets just flag some of the crucial points.

  1. Make time

Create a window to stop being parents for a moment, and be partners, lovers. This means even if its having your bub with you out for a coffee, or if you wonderfully can get a family/friend minder, steal yourself away for a meal out, whatever you enjoy. I once knew a couple that kept up their hobby of bowling once a week, they say that it was the key to this early tricky chapter for them. It’s crucial to get out of the house together because this extracts you from your domestic focus, ‘I’ll just do this, just do that.’ And if you can possibly manage it, try to make this a window when you don’t focus on your baby (and your other children), try to just focus on yourselves and each other.

  1. Be an expert on each other

Our partner ought to be the person who treats us the best and visaversa. You are both going through a time of transition. Talk openly about what this is like for you. What are the challenges, what are the surprises. Be an expert on knowing exactly where the other person is at and be in the trenches with them. It is your responsibility to put your partners needs right up their as your personal priority. Be creative, problem solve together. Even if you can’t work it out yet, you are not alone in your struggles. We can grow together at this time or grow apart. Be smart. Choose growth through mutual support.

  1. I love you

The words ‘I love you’ only resonate when there is loving behaviour to back it up. It is important that we pay attention to actions here, not words. Talk is cheap. Especially after having a baby when we are tired and often frazzled.

So how do you show love? And what actions really resonate with your partner so that he or she feel your love. There’s a great book: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, that does justice to this topic. Words, actions, quality time, affection, gifts, which of these bring depth of meaning for you and your partner. This is about understanding and celebrating our differences.

  1. Stay your own identity

Part of looking after our relationship is looking after our partner in their personal needs. When you become a mother and a father you don’t stop being your own person. Work hard to stay true to your interests, your passions, your individuality. Prioritise this timewise. And make sure there is balance. Both partners need there time, the seesaw must balance and remain equal. If one partner is getting the lion’s share of personal time, that is not okay. Your relationship and you will tip over. Balance is your best friend.

  1. Keep having fun

When we have a baby, we are usually at the stage of a relationship when we are fairly familiar with each other. Clients say to me that they have fallen into predictable patterns and boring routine. They miss that they are actually responsible for injecting growth into their relationship. A dynamic relationship doesn’t just happen for us, we create it. Our focus needs to be on continued mutual enjoyment and new areas of shared growth and passion. We need to continue to find new challenges and areas to refine, learn from and experiment with. This is about sometimes varying our daily routines, and expanding to continued new topics of conversation, meeting new people, and doing new things and going to new places. Ultimately all of this is about continuing to get to know each other in increasing depth. A simple but beautiful rule of thumb is ‘keep having fun together and you’ll be fine’. It’s true.

  1. Masterclass in relationship skills

When you buy a plant you don’t put it in the corner and neglect to water for it. You can’t go into autopilot mode with a relationship. You have to care for it and each other, otherwise your relationship will shrivel up, much like the plant.

We need to practise and build our relationship skills. How are your skills in communication, problem solving your issues so they get sorted (so that you don’t just keep reoccuring again and again), do you both feel heard and understood, does your partner?

  1. Relationship rituals

One way to nurture our relationships is through couple rituals. Rituals are about creating routine time, simply windows in our day for each other, so that our days and months don’t distract us from each other. We have similar rituals with our kids. When we tuck them into bed every night; in this ritual they have our attention at the same time, in the same way, every night. They depend on this; it is a time they look to ‘plug in’ to you as their parents.

A couple ritual can be, for example, going to a nice spot in or outside of your home each day and having a drink together and comparing your days for fifteen minutes. It could be going to your couch together to say hello, or talk over an issue, or it could be going for a walk together each day at sunrise or sundown. Whatever works with your routine and whatever brings you the joy of ‘plugging in’ together.


We’ve scraped the surface here, I hope these tips help. Be real with where you’re both at, with what your needs are, talk, listen, make a plan, priorities, and support each other. You are in a pairbond, remember, that means you have to look to your other half and always prop them up with intelligent love.


Dr Kirsten Hunter is a Clinical Psychologist of 20 years. She works with children, teenagers, adults, and couples. Kirsten has written 6 DIY psychology books that cover 200+ topics across the expanse of clinical areas. She wants to put her clinical knowledge in the public’s hands. Opening the floodgates of psychology. Kirsten is the mother to five beautiful boys. Along with her husband Jon, she loves scuba diving and getting lost in nature with lengthy bushwalks.