Although you can't truly understand what it's like to be a parent until you become one, you can take steps to keep your future offspring from hurting your relationship now.In fact, when you have a strong relationship, sharing a baby can sometimes bring you closer together, says Hilda Hutcherson, M.Once you have a family, you have to work harder to make time for yourselves as a couple.Movie night on the couch after Baby falls asleep can be a perfect night in, but also make sure you get out regularly.But instead of scheduling your life around Baby, you should try to schedule her life around yours, Kerner says.Your baby will adapt more easily than you think, and your relationship will stop getting pushed from the calendar."You may not end up having sex, but you have to be intimate in one way or another," Kerner says."You kind of have to put body through the motions and trust that mind will follow."There are only so many hours in the day, and with babies requiring so many, you may find yourself structuring your days around your little one.
Take the time to check them off your list, Hutcherson says.Even though you're getting ready to spend plenty of time baby-making, studies suggest that less than one in four couples are satisfied with their post-baby sex lives.After Baby arrives, you'll have plenty of reasons not to have sex (tired, achy, busy), but you have a much better reason to have sex: Without frequent sex, your brain's levels of oxytocin (the so-called "feel-good" hormone) can drop, making you feel emotionally disconnected from your partner, Hutcherson says.Many parents don't think to discuss the ins and outs of co-sleeping before having a child, but the decision could cause relationship troubles later. Put a lock on your bedroom door to prevent toddlers from walking in and you from fretting, Hutcherson says."Children help you realize just how hard the other person works, especially when the other one is away or ill," says dad Eric Ambler. A few kind words, a helping hand, or even just a text can go a long way toward making you both feel valued.And as your child ages, you'll need to make it clear that he sleeps in his bed, and you in yours. And you don't have to wait until you become parents to say "thank you" to each other; get in the habit now.