When I was pregnant for the first time, people were quick to remind me that I needed to take care of myself. New babies were needy and it would be easy to forget that I had needs, too. This was overwhelmingly true. I protected my own physical and emotional health with frequent showers, daily runs, and a stash of York Peppermint Patties and Diet Pepsi. I was prepared to take care of my own health, but I was ill-equipped for the toll that kids would have on my marriage. Marriage after kids requires a new set of tools in the back pocket. Peppermint Patties weren’t going to cut it.
For months after my son’s arrival, my husband and I lived like roommates who happened to share a bed when we weren’t sleeping on the nursery floor. Our conversations were limited to what we were having for dinner, whose turn it was to rock the baby to sleep, and when we’d next have the chance to sleep or shower. When we recognized how our marriage was suffering, we adopted these three habits to ensure the continued health of our marriage.