Your marriage has settled into a state of comfy domesticity. You've figured out how to share household chores, and you've found a workable balance of couple time and alone time. It's so perfect, it's almost sickening! But don't get smug just yet. Here comes your bouncing bundle of joy -- and a whole bunch of new stuff to fight about. "The birth of a child sends shock waves through most marriages," says Weiner-Davis.
Suddenly, you're living by new rules. You have to renegotiate important decisions about time, chores, money, and career goals. And that's hard to do when you're exhausted by life with a new baby. With most of your energies focused on your needy new darling, the demands of your other, older darling may suddenly seem unbearable. You're totally sleep-deprived, and you never get out of your spit-up-stained sweats. Don't be surprised if your sex drive all but disappears.
You and your sweetie have always been a hot couple, but during the crazed new-baby period, you might need to make a more conscious effort to fuel those love flames. Things don't happen as spontaneously as they used to, so it's important to carefully carve out time for each other. For starters, try setting aside at least 15 minutes every day to talk. It doesn't matter when you do it -- on your cell from the supermarket, if that's all you can manage. The critical thing is to try to connect every day. "If you don't take care of your romance, it will get buried underneath all the practicalities of raising kids," says Weiner-Davis.
As soon as your child is old enough to be left with a sitter, start "dating" each other again -- at least once a month, or more if you can swing it. It doesn't have to be dinner by candlelight -- just have fun with each other. Finally, make sex a priority. Push yourself to get naked together regularly, even if you haven't shaved your legs in a month. It's the best way to maintain intimacy, and that will help you get through this huge transition. "Remember, keeping your marriage strong is the best thing you can do for your child," says Weiner-Davis.