This is a guest post from Debbie Cherry of Passion While Parenting.

Life after babies…  No sex.  No time.  No energy.  Many unfinished conversations.

Not quite the fairy-tale family life that you pictured?

Domestic duties double, and so does your bickering.  You have sex half as often, and it’s twice the hassle.  Couple time is now family time.  You’re always together, but no longer alone.  Battling it out for who gets the “shorter end of the stick” day after day?  This “tit-for-tat” system and the constant background buzz of nagging WILL cause resentment to build up over time.

The change is unavoidable. Consider your world officially rocked… your relationship included.

So you put all of your energy into the daily grind and raising awesome kids…. but wait (record scratch)… you FORGOT the most important thing – yep, your spouse.

We KNOW intuitively that how happy we are in our marriage influences our children.  Our emotions are contagious, and so when parents love each other unconditionally, the happiness and security that love brings spills over, to our children’s benefit.

The top three most important “parenting skills” (as reported by Epstein in Scientific American Mind) in terms of their influence on kids’ health, happiness, school success, and the quality of the parent’s relationship with their children:

  1. Love and affection… Show consistent love and support, be physically affectionate, and spend quality time together with each other and your children.
  1. Stress management… Take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your family, practice relaxation techniques, and promote positive interpretations of events.
  1. Relationship skills… Maintain a happy relationship with your spouse and model effective relationship skills with other people as well.

About 2/3rds of couples see the quality of their relationship drop within three years of the birth of a child (according to data from the Relationship Research Institute).

So, what are the other 1/3rd of happy couples doing differently to keep their spark?

  1. Focus on CONNECTION rather than communication. We’re always told that communication is everything. It is not…. and defiantly NOT priority #1 with a baby around.  Verbal communication often lead to further distance and reinforces the “problems” between you.  Do things together and for each other, laugh, play, cook, create, and just be.
  1. BE the partner you want. Your relationship is a mirror for what is going in inside of you… all of your fears and insecurities are reflected in your interactions with your spouse. This can be an empowering place to grow when you decide to be your most authentic self.  Respond to your spouse out of love and kindness rather than react out of fear.
  1. Take the opportunity to TRANSFORM your marriage. It can be easy to lose your identity in the chaos of a new baby. So, take this time to pick up all the pieces and put things back together in a NEW and IMPROVED way… the most real, vulnerable, and empowered version of yourself and your marriage will flourish.  Authenticity and strength are sexy… the passion will be unleashed!

The biggest predictor of overall life satisfaction is one’s satisfaction with one’s spouse. Couples either grow together or apart.  Research shows that “growing apart” is the single biggest reason people give for divorce.  If those are not enough reason to make these upgrades to your marriage NOW, here is one more… Your kids will thrive in all areas, including emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development when you create a marriage that you LOVE!

Debbie Cherry is passionate about helping couples with young children create relationships they love.  Debbie has helped families thrive for over 15 years working as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist across the country.  Debbie has now joined forces with her husband and relationship coach, Ray Cherry, and created Passion While Parenting Program and Free FaceBook Community.  They have helped hundreds of couples save their marriages quickly.  They specialize in giving busy parents the tools, mindset, and support to create a passionate marriage and be a powerful team.