by Bridgette R. Odom
Everything pregnancy can put stress on relationships.
From preconception pressures to new parent jitters, making and taking care of a baby brings challenges into each couple's life.
You might wish that relationships came with a recipe to nourish each partner.
While you're not handed a guidebook at the start of your relationship, you can tap into our member's relationship secrets that nurture friendship and love.
We asked our members how they resolved the conflicts and stress that come with parenthood. They shared relationship secrets for your trying to get pregnant days, your blossoming pregnancy and throughout your journey to parenthood.
Stating the obvious: "My relationship secret is to shout it out! When I think how much he means to me, I voice it. 'I love you.' When he does something that reminds me how much I appreciate him, I tell him about that, too. I know that he knows, but everyone enjoys hearing those words and speaking out reminds me how precious he is," Monica says.
Love, not sex: "We thought getting pregnant would be a breeze. Month after month our hopes were dashed when my period started. As the months crept by, sex became a time sensitive chore. We turned off the pressure by turning on romance -- a snuggle session during a good movie, a back or foot rub or a candlelight dinner. If it lead to sex, that was fine. If it didn't, we'd enjoyed connecting and romancing," Charlie shared.
Get crazy together: "Getting pregnant can be frustration. We work at having fun. We eat ice cream, swim naked in a lake and make out in the back seat of your car at the drive in. We can't let trying to conceive take over our lives," Rachael says.
Clearing the air: "Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," explains Sally. "I try to respectfully talk about my frustrations before they pile up and hurt someone."
Special time together: "My husband and I have dinner together. When my mom asked what I'd for the baby, I told her I would love the gift of childcare each month so we can look forward to couple time even after the baby arrives," Jonnie says.
Realistic expectations: "I'm tired. I feel crappy and I want someone to just make it better," Sarah says. "I also know it's not reasonable for me to heap my work load on my husband. So we're looking at what needs done and deciding how to deal with it all, as a team."
Stay connected: "I recommend getting away without the kids. Spend some time dating again. It's good for you now and later. Some day when the kids are all gone you are not left looking at a stranger,"
When you argue: "Establish ground rules and fight nicely," Julia says. "Especially when you're both upset, you need to limit the discussion to the problem at hand. Are you miffed that he didn't rinse off his plate and put in the dishwasher? Is he upset that you forgot about the leftovers in the fridge for three weeks? Then talk about those issues and how you can ensure they'll happen less frequently in the future. Don't turn the fight into 'you're such a slob' and 'you're always so wasteful.' Keep the topic focused and the fight clean."
Share interests: "You've got a new family. Look into new interests," Jason shares. "It helped us to find things we can do together, even if its just reading a book or watching a movie."