PARENTS

How Babies Bring Parents Closer

22/01/2014 10:24 | Updated 22 May 2015

How babies improve relationshipsAlamy

"You can kiss goodbye to intimacy once you have a baby". I'm not even paraphrasing. I read this very sentence recently on a men's website.

And in the women's press there is no end to articles about the impact having a baby can have on your partnership. Read any parenting site or forum and you will be awash with ways in which your relationship will suffer. Hell, even the baby books talk about how to stop the baby from ruining your sex life.

But what about the ways in which having a baby will bring you even closer?

A whole new side to your partner

You will start to see your other half as a real actual dad/rounded human being, not just as a bloke who looks good in a pair of cycling shorts.

Looking over in the middle of the night to see your darling daughter snoozing peacefully on his chest or him waltzing past the bedroom with a nappy in one hand and a bottle in the other can be far sexier than ogling him across the dancefloor and can do wonders for the longevity of your passion.

The middle-of-the-night bonding sessions

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You will bond with your other half irrevocably at 3am when you are all piled on the bed together, tied by lack of sleep and immune to anything happening anywhere else in the world. Nothing else will matter, nobody else exists. It's the first flushes of romance all over again (kind of).

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Now 3am tearful arguments about how you don't feel valued become whispered joyfests that the squalling bundle between you has finally – FINALLY – dozed off and 6am stops being a time when you roll home with a hangover and quite possibly a fight on the way and becomes a time you both get up and have a cup of coffee in your dressing gowns and watch the sun rise.

The role reversal

Remember when your other half's refusal to be the life and soul of the party used to drive you completely demented? When the last thing he wanted was to go for lunch with your pals and their husbands/tag along on the spa day? You'll be revelling in this stubbornness when he's the one volunteering to stay home with the baby while you go out and enjoy yourself or he's the first one to leave the table as the wine is opened and your wee one starts to open her lungs.

Traits which you previously deplored in him will become desirable assets and things to be cherished. See also his pig-headed desire not to let anyone else do anything that he could do himself (nappy-changing/feeding/getting the baby to sleep) and insistence that he is the best cook ever (knock yourself out, Nigel Slater).

The priority shift

Suddenly your future together becomes about all of you not just both of you. Ever half-packed your bag and threatened to leave in the morning? Or had an argument and decided you "might just move to New York for a bit to clear your head"? You simply can't do that once you're a parent.

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Every single argument you have that looks like it might escalate is tempered by the idea that you have a child together and every snap decision you make affects them. It's a sobering idea and one which helps you watch your tongue and only fight about the Really Important Things, like who last emptied the nappy bin.

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Also, as that really bad swear word bubbles up on your tongue, you'll look over and watch your toddler staring intently at your mouth to see what comes out and you'll have no choice but to grin. It's marriage counselling on a budget.

The precious moments alone

OK, so it's not always easy to completely switch off on 'date night' but knowing you have nothing but a few hours alone together can do wonders for your ability to live in the moment.

Actual Adult Conversations (especially the older your child gets) become like rare jewels to be polished and savoured. No more glazing over as he talks you through Milton's Areopagitica; you'll start to relish the break from Tabby McTat and look forward to his lectures on leftist orthodoxy. Honest.

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