William H. Macy Offers Advice for New Parents

03/31/2009 at 02:00 PM ET

Anna Pocaro/London Entertainment/Splash News Online

As one of the rare success stories in Hollywood, actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman know a thing or two about how to make a marriage work. Tops on their list? Keeping their relationship a priority after the birth of their two daughters Sofia Grace, 8 ½, and Georgia Grace, 7.

“When my pals have kids, I look at them and say ‘Look, these kids are almost bullet-proof. They can take anything, but I tell you what’s on the critical list: your relationship with your wife,'” he explains to OK! “So the first thing you’d better do is make a date as soon as that baby comes.”

“You’d better make a date and take your wife out within a month — whether you want to, or not — and you can’t talk about the kid. And you’d better have a romantic weekend within two months because it tears couples apart, these babies do.”

Adding that he and Felicity “have been really good about finding time” for each other, Bill says that the couple enjoy quick one and two-day getaways “four, five, six times a year.”

William, 59, and Felicity, 46, were married in 1997.

Source: OK!

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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MZ on

He goes by Bill? I’ve never heard him called that before.

RockinMomma! on

A weekend away from baby within two months? There is no way that you can get a romantic getaway two months after baby while breastfeeding. Get away, sure. I don’t see what’s romantic about having to stop every three hours to pump, though! I think he’s exaggerating a bit about that timeline, lol.

Patrice on

I couldn’t agree with this more! So many people (especially Mom’s) seem to forget that their partner exists at all once children come into the picture and it’s so (unessesary) and unfortunate! I always tell my friends to remember” Without your marriage, there would be NO baby!” Mr. Macy gives out excellent advice!

Opinion on

Neither one of us would have had a good time without our daughter when she was at that young age.

His wife sometimes comments that she doesn’t “always” like being a mother, so it was obviously important for HER to go out! He’s being a good husband to notice that.

My husband is being a good husband to notice that I’d rather go for a walk WITH our daughter. And have some snuggle time after she goes to bed. 🙂

Patrice on

P.S. I’m sure many might respond “But you’re soooo tired after a new baby” blah, blah, blah…but my response is that, any situation is what you make of it : ) If you don’t want to put the effort into nurturing your marriage (partnership)from the day it begins(including the day baby comes home), then you won’t, but your relationship WILL suffer. But, I digress. To each his/her own.

Lorus on

I agree about date night. Couples need to focus on their relationship to keep it strong. So many relationships end after kids because the focus changes to the children and only the children. Relationships take a lot of work to keep them strong. There’s no way I could leave my 2 month old baby for a weekend even if I wasn’t breastfeeding! To each their own though.

Brandi on

MZ, Felicity always calls him Bill in interviews. I agree, time alone with your spouse is so important. For my husband and I we really try to stick to our weekend date night and it makes a big difference.

lnatt on

I think this is one of those things where YMMV. DH and I have 3 young homeschooled children who are with us pretty much 24/7 (well, DH works, but outside of those 40 hrs/week). We love it. We very rarely feel the need for date nights. We’ve had exactly one overnight visit away from them, not until my first two were 2 and 4. And we haven’t done it again, since the 3rd came along and at just past 2 years, he’s still nursing at night and there’s no way I’d leave him for a week-end (a 2-month-old – CRAZY!) DH is VERY supportive of our attachment parenting practices, is not resentful in the least, and there is absolutely ZERO suffering on either of our parts.

We have a *fantastic* marriage that honestly seems to get better with each and every addition. It’s way better even then when we were newlyweds, and we were super-happy then, too. Then again, I’ve never thought that marriage took a lot of “effort” or “work”, either. Yes, we spend lots of time together (and you can do this without date nights or weekends away), talk all the time, laugh like crazy, and have a good sex life, but this all feels easy and natural to me. Maybe we are just super-compatible, I don’t know.

Regardless, I hate it when people give unilateral advice that generalizes their own personal preferences into a need that EVERYONE must have. 3 babies have not “torn us apart” at all – they have made us more and more loving, peaceful, calm, and in harmony with one another. So I wish he would not take his own experience and assume everyone else’s is the same.

Patrice on

Inatt, no one is trying to give “unilateral advice here”, but I don’t understand how you think a date night with your husband might somehow be detremental to your marraige? Also, neglecting to breatsfeed a 2 year old for one night is probably a good thing. Toddlers are not newborns!

Mrs. R. on

I agree that his heart is in the right place, but his comments are unrealistic for some.
I certainly couldn’t afford to do weekends away from my daughter 5-6 times a year… with the cost to travel plus the cost of a babysitter for an entire weekend? yikes.
But it is good advice for a husband to try his best to keep the ‘flame’ alive in those first few months after a baby. Some moms just don’t have the energy to take care of everyone and everything as well in those first few months, so it’s great when a new dad can step up and say – I’ll be in charge of taking care of our marriage. Even if it’s in a SMALL way like helping run erands without being asked, or bringing home flowers just because. Little things always make a huge difference in our house – I can imagine every husband wants to be helpful in those first few months, so Bill is trying to offer a suggestion.

Kelly on

I agree wholeheartedly with Inatt. To me Bill sounded a little too “know-it-all”. There’s definitely more than one way for a marriage to work.

Also about the “quick one and two-day getaways “four, five, six times a year,” their schedules likely allow them more flexibility to be able do that sort of thing – not to mention the nanny that they have available to care for their children. My husband and I have two young children and trying to get away for one or two days just isn’t an option at the moment.

415mama on

In regard to Patrice’s comment: I didn’t notice anywhere in Inatt’s comment where she stated or implied that a date night would be “detrimental” to her marriage. She is just stating what works for her family which happens to be in opposition to what works for you. Also, I think it is fantastic that she is nursing her 2yo…go mama!! Neglecting to nurse a child that hasn’t been weened would be traumatic for them and not a good thing as you suggest.

Nina on

Go Inatt! I think that’s awesome. Patrice, I thought your comments were a bit rude.
Everyone has different experiences in parenting and values different things it sounds important to both Inatt and her 2 year old that she nurses so I say go for it!
Why do we have to be so critical all the time??

Michelle on

to add my 2 cents . . . . I agree that parents need to make time for each other, and to make sure their relationship is nurtured, both for their sakes and their children’s, but I also think that each couple has their own way of doing that. Just make sure to keep it a priority, however it works for them.

Jurnee on

Great advice! Taking care of your relationship is essential to good parenting as well. It shows children their mum and dad are happy and know how to have a healthy relationship. Just adore this couple!

Candace on

I ABSOLUTELY agree with his advice!! I know that I certainly NEED time, outside my home, outside of my “mommy role” to feel like just a wife and woman for just a little while!! It does WONDERS.

Stephany on

The funny thing is, I’m seeing a lot of differing opinions. I’m not a mom yet but I can see how some would totally need a date night and a night to just enjoy her relationship with her husband while some can’t bear the thought of leaving a one-month-old at home with a baby-sitter. I think William is using his own experience (and it seems to have worked pretty well, married since 1997 and all…) to help his own friends with new babies out. But, of course, we are all different and we all have different needs and wants. Some of us would be OK with date nights and romantic weekends away without the baby while others couldn’t bear that. To each their own.

sally on

I agree with a lot of the comments on here. It is important to focus on the relationship as a couple. But you can do that on a DAILY basis. You don’t have to (and most people simply can’t) go out of time 5, 6 times a year!

My hubby and I do things for each other every day, and that’s what keeps our marriage strong. I don’t think it’s inevitable that babies drive anything apart – in our case, it’s made us stronger.

shagelau on

AMEN! That’s the first bit of good advice I’ve heard here in a long time!!

Silvermouse on

My parents took a night out every 3 months or so, and their marriage has survived 22 years this December. Not only did they have 3 children but 3 TEENAGE girls at one point. They just treat marriage as a partnership and don’t degrade one another. You have to keep love in a relationship. . . otherwise it’s down the drain faster than a speeding car.