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Surviving Marriage After Kids

Yes, babies are so cute. Yet, having one can prove to be hard on a marriage. It’s important to go ahead and get your relationship rock solid during the pregnancy if you feel any gaps need to be filled. Go ahead and start doing weekly date night. While you may be reading baby books and shopping for strollers, make sure to always have “adult” conversation time, especially making time for intimacy.

Studies have shown that a couples’ satisfaction with their marriage takes a huge nose dive after the first child is born. Many couple have a child thinking it will start a family and bring them closer together. Unfortunately, sleepless nights and fights over whose turn it is to change diapers can drain the fun out of a relationship.

A growing number of mental-health professionals advise that couple undergo pre-baby counseling to has out marital minefields such as divvying up baby-related responsibilities, money issues and expectations for sex and social lives. In addition, a growing number of hospitals, midwives and doulas are teaching relationship skills alongside childbirth education classes.

About two-thirds of couple see the quality of their marriage drop within three years of the birth. Conflict increases, with little time for adult conversation and sex, emotional distance can develop.

Men and women experience the deterioration of their marriage differently. Mothers’ satisfaction plummets immediately; for men, the slide is delayed a few months. Hormonal changes, the physical demands of childbirth and nursing, and an abrupt shift from the working world to being at home with an infant may explain that.

Couples spend more time decorating the nursery than preparing the relationship for the arrival of the baby.

You have to not only maintain your partner as your lover, but also as your best friend. When a baby is here, your needs go on the back burner. Usually, the mother focuses on the baby and the father focuses on the mother and the baby. Ironically, men don’t get much attention during this time. And the dog? Yeah, the poor dog.

The fact is, like the movie The Lion King, it’s supposed to be a circle of life. Life is meant to be lived and the circle is a perfect cycle of giving and taking. Nobody in the family should be excluded and not given any attention. Stay-at-home mother’s definitely need a break since many claim to basically lose their minds during the first few years. They will tell you that they don’t have time for their husbands because they barely have time to take care of themselves.

One little trick that I love is called “The Gratitude Jar” and it can be a miracle maker. Basically, all you do is keep a notepad, pen and a jar on a counter. Every day, write one thing you’re grateful for or a special moment that happened that day. If you can’t think of anything exciting you can even put down what you ate for breakfast or the fact little one didn’t poop on you again. Whenever you and your partner are having a marital meltdown, grab the jar. Sit down, take three deep breaths, and read the contents. One thing I personally have with my partner is a “safe word.” Personally, I needed a safe sentence. So, when I get upset and life is frustrating, she will say to me, “What if you only had 10 more minutes to live?” Believe it or not, if you allow yourself to let that hit you upside the head, you quickly step back and see the bigger picture. I know how I hope to spend the last 10 minutes of my life and that is in harmony and being at peace.

Having a child truly is a gift. It does add to two people and create a family. Not to get religious, but one thing from the Bible that is very wise is one chapter about what love is.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Instead of pointing a finger at your spouse, turn it around and be honest about your own self in the relationship. What are you giving? How are you reacting? Are you showing love the way you want it returned?

Studies have shown that when partners in marriage start to treat the other how they want to be treated themselves, the other partner soon follows suit.

Instead of yelling about not cleaning the bottles or emptying the diaper genie, learn to respond instead of react. Make sure to tell your spouse one thing every day that you appreciate about them. Don’t forget the kisses, the hugs, the hand-holding. And don’t, please don’t, forget to have your weekly date night. Make it happen!

 

2 Comments on Surviving Marriage After Kids

  1. I couldn’t agree more. My hubby and I had some mega hard times in the beginning after our son, Parker, was born. I wish I had read this article then. Would have saved him some nights on the couch. 😉 Def some wise words.

  2. My wife and I separated just a year after our first child. It was pretty rough. Took us 6 months of counseling for me to move back into the house. Having kids is great on one hand and not so great on the other. It’s A LOT of work…more than they tell you!

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