Every new parent knows that having a child will change many things about their daily life. Most, however, do not plan for the difficulty that it also places upon a marriage. In fact, when the Gottman Relationship Institute in Seattle conducted a study of new parents and their relationship, they found that nearly two-thirds of parents found their relationship to be unsatisfying by the time their child was three years old.
While this is a significantly high percentage of parents, it should give you some comfort that you are not alone in this battle. Below is a list of the most common reasons why marriages fail after a child is born and how you can combat them so that you and your spouse become a strong united front with a healthy relationship.
Loss Of Alone Time
Many times when a newborn is introduced into the equation, getting any alone time goes right out the window. All of your time and effort is spent on the child and what the child needs, that you allow your individual needs to fall by the wayside. This is a fatal mistake to your relationship. Everyone needs alone time in order to recharge and find yourself again. If you continue to put your personal needs on hold, you will forget that you are also an individual and not just a parent. It can also lead toward resentment toward your spouse. Once you have a feeling of resentment towards your spouse, all hopes for effective and strong communication go out the window.
It is okay, healthy even, to express to your spouse that you need a little time to yourself to unwind and relax. Whether it be a twenty minute bath, getting nap in during the day to recharge your batteries, or even hitting the town with close friends, it is imperative to your relationship that you have a little time to remind yourself that you are still a person who has needs.
Lack Of Communication
With all of the stress that comes with having a child, getting a schedule down, the crying, feeding and bathing, communication with your spouse often takes a backseat. It is hard to find a moment in the day when you can just sit across from your spouse and talk about their day. Once communication is lost, frustration builds up. Most new parents allow these feelings of frustration to build up until they are exploded all over their spouse and feelings are hurt. Once you say something out of anger, you can't take it back.
It is crucial to the functionality of your relationship that you make time to talk with your spouse. Set aside thirty minutes in the morning to talk about what you have planned for that day.
Put your child on a sleeping schedule. During nap time, make an effort to communicate with your spouse, even if the conversation doesn't cover anything important or pressing. Once your child is asleep for the night, make it a priority to sit with your spouse and talk about their day and what issues you may be facing. If your spouse said or did something earlier in the day that hurt you, a nightly conversation would be the best time to discuss it.
Lack Of Intimacy
It's only natural that your sex drive goes down the drain the months after having a child, however, intimacy should not. You and your spouse have needs and it doesn't necessarily mean sex. Once you stop paying attention to your spouse and make it all about the baby, your spouse will begin to feel unloved and unwanted. These feelings will subconsciously lead to resenting the child. If a spouse doesn't feel wanted or needed, he or she will begin to withdraw themselves from the relationship. Once they are withdrawn, it can be hard to bring them back.
Intimacy comes in many forms. Holding hands, kissing, sitting and looking at each other in the eye while talking or even a simple massage after a long day will all provide your spouse with signals that he or she is still wanted and appreciated. Make your spouse a priority. Sit on the couch and watch your favorite movie while cuddled in each others' arms. Gentle contact is a way to show affection, so be sure to touch your spouse while talking. These are all indicators that you are still very much in love.
Having a new child is a blessing, but it is also very stressful on a relationship if you don't know what to look for. You can avoid being a statistic if you remember that you and your spouse are a team and from this moment on, you are in it together. If you want professional assistance in opening lines of communication or anything else, contact practices like Associates For Counseling & Psychotherapy.
Hey everyone, my name is Lori Grffin. When my son was born, I was completely unprepared for the difficulties of raising a sensory deprived child. The stress of trying to parent a difficult child definitely takes its toll. Eventually, I had a nervous breakdown and ended up enrolling in individual counseling sessions. The counseling appointments helped me work through the emotions generated while coping with fits and meltdowns from my son. I emerged from each session better prepared to provide my son with the support he needed. I also learned how to pay attention to how I was feeling during the process. I created this site because I want to share the benefits parents receive from going to counseling sessions. Thank you.