A new baby is a bundle of joy; it is also, however, one of the major factors that could cause your marriage to fall apart. It might sound harsh, and most couples dread saying it out loud, but it is the reality of new parenthood. As we will discuss in the following section, becoming a new parent bears tremendous amounts of stress and insecurity affecting a healthy marriage adversely. This has a way of making your life miserable, and your marriage shakier than ever. So, let’s see why this happens, and how it can be prevented, so that you end up a happy family.
The stress accompanying a new baby and its effects
When you got pregnant, you probably experienced a range of emotions, including very intense anxiety and insecurity. But, the joy of becoming a parent usually prevails over the stress and fear. You can see the expecting parents going about feeling optimistic and eager to welcome the new member of the family.
However, once the baby is born and the initial euphoria gradually diminishes, the couple often gets struck by the sheer horror of tension and hassle over every single aspect of their lives. All of a sudden, all the fears, doubts, insecurities and discontent surface and take over the daily lives of the new parents. The intensity of these feelings is usually so overwhelming for the new parents, that their relationship begins to corrode.
Constant state of anxiety and oscillation in hormones
Having a new baby in the house comes with an insane amount of new experiences, and requires almost superhuman abilities to get through. You will experience a complete sleep deprivation that will last for much longer than what you have hoped for. You will be snowed under the endless sequences of feedings, diaper changes, naps. Your capability to learn fast and to act fast will be put to test. Not to mention a constant state of anxiety over your baby’s wellbeing and future. All that combined with a torturous oscillation in hormones.
As a result, it’s no wonder that your marriage appears the last thing on your list of priorities. You will find yourself forgetting how it looked like for the two of you to just sit down, watch some TV, share a bottle of wine, go to the movies, or talk deep into the night. This puts a strain on a romantic relationship. No matter how close you might have been prior to having your baby, it is now that your marriage is put to the test.
How to prevent problems
Although having a new baby is a stressful period for all couples, there are ways to prevent it from marking the beginning of the end to your relationship. Ideally, you will start to address the possible issues much before the baby has arrived, at the beginning of your pregnancy. One of the best parental advice is going for pre-baby counseling. Even more, ideally, you both dedicated yourself to preventing the issues before you got pregnant in the first place in a couples’ counseling.
However, if that wasn’t the case, don’t feel bad about it. Yes, it is better to be safe than sorry, but with all that jazz around the sickness, picking names, designing the nursery, the preparations for the delivery, it’s only human not to focus on your marriage. Especially because it probably didn’t feel as if there was anything to deal with at the moment.
Also watch: Top 6 Reasons Why Your Marriage Is Falling Apart
Commit your time to plan ahead
But, now that the baby is close, or already here, there are steps you can take to ensure that the problems are reduced to a minimum. Primarily, you need to be very explicit and direct about your needs. Express what you expect out of each other in the first years of parenthood. Be very specific and precise. Commit your time to planning ahead, and trying to predict and solve the problems before they arose.
How to deal with problems if they already arose
If you’re already experiencing the decline in how happy you are in your relationship, you might find a consolation in knowing that nearly70% of couples report a decrease of marital satisfaction in the first years of their child’s life including a serious rise in intimacy issues. Not only are you not alone, but the good news is – there is a way out! It’s paved with good communication, empathy, patience, and flexibility.
Final take away – reconnect as a couple first
What you should do, is to take advantage of any free moment that you come across, and reconnect as a couple first. Once you’re reminded of your affection for one another, you can sit down and systematically address every problem that you have. Whatever you do, always be assertive and empathetic. Don’t ignore the significance of this parental advice – Share the load, have understanding for your spouse, and always be explicit and honest. Don’t worry, you’ll get your marriage back in no time, only enhanced.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.