Having children can be a joyous and fulfilling experience, but it can also bring significant changes to a marriage. Many couples find that the added responsibility of caring for a child can put a strain on their relationship, and it is common for couples to experience a variety of challenges as they adjust to life with a new family member.
Some of the most common issues that couples face after having children include a lack of time and energy for each other, changes in their sex life, and disagreements over parenting styles. It is important for couples to communicate openly and honestly about these issues and to seek support from friends, family, and professionals if needed.
10 Issues that may hinder marriages after having children
- Lack of time and energy for each other: Caring for a child can be a full-time job, and many couples find that they have little time or energy left for each other after spending the day caring for their child. This can lead to feelings of resentment and disconnection.
- Changes in sex life: Many couples find that their sex life changes after having children. This can be due to a lack of time and energy, changes in hormone levels, or simply the fact that a new baby is now in the house.
- Disagreements over parenting styles: Couples may have different ideas about how to raise their child, and this can lead to disagreements and tension. For example, one parent may believe in strict discipline, while the other may take a more relaxed approach.
- Financial stress: Raising a child can be expensive, and many couples find that their financial situation changes after having a baby. This can lead to stress and disagreements about money.
- Changes in roles and responsibilities: After having a child, couples often have to adjust to new roles and responsibilities. This can be challenging, especially for couples who are used to dividing household tasks and responsibilities in a certain way.
- Lack of support: Many couples find that they lack the support they need after having a child. This can be due to a lack of support from family and friends, or simply the fact that they are no longer able to rely on each other as much as they did before.
- Depression and anxiety: Having a child can be a major life change, and it is not uncommon for couples to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety as they adjust to their new roles and responsibilities.
- Relationship changes: Couples often find that their relationship changes after having a child. This can be due to changes in their roles and responsibilities, or simply the fact that they are now caring for a new family member.
- Communication difficulties: Communication is key to any healthy relationship, and couples may find that they have difficulty communicating after having a child. This can be due to a lack of time and energy, or simply the fact that they are dealing with new and challenging situations.
- Loss of intimacy: Many couples find that their relationship becomes less intimate after having a child. This can be due to changes in their sex life, or simply the fact that they are now focusing on their child and may not have as much time or energy for each other.
1This study examined the effect of the birth of the first child on relationship functioning using data from 218 couples. The results showed that parents showed sudden deterioration in relationship functioning following the birth of their first child. The decline in relationship quality persisted throughout the remaining years of the study. Mothers and fathers showed similar amounts of change after birth. The decline in relationship quality varied based on characteristics of the individual, the marriage, and the pregnancy. The study suggests that the birth of a first child may have a negative impact on relationship functioning.
10 ways to mitigate the marital issues after having children
- Communicate openly and honestly: Couples should strive to communicate openly and honestly with each other, particularly after having a child. This can help them to identify and address any issues that arise, and to find solutions that work for both partners.
- Seek support: Couples can seek support from friends, family, and professionals, such as therapists or counselors. This can provide them with the help and guidance they need to navigate the changes and challenges that come with having a child.
- Prioritize their relationship: Couples should try to prioritize their relationship and make time for each other, even with a busy schedule. This can help to maintain a strong connection and to keep their relationship strong, even in the face of the challenges that come with having a child.
- Divide responsibilities fairly: Couples should try to divide responsibilities fairly, so that both partners are contributing equally to the care of their child and the household. This can help to prevent feelings of resentment and unfairness.
- Seek outside help: If necessary, couples can seek outside help, such as hiring a babysitter or using daycare, to provide them with additional support and to allow them to have some time to themselves.
- Take care of themselves: Couples should also take care of themselves and make sure to prioritize their own health and well-being. This can help to prevent burnout and to ensure that they have the energy and resources they need to care for their child.
- Seek couples counseling: If needed, couples can seek couples counseling to help them navigate the challenges of having a child and to strengthen their relationship.
- Maintain a healthy sex life: Couples should try to maintain a healthy and fulfilling sex life, even after having a child. This can help to keep the connection strong and to prevent feelings of disconnection.
- Be flexible: Couples should be willing to be flexible and to adapt to the changing needs and demands of their child. This can help to prevent conflicts and to ensure that both partners are able to meet their own needs as well as those of their child.
- Reach out to others: Couples should not hesitate to reach out to other parents and families for support and advice. This can provide them with valuable perspective and can help them to feel less alone as they navigate the challenges of having a child.
In conclusion, having children can be a joyous and fulfilling experience, but it can also bring significant changes to a marriage. Couples may face a variety of challenges as they adjust to life with a new family member, but by communicating openly and honestly, seeking support, and prioritizing their relationship, they can navigate these challenges and maintain a strong and healthy marriage.
Doss, B. D., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2009). The effect of the transition to parenthood on relationship quality: an 8-year prospective study. Journal of personality and social psychology, 96(3), 601–619. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013969