“Here comes the baby, there goes the marriage,” says one Wall Street Journal article and with good reason. While outsiders might assume that having a child together should bring two people more close to each other, experience shows otherwise. Many at times, couples drift apart after a newborn. The reasons could be plenty, and here we will take you through them, and suggest some tried and tested tips to make sure that having a baby does not take a toll on your marriage.
Why Do Some Marriages Fail After Having A Baby?
After you have a baby, the baby takes away all of your time, energy and focus. New parents are often overwhelmed by the transition to parenthood, so much so that a research by Bringing Baby Home demonstrated that a whopping 67% of couples become dissatisfied and unhappy with their partners within 3 years of having a baby. The intensity of relationship conflicts rises the most during the first year of the baby. So can a marriage not survive a newborn? Is having a baby making couples drift apart? Why so?
There is a change in priorities. Once a baby arrives, the wives focus more on
being a mom than being a wife. The topmost and only priority becomes the baby
There is a drop in sex life. Either of the parties might develop a lack of interest in having sex. If this does not match the expectations of the other, problems arise
There is a lack of communication. This is perhaps the top reason that results in wives and husbands drifting apart after a baby. Both parties do not tell each other how they feel and what they think
There is no time. The casual time you used to spend together before a baby – that disappears after a baby. There is no time to quietly catch a movie together, go on rides or sit together to read books
There is no investment in marriage. That is right, you need to invest in and work on to maintain your marriage. This stops being a priority once a baby arrives
There are differences. Sometimes the wives are upset with the husbands for no apparent reasons. Sometimes the husbands do no contribute to the household chores. Sometimes there is a clash of parenting styles
There are unmet expectations. Both parties have expectations and most of them are not met by the other. This gives rise to lot of disappointments. Sometimes wives are not available when the husbands want them to be. Sometimes husbands are not around when wives want them to be
For a more detailed discussion on this topic, refer to 8 Reasons You Have Differences With Your Husband After Having A Baby
As you might have observed, none of the above reasons are big enough to make a marriage fail. Some are even quite trivial. Despite that, each of these small problems slowly snowballs into “irreconcilable differences”. The good news is that if you are willing to do just one thing, then you can ensure your marriage survives. And that one thing is to commit to work on your marriage.
How To Work On Your Marriage After A Baby?
So how do you make the transition to parenthood smooth and something that strengthens your bond as a couple? Some tips that can help are:
Communicate: Many a times, your spouse probably has no idea that you are unhappy. Do not hesitate to express your sadness, anger, displeasure and all other feelings with your better half. Do not assume they know everything without saying anything
Discuss sex: If you are not ready to have sex yet, then be open and discuss it with your partner. If you are the willing party and your spouse is showing abstinence, then empathize and explicitly show patience. If you have questions on resuming your sex life after the baby, reach out to your doctor. Remember, sex forms a very important part of a marriage, and ignoring the aspect thinking that you will attend to it later can be a huge mistake. For more on this, read Has Your Sex Life Dropped After a Baby?
Be romantic: Get a surprise gift for your spouse. Or send them flowers. Or arrange for a quiet yet romantic dinner at home after baby sleeps. Even small actions like this help a lot in strengthening the bond you share with your spouse. For more ideas, refer Top 10 Tips to Sneak Romance after a Baby
Be positive: A number of reasons such as lack of time and hormones drive you to be negative and stressful during the early days of having a baby. It is okay to feel down at times, but do not let that keep you down. For tips on how to ensure stress does not impact your relationship, refer 8 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Relationship with Your Spouse after a Baby
The biggest step towards having a successful marriage is understanding that there will be roadblocks, there will be times when negative emotions get in the way of love and there will be times when you think you were better off before marriage. Understand that it is normal to feel all these. The key is in being prepared for it and being committed to work around the roadblocks and misunderstandings.