Love & Sex Magazine

Strengthening Your Marriage During the Parenting Years

By Barbarajpeters @CouplesAuthor

How To Strengthen your Marriage during the Parenting Years

“John and Mary, kissing in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”


How many times did you jump rope to that old kids’ rhyme?  It makes it seem so simple, right?  Love, marriage and then kids. 


strengthening your marriage during the parenting yearsExcept there’s one small problem.  Having kids can be one of the biggest risks to a marriage.  And it’s a risk that is challenging to understand before you’re in the midst of it. You might have heard well meaning friends counseling you to remember to take time for your marriage after becoming parents. But you secretly wondered to yourself how on earth that would be a problem, because you two love each other so much, you’d never dream of not making your relationship a priority.


The enormity of the changes that a couple faces in making the transition from partners to parents cannot be overstated. Even more than the changes involved in going from a dating relationship to a married relationship, the transition from being a married couple alone to having children is the biggest change a married couple will face in their married lives. 


It’s easy to only prepare for the positive aspects of becoming parents. Or you may give a thought or two to how you’ll approach parenting challenges, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the new realities of parenting life when up to your elbows in spit up, diapers, and sleepless nights.


Physical and emotional exhaustion coupled with the tasks of parenting and sleep deprivation can take an enormous toll on your emotional state, your ability to be resilient and your relationship as a whole.  It’s common for women especially to lose satisfaction in their marriage once children enter the picture.  Surprised?  Even in our modern culture, no matter how much advance planning a couple has invested in preparing for marriage, traditional gender roles tend to creep in, and the woman ends up bearing the brunt of much of the work associated with raising children and making a home.


At the very same time that women are feeling increasingly overburdened with trying to do it all, fathers often feel excluded from the new relationship between mother and baby.  New mothers often push the fathers to a lesser role, causing tension between the spouses.


So how might parents to be and new parents avoid straining their marriage with the arrival of a new child and with the ongoing work of parenting?

  1.  Plan ahead: Beginning with pregnancy, discuss how you might deal with the impact that pregnancy and birth may have on your relationship from an emotional and physical standpoint. This will get you in the habit early of focusing on your couple relationship in its own right and not just your role as parents. 
  2. Don’t allow the parent role to overcome the spouse role: Remember that you were a married couple before becoming parents and hopefully will continue to be one after the kids are grown and on their own. 
  3.  Plan to be a joint parenting team: No matter how you choose to divide duties, keep a perspective of parenting as a mutual endeavor. Avoid blaming your spouse for mishaps in his or her areas of responsibility in parenting.    


Most importantly, you must take time to protect your relationship as a couple  This is critical.  Schedule time to reevaluate your relationship (both in terms of parenting and romantic). Choose to continue growing with each other, enjoying each other, and romancing each other.  This way, even with the transition from couple to family with children, you can ensure you’ll have a marriage that lasts – the gift of a lifetime. 

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog