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5 Ways Babies Create Strain in a Marriage

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The feeling that you get at the arrival of a little bundle of happiness in the family is indescribable. Whether they are grandparents, uncles and aunts, or to-be-parents - the joy is reflected on the faces of each one of them. However, the happiness cannot change the fact that things between new parents will never be the same again. People who tell you differently, they are probably not being honest enough.

Initially, you might have thought that the baby will fit right into your perfect life, or even that the baby will bring together the parents and "solve" their problems, but that is not the case. It is you who needs to make the necessary arrangements according to your baby's comfort. This can really take a heavy toll on the love life of new parents, and a shift in the relationship might occur because of the phenomena called 'baby quake.' However, this does not necessarily mean that babies are responsible for the increasing divorce rate between couples with kids, but they surely create a strain. Discussed are 5 ways babies are the cause of dents in marriages.

1) Household and Baby Chores

When there is a third addition to the family, the work doubles as the baby asks for special attention. With dishes and laundry to do, now you have to see to the needs of the baby as well like feeding them, changing diapers, sleep times, and cleaning up after them. Therefore, the couple needs to divide the duties in order to make this work. Most of the time, the wives have to carry out most of the chores that causes an increase in their stress levels and frustration. Since the mother is already going through hormonal changes, she may adopt habits such as bickering and nagging to relieve her frustration.

On the other hand, the husband, although making an effort in his own way, may not feel the appreciated. The mother might feel that the father has to realize that it is not easy for her to manage all the things alone and help out. However, men tend to comply only on direct instructions, but the continuous nagging is what puts them off and causes bitterness in the relationship over time.

2) Low Energy and Working on Survival Mode

The baby does not care if it is the middle of the night, it needs food, and it needs it now. When the husband and wife do not get proper night sleep, they are basically working on survival mode. With the lack of sleep, and spending time seeing to the needs of the baby, both of them get exhausted by the end of the day. So, when they finally get time for themselves after putting the baby to sleep, they do not get to have their 'couple time', rather they spend that time blissfully sleeping.

Moreover, even though they are with each other, they are not really together; they are not engaged and they are not in the present moment. The communication starts to get limited to the needs of the baby and doctor's appointments rather than their relationship, and it will only take a few years for the relationship to go downhill from that point onwards.

3) Lack of Sex Life

When you are tired most the time and covered in baby food, getting naked and having sex is the last thing on your mind. It does not mean that the partners are not sexually attracted to each other after becoming parents, but it has more to do with creating the time and the mood. Planning a date night is what sets the mood, however with the baby in the picture, half of the time, couples are thinking about their kid, who they have left with the babysitter, on their date night. This reduces the intimacy and passion in the relationship, and causes disconnection in the marriage.

4) Parenting Arguments

After observing other people's parenting techniques for their children, we all must have planned what kind of parents we would like to be. At one point, we all must have said 'I will never do this to my child' and 'I will make them follow a proper timetable', and things like that. However, as much you can speculate which parenting style you would like to use, only when confronted with a certain problem, they you find out the way you deal with it.

When both the mother and father are looking out for their babies according to what they feel is right, it is normal to face conflict. Since both of them are exasperated because of the responsibilities, snapping at each other becomes a routine, which weakens the bond as they start becoming insensitive to each other.

5) Neglecting the Partner

The mother and father have a natural instinct to love their child unconditionally. However, they need to stop putting the baby first in all aspects and neglecting their spouse. You must not hurt each other's feeling by disregarding each other's needs. The baby is important, but the relationship between the married couple is equally essential and requires time and effort. Without it, the marriage is doomed.

The majority of parents are going experience similar challenges. When you communicate with your partner constructively, feel united with them in regards to the way you are parenting and establish a routine for baby, your intimacy will start to return. Change is hard, and you have to deal with the ups and downs of this new life. However, if you have a positive outlook and a desire to make things work, then you can surely overcome any difficulties parenthood throws at you and your marriage.

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  • Moshe Ratson (MBA, MS MFT, LMFT) is a Licensed Couples and Marriage Family Therapist and is Family Therapist in New York City.

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