When I had my daughter 3 years ago I realised there was so much information and advice on what to expect during pregnancy and becoming a mother. However what no one ever talks about is the impact that motherhood can have on your marriage. In fact, in many cases even you and your spouse won’t talk about it. Some things are just so overwhelming and confusing, you can’t put them into words.
Moving from being a couple to a family of three is exciting, exhilarating, and wonderful. It’s also exhausting, exasperating, and worrisome. Studies show that almost two-thirds of new parents have concerns about their relationship that did not exist before having children.1
Having a good relationship with your spouse post-baby can be really challenging. When many couples become parents they may become more distant and their relationship more ‘business-like.’ Time to relax together is replaced by endless to do lists. You are both constantly ‘on duty’. Domestic duties double and so does the bickering. Sleep can be scarce and there is little time and energy for intimacy. Everything can get heightened with no time and energy to resolve.
However, satisfaction with your spouse is one of the biggest predictors of overall life satisfaction so all the time and effort that you spend investing in your marriage is well worth it. Children are great imitators of behaviour, and if they see you sharing a strong loving relationship they are more likely to get on with their siblings, friends and develop strong relationships in the future themselves.
Here are a few simple things that I found made a big difference for me:
Ask your partner what you need from him. As women we often believe that if we state what needs to be taken care of a man will automatically volunteer to do it. Men respond better to direct requests.
Say Thank You
When your partner does what you want, thank them. You may not think that this is fair (especially if you don’t feel appreciated) but this makes them more receptive to further requests and niceties breed a good atmosphere. By appreciating someone you teach them the art of appreciation.
Make a date with yourself
Schedule some time out for yourself, in the same way that you do for your children’s activities. Use this time to either do things on your own that make you happy or with friends that keep you connected to who you were before you had children. Bringing a happier more fulfilled person into your marriage, makes for a happier marriage.
Enjoy time together
Set aside at least some chunk of time each day to be alone together, even if it’s a tired twenty minutes after the kids are in bed, refresh your connection with each with other. Open up, talk and laugh. A good relationship can only be sustained if you share your feelings, fears and needs.
I believe that there is a misconception that good marriages just happen. If you marry someone you love and get on with, you can have a good marriage. However really good marriages take time, effort and commitment. When positive energies radiate from spouse to spouse, the whole family benefits.
Reference: 1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10085712/New-parents-at-risk-of-baby-quake.html
This article was published in womenempowered.co.uk