Having relationship tension with your partner is normal after having a child. Sleepless nights, changes in employment, money problems, and several other issues can arise that neither of you would have expected before your baby arrived. A previously happy marriage can seem to take a turn for the worse as you and your spouse disagree over rules for your child, child rearing practices, and other important factors.
Disagreement and frustration is undoubtedly going to occur between you and your partner after having a child, but these difficulties can be overcome. If you fear your marriage has been suffering as you raise children, here’s a few words of advice for common relationship troubles.
Partners to Parents
Some couples may underestimate how much a baby will impact their lifestyle. Couples who enjoy late-night dates or spontaneous trips come to realize that with children, these activities become much rarer. Fun, energetic conversations about dreams, funny stories, or opinions can die out and be replaced by mundane questions about daily life. New parents may also stop doing little things for their spouses that make them smile after having children. It can feel like there’s no romance left in your relationship.
If you feel more like coworkers in raising children than a married couple, try to start bringing romance and spontaneity back in small gestures. Send a quick romantic text to your partner, cook their favorite meal, or simply ask them questions that aren’t about the kids. In order to keep your marriage strong, it’s important to continue making your spouse feel loved and appreciated despite the busyness of life.
Parents can become lonely and overwhelmed if they’re often at home by themselves taking care of the child. One mother says that she “envied her friends’ freedom” during the months she stayed home with her infant son while her husband worked. Even in relationships where both partners continue working after childbirth, women are more likely to cut hours at work in order to spend more time with their baby. After spending a lot of time home, women can start to feel disconnected from coworkers, friends, and family.
To combat the feelings of social isolation, talk to your partner about scheduling time during the week where you can take turns watching the children so the other person can meet up with friends, go shopping, or simply take a walk.
Most men don’t know anything about raising a child or child care until after their partner has a baby. This can be especially frustrating for new mothers, as they feel like they have to supervise their husband to make sure he’s changing or feeding their baby properly. Women may take on the role of the “primary caretaker,” leaving the other partner to feel left out or upset. If this problem continues unresolved, it can lead to power struggles where the husband keeps trying to prove that he knows what to do and he can handle caring for the baby.
The easiest way to combat this problem would be to educate the expecting father about child care before the baby arrives. An expecting father is encouraged to go to prenatal classes and doctor appointments with his wife, and some areas even have “expectant fathers’ classes.” However, if your baby has arrived and your husband seems clueless about caring for a child, he can read up on the basics of child care online.
Raising a baby is expensive, and if one partner needs to take time off work to care for the baby, finances can become even tighter. The spouse who earns money for the family may encounter more stress while being the sole provider, and their partner can feel guilty about staying home. New parents often encounter money problems, but it’s usually the underlying emotions that make these issues worse, such as feelings of shame, stress, or sadness.
One way to combat arguments and negative feelings about money is to find a time to sit down together and go over your budget in detail. Make a list of what the total income is, what essentials your family requires, and look for areas you can cut back spending in.
Of course, there are many more problems parents may encounter as they raise children, and these issues may result in significant stress or depression. Psychology professor Matthew D. Johnson writes that, “The link between psychological and marital problems is strong enough that researchers have found that couples therapy is one of the most effective ways of treating depression and some other mental illnesses.”
If your marriage is struggling or you think you may be suffering from a mental illness such as postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment online at Oakville Wellness Center today.