Married With Children: How To Reduce Baby Strain On Your Relationship

Marriage is a tricky thing on its own. Introducing children into the mix creates a host of issues that are not only impossible to plan for, they are also hard to recognize. Read below to see some of the most common minor issues that arise from becoming a parent, and how some small adjustments just might be enough to prevent a divorce or from you having to call a divorce attorney.

The Focus Dilemma

Having children comes with its own host of unique issues, and can be one of the principle stressors to negatively impact a marriage. Going from having your entire focus on your spouse (and their needs) to having to shift all of your energy to a needy child (or children) can have devastating results against a marriage over time. This can be aggravated if parental expectations aren't clearly defined and communicated (and continually redefined over time).

Redefine Expectations

Becoming a parent creates additional responsibilities for both of you. At the same time, your ability to live up to your partner's expectations of you as a spouse will be challenged. Having the capacity to openly communicate and re-evaluate your expectations of each other both as partners and as parents can make a huge difference in alleviating stress. It can be tricky to separate the two, especially if you are feeling slighted by your partner.

While childless relationships can find it far easier to keep all things equal (you do the dishes, I'll do the garbage, etc.) this becomes much murkier with children. Especially if one of you physiologically is the only one who can feed the child, or if one of you is the only one to go to work. Breaking out of the "all things must be equal" mentality can go a long way in depleting unnecessary stress.

Open Communication Lines

The best way to combat stress that can arise from misconstrued expectations is simply to communicate! Of course, this is often easier said (or thought) than done. It can be very easy to lose yourself in the care of your children, to the detriment of your relationship with your spouse, because taking care of your kids is so easily justified as being more important. It's very much akin to dousing a small contained fire right in front of you, and ignoring the smoldering potential in the periphery that will grow into something raging if left unchecked.

Be Aggressive in Making Time

One of the best ways to help allow for open and honest communication in spite of depleting free time is to aggressively make priority for time together. Hiring a sitter, setting up a routine of a monthly date night, or even just insisting that there be a set amount of time a week that is just for you; the important thing is to make sure you carve out time to be together. Put a moratorium on finance discussion, or daycare planning, or any of the mundane (and necessary) elements to running your household. Let it just be about you and your partner, and making sure you are committing to actually enjoying each others company.