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Marriage Help Articles

When Children Arrive in a Marriage

The birth of a child usually brings joy and happiness in a marriage, but it can also be the cause of serious strains on the marriage relationship. The roles of husband and wife change drastically; suddenly they are also father and mother. Romantic dinners, weekend getaways, and free-spending are often replaced by sleepless nights, loss of private time, and a big increase in expenses. Flexibility and freedom, as known before, do not exist anymore and abundant energy must be redirected to the care of the child. For many couples it is hard to balance the competing needs of child and marriage.

Although marriage and children should naturally complement each other, many couples don’t know how to do either well.  Each spouse brings unique experiences, ideas, family backgrounds, and belief systems that often precipitate arguments and emotional retreats.  Differences of opinion increasingly become sources of marriage stress and conflict. If these differences are not resolved in a timely and healthy manner, what should have been occasion for ongoing marital joy and unity can bring strife, division, and fights.

So how do you prevent the natural stresses brought by the birth of a child from straining the marriage relationship to the point of breakage? After all, one of the most important things you can do for your child is to have a strong, healthy relationship with your spouse. Joy and unity in your marriage provide your child a sense of security and become the example of how to get along with others as your child grows up. How can you and your spouse overcome your individual differences that are so ingrained in your unique experiences, ideas, family backgrounds, and belief systems?

Balancing Children and Marriage

What can you do to ensure your marriage endures the strains brought on by the birth of a child?

  • Commitment: Assure and continue to reassure each other that no strain and no differences are significant enough to overpower your commitment to each other and to your marriage.
  • Communication: Remain open and honest with each other in every situation, Maintain sincere sensitivity to and respect for your spouse’s experiences, ideas, family background, and belief system. No matter how right you may believe you are, you must in all fairness allow your spouse to feel ways that differ from the ways you feel.
  • Common Higher Ground: Rather than letting your differences strain your marriage and hinder you in providing an environment of joy and unity for your child, recognize that likely neither you nor your spouse has all the right answers. Seek ways to combine the good things from your unique individual experiences, ideas, family backgrounds, and belief systems to create a common higher ground on which you both can stand firmly.
  • Counsel and Help: Don’t try to go it alone! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help toward overcoming the differences that strain your marriage. Remember how important you and your spouse were to each other and what brought you together in marriage. Remember the importance of providing a healthy environment and relationship for your child. Seek help without delay whenever you need it!

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