Bringing a baby into a couple’s life is one of the biggest changes a couple will have to work out together. Unfortunately couples grossly underestimate how much this tiny bundle of joy will change their individual lives and their relationships and as a result do not prepare for it. Gottman’s research show’s a 66% decrease in marital satisfaction following the birth of a child.
It is not really the child in and of itself that creates the problems, but rather a baby reveals a lot of areas in the marriage contract that will need to be discussed for the first time as well as old issues to be resorted out. Relationships can only take so much stress and a baby for the first 6 months is a real crisis to the relationship. A baby can intensify existing unresolved issues in the relationship around finances, work-life balance, responsibilities, sex preferences and freedom/personal time issues. Bringing an unplanned baby into a relationship can intensify relationship problems.
For many couples, naturally, they are so focused on the baby that so few think about the relationship. This lack of attention to the relationship or perhaps even choice to push it aside often starts to create problems 6 to 12 months after the baby is born. Couples can get into patterns of greatly misunderstanding each other and start to feel less understood and supported by their partner. While everyone loves the baby, the relationship is a less happy place to be.
The good news is you don’t have to wait until things go really bad until you decide to make things better. Preparing your relationship for the child is so much easier and more rewarding. Nothing is better for a child’s mental health and intelligence than being raised in a family where mom and dad love each other. Relationships require a lot of skills and knowledge about how to make them work so that everyone is happy is something that most people do not learn.
When we are expecting the very happy arrival of a new baby no one wants to think about possible problems or challenges. But again research shows that marriage have a 50% divorce by year 7 globally. So this suggests that marriage is an expensive choice and requires some real skills and training to ensure you beat the odds. No one would get into an airplane knowing they only have a 50% chance of arriving alive at the destination, yet people jump into marriage or parenthood with no preparation for their marriage to improve their odds.
No where do we learn effective relationship. However wellness counselling can help provide you very short effective skills to manage known relationship challenges. It is clear that the greatest gift parents can give their child is a loving, stable and happy relationship.
All in the Family Counselling specializes in helping couples develop skills to strengthen and prevent problems before they occur for common issues that create relationship problems.
We provide skill building in the following areas:
- Managing expectations around the baby’s place in the family and couple
- Creating a unified platform for the couple to make decision from
- Discussing common marital contracts that will need to be resolved around finances, work-life balance, personal freedom, vs what the couple needs vs. what the baby needs
- Giving couples language and skills to discuss how to deal with their changes to their sex lives
- Help couples improve their communication and conflict resolution skills