Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

SAVE LIVES!
See Life 2021
Double your gift now!
Yes, I will help save babies from abortion!
$

Maintaining Your Marriage When You Become Parents

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Husband and wife dealing with the hardships of becoming parents
Noel Hendrickson/DigitalVision/Thinkstock
God ordained marriage and encouraged couples to multiply. So there must be a way to have a healthy marriage and be good parents. Dr. Gary Chapman offers advice to strengthen your marriage after you have children.

For more than two decades, I’ve been speaking and counseling about the ideas presented in my book The 5 Love Languages, and I frequently encounter couples with whom interactions play out something like this: With tears running down her face, a wife might come up to me and say, “I thought having a baby would pull my husband and me together and we would both be happy. The exact opposite is true for us. My husband doesn’t understand why I am so tired. He complains that I don’t bake cherry pies anymore. I’m up to my ears in diapers and vomit, and he’s complaining about cherry pies!

Later, her husband will talk with me and say, “I feel like I have lost my wife. She never has time for me. It is always the baby. Even when I ask her to go out, she is afraid to leave the baby. When I want to rent a movie she says she doesn’t have the energy to watch it. I don’t know what else to do.”

Frequently, couples struggle to keep their marriage alive after they become parents. There is no question that having a baby greatly changes the dynamics between a husband and wife. After all, a child means more work. Who does the work? More work means expending more energy. Whose energy? A child means spending more money. Which money — the money we have been using for restaurants and entertainment?

Raising children should be a joint venture that requires communication, understanding, love and a willingness to compromise. Couples who have not developed these attitudes and skills before the baby arrives will not find them automatically emerging upon the arrival of their child. I sometimes ask couples, “What was your marriage like before the baby came?” I receive answers like: “Well, we were struggling.” Don’t expect a baby to create a good marriage — that is not the responsibility of a child. Children do not create problems in a marriage; they only reveal them.

Even couples who have a healthy marriage before babies come along tend to experience struggles as they adjust to being married with children. They spend so much time being “good parents” that they let their relationship grow stale. This staleness does not happen overnight and often is not the result of open conflict. Rather, the slow erosion of intimacy is caused by a lack of quality time, expressions of love and heartfelt communication. In these marriages, the road to restoration may prove to be much shorter because the couple started with a good relationship that has diminished.

Either way, God ordained marriage and encouraged couples to “be fruitful and multiply” — so there must be a way to have a healthy marriage and be good parents. Let me suggest some positive things you can do to strengthen your marriage after you have children:

  • Begin by making marriage a priority. Recognize that a loving marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children — as well as yourself. So, why not begin by deciding to put your marriage on the front burner?
  • Start a conversation with your spouse, acknowledging that you miss time together and would like to make your relationship a priority in spite of the new demands and stressors. Ask, “How can I help?” You just might find that your spouse welcomes the idea of making marriage a priority. Your husband or wife is likely as weary or frustrated as you are with the present situation.
  • Make a list of the things you enjoyed most in your marriage before having children. Now share your lists with each other and discuss some of those common interests you enjoyed in that earlier stage of marriage. You may want to consider allowing extended family or friends to help with child care so you can engage in uninterrupted conversation.
  • Make a list of five things that you think would improve your marriage at this stage of parenting. Evaluate these five options by placing the word realistic, unrealistic or maybe beside each word on your list. Talk about your lists with each other, and then see if you can agree on at least one thing from each list that you will attempt to do this week.
  • Share a book on parenting. Read the same chapter and then discuss one thing you learned from the chapter. Ask each other, “How can we apply this idea to our situation?”
  • Read the following statements and check the ones that express your current feelings:
    • I don’t feel that the division of labor in our relationship is equitable.
    • I wish we could spend more time together.
    • I think our sexual relationship could be improved.
    • I wish we could find a way not to argue over money.
    • I feel like I don’t get enough time alone.
    • I wish we could find more unity. Our ideas are so different.
    • I feel like we don’t talk because we are afraid of getting into arguments without coming to a healthy resolution.

Now discuss the statements that expressed your feelings and pick one issue from each of your lists to work on. This might mean you need to have an open conversation about what you can change to make things better. It might mean agreeing that each of you will talk with one other couple and ask how they have handled a similar situation. It might lead to attending a class on marriage at your church.

If you don’t make progress, consider seeing a Christian counselor who has experience in helping couples deal with similar marital struggles.

There’s no doubt that babies change marriages. And although taking time to focus on your marriage isn’t easy, it’s essential. Healthy marriages are possible — just remember that they’re not a natural consequence of having kids.

Dr. Gary Chapman is a pastor, speaker and best-selling author of The 5 Love Languages.

How strong is your marriage? Find out today with the Focus on Marriage Assessment. This reliable assessment is based on the research and experience of Focus on the Family’s marriage experts Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Take this free assessment now. 

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

newlywed-couple-reasons-to-get-married
Biblical Marriage

9 Reasons to Get Married

Why is marriage more than a formal declaration of love and commitment between two people? Learn about nine good reasons to get married.

Tell Your Story

By sharing your struggles and triumphs, God can transform your courage into hope and faith for others.

see life episode 1 coming soon version

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!