Marriage and Family Therapy: Children Can Cause Relationship Problems

May 9, 2011 by

Marriage and Family Therapy: The Effect of Children on Your Relationship

Marriage and family therapy can help you get through the stress that a child can put on your relationship. If you’re expecting, you may not be concerned about relationship problems that may occur because of your new baby, but consider this statistic: 90% of marriages are strained following the birth of their first child.  Maybe more surprising is that there is no difference between planned and unplanned pregnancies when evaluating the satisfaction of the relationship. What does make a difference? Marriages were more strained following the birth of a girl.

Marriage and Family Therapy Can Help

Why does the gender of the child make a difference? What is it about the addition of a child that creates problems? One of the biggest relationship issues that new parents face is the division of labor. You have a whole new host of responsibilities to fit into your lifestyle, and even if you welcome the new addition to your family, the burden can be overwhelming. Fathers tend to be more involved in the care of a son than a daughter.  Additionally, fathers are often more involved in household duties during the pregnancy, but they may not be as hands-on afterwards.

Don’t rush into parenthood. The longer couples are married before having a child, the better they fare.  Give yourself time to work on your relationship without the added responsibility.

Improve your communication skills. 15% of fathers and 7% of mothers are more satisfied with their marriage after the birth of the child. What sets these people apart? Communication skills. The next time you have a disagreement, think of it as an opportunity to prepare for the future.  Don’t shut down or criticize. Instead work on finding a solution that works for both of you. Having trouble? Don’t be afraid to try marriage and family therapy to keep your relationship problems from escalating. It can save your marriage in the long run.

Talk about financial priorities and the division of duties. When your child enters your life, you’ll soon find yourself at a loss for both time and money. Be sure you’re both on the same page and able to communicate concerns to one another.  Budgets and household chores are great relationship problems to bring up in marriage and family therapy.

Give yourself time to rest. Often, conflict arises because both parents are simply exhausted. You may have used up all your patience working with your children, and you have little left for your partner. Make time to do something relaxing alone, like taking a walk or enjoying a nice bath, and also find time to spend together away from the kids. Get to know other young couples with new babies and help each other out so that you can set date nights without worrying about the cost of child care.

Celebrate parenthood. It can be a hard journey, but it’s a rewarding one. Don’t forget to appreciate the life you are building together! If you’re having a tough time, do something to save your marriage; consider marriage and family therapy.