By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW
You have always wanted to be married and have children. Okay, you may have spent much of your life searching for this person and you finally found them. Congratulations! Then the dream, you and your mate both want children, you both think you are ready and here comes the baby!! Well hold on for the ride of your life, because there is nothing in this world like having children.
So you may think, “what is the big deal? We love each other, we are intelligent human beings, we have enough money, we can do this.” Well yes, of course you can, but at what price? Too often couples pay the price of their marriage for the gift of children.
When a child is born into a marriage, there is a shift of energies. Where previously you may have come home from work and made dinner for you and your husband, you now my be feeding the baby and/or having hubby fend for himself. It takes a lot of communication to get through these challenging times. For example, tell your spouse how you are feeling and look at options to help relieve each other when stressed.
So the baby gets older and life may get easier, but then if there is a baby number 2, expect a shift again. Now that you and your spouse have this child-rearing thing down to a “science” or as close as possible, there are still stressors. The active schedules your kids have plus your job, your spouse’s job, finances, extended family stresses, etc., etc., etc. Incidentally, this article is about marriage?!?!
Let us look at what it takes to maintain your marriage given all these stressors, and how to balance married life and children. Your priorities are healthy if they look like this:
- You are first. You must take care of you in order to be there for your children and/or your spouse.
- Your marriage comes next. This is the person you spent much of your life looking for – this relationship needs to be nurtured regularly.
- Your children. Your children will benefit if your needs are met and they see mommy and daddy are happy with each other.
If your priorities are in different order than the above, you may want to re-evaluate where you are putting your energies. Good luck and enjoy!