Balancing Expectations In A Marriage After Having Children
Children Change A Marriage - How To Balance Expectations and Advice for It's Handling Changes
Dear April Masini,
I'm expecting my first child in a month. My husband and I have been married five years and I don't think he is aware of how much this is going to change our lives. I'm worried that once the baby comes, our relationship will change so much that he might either freak out or it might derail our marriage. I know kids change everything, but do you have any relationship tips that till let us keep the changes to our great marriage minimal? Any relationship advice you have would be great!
Sincerely, Wife and Soon-to-be Mom"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Wife and Soon-to-be Mom,
Any marriage will suffer if you spend all your attention on any one thing -- including your children.
There are two tricks to marriage and relationships:
Balance is important because as you and your spouse grow individually and as a couple, you will have different interests. Some interests you will drop along the way, or let them become less important. Other interests will take center stage or be added on. It's healthy to have a dynamic life -- and normal, so the trick is to balance your health, your marriage, your extended family, your parenting, your work, etc .
Expectations and compatible expectations are as important as balance. Sometimes, it's impossible to know what your expectations will be or how they will change -- no matter how much counseling, talking, and preparing for your marriage you do before hand. People aren't machines and they change their minds about things. They also realize things they didn't, later rather than sooner. This makes plans and expectations variable.
That said, maturity and empathy help, too. and is often hard to find in first marriages. Women often go through more than they ever imagined when they have children -- not so much the childbirth, but the life change and the lifestyle change. This can have a domino effect on their husbands, who may have expected their wives to get their bodies back -- at all or in a shorter time than it happens, IF it happens, or on husbands who expected the children to sleep through the night, not take up so much of the mother's time, or who expected wives to have less passionate feelings about being a mother.