Did having children make your marriage better or worse?

posted 3 years ago in Family
  • poll: Did having children make your marriage better or worse?
    Having kids made my marriage much better. : (17 votes)
    21 %
    Having kids made my marriage a little better/stronger. : (19 votes)
    24 %
    Having kids made our marriage a little weaker. : (8 votes)
    10 %
    Having kids made out marriage MUCH worse. : (28 votes)
    35 %
    Having kids had no effect on our relationship. : (8 votes)
    10 %
  • Post # 3
    356 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @lealorali:  well I did everything backwards.. Dh and I had our kids first before we got married.. We have 2 boys ages 4 and 6.. I know my dh is the best father he can be and he is great with our boys which made me want to marry him even more.. even though our boys take up much of our time.. We enjoy our family time.. We don’t leave the work on the other person. I cook, clean, and make sure our boys are takin care of,dh does the same.. We make sure we have date nights and have our alone time..I think that’s what makes a marriage work with kids.


    Post # 4
    8847 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

    Ummm yikes, not looking good so far.  My friends with kids wouldn’t agree with this though!

    Post # 5
    151 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2014

    id llove to see more poll answers 

    Post # 6
    7025 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I know one couple who split up (largely) over TTC tensions. I remember another (older woman, my parents’ age) commenting on the difficulties of a childless marriage. (That said, they’re still together and my parents aren’t). In terms of marriages eventually breaking up, in my (unscientific, anecdotal) observation, childless couples seem to do about the same as those with children.

    I think ours improved a little.

    It’s a little hard to give absolutes because I’ve got nothing to compare it to: I can’t compare 20+ years of childless marriage to what I’ve actually had. My feeling is it depends on the couple. I’ve heard that the time after having the 1st child is statistically one of the worst times for marriage breakups. But if they’re on the same page about having children, I don’t see why it would make it worse.

    Post # 7
    1806 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - TTC #2

    I’d like to see more poll answers too. I’d like to contribute that my FBIL and his wife seem much stronger, happier and in love (judging from outward appearances) since having their kids 🙂

    Post # 8
    778 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    @lealorali: I think it depends on where the marriage is to begin with. If the marriage is strong, it’ll likely stay strong because the partners are a team. If the marriage is already on the rocks, the stress of parenting will likely take it’s toll. I’ve definitely seen my friends with kids struggle–but I know that, even if their marriages didn’t work out (some did, some didn’t–it was about 50/50), they’d never regret having their little angels. That said–those who did get divorced almost all regret being tied to their exes for the rest of their lives… 

    I think many people don’t fully consider what parenting entails when they decide to have a baby. My personal feeling is that if you’re marriage isn’t strong already–you shouldn’t bring children into it! Work on the marriage first and make sure it’s a lasting one. Then talk about kids. Being responsible for another human life is incredibly stressful. Parenthood can also be wonderful and incredibly rewarding–but it’s also 18+ years of trials. 

    Not to say that there’s anything wrong with raising a child outside marriage or being a single parent. I know many great single parents…but I do think it’s better for the child to have two involved parents, who are ideally together and can model a healthy relationship for the kid. Both my fiance’s and my parents have been married over 40 years. We each learned what a good relationship and a strong and lasting marriage looks like from our parents–and we hope to model that for our children someday (we don’t have them yet–but they’re a dream we hope to realize once we’re married). 

    I have met people who thought that having children could save their marriage. I have a fundamental problem with that thought process. It strikes me as inherently selfish. There’s no real consideration of what is best for the child. Truly great parents are selfless. They make sacrifices and put their children’s needs above their own. Bringing a child into an unhappy or potentially unstable relationship is not only a bad idea–it’s a selfish and irresponsible one.  

    When parents bring a child into an unstable or rocky relationship–it’s usually the kids who suffer when that relationship fails later on. Sure, there may be amazing and happy times in the beginning, but when the reality of no sleep, midnight feedings, financial concerns, diaper changes, crying and tantrums sets in–things go downhill quickly. 

    Best to have a strong foundation before taking such a big step. If you have that strong foundation–parenting is a great decision. 

    Post # 9
    2876 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: February 1998

    Children definetly made my marriage a lot harder:((

    Our children are 11&13 now and we are getting our love for each other back and TBH it’s even better. We have a lot more time and freedom now and things couldn’t be any better.

    We never stopped loving or respecting each other and always tried to make time to just talk everyday.  Communication is key! 

    Post # 10
    577 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    I voted “much worse”, because things are definitely a lot harder now. BUT our marriage is also stronger. I could have also voted “much better”. It depends how you define it because strong is not the same as easy.

    Better: we’re learning more about each other and our love is deeper because we’re parents. We appreciate each other more. We love our little family and we couldn’t imagine not having our daughter. We feel more fulfilled and complete as a family. We are much more intentional about maintaining our relationship; we both put more effort into it. We’ve developed better communication skills and we understand each other more deeply.

    Worse: right now, lack of sleep accounts for 90% of the stress and tension. A lot of the time we just don’t have the energy to be nice to each other at the end of a long day. We fight more than we ever did before. (The fights are becoming less and less, because they are productive and have helped us work out a lot of differences.) We aren’t as carefree or romantic towards each other. When we are both home, we divide and conquer so one of us can get some rest while the other looks after the baby or does housework– so we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. 

    (Our baby is more high-maintenance than average. I expect this will improve as she gets older so it won’t be this crazy for too long.)


    Post # 11
    3394 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    @lealorali:  I can’t make up my mind, so I didn’t vote. I think they either had little effect or none. However they did make me stay longer than I should have trying to make a toxic relationship work. But those relationships (there were two, one marriage, one LTR) were not going to work out no matter what. Having the kids probably just made it more obvious that it sucked because I just had one more reason to resent my husband/SO for leaving me with all the dirty work.

    Post # 12
    6666 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2010

    This is my second marriage and I came into it with a daughter from my first marriage.  So there we were the 3 of us feeling kind of awkward and unconnected.  Then we had our baby daughter and now we all had something in common- DH and I shared a biological child and my older daughter has a sister that she shares with her step father.  I realize our case is unique- but in our particular family it made this better.

    Post # 13
    1734 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 1998

    I’m with the others in saying it depends on how the marriage begins. I’m watching my brother’s baby drama unfold in real time, and at every step, I find myself saying, “You’re smarter than this. Why on Earth would you not discuss this?”

    In his case, he married someone who is domineering and entitled, and now it’s playing out as she prepares for the birth of their child. No surprise, she wants the full say in everything: how the nursery will look, what to name the baby, who will watch the baby, etc. But, that’s always been a dynamic in their relationship.

    He’s been groveling about having to do the majority of the child care…again, duh, that’s been a dynamic in their relationship for nearly 15 years.

    When I ask them something – usually something obvious, like, “Hey, don’t you guys want/need diapers? Don’t you want more bottles?” the response is, “Do I need more?” O.O. You’re having a kid! Research, research, research.


    I do not envision a field of roses ahead of us…but we are both older, in a very good place financially, and we both have experience with kids of a variety of ages (very important, IMO, when planning for a kid). My brother’s child is coming and I’m apparently slated to be the majority of his caretaking, so we’ll also have lots of practice with a newborn. I have told him in no uncertain terms he will be learning how to change, bathe, feed, burp and put a baby down for naps.

    I write articles on kids and babies for a living – I feel like an encyclopedia of knowledge.

    I do fully understand having kids will put stresses on my marriage – at least at first. And realistically, at various times throughout my kid’s upbringing. I don’t depend on my marriage getting better when I have a kid. I fully expect at least some of it will be quite trying.

    But, I think a lot of it is also preparation and understanding what you’re getting yourself into. My SIL devotes her time to bitching and moaning about her pregnancy near daily on Facebook, complaining about how she’ll have to ‘lift’ things now that the kid’s coming (shit you not: helped her and my brother move once. She lifted a BAG. OF STUFFED ANIMALS. Meanwhile, I worked for 8 hours straight until I pulled muscles in my arms and could lift no more. That still makes me angry).

    Post # 14
    604 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    This is a great thread. Being someone who is thinking of children in the future all this advice/knowledge is really interesting.

    Post # 15
    1806 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - TTC #2

    @CelticBeachBride:  “I have met people who thought that having children could save their marriage. I have a fundamental problem with that thought process. It strikes me as inherently selfish. There’s no real consideration of what is best for the child.”


    My uncle did just this. His marriage was failing and although it was obvious his wife pressured him into a ‘marriage-saving baby’ (their 2nd). They separated quite soon after the birth. Awful, awful, messy divorce. The wife totally sponged all the money he has by getting their house and a high double child support and the father does not see the kids anymore (and through bitterness no longer seems to want to).

    Both my cousins are in weekly counselling and aren’t happy due to the fallout. Truly heartbreaking.

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