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).