Post # 1
Yet another couple I know with a toddler just split up… It’s freaking me out, as these couple have been together for a long time, were serious, got married for the right reasons, TTC, had a baby, and by their baby’s 2nd birthday, BAM! They split!
I don’t want to end up like this and am determined to make my marriage work. So, how do couples make it through parenthood?
For those who already have kids, I want to know what made it work for you, and what advice you’d give to new parents in order to manage to keep their relationships alive?
Post # 3
Schedule, schedule, schedule… I can’t stress this enough. My son goes to bed at 8 o’clock every night, once in a while he gets the exception if there is a special movie on or if we are out and about. We each get a half hour to an hour for our own space so we can destress then come 8:30 – 9:00 we turn off the computers and snuggle, talk, watch a movie together, play a game together something as long as it’s together. We also have a system set up with my sister, every other week we take turns babysitting each other’s kids so we can have a date night once a month. We get the whole night off as we make sure we do sleep overs.
Yes, it is tough the first couple of years because your little one will need you to do everything for them, but once they are self sufficient it gets a lot easier to schedule your time together.
Post # 4
@Megan316: That’s fantastic advice!
Post # 6
@Megan316: Totally agree. You have to make each other a priority, otherwise you will become like roommates.
Post # 7
Absolutely! You need to make your relationship your #1 priority. Yes I know kids need a LOT of time, effort, and love but so does your marriage! Your kids will leave in 18 years and if you’re lucky, you’re stuck with your husband until one of you dies. You have to talk to each other, spend time together, and make sure it’s not always about the kids.
I am a firm believer that couples who break up because of children is because the woman thinks that her #1 priority is her kids and not her husband. But your marriage needs to come first.
Granted this doesn’t mean that you should ignore your children, but you need to remember that without your husband, your kids wouldn’t even exist. 🙂
Post # 8
Speaking from personal experience, sometimes it doesnt matter how well you know someone, what your priorities are or how strong you have a relationship because people change. I much rather have my son raised in a non-fighting environment with a good example for a man than force an unstable cohabitation. When I split from my ex it was a year after we got married, and my son was just born. Having a baby alone is life changing, but to bring and keep a baby in a unhealthy situation isn’t fair.
I kinda disagree irin997, as your child should be your number 1 priority and your husband a close second. Like I tell my son all the time, I love you and my current Boyfriend or Best Friend number 1 but in different ways. I think some people have a difficult time arranging their feelings between their child and SO, and I think like megan said, scheduling is important. Sure things get tough, but when you are both working together as a team and there is a common understanding of priorities, it should be relatively smooth. But EVERYONE in a family needs to be on the same boat and sometimes, when your SO isn’t, you realize that the constant fighting and compromise isn’t worth sacraficing your happiness and your child’s stability. Like I was told, your child is always your child, but your husband does not always have to be your husband.
Post # 9
The best advice that my grandpa gave me before he died was that in marriage that needs to be your number one. Your marriage is the glue that hold the family together. You need to give each other time daily, it might just be a minute or two, to connect.
The first year of having our second child was the hardest year of our relationship. We got caught up in who was doing more, instead of working together as a team. We completely lost our connect. Once the youngest got older and we got into our routine, like a pp mentioned, things got so much better. Both kids go to bed earlier enough that we get time together each night to sit and talk if we want or just to be alone together.
Post # 10
Honestly, I haven’t found the first couple years that straining on our relationship. In fact when I initially got pregnant, which was unplanned, my fiance had a couple people close to him tell him it would be alot harder on our relationship. How wrong they were. Our relationship has thrived thus fas, and we will be getting married soon. We are actually closer because of my son, and the three of us have an unbelievably strong bond at the moment. What I learned is this: both people have to be willing to make sacrifices and times be completely selfless for the greater good of the family.
Post # 11
“your husband does not always have to be your husband”
This is where I disagree. I made vows and I WANT my husband to always be my husband. I believe he will always be. But so did the people that I know that have now split and I want to avoid that.
Post # 12
I think I went into having a baby expecting that my marriage and my husband would remain the first priority in my life, but at least at first, that’s really not possible. Babies have to come first. Once your kids get a little older, though, it gets a lot easier to reconnect and make time for each other again.
My adivce is to do your best to communicate and get bonding time in with your SO every day while your baby is little, but if you get to the point where you are struggling, just survive until the baby gets a little older. I think the hardest part is the first year of the baby’s life, when you get so little personal and couple time. If you can make it through that first year, things get easier and you can refocus on your relationship. It takes a lot of work to build up a relationship again, if you get disconnected for a while, but I think it’s worth it.
Also, I really recommend the book And Baby Makes Three. It lays out a lot of the most common errors people make in their relationships directly after having a baby, and has a lot of helpful information about staying connected during the transition from 2 to 3.
Post # 13
I feel as if your child is always that your child. But people get divorced. Your husband doesnt NEED you as an advocate and caregiver, your child does.
Post # 14
@DDG84: Agreed. But in the best possible world, the child needs both his parents there and together and happy. This is the kind of family that I wish to offer to my child, hence the advice seeking on how to make it work.
Post # 15
I agree with that. But in reality people dont maintain the same moral compass. Not only in the fidelity area, but in the support and understanding area. When I split from my ex, it was hard because I didnt (think) I believed in divorce and I am not a quitter. Believe you me though, never in a million years would I let those marriage beliefs I had come in the way of me believing my son had to be raised in a healthy, stable environment. I can pave my sons future and mold him, I could not do that to my ex.
Post # 16
I’ll preface this and say I don’t have children of my own, but have observed most of my couple friends have one or more children in the last five years. The couples that seem to have the easiest time are those that aren’t perfectionists. If the baby cries for 30 seconds while you kiss your spouse hello at night and ask how the day was, no harm is done. If you allow your spouse to take care of the kid their way (assuming no bodily harm is involved), and don’t hover, nag, or correct everything, there will be less tension. If you at some point trust someone (relative, friend, etc) to watch your baby for a few hours, you and your spouse will have some precious time alone to reconnect.
As far as the argument over who is the #1 priority–spouse or child–it’s a question of what the context is. Certainly feeding and changing your baby comes at the expense of watching TV together. But if taking care of the baby becomes an excuse to disconnect and refuse to engage emotionally in your partner, there will be serious problems. Raising a kid shouldn’t be a solo endeavor in a marriage.