Let’s face it, having children affects your marriage. A common conversation starter for many couples is, “Do you remember what our life was like before we had kids? What happened?”
While many couples consider having children as the natural progression in their relationship, the reality is that being a parent is challenging and puts a significant amount of stress on a marriage, especially when children are young.
As a couple progresses from dating to engagement and then to the wedding and honeymoon, they make a commitment to building a life together. Ideally this should revolve around shared goals such as having children.
Research shows that couples tend to be the happiest right after the nuptials. However, after a few years of living together there is a trend of declining satisfaction.
What happens when you add children to the mix? The relationship can become strained, less romantic and less satisfying. Unfortunately, many couples feel uncomfortable discussing the stress that having children has put on their relationship so they avoid the topic altogether. This makes it difficult to address the problems and work towards rectifying them.
The question then becomes, can having kids ruin your marriage?
Some common ways that raising children can affect a marriage include:
- Difference in parenting styles
- Changes in your sex life
- Exhaustion and lack of self-care
- Lack of work-life balance
- Mismatched expectations
- Problems with money and debt
Studies have shown that couples are less romantic with each other after becoming parents and couples in childless marriages tend to be happier.
Marriage and family counselor and associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami Brian D. Doss, Ph.D., conducted a study of couples who were married for 8 to 10 years. The purpose of his research was to study how the couples’ relationships changed after becoming parents.
The results? Approximately 90% said they felt less happy in their relationships after becoming parents with 60% saying they were less confident about being able to work through their problems. Many reported lower levels of dedication to making their relationships work in the long term.
So, can having kids ruin your marriage? Unfortunately in some cases the answer is yes.
Doing What is Best for the Kids
For many couples, becoming a parent is one of the happiest milestones in their lives. For others however, the decision to have kids makes maintaining a happy marriage complex.
If raising children has changed the dynamics of your marriage to the point that it’s become unhealthy for you and your spouse, staying together for the sake of your children can end up doing them more harm in the long run.
At Buncher Family Law, certified family law specialists located in Orange County, CA, we understand that divorce can be complicated. That’s why we strive to simplify the process by encouraging settlement options. That being said, we have a proven track record when litigation is necessary.