One of the greatest joys in a marriage is becoming a parent. A child is a wonderful gift from God that brings joy as well as new stresses into the couple's life.
If you allow it, children can put a strain on your marriage and come between the husband and wife. The key phrase here is "if you allow it" so don't let this be you.
Here are 5 things you can do to keep your marriage alive after having children:
1. Realize that children come into your marriage . You don't join your child's life; they are joining your life. You don't stop being a couple because you have children. You add children to your wonderful, fun, happy marriage and teach them to do the same when they become parents.
2. Understand you have two roles now , a wife and a mother or a husband and a father. You must remember to keep your role as a spouse first and your role as a parent second. This does not mean you neglect your children's needs nor does it mean you disregard your values as a parent.
3. Along with children comes new responsibilities like feeding times, more dirty dishes, more expenses, more laundry, children's activities, and family time just to name a few. In order to keep your marriage alive and healthy it's best to discuss how the two of you will divide these new responsibilities .
4. Don't stop doing the things you enjoyed doing together as a couple before having children. Healthy and mature things of course! If you had a date night every weekend, make sure you continue with your date nights. You may only date every other weekend but continue to date. Talk during the day while the children are at school. Continue a healthy sex life. If you share the new responsibilities of children, neither one can resent the other for not doing their part, therefore, there won't be the need to withhold sex. There is still time for sex after the children come along. Remember, the children are joining your life and in order to give your children a good life you must have a good life as husband and wife.
5. Add family time into the marriage . Just as having couple time is important to a healthy marriage, family time is just as important to a healthy marriage with children. Family time creates bonding amongst everyone, allows you to know your children better and be a part of their life, and gives your children a safe haven. According to the 2000 study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who don't eat dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. By contrast, children who eat dinner with their families every night of the week are 20 percent less likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.
Of course your life will change after having children and you need to understand that. While it's true you will experience some not so great times as parents, you will also have the opportunity to experience many things that will make your life very rewarding as a parent. It's your job, both husband and wife, to keep your marriage alive after having children! Work together, you can do it!
By Rhonda Neely
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