Having a happy and healthy marriage is a huge accomplishment when we have young children in our families. According to marital satisfaction survey’s, couples seem to be least happy in their marital life span when a child under the age of 5 is present in the home. This is a tough time for nearly all couples, but some couples seem to traverse this difficult period more smoothly than others.
Below, is a list of 5 things that successful couples do to keep their marriage thriving with young children.
Couples that thrive recognize a need to talk to one another on a daily basis about what is going on for each of them. More than simply “communicating”, individuals in thriving couples experience each other as a safe person to share vulnerable thoughts and feelings. This ability to share vulnerably creates deeper attachment bonds and helps the couple feel connected during this difficult period. Staying bonded during this stressful time is very important.
2. GET HELP:
Successful couples with young children recognize they can’t do it by themselves (and don’t feel guilty about it) and live the cliché; “it takes a village”. It really does take a village and for couples to have a thriving marriage, they need to find alternative support systems to help with childcare so they can give energy and time to their spousal relationship. Find family, friends, support groups, nannies, and babysitters to be part of your familial community. You can’t do it by yourself – nor should you want to.
3. MAKE SPACE:
No matter how busy and chaotic family life can become with young children, it’s imperative that couples continue to find the time for their relationship. Making space for date nights, sexual intimacy, conversations, etc. are all very important elements for the longevity of your relationship. Babies are certainly demanding and all consuming, but our little ones need us to make our spousal relationship a priority – it’s in their best interest too!
4. FIGHT WELL:
92% of all couples with young children report fighting more after baby arrives. So, if increased conflict is inevitable, what seems to separate successful couples from the others is their ability and know-how to fight well. Conflict in our marriages is not a signpost that something is wrong – it can be tremendously beneficial in a relationship because it means that we’re being honest. So, how well do you fight? Learning how to manage angry feelings in a healthy way is learned skill available to everyone.
5. SEE THE BIG PICTURE:
Amidst the sleepless nights, the long days, and the exhausting moments where your child seems to defy even the smallest of requests, it’s hard to keep in mind “why” you’re doing what you’re doing. However, it’s crucial for the stability and longevity of the family to keep in mind the big picture of your tireless suffering as a parent. Couples that thrive know the meaning, the purpose, and the existential underpinnings of their sacrifices, and this carries families through the hard times. Join with your spouse to reflect and meditate on the mystery, the beauty, and the meaning you want to create for your family.
Despite a depressing statistical outlook for couples with young children, I am thoroughly convinced that the challenges most couples face are solvable and there is an abundance of hope available for those who seek help. If you’re struggling in your relationship, know that help is available.
For those of us with young children in our families, my hope is that we would link arms with one another in unity and in community – supporting, encouraging, and nurturing each other during this challenging transitionary period in our lives. Let’s come together and help each other!
Quentin HafnerCheck Out My Marriage Workshop for Couples with Young Children
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