As our newborn son approaches his 2nd month of life, and my wife and I begin to come out of the fog of having an infant in our house, I’ve started to reflect on the impact to my marriage with having a newborn in the house.
To be honest, the last two months of my life have been ridiculously hard. Our little guy has had a tough time adjusting to his new world and he isn’t sleeping well – which means neither are my wife and I.
Sleep deprivation sucks.
So my wife and I are in a stage of life that looks a little like survival mode & crisis management as opposed to the loving partnership that I value so greatly. We take turns trying to soothe our little guy. One cleans, while the other one naps. One of us cooks while the other one eats. One of us takes a break to get away, while the other one diligently works thinking of creative means of soothing.
For the past 2 months, I feel like I haven’t seen or talked to my wife. Sure, we see each other, have brief conversations, but very little of it resembles the life-giving, connective marriage we value. We are both simply trying to survive our child, which means there is little mental capacity for each other.
I can see why marriages suffer when small children are introduced into the martial dyad. Sadly, this state of emotional exhaustion can lead to couples divorcing.
**Research says that marital satisfaction is the lowest when children under the age of 5 are present in the home.
Now I know why.
The Most Terrifying Chart Imaginable for New Parents
My intention for writing about this was not to be pessimistic, but to acknowledge reality and give parents permission to not feel so great about their marriage during this time. When I was reminded that marital satisfaction was the lowest for couples with young children, I felt a sigh of relief – knowing that this was in some ways my new normal and that nothing was necessarily wrong with my relationship. It doesn’t feel as personal knowing most every couple struggles during this period.
Although I feel confident that it won’t always be this way, I am more accepting of this new life-stage for our family and view it as a period of our lives that we must survive together and grow through – and to know other couples have experienced this stage and survived it also gives me a lot of hope, and I hope it does for you too.
Let’s keep having honest conversations about this tough life-stage and I feel confident we can get through it together.
Quentin Hafner, LMFT
**If you, or a Dad you know would like to meet with other like-minded Dad’s and Husbands in an extremely life-changing and powerful way, please shoot me an email! I am currently forming a new group therapy in my Mission Viejo office called “Better Dad’s and Better Husband’s.”
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