The Surprising Ways that Marriage Changes Once You Have Children
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Have you ever wondered how your marriage will change once you have the children, you and your spouse, dream about on a daily basis? Will you still have the spontaneous lovemaking sessions? Will you get to throw some clothes in a suitcase and take a “spur of the moment” weekend getaway together? Will you still get to go out with your cool, hip childless couples? Will you still have time for each other? If you have wondered about these things, you are not alone. In fact, most newly married couples, and those who have been married for a while, have probably asked themselves those same questions numerous times. Truth-be-told, your life will change once you have children, but that does not have to be a “bad” thing, in fact, it may actually enrich your life in ways you never dreamed. So, although your life will begin a new chapter once you have children, you will still be able to have those romantic moments with your spouse, and those fun and exciting times with your friends – you just may need a babysitter to help out with those activities. If you wonder what ways your marriage will change once you have children, you are in luck! This article will explain all of the wonderful and not so wonderful surprises you will experience once your become a parent.
When you have children your concept of “quality time” changes from “couple time” to “family time.” In other words, when you do have “free time,” it is no longer directed solely at what you can do as a couple, rather it becomes, “What can I do with my family?” Your children are now included in the fold, so activities that you may have engaged in as a childless marital couple are no longer viable options. For instance, walking around naked on a Saturday afternoon, making love all day, and eating strawberries in bed are no longer appropriate when you have children lurking around every corner.
However, you can still spend that “quality time” with your spouse by scheduling sleepovers for your children, or waiting until they are soundly asleep, locking your bedroom door, putting on lingerie (if you are female) or silk boxers/pajamas (if you are male), sneaking a bottle of champagne/wine and strawberries into your bedroom, lighting up your special space with tea candles, and adding whatever else sets the mood. Once complete - let nature take its course! However, during the daylight hours, refrain from excluding your children from your activities. And, please do not behave irresponsibly or inappropriately towards one another when your children are present.
Why? Well, it sends the wrong message to your children on how to behave appropriately in relationships. Spend quality time during the day with your spouse and children by going bowling, putt-putt golfing, shopping, ice skating, etc., and spend quiet, romantic time with each other at night (i.e. talking, cuddling, making love, watching television, playing games, etc.) once your children have fallen asleep, and the house has quieted down.
Yes, your priorities will change once you have children, and if they don’t, they should. When you have children, your wants and needs move into the “passenger seat of life.” In other words, you put your children’s needs and wants above your own. The times of splurging on a designer handbag or spending hundreds of dollars on a new game system are long gone. Now everything (i.e. money, time, and effort) is funneled into your “little replicas.” It probably sounds bleak, but it doesn’t have to be. You can still have those things that you want – it just may take a little longer now.
How? Well, you can save for the “treats” that you want. Put away a little from each paycheck until you can get that handbag or game system you want, or until you can comfortably take that vacation, and/or go to that 4-star restaurant you have been dying to try. Just because you have children does not mean that you must give up all of “life’s treasures.” What it does mean, however, is that you must first provide for your children, before providing for yourself. Yes, it may take quite a while to acquire the things you want and need, but in the end you will be proud of yourself for being a good parent. In other words, the wait will be well worth the sacrifices!
Another surprising way your marriage will change once your have children is through finances. Believe it or not children are expensive. In fact, according to Chris Wadsworth, a correspondent for USA Today (2012), the average middle-class American couple can expect to spend approximately $250,000 (total) raising a child until he or she becomes an adult. Melanie Hicken, a correspondent for CNN Money (2013), reports that the cost of raising a child to 18 years old is approximately $240,000 – a little less than Wadsworth’s estimation, but expensive, nonetheless. Children have a variety of wants and needs that must be met (i.e. housing, food, health care, schooling, childcare, clothing, sports, activities, entertainment, music, dance and/or singing lessons, vacations, birthday parties, gifts, college tuitions, etc.), which can be quite stressful to any family, but especially one that is struggling with finances (Wadsworth, 2012).
The expense list goes on and on. In some cases, parents are forced to take on second or third jobs just to make ends meet. But, although finances may get “tight” along the way, raising a child is one of life’s greatest joys. You can make it with a heavy dose of determination and persistence, and a lot of heart. Budgeting for your children’s needs can help you get a better grasp on your finances. Moreover, if you have trouble managing your expenses and finances, thankfully, there are people, who can help you with them. Don’t live outside of your means, and provide your children with love and support, and they will appreciate your efforts.
Lastly, your communication styles may change once you have children. In other words, you may have to alter how you speak to one another and speak to others. Why? Well, because children “pickup” your language and communication patterns, and mimic those patterns around other people (i.e. peers, teachers, strangers, siblings, etc.). They believe it is OK to speak to others like that because you speak to others that way. Children, as young as toddlers, are constantly watching you, in an effort to learn appropriate behaviors, so if you exhibit “less than flattering” behaviors, they will do the same.
So, once you have children, you may need to refrain from criticizing and degrading your spouse with curse words and “put downs.” For instance, if you and your spouse have a habit of yelling at each other on a regular basis, once you have children the yelling should stop, or at the very least, the yelling should only occur when the children are not present. Make sure you only use complimentary words towards and about one other in front of your children, and if you have nothing nice to say, well, just don’t say anything at all.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Hicken, M. (2013). Average costs to raise a kid: $241,080. CNN Money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/14/pf/cost-children/index.html
Meglio, F. D. (n.d.). How having a baby will affect your marriage. About Relationships. Retrieved from http://newlyweds.about.com/od/havingababy/a/babyeffects.htm
Stock, P. (2015). Marriage after baby: Problems and solutions. Parents. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/staying-close/marriage-after-baby/
Wadsworth, C. (2012). The cost of raising a child. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2012/12/23/cost-raising-kids/1788415/