Portland Marriage Counseling: Having a Baby Will Cause Relationship Issues

January 5, 2012 by

You need to know this, first time parents: whatever relationship issues you have now will only get worse after you have your baby. I don’t say this to deter anyone from having children. They can be wonderful additions to our life in many amazing ways. But I do believe it needs to be put out there because so many of my clients in Portland marriage counseling come to me after junior is born, shocked that their spouse is so annoying, frustrating, stupid, boring – you name it. How could they have gone through this incredible, life-changing experience with such a person?

Unfortunately, what’s nearly impossible to see when you’re sleeping in half-hour shifts and swimming in dirty diapers is that it’s not the person you fell in love with that has changed, it’s your situation. And, let’s be honest, you. Who wouldn’t have relationship issues when they are sleep-deprived and constantly catering to the demands of a crying roommate who can’t do anything for him or herself? It’s normal, it’s natural, just about everyone goes through it, and it really stinks – even worse than those diapers!

Portland Marriage Counseling: What Happened to Us?

Having a baby changes both of you. Your life becomes about taking care of them and you will most likely feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself and your relationship. This doesn’t, however, mean that it has to stay lost. It may seem like you have no time to work on your relationship issues with an infant in the house, but that just means you have to work even harder – and smarter – to stay connected.

In Portland marriage counseling, I talk to my clients about finding sweet little moments instead of planning bigger things. You probably won’t be able to go out to the movies or a nice romantic dinner for a while, so take advantage of the ten minutes when baby is finally asleep and you’re both awake to actually talk to each other. Or if you’ve got backup (i.e. a relative or friend at the house), leave and go for a short walk alone around the neighborhood. Relish being alone together for whatever time you can get.

Also: plan. I’m fairly certain that more relationship issues between new parents have been caused by the increased amount of chores (and the related less amount of sleep) than anything else. Creating a daily or weekly chore list and splitting and switching up the responsibilities will help in a number of ways. There’s less chance of someone forgetting something, which with your lack of sleep will probably cause a fight. It will lower the amount of resentment you feel towards each other if you can see who is doing what and realize that you both probably feel like you’re doing 90 percent of the work. And finally, using some kind of organizational system just might provide you with a few extra minutes of downtime that you can use to sleep or spend time with each other – either one will help to improve your relationship.

If you and your spouse want more tips on surviving the relationship issues caused by a new baby, check out Portland marriage counseling.