It seems counter-intuitive that a screaming, drooling, all-consuming little being that destroys your genitals for a few months, steals all of your sleep, and demands all of your attention might actually improve your relationship with your spouse.
But oddly, they can.
This essay on YourTango goes on to say just how.
"15 years into parenting, I love my husband Marc more than ever," says writer Diana Landen.
I am with her. And the studies that suggest otherwise might be misleading, says Landen. Though studies have suggested that 38 percent of couples show a moderate decline in marital satisfaction during the first year and a half of parenthood, 30 percent of couples show no change, and 19 percent improve.
Additionally, the study is only looking at that first year, during the most intense "feet to the fire" part of parenthood.
What about the other 17+ years?
My husband and I were among the lucky ones who saw an instant improvement in our connection. The pregnancy with all its classes and prep work helped us bond over a shared project while the labor made me trust my husband in ways I never had trusted another human before. And then raising our child together just cemented it all.
For us, having children was an amazing boon to our marriage.
Here are Five Ways Babies Actually Improve Marriages:
- A shared project: I had been married almost four years when my first baby came along. My husband and I had traveled the world together many times, but he is a scientist and I am a writer, so our paths rarely crossed professionally. The baby gave us a shared purpose, something we were raising together (besides our relationship).
- Seeing your partner as a parent: Watching my husband carry our babies or rock them to sleep or read to them are some of the better moments in my life. It's truly powerful and shows you a whole other side of the partner and spouse you've only known in one way.
- Gratitude for the help: "I think it's just a matter of being in the trenches together," said Julia, a mom of two in Medford, Massachusetts. "Things get relentlessly challenging, so you have to work together to simply survive." True dat.
- Less focus on little things/drama: I'm a bit of a stress junkie, so I had been really good at creating that in our pre-kid lives. After the babies came, they brought enough drama and chaos to last a lifetime. There was no time for man-made versions of it.
- A sense of "family": Families come in all shapes and sizes. That said, the first time I held our baby between us, I had the strongest sense of "family" I'd ever had. It was what I (and then we) had always wanted and it was spectacular.
Of course, if this isn't your experience, we also have some tips to safeguard your relationship from your toddlers.
Did having a baby improve your marriage?