A Second Child Isn't Going to Ruin Your Marriage -- but It Won't Save It Either

family expecting second child If you've been on the fence about having a second child because you've heard that baby No. 2 could be a home-wrecker, here's some good news: A study published in September’s Couple and Family Psychology says that after a brief post-birth adjustment period, most couples went back to feeling that their marriage was as happy as it was before their new arrival


That's good news if you've been wanting to expand your family but feared that taking on double the work and enduring those middle-of-the-night wake-ups would put a strain on your marriage. 

Interestingly, the study found that of those couples who didn't feel "close or happy" after bringing home a second child had a few things in common. Researchers discovered that in those marriages there was a disconnect in that one partner was typically happier with the union than the other. The couples also demonstrated some unpleasant habits, such as blaming each other or yelling.

So, basically, couples who mutually agreed they were happy before adding to the family were able to make the transition rather seamlessly, whereas those who were on shaky ground before the stork paid a second visit didn't fare as well. 

More from The Stir: Loving Your Second Child as Much as Your First: Is It Possible?

It makes sense, but some other factors we'd love to see studied are how the age gap between kids impacts a marriage. You'd have to imagine siblings born close together would add more stress to a household than those that are years apart. Just think about it: Having an older child who can dress himself and is fully potty-trained takes a lot less effort than having two in diapers! 

The health of the children would be another interesting aspect to study. A happy baby who sleeps through the night would be a lot less taxing on a couple than one with colic or chronic illness. 

The study does note that having good communication skills and the support of friends and family can help couples get back to their happy place faster. Makes sense!

So, if you're thinking of adding to the family, take a close look at your marriage now and see if it's solid. It's not fair to blame a second child if problems were lurking there before he or she came on the scene! 


Image via Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

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