For many obvious reasons, the first years of marriage can be quite challenging. In the best of circumstances, each spouse must make adjustments. No amount of premarital counseling can fully prepare a couple for all the changes each spouse will have to make. This is especially true when children come along. The best-made plans are often replaced by frequent surprises. Children and marriage certainly go together, but having children requires a great deal of hard work and maturity from both parents in order to meet the needs of each child while ensuring a healthy marriage.
Here are 7 tips to help couples learn how to balance children and marriage and maintain the foundation of a strong partnership:
- Vocalize and listen to each other’s concerns. First-time parenting is a frightening prospect, but remember that you have each other to depend upon.
- Lean on the expertise of family and friends to coach you on the “secrets” from their own parenting experiences. All married couples face similar stresses and issues when having children and many have learned from their mistakes. You will do well to seek their counsel. Just choose the sources of your counsel wisely.
- Be open and honest with each other if you should harbor doubts. Get your feelings out into the open or you’ll find the stresses of parenting and those locked-up emotions playing seesaw with your relationship.
- Discuss and compare views on structure and discipline with the goal of finding a compromise position on how to raise your child.
- Don’t let parenting consume your relationship to the point that you have no intimate time for each other.
- Never forget that you were a couple before you were parents … a lesson worth carrying throughout the ups and downs of raising children.
- Consider parenting and career objectives. While both parents working might provide more financial stability, consider how it could affect your child’s development? Be certain to count all the costs, both tangible and intangible, before making the decision for both of you to work.
It is important to understand that relationship challenges are a normal part of balancing children and marriage. Though you and your spouse may carefully and prayerfully plan for children and talk at length about how to handle situations that may arise, be prepared for surprises. And no matter what, never forget that the love and support needed to nurture your marriage is just as important as winning the parent-of-the-year award. Strongly consider sitting down with a counselor and discussing being parents, or consider taking a class to continue growing in your marriage with the idea that you may gain insightful and objective advice on how to successfully tackle marriage and parenting.
– Family Dynamics Institute
Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.
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