Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size
A
A
A

Will Baby Strengthen or Strain Your Marriage?

How relationships change with the arrival of a new baby.
By Sherry Rauh
WebMD Feature

Maureen Kenny and Charles Winick knew they wanted a baby but never imagined they would have three at once. "Each has special qualities and quirks that are endearing, yet, together, they form a threesome that is so adorable," Kenny says. "I can't imagine life without them."

But doesn't having 10-month-old triplets wreak havoc on a marriage? Not according to Kenny. "It has brought us closer together," she tells WebMD. "We love to talk about the babies and what is happening with them. We plan for their future and look forward to spending time together with them."

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

Marriage Advice: New Rules for a Good Marriage

By Sarah MahoneySurprising new marriage rules to help you get closer — or even fall in love again By the time we reach our 15th wedding anniversaries, most of us know how to handle the ups and downs of marriage. Sure, the wedding china may have a few chips, and perhaps we've had one too many spats about who forgot to bring home the milk. But we've also learned to negotiate holidays with the in-laws, wrangle tantrum-throwing kids, and talk each other through blown transmissions and career crossroads...

Read the Marriage Advice: New Rules for a Good Marriage article > >

"It has given us a common task," Winick says. "My wife and I have similar views about raising children, so we have formed a nice partnership. We help each other to stay consistent with the decisions that we have made about raising children."

Whether a new baby brings spouses closer together or drives them apart has a lot to do with the pre-baby relationship, says Jerrold Lee Shapiro, PhD, a clinical psychologist and chairman of the department of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University in California.

"Having a child intensifies everything in a relationship," he tells WebMD.

"With the arrival of a first child, everything good in a marriage gets better, everything bad gets worse. A couple that has good intimacy will find a lot more to share, more experiences to get excited about together. A couple that has a lot of distance will find that a child becomes a wedge."

Stay Connected

Spending quality time with your partner before the baby arrives can put you on the right track.

To stay there, Shapiro says it's crucial to recognize that your role as a spouse doesn't disappear when you become a parent -- rather, it becomes even more important.

"The very best thing you can give your child is a good relationship with your partner. It provides security, an example of how people get along and how to deal with conflict ... things that are good for a child to see."

But a good relationship requires time and intimacy -- elusive commodities for new parents. "There is much less time for us as a couple," Kenny says. "We have only been out without [the triplets] about three times since their birth."

Psychologist Arthur Kovacs, PhD, recommends setting aside at least a few hours of couple time every week, "even if you have to schedule it."

This time does not have to involve anything fancy -- taking a walk, eating dinner together, or meeting up with friends can help you and your partner reconnect throughout the week. Make plans that are easy, so you'll be more likely to keep them.

"My husband and I are making an effort to get out more with friends or have people over to socialize," Kenny says. "Having people over to our house is best for us, as the babies have all the stuff they need."

Today on WebMD

flowers behind back
Article
Upset woman sitting on bed
Article
 
couple kissing
Article
Exercises for Better Sex
Video
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article