Will Baby Strengthen or Strain Your Marriage?
How relationships change with the arrival of a new baby.
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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."
Talk to Each Other
Once you carve out couple time, Kovacs suggests using some of it for honest
conversation about the changes you're experiencing. He points out that
parenthood is a major adjustment for both partners.
"The woman has to deal with all the physiological changes," he tells
WebMD. "The man has to adjust to feeling a loss of companionship. He now
has to share the woman who has been by his side. ... His emotional and
practical needs come in second or third, so he gets demoted."
Lori Freed, a pharmaceutical sales representative with a 2-month-old son,
says she has noticed the strain on her marriage. "It's like my son has
become the new man in my life," she tells WebMD. "I'm always either
holding him or feeding him or changing him."
Kovacs says many first-time dads are caught off guard by this change in
"There's an emotional or psychological transition that men have to go
through that is particularly hard. Until their wives are pregnant, they have a
friend, companion, and young lover by their side. Then this person becomes a
mother. Now they have to make love to and cherish a mother instead of a young
If couples feel a sense of loss during this transition, how should they
"Laugh about it and talk about it instead of hiding it," Kovacs
says. "The most important thing is to talk. The quality of a relationship
can only be sustained if the couple shares fears and worries as well as