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Marriage and Parenting

Does parenthood affect your marriage?
  • 19 March 2024
  • 6min

What could be more special than having a child together? You are married and parenting together, You love each other - of course, you'll tackle any challenges that come your way. But what if one day you realise that everything suddenly revolves around handling those challenges? If the laughter and intimate conversations have vanished, leaving only bickering and arguments? Or if one wants closeness while the other just wants to be left alone?

Having a child with the person you love is something that binds you together even more as a couple. A little person whose well-being and development are the most important shing and your shared goal! However, the early years of parenthood can also pose the greatest challenge you'll ever face as a couple.

The early years of parenting, along with adolescence and when the children leave home, are a period in life when the couple's relationship faces significant challenges. In a Swedish study where researchers examined how parents perceive their relationship with their partner and what factors they believe contribute to relationship problems, the strains that come with parenthood are specifically highlighted as an area of focus.

Here, we will describe some common challenges for marriage and parenting during the early years of parenthood, and provide advice on how you can take care of your marriage during this wonderful but, for many, also challenging time with the help of the Ally app.

Common challenges in marriage and parenting

1. Your Differences Become More Evident

It could be differences in interests, needs, habits, and values. When you met your partner, perhaps you were drawn to their generosity, spontaneity, career drive, or the passion for hobbies. When you have children, you might discover that those qualities in your partner now make you feel disappointed, worried, irritated, or abandoned.

2. Increased Dependence on Each other

If you're not with the child, someone else has to be. As parents, all time becomes your shared time. What you do has an impact on your partner's freedom, opportunities and energy in a way that wasn't the case before.

3. "All We Talk About Is the Kids"

When two adults become parents, the focus of the relationship shifts. It's natural, and it should be that way. However, it can be difficult to balance and maintain a loving relationship with each other while also fulfilling your roles as parents. The years with children are often so intensely focused on all the practical aspects of family life that it can feel like it completely takes over.

It is not uncommon during this time to feel increasingly disconnected as a couple, and to miss that sense of belonging, intimacy, and mutual appreciation that was so obvious at the beginning of the relationship.

4. Decreased Intimacy and Physical Closeness

The impact on time and energy from becoming parents is obvious. But during the early years of marriage and parenting, it's common for the sex life to change in other ways too. Often, one or both partners experience a decrease in their sex drive. If one partner feels more desire than the other, it can lead to a cycle where initiation is met with rejection, leaving the other feeling unappreciated or misunderstood.

How the Ally App Can Help You

It's not always easy to find the time and energy, especially when you're in the midst of marriage and parenting young children. You might be struggling, but seeking couples therapy does not feel like an option right now. Or perhaps you want to be more proactive and take better care of your relationship so that challenges don't escalate.

One way to start working on your own is by using the Ally app, like couples therapy on your own. Ally is an app developed by psychologists and based on evidence-based methods from couples therapy.

Here are some exercises in Ally that can be particularly helpful for couples during the early years of parenthood:

Learn About Your Differences

We know how important acceptance and understanding of each other's differences are for functioning relationships, and we also know that differences in personality and needs tend to be strengthened when you have children together. In this exercise, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how you're similar or different and how it affects your relationship.

Navigating Emotional Struggles

When the burdens increase, it's easier to end up in tough situations where negative emotions arise. Here, you'll receive help in effectively navigating difficult situations by better understanding your emotions. This exercise is highly recommended for those experiencing conflicts, misunderstandings, or a cold atmosphere between you.

In the following exercises "Dressing your needs" and "Meeting Your Partner's Needs," you further work on understanding how you are different, what you need to feel good, and how you can give each other more of that.

Daily Question

Are you also mostly talking about the kids and everyday logistics these days? Or how to maintain a balance in marriage and parenting? The Daily Question provides you with questions in the app everyday. It can be about anything from what your partner is struggling with right now to what your partner's favourite ice cream flavour is! You answer about your partner, and your partner answers about you; then you share the answers with each other in the app. It's a way to spark curiosity and find new topics to talk about.

Get started on building a stronger and closer relationship

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