Quick Hit: Babies Don’t Ruin Your Marriage

Today at A Practical Wedding, there’s a Reclaiming Wife post about how babies don’t ruin your marriage.

We still go out to places, just the two of us, but I’ll admit that it’s more rare. Don’t get me wrong—we go to all of the same places we used to, we just usually lug along the little one (they’re portable). Cute cafes or fancy restaurants aren’t off limits—just grab an outdoor table and push up the stroller. So, when we do go just the two of us, the rare-ness makes it extra special—in an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” kind of way.

Sure, babies are gonna change your marriage—but I don’t see why everyone acts like the changes are bad. Just like a big move or competing work schedules or anything else that might occupy your time, it’s just one more reason to focus on really making an effort with one another.

I think this is definitely a good perspective to think about, but I agree with several of the commenters on the post: Sure, things don’t have to change too much when the kid isn’t walking at all, but what about when the kid is a toddler or, worse, a teenager? I really do think having a baby does change everything, whether you want it to or not. That’s not to say that babies ruin marriages. I don’t think that’s true at all. If anything, I’d think babies can make a marriage stronger because you are able share a different kind of bond. However, it seems a little bunnies-and-roses to say that having a baby just makes everything more perfect and there’s no added stress to your marriage. What about nighttime feedings, colic, packing up literally everything you own just to take your baby to grandma’s down the street? And I’m sure I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg here.

While I think it’s definitely important to talk about how love and excitement can remain if you make the effort after having a baby, I also think it’s naive to think nothing really changes all that much.

What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Quick Hit: Babies Don’t Ruin Your Marriage

  1. I liked this quote from the post: “Your typical preggo prepares for Baby by stocking up on diapers, or by socking away bits of money. Yours truly spent every last cent on fancy dinners with the husband—each one treated as if it was our last meal. In a sense, we thought it was.”

    I would feel exactly the same way if i were pregnant. Honestly, i don’t see how having a baby wouldn’t completely flip our lifestyle upside-down. And i think each new stage of the child’s life would present new challenges to the marriage. It sounds like the author has a newborn; she has no idea how challenging it may be to have a love life with a tweenager in the house.

    At the same time, it’s nice to hear that babies don’t (necessarily) ruin marriages. ‘Cause that is how i tend to see it, from my naive point of view.

    • Ashley on

      I liked that quote, too, Stephanie. :) That is exactly how I would be!

      I do think what the author was trying to say is that it’s like anything else – you have to work at your marriage when you have a baby, and that can be hard to remember how to do, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. But it does change things, for sure!

  2. Maria on

    As the mother of a VERY high-maintenance* 5-month-old, I would agree that babies do make things different/harder but definitely don’t ruin a marriage. It’s harder to find time for ourselves as a couple, and it can be harder to stay connected. We would NEVER take M to a nice restaurant, because we respect other people’s right to have a scream-free dinner. :) When we do go to more casual places, we have them package the food to-go and then eat inside but are ready to take our food and run if he starts fussing. Honestly, though, we’ve had some amazing talks sitting in the car in the parking lot eating our food. I know that sounds horrible, but it won’t last forever. Is it how I expected my life to be right now? Nope! But is it ruining our marriage? Absolutely not.

    I think having a baby, like ANY challenge, can cause you to draw closer together as a team or make it easier to drift apart. It’s all about how you respond to the challenge–do you support each other or start to resent each other as you work through it?

    *I know most people say their baby is high-maintenance, but consider this small example: Ours was kicked out of the HOSPITAL NURSERY for being too loud. (And he’s only gotten louder, haha.) We adore him, though, of course.

    • Ashley on

      Maria – gosh, I’m finding myself wishing we could have gotten out there this summer to see you and the little guy, but with the dog and having taken two vacations last calendar year, we just couldn’t justify leaving for that long. :( I need to pick your brain about parenting at some point, for real. Your comments here are so insightful!

      • Maria on

        No problem! I totally understand. I think we’ll be back around Christmas time, so my mission to put an under-1-year-old baby into your arms could still be successful. ;)

        I’d be glad to talk with you about parenting sometime…I’m not really too much of an expert yet, of course, but I do enjoy sharing what I’ve learned/experienced so far.

  3. I think the word “ruin” is misused. The stress of having children is definitely great- and only grows exponentially with each additional child. As a mother of three (a 4-year-old, and 2-year-old and a 6-month-old), I think I have a pretty varied perspective on the effects kids have on a marriage. No, we don’t go to nice restaurants or movies with a rating greater than G or out late at night. It’s just not in the cards for us anymore unless we have a baby-sitter. I’d have to say for me, and I’m sure for others, the things we do now are rewarding and enjoyable in their own right. Of course it’s different than before- we aren’t going to the casino once or twice a month or movies at midnight or hanging out with our friends drinking. We’re picking out pumpkins from the patch as a family, finding the perfect tree, listening to Yo Gabba Gabba CDs and singing right along side our kids. We’re playing soccer together and painting and saying “chicken butt, chicken fries, chicken poo” (in response to guess what, why, and who). Our daily lives are stressful. Someone always needs to be fed, or changed, or taken to the bathroom, or put for a nap. On top of that the house still needs to be cleaned and yard work done. We make sure each of us gets a bit of time to spend with ourselves doing things we like to do individually, while the other takes care of the kids. We make it a point to take a weekend to ourselves on “vacation” and have the kids go to a grandparents house at least once a year. We go on dates- not as often as we used to, but we make sure they are memorable. We watch shows together and talk about our day with each other at the end of each day. It is definitely different, but we bond over our children greatly. We argue about discipline and poor behavior and the right way to fix things. We enjoy the glimmer in the eyes of our kids, and each other when a milestone is met- like our son eating a vegetable for the first time voluntarily. We discuss politics and have a unique view that no one but each other can understand about how we think our world and the things in it should work. There is no one I can confide in more with my fears and hopes. Two out of our three children were out of wedlock- for most people I know around me that usually ends up splitting the people apart (the lack of planning makes the stress shock even more severe). We had our children young, I am only 24 and my husband 27. Children don’t ruin a marriage- a poor relationship ruins a marriage. If you’re not strong enough to begin with, getting married or having a child isn’t going to fix anything that’s broken. It’s going to put pressure on you to perform, and when you’ve already got some cracks on the windshield, adding some weight to it will make it shatter. I’ve never felt closer to my husband than the days my children were born, the days where my kids say “I love you” or “This is the best family in the whole world” or “I had such a great day” because none of these moments would be possible without my husband.

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