Parenthood & Divorce
The stress and responsibilities that come with raising a family can sometimes be the beginning of the end for a marriage and divorce can be right around the corner. Marital researchers have shown that both husbands and wives can experience a decline in marital satisfaction after the birth of a child. Studies have indicated that 67 percent of women who became mothers reported declines in satisfaction.
Data also reveals that husbands can also experience declines in marital satisfaction upon the birth of a first child but the percentages are lower and the effects can be somewhat delayed with men. At 56 percent, over half of the husbands studied reported reduced marital relationships with the birth of a child. The main factors in a wife’s marital satisfaction were the husband’s level of affection and attentiveness. Dissatisfaction was related to the husband’s negativity or visible disenchantment with the relationship.
Interestingly enough, newlyweds were more likely to be happily married as decreased marital satisfaction was rare during the first three months after a birth and the dissatisfaction did not set in until a child’s first birthday. The conclusion is that a newborn baby in the home can be a temporary substitute for marital satisfaction at first and dissatisfaction only occurs later when the realities of everyday parenthood set in.
The good news is that a strong foundation of friendship between husband and wife that is maintained throughout the marriage can increase marital satisfaction even though the experience of having a child is life-changing. Couples that practice communication, conflict management, and friendship building behaviors can strengthen the marital relationship and weather their transition to parenthood.
Strong bonds between both partners can insulate couples from relationship distress and shows that approaching conflicts together can help maintain the relationship. Marital bonds can be strengthened by maintaining fondness and affection for a spouse and being responsive to what is going on in their life. The relationship between marital satisfaction and the birth of a child is connected to behaviors that can lead to divorce and in the end it is happy parents that have happy marriages.