Does Parenthood Spell Less Connection in Your Marriage?
It’s no secret that keeping your marriage vibrant while you’re parenting together can get tricky, but it’s ESSENTIAL.
These are a few of the things I’ve been hearing from parents lately.
Do any of their concerns sound familiar?
“I fear we’re growing apart & we don’t really feel like a couple - just two people raising kids together.”
“This new normal is stressful and pulling us apart- we focus on our son when we’re together but we’re not connecting with each other.”
“We are drained and tired. I don't want to lose US.”
“There's just no energy left for US by the time the kids are in bed. We want to be good to each other, but instead we become resentful if we need to sacrifice our own rest”.
If you can relate to these parents, you’re absolutely NOT alone. While parenting a child (or several children) is truly a wondrous and joyful privilege, parenting is also messy and stressful and it will challenge your marriage like nothing else.
As some of you already know, I have a doctorate in clinical psychology and I’ve pursued advanced training in couples & sex therapy. Over the past 13 + years I’ve had the honor of successfully helping countless parents gain clarity into the powerful forces driving their biggest long-standing arguments.
But soon after I became a mother in 2011, I felt so depleted that I found myself spending a huge amount of energy in ‘reactivity’ mode. My husband and I were severely sleep-deprived (waking up 12-25 times per night was our norm for several YEARS).
While we savored many magical moments of gratitude, nothing prepared me for the cumulative exhaustion and helplessness I felt. I felt guilty and ashamed that I couldn’t help my babies get the sleep they needed, no matter how hard I tried. At the same time, I was desperate for someone to take care of ME.
And, most importantly I was painfully aware that my marriage was exactly where our children were already starting to learn about what they can expect to experience in close relationships.
So, over the past 5 years I developed my own step-by-step framework to help me move through conflict differently - based on my own journey, the professional support I sought out and the most holistic psychological traditions I’m trained in. And I realized this could be profoundly helpful to other couples with children too.
Since then, although my mate & I still argue sometimes - our arguments don’t escalate as quickly. We recover from them faster and feel even closer afterwards. It feels incredible to trust that we can handle anything that comes our way. Now I find that instead of feeling stuck or disappointed during an argument, I can actually be curious about the next thing I need to learn or master.
Deep down most parents intuitively know how crucial the health of their own relationship is for their children’s development and wellbeing. Here are some wise words from parents I recently surveyed:
“When we are connected, we are calmer and happier, the "atmosphere" in the house is less tense, and we tend to be better parents.”
“We want our children to have united parents and the stability that gives to them. We see and know how vital that is for them.”
I absolutely know that you are FIERCELY COMMITTED to giving your children the biggest gift ever - the gift of growing up in a family where children know beyond a doubt that they are infinitely loved AND that their parents also enjoy, admire and love each other.
I’d like you to take a few moments to imagine what it would feel like to fully trust your partner has your back and your best interests at heart. Imagine how good it would feel to know your mate gives you the benefit of the doubt and recognizes all the sacrifices you make.
How satisfying would it be to know that you are giving your children the gift of seeing what a loving, supportive marriage looks like? Contact me today to explore options for working together.