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Marital Happiness After Children—2  

Last month I talked about the only too common occurrence of relationship satisfaction and happiness decreasing when a couple has children. This month I talk about the couples that avoid that deterioration in happiness and what you can do to copy their success.

The big problem is that as more demands are put on the marital relationship couples tend to be busier and busier and spend less time together as a couple than ever before. Those couples who succeed in maintaining their satisfaction and happiness in their relationship do so by making the relationship a priority. They don’t have a child focused relationship but rather a couple focused relationship. They make time together, just the two of them, a priority. It is OK to go out to dinner together or play golf or tennis rather than being on the sidelines of your child’s soccer game. Children used to play fine without spectators. In fact, they even used to organize the games themselves without any adult help. Amazing to think of. But now, the last time I can remember coming across a pickup game of baseball in a park with no adults in sight was more than fifteen years ago.

Relationship focused couples also set strong boundaries and do a good job of protecting their privacy. They often make the bedroom off limits to the children or lock the bedroom door at a certain time of night. This allows them to create uninterrupted time and also helps with sustaining their sexual connection. A sexual relationship is an important part of keeping a strong connection between a couple and couples who are successful in keeping their relationship satisfaction after having children tend to do what they need to do to keep a sexual connection.

Truthfully, a couple relationship focus in a family is likely to be better for the kids in the long run. Research is coming out to suggest that over parenting may cause more developmental harm to kids than under parenting. Keeping a couple relationship focus makes it less likely you will over parent. Additionally, one of the biggest influences on children’s happiness is their parent’s happiness.  Couples who keep a relationship focus tend to be happier and also tend to have happier children, even if the children aren’t the focus of most of their attention.