Most Marriages Degrade After a Child is Born

A bracingly cold glass of water was thrown on this Eisenhoweresque perception by famed sociologist E.E. LeMasters. In 1957, he published a research paper showing that 83 percent of new parents experienced a moderate to severe crisis in the marriage during the transition to parenthood. These parents became increasingly hostile toward each other in the first year of the baby’s life. The majority were having a hard time.


There is hope. We know four of the most important sources of marital conflict in the transition to parenthood: sleep loss, social isolation, unequal workload, and depression. We will examine each. Couples who make themselves aware of these can become vigilant about their behavior, and they tend to do better. We also know that not every marriage follows this depressing course of events. Couples going into pregnancy with strong marital bonds withstand the gale forces of baby’s first year better than those who don’t. Those who carefully plan for their children prior to pregnancy do, too. In fact, one of the biggest predictors of marital bliss appears to be the agreement to have kids in the first place. One large study examined couples where both parties wanted kids versus couples where only one did. If both partners wanted the child, very few divorced, and marital happiness either stayed the same or increased in the baby’s first year of life.


But recognizing the characteristics that cause stress in the relationship can help things.

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 Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Medina , John (2010-10-12), Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, Pear Press, Retrieved on 2011-07-27
Folksonomies: parenting pregnancy babies child development