Marriages and relationships can quickly turn sour after the birth of a new baby with the Journal of Family Psychology reporting that 67% of couples see their satisfaction plummet after the new addition!
Post-baby discontent is so common that many people accept it as the norm however this shouldn’t be the case! The petty squabbles and arguing has a negative impact on your little child. Two decades’ worth of research has highlighted that what can appear as minor marital conflict can have a large impact on children’s mental health; specifically depression, poor social skills and conduct disorders.
Dr John Gotteman has spent 40 years looking into marital stability along with his wife, Dr Julie Gotteman. His words on the matter are;
“When there is a precipitous decline in relationship satisfaction and an increase in hostility, it transfers to the baby and affects the baby,”
Talk about feelings
Ensuring that your baby isn’t affected by your arguments is one of the key reasons why you should try and ensure happiness in a relationship. One of the key conflict management techniques that the Gotteman’s found is to keep the focus on your own feelings rather than attacking your partner. Say they haven’t washed the dishes when it is their turn. Rather than saying: “I am angry because you didn’t clean the dishes as you promised,” or, “You are so lazy, you’re disgusting,” say instead, “I am upset because the dishes haven’t been washed,”.
Once you see that talking about feelings helps to maintain a good relationship, you can often spot couples attacking each other. This is particularly prevelent when they go on holiday too! As John says;
“Most couples, when they think about making their relationship more positive, they think of going on a vacation to a really nice place. But how often have you seen couples in a canoe screaming at each other, ‘That’s not how you do a J-stroke! We’re going around in circles! What the hell is wrong with you?'”
It is very easy when you are a parent to become flooded with emotions, particularly when your partner has done something wrong, such as buying the wrong-sized nappies. Taking the time to pause and calm down can dramatically help you maintain a happier relationship as you are less likely to attack your partner over the issue.
Don’t keep score
Another way that can bring about disharmony in a relationship is that a lot of couples start keeping score. While you might think you are making a game out of comparing who has wiped the most bottoms or had the least amount of sleep, this only makes it worse. As the Gottman Institute urges new parents to remember they’re in this together! Don’t let yourself get carried away by the game and ultimately end up resenting your partner over something as petty as a nappy!