Post written by marriage columnist Susanne Alexander of Marriage Transformation.

An earthshaking event for a marriage can be discussing whether to have your first baby. Not to mention actually adding a child to the mix.
Going from two in the family to three is one of those “forever” changes.
You as a couple will always be connected, no matter what happens to your relationship. So, beginning to discuss adding a baby to the mix can raise questions about the state of your marriage:

  • Is our marriage healthy enough, strong enough, and happy enough to support a baby?
  • How will we maintain our marriage during pregnancy and after a baby is born?
  • Do we have confidence in our ability to be cooperative parents?
  • Are we willing to sacrifice some of what gets our time and attention now, and give it to a baby instead?

Sometimes couples faced with these types of questions experience a crisis of confidence in their marriage. Couples can benefit from a marital strengthening process during this time.
Some actions that can help are:
Re-visiting positive memories from your courtship and early marriage. These memories will help to strengthen your feelings of love towards one another and help you be united.
Taking a weekend marriage workshop or a series of evening classes. Also consider getting a marriage check-up assessment done with coaching for areas that need strengthening. Every marriage has room to grow, and before adding children is a great time to deepen your knowledge and build your skills. You can learn to communicate better, express love more effectively, and manage differences. This time of education and learning will give you ideas to apply during pregnancy and the early years of your child’s life.
Going away for a romantic weekend. Sometimes it helps to be in a different environment for in-depth conversations. Time away can give you the perspectives that you need about your importance to one another.
Talking to another couple who has successfully negotiated this challenge.  Definitely look around to see what your support system is. You might be surprised to find out your friends or family members have gone through a similar situation and can encourage you or give you helpful advice.
Learning how you will parent together. If you are having doubts about your ability to parent together, it would be good to seek parenting education classes and books to discuss. Look after someone’s children together and assess the experience. The more harmonious you are in rearing your children, the happier your home will be.
Taking the time needed for family. If your time commitments feel overwhelming and very important now, you may question the choice to have a child. You may be thinking that it is just too much to take on. Do some visioning together of your future and what having and rearing a child will be like. Go to the future and imagine having grandchildren and companionship as you age. What can you do with the work and community service responsibilities you have now? Can you delegate some of them? Re-negotiate the time commitments? What can you do to put your marriage and family higher on the priority list?
Don’t panic if you start to feel uncertain about having a child together.
Take these positive steps forward to a happy marriage and family.
Need help? Try out one of the Marriage Sparks courses today!