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Confession: Having Kids Made My Marriage More Difficult

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Not long after I had my first child, a woman asked for advice on getting pregnant in an online forum I frequented. She and her husband were going through a rough patch in their marriage, and they’d decided to try to have a baby.

She reasoned that if they had to put so much effort and energy into taking care of a baby, they couldn’t possibly have enough energy to argue about trivial things like whose turn it was to take out the garbage. She was sure that having a baby would bring them closer together and solve all of their problems.

I wanted to leap through the computer and shake her.

I say this as someone who had a great marriage before having kids and still has a great marriage after having had two children: Having children absolutely makes marriage harder. Not worse, necessarily, but different and definitely harder. Here’s why:

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1. It’s harder to communicate.

Both of our kids love to talk. Loudly. To each other, to us, to anyone they see. We work daily to try to teach them not to interrupt when someone else is talking, but some days it seems like we’re fighting a losing battle.

Our oldest was less than a year old when we realized that he would intentionally start to babble any time my husband and I tried to talk to each other — he didn’t want any conversations to take place unless they involved him.

And now that we’ve got two kids, there’s double the interruption. Normal, everyday conversations like “How was your day?” and “What should we have for dinner?” seem nearly impossible sometimes.

And serious, important conversations?

While the kids are awake, we can pretty much forget about having them. Even if your kids aren’t big talkers, certain conversations will have to be put on hold when there are “little ears” present, which can mean waiting longer to resolve problems or disagreements.

Courtesy of Bethany Neumeyer

What do you think?