We have a great relationship, and would like to have kids but we’re nervous about how it will affect things between us. Any advice?
This is always a hard question to answer because the research is pretty clear: having children is linked with lower marital satisfaction (I know, I know, the ugly truth that nobody wants to hear). You know what else, though? Many couples say that having children is also the best thing that they ever did. That’s why our species keeps growing!
There’s no way around it: having a baby will change your relationship. You will both suddenly have this little being who is pulling on your heartstrings in ways you could never before imagine. You both may feel upstaged at times. You both may want more attention (not to mention more sleep) but if you go in on this together and both want to be parents and are willing to change your lives in ways that make parenting as good as it gets, then you may find that the changes make your life â€“ and yes, your relationship â€“ richer and more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.
Having children will change your sex life, too (and your bodies – yes, men’s bodies tend to change throughout women’s pregnancies and afterward, too). You’ll need to carve out time and space to have sex. You also may find that you learn to get all hot and bothered over your husband because of his sexy diaper-changing ways and not just because he’s hot. Fortunately books such as Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting It On Again â€“ a book about sex after baby â€“ are around to help navigate the transition.
[Originally published in a January 2010 guest column I wrote for The Nest]