Research on the negative effects of parenting on a marriage can be misleading.
I also learned that I needed his differences. When I mysteriously gave birth to shy children, Marc explained what it felt like to be shy. When my daughter announced that she wanted pierced ears and green nail polish, Marc calmed me down and reminded me to listen.
As our children grew older and more expressive, I could see their love for my husband. Marc made my precious children laugh, and chased away the monsters under their beds. Watching them together now, I feel a strange mixture of joy, gratitude and love. When It Comes To Parenting, Give Dad A Chance
Despite the difficulties of those first years of parenting, my husband and I eventually found ourselves growing together, in ways that researchers don't usually measure. We had discovered the shared miracle of our baby. Who else wanted to watch our baby breathe? Who else was amazed when he said "mama"? We had also discovered a shared goal: raising our children to end up as happy, good people with fulfilling lives.
Raising our kids is now one of the most important things we do, and it influences most of our decisions. We live in an expensive suburb and my husband commutes an hour every day so that our kids can play in a backyard and go to good schools. We do family activities in our leisure time. We skip Christmas presents ourselves if the money gets low. We get up in the middle of the night to clean up vomit. Parenting Conflict? Make Sure Your Kid Wins
We love our children, and we want the best for them.
Eventually, we became Team Grownup, united to keep children everywhere from eating candy before breakfast and driving their parents insane. And we developed a strong family culture. We have our family rules—you can read at breakfast, but not dinner—and our family traditions—Dunkin' Donuts on Saturday morning.
This is what the research misses about parents and marital satisfaction. Parenting takes a couple of lovers and turns them into partners building a family. The benefits? Trust, respect, joy, pride, a shared purpose, a family culture and a place in a wider community. The process takes longer than those first few years. It starts with a time of increased conflict and decreased intimacy, and couples must work their way through this to become close again. And this transformation from lovers to family can make love and romance deeper and richer than it ever was before.