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Does Motherhood Damage Marriages?

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For years, researchers have released study after study that suggests parenthood decreases marital satisfaction. But now, there’s new research that specifically explores the impact that becoming a mother has on a marriage. Spoiler alert: the news isn’t too good.

According to Essence, after pouring over decades worth of surveys, researcher Matthew Johnson, author of Great Myths of Intimate Relationships: Dating, Sex, and Marriage, found that the life-changing transition that women go through as they embark upon the motherhood journey negatively impacts their marriages.

“The relationship between spouses suffers once kids come along,” Johnson suggests.

Essentially, much of the energy that was once poured into the relationship and a substantial amount of affection that was once directed towards their spouses is now devoted to the child. Conversations also shift to the children, which can significantly reduce to amount of time the couple spends just engaging one another and shooting the breeze. And since fluent communication plays a vital role in any successful relationship, you can see why this would be a huge problem.

Interestingly, this dip in marital satisfaction after a wife adds mom to her growing list of titles is not reduced by sexual orientation or income. In other words, it comes for everyone.

“[The] relationship burden of having children is present regardless of marital status, gender orientation or level of income,” the study suggests.

Because of this, Johnson shared that an increasing number of women are choosing to pass on motherhood as a result of the negative impact that they know it will have on their relationships.

Since marriage is a lifelong commitment, it’s insane to think that partners won’t experience change in some capacity. Children don’t have to equate to doom and gloom for a relationship if both partners are committed to continuously investing in the relationship.

Did you notice a change in your marriage after becoming a mom? In what ways have you and your partner attempted to offset this seemingly inevitable decline in marital satisfaction?

 

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