Parenting can take its toll on a couple, there are also some great perks in that role.  No one is ever fully prepared for what becoming a parent will really involve, but you can certainly work at having a better knowledge base by reading and listening to professionals talk about parenting.  Parenting can be extremely challenging from the moment you conceive until your children leave home.   Even after they have left home, there may still be some challenges related to parenting that you will be faced with.  That being said, let’s take a look at some of the ways becoming a parent can actually enhance your marriage and also your individual lives.

1.  Parenting can affect your marriage for the better because you learn what it means to be a team working together, planning together, and playing together. You will have to communicate with each other and really consider how you are going to parent your child or children.  What parenting style will work best for both of you and present you as a united front to your children. 

It is not about one person having all the “right” answers or always being “right” in the way parenting should be done. 

It is about working together as a team to figure out what parts of how you were parented will become part of what the two of you do and what parts of the way you were parented that you will both choose to let go of and work hard at not parenting your children that way.  You will find common ground to operate from and will both be willing to go “back to the drawing board” if something doesn’t work as you had planned.  You learn to work together to plan time for your family and to also plan time for the couple.  It will become even more difficult to make things happen for the couple but working together and being intentional about it, you will be able to plan some time to be by yourselves as a couple.  You learn how to work together to perform certain tasks and take on certain responsibilities related to child rearing.  By doing this revisiting your communication related to thoughts and feelings about the designated tasks and/or responsibilities, you can avoid resentment building in your relationship.  You will also learn to play together as parents. 

Parenting helps you to keep nurturing that “inner child” you have, the one that enjoys playing.  It is so important to take time to play. 

Playing should include time playing with your children, your spouse and pursuing some individual play time.  Playing is not about only playing with the children or only playing together as spouses or only playing individually.  It is about sharing time with everyone and enjoying that time and making the most of it.

2.  Parenting can affect your marriage for the better because you learn how to celebrate & rejoice together as you watch this new life develop, personality grow, etc. You both need to be involved in celebrating and rejoicing together the new life that is now a part of your lives together. This new life can and will present some challenges for your marriage , but there can be a great deal of excitement over watching a little person grow and develop.  Sometimes you may see some things in your child that you know your child has learned from you and are not so good. 

You have an opportunity to grow and change yourself so as to exemplify traits that you want for your child to learn from you. 

This can be a great time of growth for you as an individual and to help you as parents grow into the kind of couple and individuals you desire not only for yourselves but for your child to see and to learn.  Each milestone your child reaches can be a time of rejoicing and celebrating.  It is so exciting to watch your child’s personality take shape and to watch them discover new things for themselves.  It is sometimes frightening to watch them discover and be creative but it is important to let them do that without becoming an overprotective, worrywart of a parent. 

They will make mistakes and will fall down but if you let them, they will become the people they have been created to be.  

3.  Parenting can affect your marriage for the better by helping each person as individuals and as a couple to be less self centered. Life is not just what you want it to be but includes the needs and desires of another little person who cannot fend for himself or herself.  It may be difficult at first to let go of satisfying your own wants or needs and possibly sacrificing those for someone else.  Usually when it is just you and your spouse; you both are able, for the most part, to get what you want when you want it.  When you are responsible for the needs of a little one, that thinking begins to change. 

Often you will need to put aside some of your wants and desires for a time in order to provide for the child or children in your home. 

Life becomes less selfish and more about being selfless.  There should be a balance in this and there also need to be boundaries established between children and parents.  It is not all about you now, but it is not all about your child or children either.  Life does not fully revolve around you anymore, but it also does not and should not revolve fully around your children.  Children have many needs that only the parents can supply, but parents also need to teach them how to become more independent as they grow older. 

The goal of parenting is to “work yourself out of a job!” 

If you have done your job as parents, the children will be better prepared to leave home when they become adults!

4.  Parenting can affect your marriage for the better because the new added stress in life is an opportunity for personal growth. You begin to learn what it means to really be an adult and be responsible for the well-being of someone else.  You learn how to manage your own emotions and your anger in a healthier way.  As you are teaching your children how to manage themselves emotionally or learning how to manage their anger, you will be in a position to check in with yourselves to see how you are doing in these areas and grow yourselves in your ability to manage your emotions, especially your anger.  Another area that parents find themselves growing in as they teach their children is being respectful. 

You cannot expect your children to be respectful if you do not demonstrate what it looks and sounds like to be respectful. 

This means that you will have to practice being respectful to others in front of them. The more you practice, the better you will be at it and the more it will become a habit for you.   Self-control is another area where you can personally grow as you teach your children what it means to have self-control.  One thing to always remember is that children will say and do what is modeled to them.  You don’t have the luxury of believing they will react positively to a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality!! Personal growth is and should be a bonus for you as you parent!

5.  Parenting can affect your marriage for the better by creating challenges that when handled properly can bring you closer together. Parenting is not easy. There is no one who is a “perfect” parent.  All parents face difficulties and make mistakes along the way.  Parenting presents many challenges that you may not have ever in a million years anticipated.  It is important to spend time as a couple talking about how you will handle certain situations when those situations arise.  It is also important to present a united front to your children so that they understand that you are working together in your parenting role.  This also allows for you, as parents, to say to your children that the two of you need to take some time to discuss answers that you may give to your children.  This helps to draw the two of you closer together.  You learn much more about being a team and that you are on the same team. 

Your goal as you work together is to help your children grow into the best adults they can be and to help them to avoid some of the pitfalls along the way (if they will listen and do what you are teaching them). 

If you work together as a team in your parenting of your children, it will also help you to work together as a team in other areas of your life.  Facing challenges is a fact of life, and if you are willing to let go of your own pride and selfishness and work together with your spouse, you can face those challenges and truly grow through them.  One of the really exciting things about doing it together is that it brings you closer together and you see how great it is to have someone who comes alongside you, encouraging you and helping you when you feel weak yourself.  Parenting is not always fun but it can be very rewarding when you work together to meet the challenges that come with it.

If you are having difficulty seeing that being a parent can actually improve your marriage, we are here to help you.  If you're ready, take the next step now and call 331-308-0113 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. We will tell you about how our process works and you will come away from that call with the information you need to make a decision about how we can best work together.

Contact Information

Phone: 331-308-0113
email: contact@davidanddebbiemcfadden.com

Address: 1962 Golf View Dr. Bartlett, Illinois 60103

Couples Counselor & Relationship Coaches Drs. David and Debbie McFadden