Becoming parents for the first time is a significant experience, personally and for your marriage. A lifestyle that was once comfortable and familiar becomes unpredictable and perhaps stressful. Many first-time mothers and fathers share anxieties regarding the changes a baby brings to the marriage. Among these concerns are the added expenses of a new child, managing child care responsibilities, and—the biggest concern of all—how the marital relationship will change.
Nearly all couples report lower marital satisfaction after the arrival of their first child. Changes in roles and expectations place heavy demands on new parents and negotiating these changes can often become a source of tension. In fact, research on first time parents shows they not only change, but they change differently. On average, men tend to shift more commitment and time to providing for their family, whereas women tend to identify with work less and prioritize parenting more—a shift towards more traditional roles. Consequently, both men and women end up placing less emphasis and energy on their marriage.