The Most Important Conversations You’ll Ever Have: What to Discuss Before Having a Child

parcartPregnancy

If you were to ask a professional marriage counselor what factors bring the most tension into the average marriage, children and finances are likely to be top of the list.

As with so many issues in relationships, clear and respectful communication is the key to, if not smooth sailing, at least avoiding the rockiest coasts. Before bringing a new life into the world, you owe it to yourselves as well as the expected arrival to make sure both partners are on the same page, as well as clearing up any lingering problems one or the other might not even be aware of.

Establish a Solid Foundation

One of the worst possible reasons to get pregnant is to shore up a marriage in trouble. Especially if the relationship is still young, making sure that it is on a solid footing is extremely important. Pregnancy and taking care of a newborn baby can strain even the healthiest marriage, so addressing even small issues beforehand will pay dividends in the months to come.

Talk Out Everything on the Back Burner

If your partner habitually does something that annoys you, or there’s something in the past that was never really laid to bed, it’s simply naive to think that the excitement of a new family member will magically dissolve all barriers. The additional financial and emotional strain is likely to magnify instead of whitewash even small issues, so facing up to these in time is very important.

Opening the Channels of Communication

All the possible ramifications of this step would take a book to explore, but either partner should feel that they can bring any worry or idea to the other without it being ignored, or that saying something will lead to conflict. There are many sources of advice <<http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/communication/5-communication-tools-that-saved-my-marriage>> available, but it is important to realize that this task, one of the most important you can undertake in any relationship, will take effort, patience and possible even a little pain.

Figure out Who will Do What

In the modern age, there’s no excuse to assume that raising a child is “women’s work”. While some couples will naturally prefer to follow more traditional parenting roles, this issue needs to be discussed long before dealing with the first dirty diaper. Will the mother return to work after a year? Will the father’s only contribution be reflected in the bank account? Will absolutely every burden be shared equally? It’s very easy to assume that you are in agreement, when both of you envision very different distributions of responsibilities.

Plan to Leave Your old Life Behind

Having a child, especially your first, means that your routine and lifestyle is going to change. Make peace with this and have a plan to deal with it. Your sleep schedule, your sexual relationship, your social connections and what activities you can engage in are all going to undergo a dramatic and seemingly instant alteration. Many couples are neither prepared for this, nor possess the ability to talk about their individual experiences while this process is turning their comfort zones inside out.

 

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice what every one of these points boils down to: talk to each other! Never ridicule your partner’s feelings or desires, or act as if they are irrelevant. Many people are not lucky enough to have another person to share the rollercoaster trip of caring for a new person with, so don’t disparage this blessing.

Share with friends