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Episode Info: Did you know that the research shows that marriage takes a hit when you have kids? One author reported in 2005 that an analysis of 90 different research studies showed the drop in marital satisfaction is a shocking 42% larger among the current generation than their predecessors. A more recent study from 2016 showed that 67% of couples reported a decline in relationship happiness for up to three years after the birth of their first child.[1] Those figures are reported in non-pandemic situations.   Clearly, parenting does impact marriage for most of us, and parenting during a pandemic presents additional challenges. We want to give you some concrete ways to boost your marriage even while you’re parenting during a pandemic. How to Prioritize Your Marriage Instagram and Facebook don’t tell the full story. While we find ourselves posting photos of some pretty sweet moments with our kids, we need to normalize the fact that parenting is very challenging. It makes life more complex and challenging. And those Instagram moments are few and far between. We don’t want to be negative, but we do want to be real. Parenting is hard work. Recognize the Pressure High expectations mean lots of social pressure to have your kid excel in one area, if not multiple areas: academically, socially, in sports or athletics, with spiritual values, etc. It’s exhausting and consuming.[2] As if this wasn’t challenging enough, the compounding problem is that by the time the kids are all launched, the dad and mom hardly know each other and they’ve endured all this stress with little resolution: divorce can become an appealing option.[3] So how does a couple balance all these demands and not end up in that place? Here are a few ways to help couples find balance. Have a Daily Stress-Reducing Conversation Stress often creates overwhelm and emotional reactivity. Having a stress-reducing conversation involves discussing the day’s frustrations, but separating those frustrations from the relationship. Don’t blame all of your frustrations on the relationship when stress is likely the root cause. That gives you both a chance to vent, gain support, and show empathy for one another.[4] This is very important during isolation too. Spend Time with Just One Another This is good at any time, but extra tough if you have kids at home right now who are normally at school. Be intentional about making the time for one another. This restores or fosters a sense of partnership so it’s not only about parenting but also what exists between you two.[5] Think about ways you can do this on a daily basis (smaller, consistent moments) but also on an intermittent basis (e.g. date nights). This may look a bit different during a pandemic, but try to find creative ways to spend time just with one another even if you can’t do some of the activities you would normally do together. In a pandemic context you likely have more time, but it can be harder to m...
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