Having A Child Will Not Fix A Marriage

Debbi and her husband were married for thirteen years even though her husband’s behavior changed shortly after their wedding. Debbie shared earlier that one of the reasons the marriage lasted for so long was because for the first ten years they both had jobs that involved a lot of travel so she and her husband only saw each other on weekends. Then they changed jobs and moved to the Chicago area but it wasn’t long before the novelty of that wore off and it was time to try something else. Here’s Debbie:

After six months when the novelty of the Chicago area wore off, we thought, “Well, we need another change.”

We thought it was time to have a child.

The novelty of a child quickly wears off.We had a beautiful daughter and this was his third child. He was married previously and had two stepchildren. She was my only child. The novelty brought fresh air into the relationship, through the pregnancy, through the birth of my daughter, but my ex was so much older than I, he actually had no desire to really be a dad. So the burden of raising, or doing the parenting of my daughter was exclusively on my shoulders, which I felt.

He had agreed to have a child, but if I looked at the relationship he had with his first children, it should have been a clue to me that it would be no different from the relationship he has with our daughter. He does not know how to be a dad, because he was never raised with parents that really treated their children the way children need to be treated.

He wasn’t abusive, it was more mentally, emotionally.

Of course, the novelty of having a child started to wear off and by that time, I knew I had a drinking problem. It was starting to become front and center in our conversations, actually arguments, I should say. Finally, my daughter was three years old when I decided I had hit my emotional bottom, and I decided I was going to get help.

Thank you Debbi! I think it takes enormous courage to publicly admit you had a child to improve your marriage. I have no idea how common this is but probably more than we like to think. Another of my interviewees Kristen also shared that she and her husband thought that having a child would save their marriage, they thought having a family would connect them in the way they thought married couples were supposed to be. It didn’t work for them either.

It seems such an obviously wrong move but I think it’s very difficult for non-parents to truly comprehend the additional challenges that children bring to a marriage and to realize that those pressures will likely only widen the gap between you and your spouse. I can also easily see where wanting to avoid conflict while still wanting to make the marriage work coupled with societal expectations could lead to such a decision.

I wonder if a troubled marriage ever was helped by having children?

Debbi Dickinson is a personal coach who writes at Stepping Into Joy inspiring professional women the importance of self-care and balance. Debbi also creates audio and video programs and hosts telesummits focused on topics professional women deal with today. 

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