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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Can having a baby save your marriage?

Marriage seems to be the one stop solution for all your problems according some wise elders in the Indian society. If your son goes wayward, fix him up with a bride. Marriage will automatically make him more responsible. If your daughter has a mental illness, she won’t need her psychiatric medications after marriage. But what if your marriage is the problem? Then have a baby to save your marriage!

Marriage is tough work. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to tide through the problems of the conjugal life, like adultery, financial upheavals and stress from the extended family. But what is hilarious is the kind of solutions that are traditionally prescribed in India to keep the marriage from crumbling, one of which is having a baby. Women are often advised by their elders to try for a child when the marriage goes through a rough patch. The logic is that having a baby will bring the sparring husband and wife together, and help them bond over taking care of the child again.

Does having a baby help?
Marital woes are complicated and varied. It is naive to expect that a baby will become the panacea for all types of conjugal problems. If anything, the addition of a child to the equation can also burden the parents with the stress of dividing the household chores and taking care of the baby. The added financial burden that comes with the addition of a new member in the household can only make matters worse. Staying up late nights, trying to adjust to the child’s routine can cause sleep deprivation and crankiness.

Studies have also debunked this notion that a baby can save the marriage. They say that a couple’s satisfaction in the marriage can start waning after the first child is born. The relationship between the husband and the wife starts deteriorating following the birth of the child and tends to persist for a few years after the childbirth. It affects both the man and the woman equally.

(Read: 4 lessons about dating a married man from Kangana Ranaut)

Sometimes, it can work
Psychiatrist Dr Avinash Joshi has a different opinion. Speaking in the Indian context, Dr Joshi says, “It is important to talk about why there is an issue between the husband and the wife in the first place. In Indian society, women are under a lot of stress from the in-laws to bear a progeny. Women also have to bear the stigma of being barren or infertile. This can significantly cause stress between the couple. In such situations, having a child will obviously bring the two together.”

In his own experience, he has seen enough instances where the arrival of a little one has significantly improved the marriage. “Once the child is born, both the husband and the wife focus their attention on the newly born child and start neglecting each other’s shortcomings. In our society, the child is given importance over anything else.”
“The arrival of the child can also serve as a stress buster for the entire family. It works as a social lubricant, facilitating positive interaction between families,” says the doctor. Cases, where families have accepted runaway couples after the child is born, are also commonplace in the country.

There is no formula for everlasting conjugal bliss and whether the arrival of a baby will repair your marriage or not is largely debated. Before bringing in a child to your already sour equation, couples should assess their own situation and decide accordingly. Lest the child pays the price of your bad marriage in the future.


Doss, Brian D. et al. “The Effect of the Transition to Parenthood on Relationship Quality: An Eight-Year Prospective Study.” Journal of personality and social psychology 96.3 (2009): 601–619. PMC. Web. 6 Sept. 2017.

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