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Will Pregnancy Destroy Your Marriage?

Updated on October 15, 2014

We're Pregnant!

I’m happy to say that my wife is pregnant with our first child, and I am officially a father! It is surprising how quickly this new role of parenthood has given me a new perspective and granted me insight into a few truths about Parenting, Fathers, and Marriage in our culture.

It's no wonder that pregnancies, especially the first, can be hard on a marriage. But do not worry, pregnancy can actually make your marriage stronger despite what society says.

A Shopping Surprise

The night after we found out my wife was pregnant, we decided to go shopping for some gifts we could give each of our parents (the to-be grandparents) to announce the birth. This was the first eye opening experience for us. While there was an abundance of stuff for both Moms and Grandmas (including “Grandma’s little girl/boy”), there was significantly less for expectant Fathers. Grandpa memorabilia was virtually non-existent. Not only does this make shopping for gifts incredibly difficult, but it also points to the real attitude of society towards male role models--they don’t expect them to stick around or care about their role in a child’s life. Of course, maybe that’s not what happening, because reality tells shows us that an absent father isn’t a universal experience. A good portion of fathers play an important role in the life of their children, and many grandfathers are guiding lights and important role models in the lives of their grandchildren.

But If you do not believe that society expects fathers to be absent, the necessary alternative is that society views fathers and perhaps by extension men in general, as necessarily stoic or emotionally lacking. Fathers, it seems, don’t want to publicly take joy in their children, aren’t into cheesy displays of affection, and expect their wives to do most of the emotional bonding with the children. Aside from these explanations, there is no reason why there is such a lack of baby stuff for male role models.


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Beware the Daddy Websites!

To prepare for this pregnancy, I headed straight to the “new daddy” websites to figure out everything I needed to know. Surprisingly, these websites were more of a problem than a help. When reading websites for expectant dads one will find that: marriage is expected to be unhealthy during a pregnancy, women are allowed to be abusive and unvirtuous, and men should acquiesce to every whim of their wives no matter how unhealthy. One website gave the scenario of a wife breaking a coffee mug, forgetting she did so, and then blaming her husband for it. It suggested that, in this case, the husband should just take the blame. In effect, 90% of the pregnancy websites I’ve read for men give the woman a “get out of jail free card”. At the risk of sounding insensitive to the struggle of being a pregnant woman, let me explain what’s wrong with this viewpoint.

This “anything goes” mentality is degrading to not only the man, but also to the woman and to the idea of marriage. It is demeaning to men because it negates one of their fundamental roles--to call their family to holiness, to protect their wives, and to stand up for the truth. It is degrading to women because it demotes them to purely emotional beings--they do not possess the reason or will power to question their emotions and act contrary to them. Yes, a pregnant woman may cry or become angry for no reason, and that is perfectly acceptable because of what is going on in their bodies. What is not acceptable is a free pass to not acknowledge the emotion and try to move beyond it. This reveals an underlying assumption about women in general--neither do they know their bodies enough to understand them, nor are they ever really in control of them. That is condescending.

Finally, this attitude of anything goes is detrimental to the idea of marriage because it promotes everything that is against marriage in a normal setting--honesty, communication, service, and setting aside the self while simultaneously calling the other person to do the same. It’s no wonder having children is so rough on a marriage--it’s really just exposing the cracks that were there in the first place!


The Marriage/Pregnancy Matrix

So what have my wife and I decided to do during pregnancy and after? The same things we do now--talk about and work through our emotions, serve each other, and help each other become better people. I will step up through the pregnancy and serve her increasingly as the demands of pregnancy become greater, and she will do her best to remain charitable and encouraging even when I mess up or fail to meet her expectations. We will both talk about our emotions and process together how we are feeling. After the baby comes we will continue to focus on our marriage, we will give ourselves not only to each other, but to our child as well. But the marriage will always come first, and pregnancy has already strengthened our marriage… but more on that in a different post.

Our Vow to Each Other


So what have my wife and I decided to do during pregnancy and after? The same things we do now--talk about and work through our emotions, serve each other, and help each other become better people. I will step up through the pregnancy and serve her increasingly as the demands of pregnancy become greater, and she will do her best to remain charitable and encouraging even when I mess up or fail to meet her expectations. We will both talk about our emotions and process together how we are feeling. After the baby comes we will continue to focus on our marriage, we will give ourselves not only to each other, but to our child as well. But the marriage will always come first, and pregnancy has already strengthened our marriage… but more on that in a different post.

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      Congratulations!

      It's rare you hear anyone say a pregnancy destroyed their marriage however many men do complain about being "demoted" on their wife's priority list once children arrive. It's not unheard of for some (neglected husbands) to cheat.

      Many men view children as being the "offspring" of their relationship/marriage. Their wives remain as their "top priority" to please.

      Women on the other hand have been known to put their husbands on the "back burner" and even shame them for wanting any "quality time".

      It's also not uncommon for me who have a falling out with their wives and go through a divorce to also want nothing to do with the children she bore. It's as if they're saying: If she is not mine then I don't want to deal with anything or anyone connected to her.

      Neglecting the marriage in favor of the children rarely leads to happy household. It takes some (real effort) to maintain a healthy balance.

      Best wishes!

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