About 15 percent of fathers and 7 percent of mothers ended up more satisfied with their marriage after birth. Another important goal of the research was to understand which couples did well and which did poorly after birth.
Doss says that some explanations for changes after birth can be traced to things that happened even before the couple got married. For example, some mothers whose own parents fought often or divorced showed larger drops in marital satisfaction. Also, couples that lived together before marriage showed more communication problems after birth.
However, events happening at the time of the birth also can change how couples’ marriages change. Overall, being married longer and having a higher income seemed to buffer couples against problems after birth.
“One of the interesting findings is that mothers who gave birth to girls showed larger drops in marital satisfaction,” Doss adds.
The birth of the first baby was followed by more problems in communication, decreases in couples’ confidence that the marriage would last and declines in couples’ overall satisfaction with the marriage.
Bottom line: That first baby can be a time of joy and excitement, but it can also put immense strains on a married couple and present them with difficult situations that, for most couples, lead to more relationship problems.Several news stories have been written on this study, including UPI and USA Today.