Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Baby - A Time of Change

An recent article in the WSJ peaked my interest .  It reported that a new baby can have a negative impact of a marriage relationship.  With the arrival of a child into a relationship there are new responsibilities, such as who gets up in the middle of the night to attend to the infant's needs, who changes the diapers and so forth.  Studies show that two thirds of couples see the quality of their relationship drop within three years of the birth of a child.  The main issue is that there are new tasks introduced into the relationship that take up time. These new responsibilities now have to be sorted out.  These easily become the source of conflict and can lead to permanent damage to a relationship.

Here are four issues identified in the article:
1. Increased conflict - more likely to have more intense fights over financial issues
2. New Roles - Men receive less attention and women focus more of their attention on the new baby.
3. Conversation Changes - Occupied with then new issues of child rearing that the talks necessary to maintain a should relationship are ignored. Also there is less time for intimate sexual relationships.
4. Less Sleep - The baby's schedule usually means that there is less sleep for both parents.

This said, how can these issues be overcome to maintain a sound relationship with God and each other?
The proven answer is prayer.  If the couple learns to make a small amount of time to pray together, then they will be blessed with God's grace to deal with the complications of a new child being introduced into the relationship. When we learn to pray together, then, as we face difficulties, we remember to call on God to help us, remembering His love for us, giving us greater patience to hold onto love for each other.  With prayer all difficulties can be endured.

A couple must first set aside a specific time for joint prayer.  It is also advised to include the repetition of the Jesus Prayer, "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,; as part of daily prayer.  The repetition of this prayer helps us develop the readiness for prayer at any time, especially when conflict arises.  When conflict does arise, the couple is more likely to pause and to make a small prayer, seeing help to calm themselves so they can deal with the issue causing the conflict in a reasoned manner.

A new baby is a time of change.  Examine your spiritual life and make sure it is in proper order.  If you do, you will be able to deal with all the changes demanded of a new parent.

Some guides for a daily prayer rule

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