New York: If marital satisfaction is what you miss the most after the first child, plan the second baby now to get the mojo back in your love life.
According to researchers from the University of Michigan, several married couples get stressed after the first child birth with the new and challenging duties staring at them.
But with the arrival of the second baby, the quality of married life slowly returns to where it was before the first birth.
“While the initial four weeks after the second birth involves a period of adjustment, couples often adapt to the changes by four months,” the team noted.
Previous research has suggested that marital satisfaction continues to decline with each additional child.
However, researchers in the new study found that couples experienced only minor disruption as the new baby was added to the family.
“Even when there was significant change, it was often short-lived, attesting to family resilience rather than crisis after the birth of a couple’s second child,” said Brenda Volling, psychology professor and the study’s lead author.
The study included more than 200 married couples who were tracked from the last trimester of pregnancy through one, four, eight and 12 months postpartum.
Couples having a difficult transition were more likely to use destructive marital communication (yelling, blaming, threatening their spouse) during child care disagreements about who was doing what.
“However, the disruptive period was short-lived. Couples engaged in positive marital relations again by four months,” added Richard Gonzalez, professor of psychology, statistics and marketing.
Meanwhile, couples using more constructive communication and problem-solving strategies fared better after the birth of their second child.
“Couples who communicated positively and received support from family and friends were able to cope with stress, which prevented marital decline,” Volling noted.
The findings appeared in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice.