Family & Wellness Links


Married with children

Does the number of one's children have any effect on the husband-and-wife relationship?

By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

MAY 2012

Married with children

Children are almost always welcomed as a blessing by their newbie parents, especially “ … if the parents are prepared to have a child [and] the couple planned to have the child at the time they are emotionally and financially ready,” says Maribel Sison-Dionisio, a parenting and relationship expert from the Love Institute in Quezon City.

The arrival of a child becomes difficult, she continues, if the couple’s relationship is not yet stable and strong. “It is usually recommended to have the first child on the second or third year of marriage when the couple has adjusted better to each other [because] the child needs the loving atmosphere of loving parents.”

Dionisio discourages having a honeymoon baby. “So that the couple can take one major event per year: getting married first, then a break for a year, [and] then getting pregnant on their first wedding anniversary at the earliest,” she describes.

Having more than one child

What happens when more children are born? “Again, the arrival of subsequent children hopefully comes planned as well. Whether a couple will have one or two or three kids [depends] on the readiness of the couple. It is very important for [them] to talk about timing of the pregnancy and arrival of the child [so] that it [does not coincide] with major events like changing jobs or graduating from studies or setting up a business,” points out Dionisio.

She recommends a three-to-four year age gap between children especially if both parents are working so that each child can be enjoyed and the parents are more adjusted to the arrival of another child. “Having babies every year, or every other year, can be so stressful for both mom and dad.”

Dionisio affirms that a lot of adjustments have to be made when children come into the marriage equation. “[These] entail sleeping patterns, finances, time with kids versus time with work and other concerns,” she specifies. As mentioned in the book, Helping our Children do Well in School, which Dionisio co-authored with psychology professor Queena Lee-Chua, parents need to make a schedule or template to include time with one’s:

a) spouse – having a weekly date and thrice-a-week chat at home;

b) offspring – finding time for a weekly date with each child, usually up to age 12, and daily time with each child—one-on-one at home about 30 minutes to two hours per youngster;

c) self – making time to recharge, whether it’s by reading, going to a salon or chatting with friends;

d) career – working outside of home or working at home, part-time or full-time – “I suggest [for] moms to have a part-time job in the first 10 years of each child,” adds Dionisio.

e) the rest of the time – dividing this among home management, time with parents, friends, siblings, recreation and others.

Making time

According to Dionisio, points of tension may come in when it comes to time management and financial goals. “Prioritize things with your spouse [and expect] career goals to slow down [when] you make time to bond with [your] growing children. This is a worthwhile investment,” she assures, sharing how she saw her three children grow up connected with their parents to become caring, confident and independent individuals.

For guidelines to balancing your relationships with your spouse and kids, get a copy of HealthToday’s May issue, out now in newsstands and bookstores.

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