Welcoming a new grandchild in our golden years can be a source of much joy and happiness, but it can also change a marriage in many ways. The grandmother mostly goes within days of the new baby’s arrival to offer support and postpartum care to the new mom.
Many times, our excitement over caring for a new grandchild if not balanced properly may leave our spouses feeling neglected, uncared for and torn between the joy of his new grandchild and the disconnect he’s experiencing from his wife.
This doesn’t usually end when the postpartum care period elapses. Often times, when our children live close to us, we automatically take on the role of babysitter, counselor, confidant, coach and more. These roles in themselves are good but striking a balance is key.
Focusing solely on our grandchildren and relegating our spouses to the background harms our marriages a great deal. We will consider some of the signs of a distressed marriage and ways to remedy them.
Signs of a marriage distressed due to grand parenting
Lack of time for your spouse. This is a serious matter which can lead to couples feeling disconnected from each other and staying in a relationship out of convenience rather than love or attraction.
Assuming the role of a parent to your grandchildren. This could cause resentment and tension between you and your child.
Not having time for your personal interests. This will make you stressed, tired and lose touch with your authentic self.
Clashes with your child’s family due to over-involvement. If you’re not giving your children room to be parents to their own children because you are always doing their job, it will eventually cause an altercation.
Solutions to negative effects of grand parenting
Discuss and make plans together. Talk with your spouse about your involvements in your children’s life when they have kids, and how you intend to nurture your relationship with him when the grandkids come. Have this discussion way before that time.
Make sure to spend quality time with each other. You can have date nights and do other things you both enjoy besides grand parenting.
Have open communication with your spouse about how he feels. If he’s feeling neglected or like you’re not spending enough time with him, it’s important to talk about that and come up with solutions together.
Work as a team. There are many great things your grandchildren can learn from your spouse, encourage those teaching moments which will create a deep bond between you, your spouse and your grandkids.
Leverage on technology to keep your relationship strong when you have to be away without your spouse. If you have to travel to care for your grandkid(s) alone, be deliberate in keeping in touch with your spouse, find out about his well-being and let him see the beauty of the grandkid(s) through your eyes.
You can send him pictures on social media platforms and carve out time to catch up on a video call. That way, you show intentionality in building your home which sets a good model for your child.
Grand parenting is a blessing, so we must work with wisdom and apply caution to help us master the art of balancing the many roles we carry simultaneously, so that the blessing of a grandchild doesn’t end up causing a strain in our marriage because of the way we went about it.
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