Some relationship experts claim that it’s possible to childproof your relationship before you have a kid. I disagree. While I 100% agree that it is important to have a solid relationship before you ever think about a baby, I don’t think that there’s any way to prepare yourself for the Baby Boot Camp that is to come.
If your relationship sucks or has some major issues that need tending to, those problems are not going to get any better after you have kids. Anyone with small children can agree that babies highlight your insecurities and inadequacies, both personally and in your relationship.
Relationship “childproofing” experts encourage couples to focus on themselves before having a baby. While that in itself is a no-brainer for a healthy union, other baby-proofing tips include having a healthy sex life, relationship balance, and support system before you even think about children.
I wouldn’t disagree that all of these factors are helpful to create a strong foundation for a relationship. But I would call this basic life-proofing instead of child-proofing. Children are going to change your relationship completely, along with any other curveball life throws your way—death, unemployment, medical issues, moving, and general disagreements within a marriage.
I am no relationship expert, but I don’t think you can plan for how a child will change a relationship. You can only hope that the time you spent growing as a couple before children gave you the roots you need to make it through a few turbulent years. That is not to say that having children is the worst thing that will ever happen to your marriage—but if you don’t handle stress well as a couple, the dynamic will only worsen when you can’t get a crying baby to shut up at night.
Kids are stressful, and they change a marriage, but I believe it can be for the better. My husband and I have been forced to figure out how to share, co-parent, and communicate about every mundane detail—down to the brand of diapers we buy. On the very worst days, when both kids are screaming in tandem and won’t shut up, I always tell my husband this, as cheesy as it sounds: If I’m going to have a terrible day, there’s no one I’d rather share it with than you. And then I go back to bickering with my husband and praying the endless tantrums will stop.