“L‘the arrival of our first child has changed a lot of things in our married life ”, tell with one voice Mathilde and Martin, 25 and 26 years old. “At the beginning, Iris slept well, we still had time for both of us. Then we felt a change of pace which upset our balance as a couple. We had disagreements about our daughter, including whether or not to let her cry when she fell asleep. We had to readjust, find common ground and position ourselves to continue to have quality moments together. We will be more vigilant when our second child is born. “
→ READ. The first couple’s life has evolved
Accepting to question themselves, ask a framework, take good habits early, this young couple admits that ” it is not so simple ” and that it is necessary “To show will”. Especially if the family is called to grow. “It is often the arrival of the second child that marks a turning point and derails the organization”, alert Geneviève de Leffe, marriage and family counselor at Cler (1). New responsibilities, new domestic tasks are imposed on the couple. Who will pick up the baby? Who is vacuuming? Who is going to buy bread?
The torque, adjustment variable
“The family and domestic sphere will then, insidiously, take precedence over the conjugal sphere. Often the spouses did not realize it. They thought they were doing the right thing by giving priority to children. They have the desire to be perfect parents, while leading an intense professional life. And they find themselves in difficulty in their married life. More to share, decrease in desire, tensions… ”
In fact, there is a real stake in the couple remaining a couple, not just parents side by side. “We have children later than before, we are invested in a profession, commitments, leisure… In short, it’s racing all week and we take advantage of the weekend to be with family. As a result, there is little time left for the conjugal couple who become the last wheel of the coach “, analyze Guillaume and Sandrine Haudebourg, heads of the Cana couples mission of the Chemin-Neuf community, and parents of three teenagers. “When, finally, we sit down on the sofa in the evening, we no longer have the mood to be together, and even if the children are not there, they are still at the center of the discussions”, adds Sandrine.
As children grow up, tensions can arise. In particular those related to educational issues. One parent can thus be focused on diet, physical exercise, and the other, on grades, academic success. “Behind each parent, there is the child that this one was”, recalls Bénédicte de Dinechin, marriage and family counselor (2): “Everyone’s story is present, like an educational heritage. Becoming aware of its own functioning helps to put it at a distance. One is not wrong and the other is right. We are able to love each other with different visions. So instead of asserting “it is necessary…”, which can be perceived as an order, it is better to say “it is important for me to…” “
Opening up to your spouse, welcoming their emotions, understanding what is important for them and for themselves, allows the couple, according to Bénédicte de Dinechin, to remain united and to educate in two voices in a harmonious way.
Unity, guarantor of the couple
The unity of the couple is often abused in the teenage years of children. “To achieve their ends, teenagers have a knack for finding loopholes in their parents, unconsciously, and confronting us with our contradictions”, testifies Sandrine Haudebourg. “If you want an answer right away, it’s no”, generally answers her husband Guillaume to their 16-year-old son. It is so important for him and his wife to consult each other before deciding whether or not to give an authorization. “Our common decision, taken together, will be fairer and will not put us on the wrong foot. “
What is more, as they approach their fifties, parents of teenagers are often in the midst of personal upheaval, plunged into the famous identity crisis in their mid-life. “The adolescence of our children does not shake us in the same way. It happens that they are confronted with one parent more than the other, which can create tensions in the couple if we have not cultivated a loving relationship ”, insists Florence Leroy (3).
→ TESTIMONIALS. They have established rituals to preserve their relationship
This marriage and family counselor recommends “To train to meet the other when you are peaceful. Thus, it will be easier to access it when you feel distant ”. For that, she advises to make appointments, once a week, on the sofa in the living room, door closed. A “space-time”, not to solve problems, but to better understand each other. Enter the reality of the other. Talk about what is going well and what is not. In this psychic space, the conjugal bond is cultivated, firmly woven in order to resist in the event of a crisis.
Now or never
The physical changes and the first emotions of adolescents sometimes shake up the sexuality of parents. Menopause or decreased libido, they feel less attractive. For Florence Leroy, this period of questioning is also an opportunity to be seized: ” It’s now or never ! When children start to get away from it all, parents have more time to remember that they are first and foremost a couple. They can take the opportunity to renew themselves, to be creative, to approach the sexual relationship in a new way. “
→ READ. After 50 years, a new chance for the couple
Finally, concludes Geneviève de Leffe, du Cler, “When a couple restores the balance between the conjugal sphere and the parental sphere, it frees the children from a burden, because they often make themselves responsible for the happiness of their parents”. The latter can also be a model of couple for their children, later …