Did you know that according to marriage experts the first major crisis in many marriage relationships is a the birth of their first child? With all the stresses of caring for a toddler, it's easy to see why trouble could erupt. To keep your marriage out of crisis, several things need to be considered.

Who's Your Baby?

I heard Joe Beam say the following at one of his Love, Sex, and Marriage seminars: "Why is the birth of the first child often the first crisis? Because mama has a new baby."

Before her child's birth, her husband was her baby. She woke up early to cook breakfast for him before he left for work, she paid close attention to him to ensure he was happy and comfortable and she planned her schedule around him. But when Heather's new baby, Tanner, was born, she altered her focus almost entirely.

When Jason got home from work, Heather hardly noticed. After a hard day of changing diapers, cleaning spilled milk off the carpet and listening to Tanner cry, her nerves were shot. Her exhaustion carried over to the bedroom, where the two hardly made love anymore.

Though Jason loved his son, he occasionally had feelings of resentment toward him.

What could this couple possibly do? They certainly would not ignore their child. But they would decide to ensure that they remembered their vows to each other.

Jason and Heather recommitted to making sure the other felt fulfilled and happy. They decided to reserve one night for the two of them to relax at home or go out for dinner. That night, a baby sitter whom they trusted would keep Tanner. Also, during Tanner's daily naps, Heather would nap. This way she could catch up on some of the sleep she lost from nursing Tanner during the night. After work, Jason prepared supper for Tanner and fed him while Heather cooked their supper. The two noticed a drop in stress simply because they refocused on each other.

Unity

After some time passed, Jason and Heather had raising a baby down to an art form. Though it was very hard work, they both felt a sense of pride in being parents and had renewed feelings of closeness and warmth for each other. However, the eye of the storm gave way to disaster when Tanner became a toddler.

Tanner learned that occasionally Jason gave in more than Heather. When Heather would put Tanner in bed for the night, Jason would often allow him to get in their bed. Heather did not like the loss of intimacy that resulted in Tanner sleeping in their bed and didn't appreciate Jason ignoring the rules she made for Tanner.

As Tanner began to learn he could go to "daddy" for a "second opinion," he would cry to Jason after Heather had said, "no." One day, when Heather went shopping, Jason kept Tanner. Tanner began asking Jason for a marker so he could draw. Both Tanner and Jason knew that Heather did not allow Tanner to play with markers. But Jason didn't think it would hurt anything.

When Heather came home to find the walls covered with scribbles, she was very upset. Jason hadn't noticed when Tanner snuck away from him.

The little guy had learned to manipulate Jason and Heather in order to get what he wanted. It wasn't because he was a bad little boy. It was simply because two-year olds live life only to please themselves. He would grow out of it in time, but until he did, Jason and Heather would have to set some more guidelines in order to protect their marriage.