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After having a child, my husband and I argue a lot

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 30s. I’m worried my relationship with my husband has been deteriorating since our child was born.

Our child is 1 now, and child rearing has been a completely new experience for both of us, making us more stressed. We’re also lacking sleep and argue more often than ever. We both think we’re the one in the relationship doing the most work and the one who is more tired. We never stop arguing and insulting each other, which is so exhausting for me.

Before we got married, my husband was very kind to me, and he patiently let me vent to him about work. I often relied on that patience and just told him how I felt, and I think this attitude has probably driven him to become aggressive, as well. He sometimes raises his voice even when our child is around.

For the sake of our child, we don’t want to get a divorce. However, our current situation will undoubtedly negatively impact the child. Although we both truly want to be back in a loving relationship, we can’t seem to control our emotions.

I, Tokyo

Dear Ms. I:

The relationship between husband and wife tends to sour when children appear, regardless of whether they live in Japan or in the West. Also, I often hear about partners who aren’t so kind anymore after marriage. You and your husband have experienced these changes to an extreme.

However, solving this matter may be much easier than you think. You are aware of why you start arguing, and probably so is your husband. You have also agreed you can’t get divorced for your child’s sake.

Therefore, I suggest you put aside your husband’s behavior thus far for now and think about the best choice for you to make yourself happy.

When you become emotional, your past choice to vent your frustrations at your husband worked well. However, if you do so now, you only find it intensifies quarrels with your husband and makes you feel exhausted.

This means you should avoid doing things that you know won’t make you happy. You shouldn’t try to change your husband’s behavior. Instead, be calm and tell him how you feel about his behavior and what you expected him to do. You can also make a choice to take it lightly when your husband becomes angry when speaking to you.

Neither of you is in the wrong here. I suggest that first and foremost you stop blaming your husband and also stop blaming yourself.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from Jan. 18, 2018, issue)Speech

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