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Keeping Your Marriage Strong When the Kids Come Along

Article by Lori J Collins MS MFT

Why do couples struggle when their family grows from two to three or more? It doesn’t make sense. While adding a baby to the family is a wonderfully, life-changing event, filled with pure joy and love, this can also be a time of tremendous change for the couple and family.

According to E.E. Lemaster’s 1957 study, Cowan and Cowan’s 1979 to early 1990’s study, and Gottman’s research published in 2007; the following answers why becoming a parent can have such a powerful impact on a marriage or couple:

  • 83% of new parents went through moderate to severe crisis during transition to parenthood.
  • They both feel unappreciated, even though both are working much harder.
  • Couples conflict and disagreement increases after they have a baby.
  • Individuals dissatisfaction with marriage/relationship tends to increase from pregnancy to the early child-rearing years.
  • Parents were more fatigued, sleepless, and irritable.
  • Mom’s sexual desire drops after baby and stays low for first year, especially if she’s nursing.
  • Mom’s usually become very involved with their babies, but have less to offer their partners emotionally due to fatigue.
  • Parent’s pressures and expectations of wanting to be better parents than their own parents were with them.
  • Couple’s distress led to strain on emotional and intellectual development of child.

Lori is passionate about helping couples navigate through this transition, and has helped thousands of couples make this a time of adventure and development versus disappointment and decline.

What Helps?

Lori’s works collaboratively with couples to help them:

TEAM TOGETHER:

  • Appreciating that they both are working really hard to be good parents and providers.
  • Increase awareness that they are not alone, and that other couples have similar struggles during this time.

INCREASE AWARENESS:

  • Appreciating that both partners are making some major adjustments during this time of transition.
  • According to Cowan and Cowan, “Helping couples anticipate how they might handle potentially stressful aspects of becoming a family can leave them feeling less vulnerable, less likely to blame each other for the hard parts, and more likely to decide they can work it out together”.

HEALTHY COMMUNICATION:

  • Managing conflict with respect.
  • Being gentle with each other.
  • Taking responsibility for your part.
  • Listening to each other.

Remember, there is hope! Lori has been working with couples in Redwood City, California (located 20 miles North of Silicon Valley and South of SanFrancisco) since 1990, over 20 years! Call Lori today for more information about how she can help, or sign up for Lori’s free tips and articles on “Keeping Your Marriage Strong When the Kids Come Along”.

Personal comment:

I dedicate this research to all the couples out there who are just starting their families, or have young kids and want to keep their relationship alive. As a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked with couples for over twenty years, the research on the transition from couple to family, and from my own marriage to family transition, I believe this is one of the most challenging times in a marriage or relationship. On a positive note, it is also the perfect time to learn really solid skills to keep your relationship strong. It is my personal and professional experience that learning principles and strategies for paying attention to your marriage/relationship will directly benefit you, your relationship, your children, and your family. When you are happy in your marriage/relationship, your children really feel it and are happy and secure also. Here’s the formula: Happy Couples = Happy Children and Families.

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