“You’ll never sleep again.” “You have no idea how tired you’ll be.” “Forget sex.”
Expecting a baby? You’ve heard it all before. As a recent Wall Street Journal article put it, babies are “So Cute, So Hard on a Marriage.” According to the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, about two-thirds of couples say that within three years of the birth of a child, conflict and hostility increased dramatically. Babies raised by unhappy parents, the institute also reports, talk later, potty-train later, and have trouble learning to soothe themselves. For the sake of the whole family, how can you make sure your marriage stays strong?
For answers, some couples are turning to pre-baby marriage counseling. Your mom and dad may have fallen into clearly defined gender roles (however narrow) and relied on nearby family for support, but today keeping it all together demands creative teamwork. Since women still do twice as much childcare and housework as their male partners even when both are employed, planning ahead can be a huge help in promoting balance and harmony. You’ll learn how to:
- Nurture your friendship. People love to tell you to be sure to schedule date night and have regular sex. Yes, shared activities and touch (including hugs, strokes, and cuddling) are a big help, but the key to staying close through all the stress is conveying appreciation, empathy and mutual respect in a variety of ways.
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