Practice the delicate art of marital negotiation. Often we rush into telling our partner what he or she should do: “You should quit work.” “You should make more money.” “You’ve lost your sex drive.” Talking about how you feel (“I’m scared about all the layoffs in my office,” “I miss you,” “I’m exhausted”) without trying to persuade each other of anything is a far more effective way to be sure your partner will listen rather than getting defensive. Then the two of you can tackle the problem together.
Share your hopes and dreams as individuals, as a couple, as a family, and as a part of your community and the wider world. How will you reach out to others? What do you and your partner care about and stand for? What do you want your child to grow up knowing about you? Deepening your sense of shared purpose and belonging can help you keep your perspective through sleepless nights and stressful mornings.
Jean Fitzpatrick is a New York psychotherapist and marriage counselor. Jean's practice includes individual and couples, and she specializes in affair recovery, pre-marriage, prebaby and postpartum counseling. Jean is a member of the elite Marriage Friendly Therapists network and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Jean has been interviewed in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Women's Health, on CNN and in USA Today, the NY Daily News, and other media outlets where the subject is marriage and family life. Jean's articles on family life and emotional and spiritual growth have appeared in many national magazines over the past twenty-five years, including Parents,Working Mother, The New York Times Magazine, and Family Circle, and she has written 6 books on family life.
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