Renown researcher and therapist, Dr. John Gottman, explains in his book And Baby Makes Three that he conducted a 13-year study with 130 young families. The results show that during the first three years after baby was born, two-thirds of couples experienced a significant drop in quality of their relationship. Time with the baby was wonderful, but time together became conflictual. (p.16)
So, how do you avoid being apart of that two-thirds? Although there are several communication and problem solving skills that can be developed to make the transition smoother, the key is enjoying the friendship you have with your partner. Being able to make your partner feel loved and appreciated verbally as well as in action is foundational. Picking up his or her favorite coffee drink on the way home, renting the favorite movie, talking about the time you two got lost on the road trip are all practical ways to bid for each other’s affection.
Just because you are now parents, does not mean you have to stop being friends. The little ways that you find connection will go farther than imagined. Not only will you as parents create a calmer environment for yourselves, but also for baby. Gottman is clear to state, “The greatest gift you can give your baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of you.” (p.27)