On average, 11,636 babies are born every Valentine’s Day in the United States. For two-thirds of couples, this new addition causes increased conflict and an overall decline in the quality of their relationship.
FIU psychologist Lisa Arango believes a way for a relationship to survive and thrive through a transition into parenthood is to identify the challenges that lie ahead and stay connected with your partner. She provides some tips on how to baby-proof your relationship.
- Focus on strengthening and maintaining your friendship as a couple. Recognize and remember the reasons why you chose to be together. Get back in touch with each other, recall your history together, respect each other, share affection.
- Preserve intimacy and romance. As soon as possible, rekindle the flame of passion in the relationship. Communicate to your partner that you are attracted to one another and desire intimacy.
- Keep your relationship love-tank full with small things often. Express how much you appreciate and admire your partner every day. This will create a culture of love and appreciation that will nurture not only your relationship, but also an atmosphere of love and security for your baby.
- Expect changes in your relationship as you shift from we to three. Conflict may increase and conversations between the two of you can become more stressful. It’s important you regulate conflict by avoiding using criticisms, becoming defensive, expressing an attitude of contempt or shutting the other person out.
- Prioritize the couple relationship. What your baby needs most are loving parents with an emotionally secure relationship. Make time for your relationship without baby — go out or have a date night at home.
- Focus on becoming a team. Create and maintain a united front as a couple and as parents. This creates emotional security for your baby and helps with discipline later on in baby’s life.
Arango is the director of the Professional Counseling Psychology program at FIU and provides family counseling services at FIU’s Center for Children and Families (CCF). The center offers the Gottman Relationship Check-up and a workshop titled Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work based on protocols developed by bestselling author and researcher John Gottman.
For information about CCF’s family and relationship services, call 305-348-0477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.