Couples Counseling: New Parents Guide to Maintaining a Strong Relationship

As a new parent, you are likely to face an inundation of parenting advice, most of it unwelcomed.

The best parenting and child development a baby could hope for would be a healthy, happy relationship between the parents and it doesn’t happen by accident.

New parents may be surprised to learn that they need advice about their relationship with their spouse, partner, or significant other after the initial thrill of having a new baby has subsided. Regardless of the depth and strength of the relationship prior to the arrival of the bundle of joy, everything changes when baby arrives.

Fantasy: “It won’t happen to us.”

Reality: Stunningly 90% of 218 couples were less satisfied with their marital relationship than before children (detailed in a study by Doss and Stanley in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

Rather than burying your head in the sand, prepare yourselves.

  1. Plan if you can, and stick to it.
  2. The same study mentioned above showed that those who maintained a strong relationship during child rearing had been married longer before having children or had higher incomes.

    You don’t need to be rich to have a baby. Establish financial goals and work together on the family budget throughout the course of the marriage. If you have the option, don’t rush into having children early in your marriage or relationship.

    If you didn’t plan either one and baby is on the way or you have recently had a child, don’t panic. Be smart and make a plan now. Accompany plans with wise counsel.

    • Make the commitment to go at least once a year to a marriage workshop or seminar.
    • Find a good counselor, therapist, or clergy to help with unresolved issues and strengthening good relationship habits throughout the year.
    • Finally, seek regular financial checkups with a financial advisor or a trusted family or friend with good financial sense.
  3. Share responsibilities.
  4. Fathers have a natural tendency to focus more on the economical situation of the family as baby arrives. Let’s face it—babies are expensive. They may seize more opportunities for extra hours or put in additional effort in hopes of advancement.

    At the same time, new mothers might feel neglected rather than excited for her partner’s hard work. He is at work far more than at home and both are exhausted when they finally do have the chance to be together.

    Collaborate on every issue facing your relationship, including how much and when you both work. Be mindful of all the extra work inside the home and work together to ensure a harmonious environment.

  5. Keep your promises!
  6. It’s better to promise only one thing and keep that promise than to make more promises and miss some. Both the parent/child relationship and the parent/parent relationship will thrive under the security of knowing that promises will be kept.

    If you promise to be home from work by 6 PM, then your day should revolve around ensuring that happens. If you promise to be gone for an hour to run errands, the entire hour should be carefully planned to ensure returning home in the specified timeframe.

    It’s not just catchy words to a song: Love is a verb. It is reflected by intentional actions. Love means keeping the solidarity of your relationship as top priority when raising your children.

This Article is Presented by Thrive Boston Counseling, offering Couples Counseling in Cambridge, MA. 872 Massachusetts Ave, Ste 2-2, Cambridge, MA 02139. 617-395-5806

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Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore Ph.D. is Founder and CEO at Thriveworks--a counseling practice, focused on premium client care, with 80+ locations across the USA. He is Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and Author of How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice. Anthony is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."