Keeping Marriage Strong When Bringing Baby Home

As new mothers, most of us have been there. The day we welcome our little ones to our families, we look over at our significant other and think, “Wow, I could never love him more than I do right now.”

Two weeks later, after our third round of middle-of-the-night nursing, we muster all our strength not to throw our breast pump at the snoring lump of husband in our bed.

Having a baby is hard on any couple, especially those experiencing parenthood for the first time. Between the sleeplessness and the financial stress, it’s no wonder that 60 percent of couples experience a drop in relationship quality within three years of a child’s birth.

“The emotional, psychological and physical demands of parenting often leave couples too exhausted to talk with one another, let alone make time for their relationship,” explained Lisa M. von Wahlde, individual, couple and family Therapist with Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri, via e-mail. “As a result, couples retreat into their individual ‘survival mode’ at a time when teamwork togetherness is most needed.”

To prepare parents for the complicated road ahead, LFCS sponsors Bringing Baby Home workshops throughout the year, including two series of workshops coming up this October. BBH was created by relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman from The Relationship Research Institute in Seattle. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening the parental relationship.

As a Certified Gottman Educator, von Wahlde helps parents work through the conflict that threatens what the Gottmans call the “foundational friendship” in a marriage. “Couples shift all of their focus from learning/being curious about one another to learning/being curious about their baby,” she remarked. “The BBH workshop shows couples how to safeguard the foundational friendship in the marriage while exploring parenthood and learning about this new little person.”

The 12-hour workshop covers a variety of topics, including how to recognize if your relationship is in trouble and why the transition to parenthood can be difficult, and offers simple-to-follow strategies for making the magic of your relationship last, even when spit-up rags and nursing bras threaten to steal away your last remnants of romance.

Register today for a two-day workshop to be held Oct. 2 and 9from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Florissant or the four-night workshop  held Oct. 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2at Concordia Seminary.

Through BBH, parents can learn how a bit of work can go a long way in strengthening their marriage for years to come. Said von Wahlde, “Couples I work with in my office often feel overwhelmed by their problems and worry that they will have to make major changes in their life to fix them.  In the BBH workshop, couples learn that having a satisfying marriage and a happy child can take as little as five hours per week!”

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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