Here's a depressing fact: for the majority of couples, marital satisfaction takes a huge plunge when couples become parents and doesn't reach pre-child levels of satisfaction until the kids are teens or go off to college. Yikes! Isn't there something couples can do? Yes, and the studies show that when couples do these things, their marital satisfaction stays up.
1) MOVE FROM A "ME-CENTERED PERSPECTIVE" TO A "WE-CENTERED PERSPSECTIVE:" Children take sacrifice and that means that what's good for the family may not always feel good to the individuals in the short-run. Some people are too self-centered while others are too self-sacrificing. Identify which one you are and commit to change.
2) PRIORITIZE THE MARRIAGE: Too many couples become so child-centered when they become parents that they let their marriages wither on the vine. Make sure you have at least one date night a week.
3) GENDER DIFFERENCES: The biggest predictor of male satisfacion in marriage is a decent sex life-for women, it's emotional connection. When couples become parents, women, often due to exhaustion or resentment about doing more than their fair share, shut down sexually. Unfortunately, since that's item numero uno for male satisfaction this often means that the guy withdraws and becomes even more unavailable.ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â Men need to make sure that they're stepping up to the plate with sharing the burdens and women need to make sure that they're not neglecting their husbands for their children.
4) LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE: If you or your partner don't know how to complain or ask for what you need your marriage is in trouble. Get thee to a couple's counselor or a workshop. Your marriage and your family's well-being depend on it.
5) APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE: When couples become parents, there's much less to go around. Tell your partner every day what you like about him or her. You attract far more bees with honey in marriage than criticism.
Sign up today for Dr. Joshua Coleman's FREE monthly ezine at www.drjoshuacoleman.com. His new book, WHEN PARENTS HURT: COMPASSIONATE STRATEGIES WHEN YOU AND YOUR GROWN CHILD DON’T GET ALONG (HarperCollins) will be released July, 2007.ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â Dr. Coleman is an internationally known expert in parenting, couples, families, and relationships. A frequent guest on the Today Show, he has also appeared on ABC 20/20, Good Morning America, the BBC, and numerous news programs for FOX, ABC, and NBC television. Dr. Coleman's advice has been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, The London Times, and many other publications. He is a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families and has a private practice in San Francisco and Oakland, California.