And Baby Makes Three

February 8, 2011

I’m a big fan of John Gottman. I learned about him when I read the book “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell (huge fan of him too!). Dr. Gottman and his wife are experts in marriage and are the authors of several books, all excellent.

I spotted this one recently and picked it up: And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives

Although curious, I was skeptical at first. Although I know that babies change a marriage, I’m not one of the doom and gloomers who insist that children cause a marriage to be unhappy. I’ve seen the addition of children boost the partner’s commitment to each other (and to getting their life in order), and hence strengthen the marriage. Children make everything more serious, fast. That includes the whole family dynamic.

The statistics don’t look good though.

About 2/3 of couples report less marital satisfaction after baby’s birth.

How could this be? How could the addition of a cute, cuddly, big-eyed, sweet smelling baby (who looks just like your beloved!), and who was created out of your love for each other, cause marital unhappiness?

Instead of focusing on this unfortunate statistic, the book takes a positive slant. One of the things I love about Dr. Gottman is that although he is famous for his studies in which he was able to predict divorce with over 90% degree of accuracy after watching a couple argue for FIVE minutes, he still is VERY positive about marriage and how to make it happy.

I have to admit, I was impressed and relieved at the advice offered in the book. I’ve thumbed through books like this before and the standard 6 and 7/8s advice of “give the baby a bottle, leave it with a sitter and go off for the weekend” rubs me the wrong way. Many mothers of young babies would be distracted and unable to really relax and enjoy leaving their babies, especially if they’re breastfeeding. Even Dads, while eager for time with their wives, may be uncomfortable with this arrangement.

The book is full of great tips and exercises for couples to do together (ahem – not necessarily those kinds of “exercises”, that’s another book!) to stay connected emotionally and physically. Most of the book focuses on good communication. The sections about how to hear the “longing” behind your mate’s complaint, and listening for the “dream” in an argument are wonderful for any couple. I also love how many checklists there are in the book. Instead of a bunch of abstract theories, there are tons of things you can DO right away.

The chapter on reconnecting sexually is also a breath of fresh air. While a lot of authors will tell you that co-sleeping automatically kills intimacy, many parents will tell you that it simply encourages creativity (always a plus in the bedroom!). This book doesn’t condemn this parenting choice, but offers suggestions for working with the parenting style you have chosen. It also doesn’t assume that it’s always the woman who has less desire (this is a stereotype that simply isn’t true, some women feel highly sexual after birth!).

The book also has great advice on preventing Postpartum Depression.  If you are struggling in your marriage after baby’s arrival, I can recommend this book: And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives

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3 Responses to “And Baby Makes Three”

  1. Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD! on February 11th, 2011 7:24 pm

    Communication is always key. :)

  2. Emily on February 18th, 2011 3:50 pm

    That sounds way better than the bk DH and I read while I was pregnant. DH got SO depressed, b/c it was all about how the couple would have to keep a chart to divide up chores, etc.

    The main thing about a baby entering the picture is that it completely changes things, and like all chance is difficult to adjust to.

    But once everyone gets adjusted, life becomes richer than ever! :)

  3. Mom on February 22nd, 2011 12:28 pm

    Hi darlin’

    I co-slept with both you girls and alas never had a problem with (you know what) It does indeed cause you to be more creative. Which is fun. Is that TMI?

    Love ya, Mom

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