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Happily Married…With Children?!

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 Married With Children

I’ve counseled many couples through the transition

from being single to becoming a married couple,

and then from being a married couple to the bliss

and stress of “married with children.”

Raising children can be an amazing journey for couples,

allowing them to explore and heal all sorts of things,

to grow individually and together as a team.

Raising kids together can be one of the most

amazing bonding experiences you can share.

Harried With Children

It can also be a minefield for conflicts and fights.

The famous playwright, Nora Ephron, wrote that

“Having a first child is like throwing a hand grenade

into a marriage.”  Oh, yeah, baby!

An eight-year study of married couples found 90%

experienced a decrease in marital satisfaction once

the first child was born.  Yes, that was 90%.

So it looks like you either pray you’re in the 10% of

couples who didn’t or you better get a plan!

What makes the difference between the couples who

seem to be the happiest after having children?

1.  Happy Couples Are Couples First

Couples who not only last for the long haul, but

actually seem to enjoy the journey are the ones

who never forget that their family started with

just two people.  And they nurture those two.

They make time for romantic gestures, constant

signs of affection, and regular “date nights.”

They don’t stop courting each other, and they

don’t want to.  They realize there is so  much more

to explore and get to know about the other person.

They put effort into keeping this primary relationship

vibrant, alive, and happy…just as they do for their kids.

2.  Happy Couples Get On The Same Page

Parenting is really hard work if you’re doing it

anywhere close to “right.”  You have to really know

your kids, your values, your unique style of parenting.

You have to know what your family rules are, as well

as how, why, and when to make exceptions to them.

Happy couples are constantly talking about parenting.

They are informing each other of what they are seeing,

noticing, learning, and thinking about parenting.

(They’re just NOT doing this on their “date night!”)

Happy couples take the time to get on the same page

about rules, consequences and routines.

Happy couples support each other in this

monumental effort, rather than undermine each

other for not being perfect as parents.

3.  Happy Couples Plan For The Empty Nest

Happy couples with kids aren’t living every day

wishing and waiting for their kids to leave.

But they ARE planning for the time in their lives

when they have more time to spend together

again, able to be more spontaneous in their plans,

and able to put more resources toward their

shared interests and dreams.

If a couple is too child-centered and doesn’t take

the time to nurture the couple relationship, when

the kids leave (they leave?!) you can have  two people

sitting across the dining room table from each other

wondering what to talk about and what to do.

Maybe even wondering if they want to be together.

Happy couples aren’t going to be in that situation.

They’ve been talking, planning, and doing fun

things together all along…nurturing that unique

relationship within the family.

The one that started it all!



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