Fighting with our loved ones can feel terrifying, and it’s easy – if we don’t know what we’re doing – to get trapped in bad habits that lead to the deterioration of our marriage or long-term relationship. Fortunately, as we discussed earlier, conflict is natural and to be expected. However, there are four behaviors to avoid when in conflict, according to the Gottmans’ copious research.
Welcome to Part 2 of our “book club” on Gottman and Gottman’s “And Baby Makes Three”. In Part 1, we introduced the book and the scope of the problem. In this installment, we share insights about the stresses of parenting that are common yet rarely talked about. You’re not alone – that’s the point of Chapter 1. Many couples feel alone in their parenting because gender roles and parenting values have shifted so much in the past twenty to thirty years that many young couples may feel they can’t look to their parents for advice.... And you may not have an older, wise person to call on for advice (like a mentor or friend from a church or other group). Add to this the tendency for men not to talk about their emotions (though this can affect men or women) and you’ve got a recipe for silence and pent-up tensions that lead to relationship problems getting worse rather than resolved.
6 min read | "The greatest gift a couple can give their baby is a loving relationship, because that relationship nourishes Baby’s development. The stronger the connection between parents, the healthier the child can grow, both emotionally and intellectually." (p.9) Stress and tension can build in our long-term romantic relationships, even despite our best intentions. Perhaps you’re a few years into your relationship, and already feeling doubt, irritation, or even anger on a regular basis. Ironically, one of the most joyous moments of our lives – having a child – can exacerbate negative feelings in a relationship (see our recent article for new Dads). The good news is you can learn coping and relationship-building skills, and they apply whether you have kids or not.
6 min read | Within 3 years of a first child being born, only one in three couples remain happy, according to research by psychologists John and Julie Gottman. Certainly many of those folks move on to file for divorce. The child is the catalyst. So why – during what should be a joyous time for new parents – are so many people unhappy? And what, particularly from a man’s perspective, can new Dads do about it?
Here’s a man we need to hear more about: happily married for forty years, still engaged in his kids’ lives, and able to balance work with exercise, family, and community. In our interview, he shares how he and his wife overcame a marital crisis, how he learned to cultivate balance and time for reflection, and how he transformed a potential career disaster into the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime. Rob is sixty years old and lives in Colorado. He and his wife Martha have three adult sons. Please read to the end for a summary of life lessons based on the interview, and resources for further learning and practice you can try yourself. Please leave us a comment and share this with your friends.
I'm excited to kick off a series of articles about fathers who generally feel good about life. Yes, they do exist! We’ll hear how they dance between their long-term relationships, being a parent, working, staying healthy, and other aspects of life. Bryan is a stay-at-home father in San Francisco. Today only 1% of husbands in married-couple families stay at home full-time (US Census 2012). But many Dads face the same challenges as stay-at-home fathers when it comes to parenting young children, and they are touched on below: how to renew yourself, reflect, find parenting mentors, deal with social isolation, and find meaning. When I spoke with him in person, Bryan exuded self-confidence, poise, thoughtfulness, physical and mental strength, and what some psychologists have described as a “mature masculine” focus on nurturing and coaching. We hope you enjoy this interview.