Let me start this post with a personal story.
2007 was the year that Steven and I planned to get married and life interfered. In fact life interfered several times such that we had a longer-than-expected engagement because the wedding was postponed repeatedly for various reasons. Thus, can you imagine my rapture when we finally tied the knot seven months after the operations?
We had a beautiful and memorable wedding in the presence of those who have been a huge part in our lives. I was so certain that we will breeze through the next stage of our relationship because we have surmounted all the ups and downs victoriously. We also went for a marriage preparation course and counseling with our spiritual director. So yes, I thought we were more than ready for marriage. Bring it on!
Imagine my dismay when my "happily ever after" dissolved within weeks. I was crushed, horrified and went into a panic mode. With my radar enhanced I spotted so many problem areas in our marriage and that gave me greater reasons to catastrophize that our marriage may not survive. We are such strong individuals and our differences seem irreconcilable.
I was so relieved when I discovered that most marital arguments cannot be resolved and that doesn't mean that the marriage is doomed. I also learn that happy marriages are based on a deep friendship between the couple. Friendship is key because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial toward the spouse. Conflict is inevitable. It is the way we manage the conflict that makes a huge difference.
Guess where I found my guiding light and hope from? Yes, books by John Gottman, one of the world's leading research scientists on marriage, relationships and family.
Given my need for knowledge and intense desire to save our marriage, I did an extensive research and read tons of books. Few resonated with my sensibility until I found Gottman's work.
Here are the reasons why I choose Gottman:
1. He has 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. The extensive data he collected is the foundation of his theory and interventions. Clearly his work is evidence-based.
2. Easy to implement because it focuses on small changes that couple can immediately do. Nothing daunting that may hinder one from moving forward. The exercises are mostly to help couple in increasing self-awareness and strengthening their friendship and intimacy.
3. Conviction that the method will work if we are willing to follow the suggestions.
I was really thrilled to get the chance to attend a few workshops conducted by Gottman and his wife at a major conference. There I discovered Bringing Baby Home and was convinced of its effectiveness and value in building a solid foundation for the family when couples go through the transition into parenthood.
Since this is the life stage that we are at now, I am particularly keen to prepare us in the best way possible. Furthermore, I decided that this will be a valuable service that I can offer to other couples, whether they are considering the option of becoming parent, on the way to becoming one or in early stages of parenting. I'm pleased to share that I became a Certified Gottman Educator in 2010.
Now, what exactly is Bringing Baby Home?
Firstly, it is NOT a group therapy. Do I hear a collective sigh of relief?
It is a research-based and research-tested psychoeducational intervention aimed to equip new parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to cope constructively with the changes brought about by the birth of a child.
Research has shown that relationship meltdowns happen in two-third of all couples when a baby arrives. 67% of mothers experience a precipitous drop in relationship satisfaction starting about six months after the first baby is born. Fathers typically experience the same decrease in relationship satisfaction, but not until the end of the baby's first year.
The challenges associated with this transition cannot be underestimated because the marriage will invariably be affected in a significant way. The good news is one-third of the couples in the study showed no decline and even had an increase in marital satisfaction. What gives?
If you belong to this category, congratulations! For the rest who are struggling or unsure where you'll be when your turn comes, take heart that Bringing Baby Home can show you how to strengthen your friendship, increase intimacy, regulate conflicts and create shared meaning, legacy and dreams. In addition, couples will also learn sensitive, responsive parenting and a deeper appreciation of child development.
While the baby deserves all the attention and care, the couple's emotional life is equally important because it forms the real foundation for the baby's development. John Gottman says it best:
"The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you."
What are your thoughts? Please feel free to contact me if you wish to know more about this program.
P.S: And yes, I'm very grateful that our marriage is in a much better place now and I have gained a best friend in addition to a soul mate.