MIAMI (CBS4) — Like many new parents, Mary and James Moorehead don’t remember what married life was like before their son was born.
“The days of just doing whatever on a weekend or going out quickly and randomly for dinner or whatever are rare,” James said.
The couple didn’t want their new responsibilities to have a negative impact on their marriage so they went to counseling before the baby came.
“Being able to sit and have time to discuss us and where we were going and some of the things I’d been reading about, it made it less scary,” Mary said.
A recent study showed two-thirds of couples felt less satisfied with their relationship within the first three years of having a child. That is why there are a growing number of programs introducing relationship classes in addition to childbirth education.
“A couple’s transition to parenthood, they typically have less resources like time, money and freedom to nurture their relationship,” explained couples therapist Joyce Marter. “We see a cycle of work, kids and household responsibilities that can leave a couple feeling disconnected,” she added.
At her counseling center, Marter offers both pre and post-baby counseling sessions.
“We really work with couples on enhancing their communication skills and their ability to successfully navigate through conflict. We also really encourage them to consciously make their relationship a priority,” she said.
The big question is does it work? One study found couples who participated in weekly group counseling had a much smaller decline in marital satisfaction. Mary and James say it definitely helped them.
“I just helped us to be more balanced,” Mary said.