Researcher John Gottman, Ph.D. has discovered that 66% of married couples feel a strong dip in their marital life following the birth of their first child. He and his wife wrote a book called And Baby Makes Three, and the Gottman Institute has put together a class called "Bringing Baby Home" in order to help married couples move towards each other following the birth of a child. Based on the data, those who take the class fair much better in their marital relationship after the birth. Only 33% of those who take the class experience a strong relational dip in their marriage compared to the rest of the population which dips at 66%. The book and class help married couples deal with the distance and lack of intimacy that can occur when baby arrives.
Sara and I are reading this book aloud together right now. Reading this book together is one way that we move towards one another in the midst of baby. It is very easy to let baby meet our emotional needs when we feel the distance with our spouse at the birth of a first child, or any child for that matter. Not only does this place an undue burden on baby, but this also isn't the best thing we can do for him or her in the first place. The more we move towards our spouse in the midst of baby, the more secure baby feels in the family. There is nothing that promotes the growth and development of our children than two spouses who are moving towards one another in front of the children.
Thus, reading books, attending classes, or seeking therapy together as a married couple strengthens our marriages and then emotionally and cognitively grows our babies, children, and teenagers as an added bonus. The more we move towards our spouses, the better our longevity in marriage for the long haul. Our children will move out of our homes, and what will be left once they move out? Moving towards our spouse not only cultivates deeper intimacy with our spouse but also creates a deeper intimacy and emotional growth for our children through safety, security, and our model for them. They see us and they want to be like us in the future with their own spouses. It is a story of influence.