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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Me-Proofing My Marriage

So The Targo and I are reading this book. The basic thesis is that while your marriage changes like CRAZY once you have your first child, it doesn't have to disintegrate. There are things both men and women do that prevent them from ah) enjoying their children and buh) enjoying each other. Just being aware of these behaviors can wrap Kevlar around our marriages to get us through the baby years.

Now, Babyproofing Your Marriage would not meet the standards of strict scholarship and their surveys, focus groups, and interviews have not been done by the National Opinion Research Center, but sometimes basic qualitative research can be more powerful. And, wow! I had no idea that most married people with children were so unhappy. A huge part of it is that we're just so busy, but there are habits that can negatively impact our marriages.

We're only about halfway through the book, but I've learned a couple things about myself already. In particular, I tend to "keep score" with The Targo. I make mental notes of all of the domestic things I do and also when he does things half-assed. After reading a chapter discussing this very issue, I thought about how unfair that is. There are a couple things I consider his job (e.g. all landlord contact) yet I don't take them into consideration. After examining that, I realized how our division of labor has really been slanted since we found out I was pregnant: He carries the huge laundry basket down the stairs. He does all of the cat maintenance. He's the grocery shopper (he likes that though). He empties and fills the dishwasher (I cook). If there's raw meat involved in dinner, he cuts it up. How could I complain? For me (I'm most definitely not saying all women) I think it's part of my nature, because both of my parents are complainers and scorekeepers.

I hope that by addressing these issues early, we can diminish (or eliminate) some of these inevitable problems and just enjoy being parents. Because really, we know that we're lucky we have each other and are so excited about this baby.


Anonymous said...

Having a baby does completely change your marriage - both expected and unexpected; good, bad, and fabulous. It took The Hubby and I a while to adjust to being parents. Now we look at each other and say: "What were we doing before Lovely Daughter came along?"

Good for you for being proactive! :) The book sounds great. I think I may get a copy...

Liz said...

no kidding - Chris is so overprotective of me, but he was that before because he's just that way. But I don't feel like a child, I feel cherished.

He doesn't cut up my meat for me, but he does the dishes. which is fine and good.

Anonymous said... what you're telling me is that I need to get knocked up so Mark will pitch in more?! ::sigh:: that seems a little drastic...but I'll try! haha.

My name is Rima. said...

Does that book tell you about the importance of "date night?" I know it's a cliche, but it works wonders!

L Sass said...

dude, it sounds like i could use this book now.

i'm not so much a scorekeeper, but i do hover over AS when he does a task and tell him how to do every step.

there's probably a chapter devoted to that one, too!