Partners Before Parents
Your first test as new parents is adapting to the changes children bring to your marital relationship. In a word, this adjustment is monumental. Studies show that marital satisfaction drops significantly after the birth of the first child. This is mainly due to a lack of mental and emotional preparation, especially on the part of the husband who doesn't realize (until he's feeling neglected and miserable) that it is entirely normal during the first six to twelve months after a new baby arrives for the husband to move into the “number two slot” in his wife's attentions and affections. Fortunately, this situation usually balances out again as your child ages.
Good marriages that include children set expectations for family times, and for couple times, and then keep an appropriate balance between the two. There should be weekly dates for the couple to go out by themselves and be adult together, apart from the kids or kid-centered activities. Far too many couples give up one-on-one time with each other, and as a result neither the adults nor the children are served. As usual, it's a perpetual balancing act.
Weekly family time is also essential to create a health family. It may be best to schedule family time for the same night every week; that way everyone can look forward to it on a regular basis. Special meals can be planned where the children select and help prepare the food. Family games also promote family togetherness, as do repeating rituals on holidays and birthdays. All of these efforts to build a solid family with strong emotional ties will help when it comes time to discipline your children.