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10 Rules for Baby-Proofing Your Marriage

The house is one thing, but your marriage may need baby-proofing, too.
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10 Rules for Baby-proofing Your Marriage continued...

No. 6: Loosen the gender roles. Plan a training weekend, she says. "This is where the husband is left to man the kid ropes on his own for a weekend," Stone says. The dual benefits? "He learns a new respect for what it takes to care for a baby, and since some women have a hard time letting go of the reins, this teaches them its OK and that their husband can take care of it," she says. What's more, "the husband gets a chance to bond with baby on his own terms." Stone's prescription: Have training weekends early and as often as the baby changes and enters new phases. "A little continuing education is always a good idea," she says.

No. 7: Stop scorekeeping. "You really can never end scorekeeping completely, but you can ratchet it down by dividing and conquering," Stone says. "Don't worry about the stuff that is not on your list and acknowledge that both parties are giving 100% and no one has it tougher than the other," she says. Remember, "You are rowing in the same boat."

No. 8: Make deals. "It's OK to trade two nights of dishes for one night out," she says.

No. 9: Rein in the in-laws. "Establish a pecking order where your nuclear family comes first before your extended family," she says. "Everybody wants to get their hands on the baby, which is a normal thing, but it can create tension if you don't put your spouse before other family members."

No. 10: Remember that this, too, shall pass. "Recognize that this time is unique," she says. "As children get older, these issues diminish and if you recognize that it is uniquely stressful, but will come to an end, you can keep a long-term view of it," Stone says.

"Couples need to continue to make their own relationship a priority, because in 18 years, this brand new child will be out of the house and on his own, but you will still be with each other and you have another 30 years together, so you just can't put your relationship on back burner," Haltzman says.

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