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Marriage Makeover: “We need to straighten up our house — and our marriage”

"WE'RE NOT READY FOR A BABY"

MEGAN: "I'm scared that once the baby comes, I'll feel like I'm doing more, all by myself, and Ken won't help. I know he'll be a great father. I just fear that when I need him, he won't be there, and that he'll use work or my not speaking up as an excuse."

KEN: "Having a baby is going to be tough, but I know we have a lot of love. My concern is that the baby will pick up on our fighting. I'm willing to do whatever. I'm just worried that Megan will take on too much and not tell me when she needs help."

MEGAN: "But stepping up when we have a baby isn't going to help us get through the disorganized mess we're in now. What if the baby were to come tomorrow? We'd have a new mess on top of an old mess."

KEN: "Obviously we've had this problem for a while. I never wanted to deal with it. Now I'm just overwhelmed as to how we're going to go about this and get ourselves on track."

EXPERT ADVICE

Once Megan and Ken get their home organized, they'll definitely feel less stressed out about the baby, says Covalt. And once they learn to communicate more effectively, they'll make a great parenting team. Megan needs to realize it's okay to turn to Ken — and he needs to recognize when she falls into her martyr role and stops asking for help, says Tessina. "He can then say, 'Babe, you look stressed — what can I do?'" They both also need to be clear on Ken's responsibilities as a dad so he can do what's needed without Megan's having to ask. "They should look at their opposite traits as gifts they're going to give to their baby," says Covalt. "Ken can be glad that Megan will be a mom who's on top of all the details, and Megan can be glad that Ken will be a laid-back, playful dad. They'll both contribute positively to their baby's life."

THE COUPLE'S REACTION

MEGAN: "Ken and I took the advice to heart. We were able to sit down and discuss charts and spots around the house that we could begin to tailor to our needs. We started our chore chart this weekend and scheduled our first meeting. A weight has been lifted!"

KEN: "My eyes have suddenly been opened to all the things I was missing in my home life. I never stopped to think or examine how much Megan was doing around the house and how little I was. I'm looking forward to going through our basket of mail and getting our finances, paperwork, and lives together. That alone is going to make us a lot more relaxed and prepared for when our baby is born."

 

Originally published on: April 22, 2008

 

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