Carol Ummel Lindquist, when she was a new parent, had no trouble finding books to read about how to care for her baby. But she couldn’t find resources to help care for her marriage.

She and her husband, like many couples, weren’t prepared for the exponential effect of adding a baby to their household.

Ummel Lindquist, a Laguna Beach, Calif., psychotherapist and marriage counselor and author of “Happily Married With Kids: It’s Not Just a Fairy Tale,” offers these tips:

n Make your marriage a priority. “It’s time alone together. You have the feeling of connection and warmth and fun. You need consistent time that nurtures your relationship.”

n Talk about your own childhoods and the kind of childhood you want your children to have. “It’s going to affect how you parent and gives you background on each other.”

n Find an older, happily married couple to help guide you.

n Use truce triggers. During a discussion, use a word or a nonverbal signal that means “Let’s start over.”

n Fight as if the windows are open. “If you’re screaming, you’re setting your kid up for low self-esteem or being from a divorced family.”


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