A couple consisting of two working parents requires work and negotiation. There are a lot of ways that families can function–values, habits, rules, practices and rituals. Parenting isn’t just about executing these, it’s about making active decisions about their shape. When both parents work, there are more decisions to make.
Decisions can be hard for any couple, but somehow decisions for parents with overflowing schedules seem to have much higher stakes. The less you are around, the more consequential decisions are about childcare, school, household rules, what traditions are valued, how vacations are constructed and how conflicts are resolved.
Big Decisions Don’t End With Childcare, Your Relationship Also Means Important Choices
Beyond childcare, the couple’s relationship also requires constant renegotiation, particularly when both partners have demanding jobs. Professional and financial success are exciting. When one or both partners’ careers take off, that can feel exhilarating–even sexy. Often, we see the stimulation of a career taking off becomes a sort of substitute. Much of the impact of these changes on the excitement and intimacy of the relationship can go unnoticed or can mask itself as some other point of contention.
Part of our work as therapists is to help couples work through the process of redefining their relationship. Couples need help to redefine what’s sexy in their relationship and in one another or to reconcile the shifts in power dynamics that come with success and kids. Intimacy is a phenomenon that can dissipate slowly overtime and perhaps go unnoticed. Our task in therapy is to help couples create new kinds of intimacy that more fully encompass who they have become.