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Most parents tell you that having children is the best thing that ever happened to them. But that doesn't mean it's the best thing that ever happened to their marriage. Ninety percent of married couples report their relationship satisfaction declines once they have their first baby, according to an eight-year study from the University of Denver.
"Having children is like relationship boot camp," says Ian Kerner, a sex and relationship counselor and author. "Despite what other parents have experienced with their children, you don't have any idea what's really in store for you until you've lived it," says Sarah Ambler, mother of two.
Although you can't truly understand what it's like to be a parent until you become one, you can take steps to keep your future offspring from hurting your relationship now. In fact, when you have a strong relationship, sharing a baby can sometimes bring you closer together, says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., clinical professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of Sex and the Baby Years. Learn how to be lovers, even once you take on the roles of mommy and daddy.
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