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The Secret to a Stronger Marriage

Novelist and screenwriter Nora Ephron once wrote, "When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was."

My husband, Greg, and I sure felt a big shift. After our two girls, now 7 and 3, were born, our otherwise strong marriage faced more than a few battles -- and a lot of just plain neglect. Like most new parents, we were engrossed in taking care of our daughters' everyday needs. Finding time to feed, bathe, and play with them between our work schedules was challenging enough. Hanging out as a couple wasn't even on the to-do list.

But there was more to it than time management. There were the routine squabbles about everything from how to discipline the girls to our own expectations -- and disappointments -- about our postbaby selves. I wasn't fun-loving enough anymore; he was watching too much TV and talking to me too little. Through it all, the nagging question remained: How could we nurture our marriage -- the relationship that created these beautiful children to begin with -- and still manage to be good parents? It often felt like an impossible balancing act.

Teri Cettina is the mom of two and lives in Portland, Oregon.