Jenny Schatzle

Ruth Skutezky

How to Childproof Your Relationship

EPISODE: 17   |    DATE: November 19, 2020

“It’s not about not having conflict with your partner. The people who succeed in relationships aren’t the people who don’t fight. It’s the people who can fight in a way that’s fair and even if they get it wrong they come back and repair later.”

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Key Takeaways

  • The best thing a couple can do in preparing to have a child for the first time is to prepare their relationship. Ask the tough questions, including the division of labor once baby arrives: who will cook? Clean? Change diapers? Etc. And what are expectations around who can visit and hold the baby, etc.
  • The reason it’s best to have this conversation before the baby arrives is because you’re not yet in the fog of new parenthood. You’re theoretically rested and you haven’t begun to feel resentful.
  • It’s not a matter of if couples will fight. They will! It’s more a matter of a term called “fighting fairly” which is essentially being respectful of your partner, taking responsibility where possible, etc.
  • For when we don’t remember to fight fairly and we say or do something we may not mean, there is a term called “repair” which is just a fancy word for apologize. Apologizing matters and is a cornerstone to a healthy relationship.
  • Our brain has 3 main parts:
  • When we are sleep deprived and/or stressed, we don’t have access to that third part of the brain. We get stuck in fight or flight mode because that part of the brain goes offline.  There isn’t an ability to access the empathic skills that make for the grease in a relationship.
  • That biology can often explain why couples fight, and why you may feel like you don’t have control over what you say and do. Because you kind of don’t!
  • When it comes to fighting, then, timing and communication are key, as are giving yourself some space to work through how you’re feeling before bringing it to your partner. 
  • Know that it’s ok – and really healthy – to put a pause on an argument if things are getting too heated and one or both of you are about to say or do something you might later regret. Just make sure to set a time and come back to it after the time is up so things don’t fester.

About Ruth

Ruth is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a practice based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada.  She is passionate about working with individuals and couples as they enter parenthood and deal with the adjustments to their identity, roles, and relationships. 

Ruth is also the co-founder of Illuminate Counselling, which is on a mission to help normalize these common struggles and to make psychological growth more accessible.  Illuminate Counselling offers online courses, workbooks, and free resources to those struggling with relationship issues, fertility challenges, and post-partum anxiety & depression. Ruth’s clients describe her process as down-to-earth, solution-focused, and light-hearted. 

When not counselling or teaching, Ruth is chasing after her two-year-old twins. 



Resources in this episode

The Gottman Institute

Online Course: Baby Proof Your Relationship by Ruth Skutezsky

Be Well By Kelly episode about relationships with Dr. Morgan Cutlip

The Mom Feed Episode #14 with Christine Pieton about the Pelvic Floor

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