Getting Parents on the Same Page
Differences in a relationship are often seen as something negative, but they actually can serve a great purpose. They can deepen our empathy, respect, communication skills, and our resolve. Dr. John Gottman, co-founder of The Gottman Institute and author of many books on love, marriage, and relationships, says that we grow in our relationships by reconciling our differences, and that’s how we truly experience the fruits of marriage.
Dr. Gottman explains that “every marriage is a cross-cultural experience” because each individual comes from a unique family system. According to William Doherty in The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties, partners establish a new culture when they come together, and the more intentional that culture is, the stronger the family ties become. At the same time, bringing two people with different stories and different families together to form a new family does not come without stumbling blocks. Couples rarely talk about these differences before having children because it simply doesn’t occur to them. So, when parenting styles begin to clash, problems often arise.
It stands to reason that in order to build a strong, connected family, couples must take the initiative to reconcile their differences regarding parenting and family values.