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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2000
This book is a study of 100 couples from pregnancy through their child's kindergarten years. It really put in perspective the challenges that one must meet to maintain a relationship and raise a child. It is not a how-to book (thank god) but studies of real people dealing with life. The conclusions not astonishing but interesting and occasionally surprising. I had trouble making the transition from lover-wife to mother-lover-wife and this book helped me to feel that I was not alone! A footnote: This is a scientific study, complete with graphs and charts. Although it is not dry and quite an easy read, the format might turn some people off. I still loved it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2005
Despite the fact that this book is listed as a textbook and that it is a scientific study from the 70s, it is a delightful, insightful, and pertinent read for anyone considering having a family.

When I began thinking of kids, I was curious to know how it would affect me & my marriage. There are many books out there that talk about the woes of motherhood and how to be a good parent (and, trust me, I've read nearly all of them), but this is the only book I've read that deals with the changes parenthood has on a marriage. The Cowans clearly identify the types of decisions, relationships, and patterns that play into this change and how, as a couple, you can weather them. This book will really help couples visualize their future with kids-- I highly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2001
When Parents Become Partners does a wonderful job of being accessible to new parents and parents-to-be, while also providing well-researched information and recommendations for professionals who work with couples. Carolyn and Phil Cowan's research following a group of pregnant couples and a control group of couples who hadn't yet decided whether to have children is fascinating, and readers will certainly recognize themselves and their friends, family among the various "types" of couples that emerge. Given the enormous transition that takes place in a couples' relationship when a child is born, this book offers reassuring, realistic information about how to survive -- or help others survive -- the change.
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on March 2, 2008
This was a recommendation at a pre-marriage workshop. Rather than a self-help book, it's a scientific study of families over the course of many years. The Cowans followed a group of couples expecting their first child and a control group of couples who were undecided whether or not to have children. Some of the control group couples ultimately had children and others decided to remain child-free. The Cowens were then able to uncover some factors that could put a couple's relationship at risk as they become parents, based on which study couples had divorced/ stayed married and also how the couples rated the quality of their relationship.

We attempted to read out loud sections to each other and discuss. This was a little difficult due to the academic language, footnotes and citations but we skipped over the most wordy sections. I think there is a lot in it for non-academics who want to prepare for parenthood as long as you're willing to stick it out. What I learned was that parenthood is merely a proxy for any big change/ crisis confronting a couple. Also, the quality of a couple's relationship has a huge impact on their children's development academically and socially. All the more reason to NOT put the marriage relationship on hold and focus exclusively on the children during the early years.
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on April 9, 2008
Great book, read it cover to cover. We're still contemplating having kids and this gave me a lot of different views on the subject. Highly recommend.
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on November 17, 2014
Remarkable study, remarkable insights
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on November 25, 2014
good
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2011
I found this book very interesting, but because it is a case study of many couples the content is quite dry and boring.
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