This study aimed to explore the lived experience of well-satisfied couples (as established by the short form of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale) through the transition to parenthood (TTP) to understand what they perceived has facilitated their relationship adaptation.
Most couples experience a decline in relationship satisfaction through the TTP. However, there is important variability in the couples’ experience, and few researchers have examined positive adaptation.
Semistructured individual interviews were conducted with both partners of seven first-time parental couples (N = 14) and then were transcribed and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.
The results showed two interrelated superordinate themes, each including four subordinate themes. Interviewed couples remained satisfied due to the strong foundations of their relationship, namely security, commitment, compassionate love, and intimacy, and due to their effective management of changes together by teaming up, balancing the different spheres of their lives, enjoying and valuing family life together, and communicating.
Our findings support the relevance of studying positive couple processes for prevention efforts to ease the transition to parenthood.
Professionals working with expectant and new parents could target relational processes related to strong foundations as well as the partners’ joint management of change to strengthen couple relationships and promote the positive adaptation to parenthood of partners.