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3 - The first transition – How do we make this work? - Jennifer Petriglieri on Couples That Work: Exploring the Three Key Transitions in a Couple’s Life

Jennifer speaks about the context behind the first transition which is often about couples having a discussion about how they make the relationship work. She mentions that in the initial years after marriage, couples are often leading parallel tracks. The first transition is often triggered by an event (one of the spouses gets a promotion and has to relocate or you have your first child). These situations can force couples to have conversations around how they make the relationship work. The parallel model begins to break down at this stage.

More from same Guest

Jennifer speaks about the notion of a primary career and a secondary career in the context of a couple. She goes on to speak about the benefits of a double primary career. She says that a double primary model precipitates the need for a couple to have honest conversations around choices, priorities and what matters to them. These things could potentially be brushed under the carpet in primary-secondary career models in couples.
 • 09m:07s • 
Jennifer speaks about the underlying architecture of her book and lays out the 3 transitions that most couples go through in their journey. Transition no. 1 is about the question – how do we make this work? Transition no.2 is often about the question – what do we want to become? Transition no.3 is often about the question who are we? She speaks about the criticality of addressing these as a couple and not just as individuals.
 • 14m:25s • 
Jennifer speaks about the context behind the first transition which is often about couples having a discussion about how they make the relationship work. She mentions that in the initial years after marriage, couples are often leading parallel tracks. The first transition is often triggered by an event (one of the spouses gets a promotion and has to relocate or you have your first child). These situations can force couples to have conversations around how they make the relationship work. The parallel model begins to break down at this stage.
 • 16m:58s • 
Jennifer speaks about the kinds of issues that trips couples up during the first transition when they are trying to navigate the question – how do we make this work. She speaks about three themes a) focusing on the short term b) trying to have it all c) over-indexing on economic criteria for decision making.
 • 08m:25s • 
Jennifer speaks about the second transition that couples often go through in their journey. The primary question that each member of the couple is grappling with is often around “what do we want to become”. She speaks about how couples can go beyond the “zero sum” discussions around the topic (I win, you lose or vice versa) to developing more of a positive sum mindset.
 • 09m:09s • 
Jennifer speaks about the notion of a mutual secure base relationship and how individuals can enable their spouse to find their “sweet spot”. She speaks about the notion of how we could provide support but layer on top of that a gentle kick away from the comfort zone and be arm’s length about it. Both these elements are quite counter-intuitive to how a lot of people operate. She also speaks about the criticality of relational resilience that’s required to weather this phase where there could be a high incidence of divorce.
 • 08m:07s • 
Jennifer speaks about the third transition that couples often face often when they are empty nesters and when they have exhausted the gunpowder in their artillery. They now take stock of life and say “Who are we now” and what is the purpose behind our existence.
 • 10m:39s • 

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