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Formula for a Happy Family

What makes for a happy family? Is there a formula we can apply to help us create happiness with our brood? Dr Martien Snellen thinks so…

Martien is a Melbourne-based perinatal psychiatrist who has written a wonderful book on the subject of sex and intimacy after childbirth, titled Rekindling Your Relationship After Childbirth (Text Publishing, 2010). He explores changes in body image, divergent levels of interest, lack of time and the impact of postnatal depression. He argues that few parents are prepared for the impact parenthood may have on their relationship, including their sexual relationship. Rekindling offers practical suggestions and uses case illustrations and humour to help get the spark back – for both of you. I’ve written about this in a previous blog, here.

He also makes the point that your relationship is worth taking care of, because, before baby, that’s where it all started!

One of the things I really like in this book is Martien’s ‘Formula for a Happy Family’. The formula provides a checklist for thinking about the various needs of the family and the various relationships.

What are your thoughts about this formula? Some say that it is difficult to strike this balance in an ongoing way, especially without external support from family, friends or the broader community. Maybe it’s a ‘gold standard’ to work towards knowing it can’t always be achieved. I encourage people to put it on the fridge to keep it in mind to have something to work towards. It seems a clear way to see which bits are working and which bits need attention.

This post originally appeared on and it has been published here with permission.


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