Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Are marriages happier without children?
Check out these headlines:
Childfree Life: Kids Really Do Ruin Marriages, StudyFinds—Huffington post
Happier Relationships for Couples Without Children--the Telegraph
Recent headlines shout that couples without kids have happier marriages. Down in the fine print, they back off a little, but the writers maintain that non-parenting couples pay more attention to each other and have more time and money to date, travel and generally continue the honeymoon indefinitely.
Well, that’s true. I never had children of my own, but I did have a live-in stepson, so I got at least a taste of it. Whatever you do, 24/7, when you’re responsible for a child, you have to consider that child’s needs. She needs new shoes, so you keep wearing your old ones. He’s got the flu, so you stay home from work to take care of him. You have less privacy and more expenses, and you can’t just go off to the beach, a restaurant, a show, or Maui, or even have sex without thinking about the child. Can he go with us? Do we need to get a babysitter? He’s got soccer practice, or his science project is due tomorrow, so we can’t do what we want to do. Spontaneity goes out the window.
That’s how it is with kids. And it does put a strain on marriages. You have wonderful loving moments when you thank God for your family, but you also argue over money, responsibilities, discipline, and priorities, and you don’t have much privacy. You pay less attention to your spouse because you're focused on the children. These are some of the things that made my husband and perhaps many of your partners and spouses decide they didn’t want to have any more children. Their first marriage failed, and the kids were at least part of the problem. They don’t want the same thing to happen to this marriage.
Sound familiar to any of you? Of course you tell them it will be different this time, but their previous experiences with children tell them otherwise.
The articles in the Huffington Post, Jezebel and the Telegraph don’t tell us whether the couples are childless by choice or by circumstance. I’m guessing it’s by choice. But even if it isn’t, I suppose we can take some comfort in knowing that even if we wanted children and grieve their loss, even if we see a great gaping hole in our lives, our marriages might end up being happier than those of our friends with kids.
I don't know. What do you think about all this? Do you think childless couples are happier?