Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Secret to Marital Bliss? Selfishness?

Apparently in a small sampling of married couples, having children makes marriage less “satisfying””

Parents all know that children make it harder to do some of the most enjoyable adult things. Bluntly put, kids can get between you.

Now scientists have attached some numbers to the situation.

An eight-year study of 218 couples found 90 percent experienced a decrease in marital satisfaction once the first child was born.

"Couples who do not have children also show diminished marital quality over time," says Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology at University of Denver. "However, having a baby accelerates the deterioration, especially seen during periods of adjustment right after the birth of a child."

I would ask this: what qualifies one as having a satisfying marriage? Is it living as if you are still single without the stress of having to find a date? Is it living together as a couple while still being able to indulge in whatever whim strikes your fancy? Not surprisingly, the same study found that levels of dissatisfaction were higher among couples who lived together before marriage. Little wonder that people who lived together and then got married to placate their families suddenly find children to be an imposition on their lifestyle.

Is it stressful and challenging to have kids? Sure! If we didn’t have kids, my wife and I could travel all over the place, we could eat out all the time, we certainly would have more money and more stuff, our house would stay cleaner, we would get more sleep. Would I change the fact that we have kids and lots of them even if I could? Absolutely not!

I would hazard a guess that the reason these parents find life less fulfilling after kids is that a) they are selfish and having kids interferes with their narcissistic pursuit of self-gratification and b) in America today, having kids means rushing around taking them to daycare, to school, to activities, on expensive vacations, all without a word of thanks. The problem is not married couples having kids, the problem is in the way that these couples view marriage, family life and a slavish devotion to the cultural mandates for how to parent in 2009. In American society, children are a burden and a financial drain. They are an line item on the family budget like cable and groceries. Children are not a blessing to cherish, they are a burden to endure. Little wonder so many couples find life so unsatisying after children come into the mix.

1 comment:

gloria said...

One of my favorite passages about marriage in the bible is found in Ephesians chapter 6. I believe it is a beautiful passage that beautifully states what a godly marriage is...... husbands live their wives as christ loves the bride, and wives reverence ( respect) their husbands........when husbands love their wives as themselves and would lay down their lives for them it is so natural to submit to one's husband and respect him.
beautiful passage,
gloria