Does Having Children Improve or Hurt Marriage?

It is with naivety that many couples embark on the road of parenthood, thinking that the pitter-patter of little feet will certainly improve the marriage. Many couples, on the brink of divorce or whom have hit bumps in the road to marital bliss, will have children for the sheer sake that they believe the connection of parenthood will make the marriage stronger. Often, hindsight is 20/20.

According to some pretty grave statistics, the addition of just one child to a marriage increases the odds of divorce by 37%. More children, obviously increase the odds even more. The reasons of course are plentiful – and range from financial to differences in deeply sanctioned gender roles. On the flip side, couples who do have children together are more reluctant to ask for a divorce than those that only share assets of monetary nature. So while the kids may keep couples together longer, these couples may not be exactly happier. In the long run, it is probably wise to wonder whether having children improves or hurts a marriage.

The Benefits of Having Children to a Marriage

One benefit of having children on a marriage is the obvious connection and bond that two people can develop going through conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. To see a dream realized, and to witness first hand the miracle of life together, can put many things, that were bothersome before in the relationship seem insignificant. Often times for a couple, having a baby together is a huge milestone not just in the relationship, but also in life itself. To have accomplished a goal like this together truly increases your love for one another. It is true that husband and wife, who have children also crate a lifelong connection to one another that cannot be broken. Of course, should divorce ensue, this bond can make the separation more difficult.

As you see a partner become a parent, many people gain a new appreciation for their mate. Suddenly, the little things that he or she does don’t seem to outweigh the beauty of love in their eyes when they are taking care of a child together. Most people change drastically when they have children, and many of these changes make them more mature, more responsible, and more loving than ever. To see and be part of the transformation in one another by creating a life together allows you to see each other in a completely different and new light. For many people, having children reignites the passion that settles off shortly after marriage.

Another obvious benefit is the fact that most couples who have children together, become ultra committed to making the marriage work. Suddenly the ante is upped, and couples will try harder to resolve problems so they can create a happy, and healthy life for their children inside of the marriage. It is a lot easier to walk away when you don’t have the responsibility of children than it is once you do. The creation of family causes couples to put more energy and work into the relationship.

When it comes to the future, having children is one of the most productive ways that couples plan for the years ahead. Suddenly, they are working together for one common cause, and have a clearer connected vision of the next 5, 10, and even 20 years. The simple expectation of being together creates positive karma for the relationship, and can act as the glue that holds couples together even through the tough times.

How Having Children Hurt Marriage

Of course, with ever good thing such as the birth of children, also comes pitfalls. Many marriages, while full of love, respect, and commitment are not prepared for the mountain of stress that often follows the birth of children. Couples don’t always see eye to eye on how children should be raised, but don’t cross this battle until after the kids are already born. Then, the couple who has never shared so much as a cross word with one another find themselves fighting all the time, which can be a difficult feeling for the marriage.

Children are also extremely expensive, and the financial burdens of one child are much, much more than most couples expect. The added stress of providing for another life, can cause couples to have breakdowns in communication. Additionally, since both parents are dealing with completely new and different emotions than ever believed possible, and extremely high stress levels (especially during the first year) partners see a new side of one another that was before non-existent. And many people don’t particularly like, or agree with this new side.

The ideals of family also place a significant amount of emotional pressure on relationships all around. Suddenly the extended family becomes less than peripheral with the birth of a child, and can be imposing placing a great deal of stress on the couple. This coincides with a time in the marriage when there seems to be less time for one another, reduced sex, and high stress levels. Obviously, combined, this can be a recipe for disaster. Certainly adding insult to injury, this all seems to occur during a time in your life when you had high hopes and expectations for feeling the happiest. The let down and disappointment alone can be hard for couples to deal with.

Couples also can become completely divided by children. Before the relationship was simply about the two of you, and now there is another life to consider. For many married people, they begin to feel left out once a baby arrives and steals away all the time and attention, that was once solely theirs. Over time, this can hurt the relationship especially if communication between man and wife is not concise and clear.

It is difficult to decide whether having children hurts or improves a marriage. One thing however is very clear. Couples that have pre-existing problems which seem irreconcilable; and who conceive with the blind hope to make the marriage better are in truth increasing their odds of divorce by as much as 80%. A report published in Psychology Today also showed that couples who have children are essentially happier. Yet this ‘‘happiness’’ was incumbent upon getting married and having children at the right time in life, and within a relationship that was considered ‘reasonably amicable’’ prior to the children coming along.

Truth be told, having children changes marriage and life a great deal! Overall, children improve the quality of life for most people, but can make marriages much harder. Even so, it is a gamble most people are willing to take.



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