Marital satisfaction higher without children?

Written on Friday, June 13th, 2008 at 11:22 am by Christiane

Children bring much joy to your life. Are you sure? Think again! According to Daniel Gilbert, Harvard university psychology professor, having children has a negative effect on marital satisfaction. It’s an illusion that children increase people’s happiness.

Gilbert , author of the book ‘Stumbling on happiness’ based his statement during a happiness conference in May in Sydney, Australia on several studies that are quoted in most developmental psychology textbooks: Many couples experience a dip in their marital satisfaction after the birth of their first child. Particularly at risk are those couples who married after a relatively short courtship, are not settled in their partnership yet and get a baby soon after marriage. If couples postpone having children until their careers are under way, work on their financial stability and further concentrate on building up a sense of “we-ness” , their marital satisfaction will be more resilient against the challenges of raising children.

The deepest point in marital satisfaction often comes when the kids enter adolescence. Having a grumpy and moody teenager at home puts a strain on parents’ happiness. Marital satisfaction returns when the kids leave for college.

What Gilbert didn’t say, or it was not reported by the media, is that later in life grown children and their kids, so the grandkids, become a main source for the mental well-being of the elderly. A study by Karen Fingerman showed that the majority of “relationships between parents and their adult children improve as parents transition to old age”….”Generally, there was a feeling on both sides that this was as good as the relationship had been, and both sides felt appreciated and nurtured.” (Karen Fingerman on Purdue University, )

7 Responses to “Marital satisfaction higher without children?”

  1. shadow says:

    I wonder how long did it last until K. Fingermann came to this conclusion. So why marriage?

    Pure egoism 🙂

    • Saeed says:

      My husband and I have been going trouhgh some tough issues. He lost his job, times are tough and money can always create such a gap in marriage. And mainly stress! We do love each other and want to work things out but counselor is out of the question because of the cash flow issues. I have done so much research online and this blog was exactly what I needed! I have been testing out new lines of communication with my husband to repair our marriage. Thank you so much for a free way to help us! We’re growing stronger by the day by kicking the stress out!

  2. Christiane says:

    What’s bad about egoism? Anyway, raising kids should be a shared responsibility. Perhaps, we need to re-evaluate our approach to marriage? ‘Love’ as one of the main foundations is a relatively new concept. Even today, many cultures outside of the industrialized western hemisphere regard friendship and mutual respect as more important than love.

  3. […] i dont have my psych book that has an offical psycholgical study but i have an article ive found : Marital satisfaction higher without children? | Coaching for more clarity about your goals, values a… KIDS CAN RUIN MARRIAGE: Top 5 Things You Need to Know by Dr. Joshua Coleman — appreciation, […]

    • Vanessa says:

      Lisa I cannot thank you engouh- we are in love with your images you have captured all that is wonderful and crazy about our little team THANK YOU!

  4. Karmen says:

    A wife can’t force her husband to love her-especially her eragtnsed one. The question should be, why is she even putting up with this unnecessary mess?Let’s break it down. He wants to be with the other woman-no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. He won’t file for divorce from his wife, or even make the effort to fix his marriage, but if served then he WILL sign. What gives? He thinks he’s a player and is apparently getting his way! He’s living the luxury life in his world He has a wife who after 2yrs of separating hasn’t filed for divorce-so he’s basically being allowed to have his fun elsewhere, but still has the option to come home if he chooses. He has zero consequences and he’s milking it for all its worth. His wife needs to divorce him and fast. She needs to collect on that spousal support and child support. Then she needs to move on with her life, and focus on the well being of the kids. I mean seriously, who’s thinking about them? Obviously he doesn’t care for his family because a real man would put his family first. If he didn’t want to be in the marriage anymore he should’ve simply divorced his wife, situate the children making sure they would be able to get through their parents divorcing, THEN, have fun on his own terms. Instead, he chose to not only hurt the woman he spent 15 yrs with, but his children, and another female’s life because she’s dating a man that she’ll never have a future with considering he can’t even divorce his wife! He’s simply an irresponsible man whose priorities are nowhere but onto his own selfish self. He doesn’t deserve to be called a father for what he’s putting his kids through and he by no means is the ideal example of what a husband or possible husband should be. His ex-wife is only hurting herself and the kids. If it’s been this way for 2yrs, there’s no way that things can be solved w/out major therapy.If she really needs some hope besides the fact that she’s proving to be a strong independant mother by divorcing his ass I can guarantee once he see’s the reality of his actions I’m pretty sure he won’t be far from camping outside the house asking for forgiveness.

  5. Mariko says:

    Cindy – You inspired me and I’m doing it too! But I’m chaiteng a little and continuing the vomit fest. It was only 5000 words to begin with. I just did 1246 words! But now I have to go back to work for a meeting. Dang job! And then my family will probably want dinner and clean clothes and stuff. Ah computer, until tonight .November 2, 2009 9:25 pm

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