Friday, May 09, 2008

Harvard Professor: Children Can Send Marriage Into Downward Spiral

I just had to comment on this one. It seems that a Harvard professor says that having children can remove the joy in a marriage.

Here is the full story:,2933,354535,00.html

My thoughts are [in brackets]:

Marriage has been shown, through research, to be an unending source of joy, a Harvard professor said at an Australian conference this week.

But introduce children into the relationship and that joy may plummet, according to a report from the Australian Associated Press.

[Kids are a source of great joy. Having children may change the type of happiness that a couple has, but that in now way diminishes it. ]

"Figures show that married people are in almost every way happier than unmarried people — whether they are single, divorced, cohabiting," Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert told the Happiness and its Causes conference in Sydney.

[This makes sense to me. Marriage is a gift from God.]

"Married people live longer, married people earn more money per capita, married people have more sex and enjoy it more," AAP quoted Gilbert as saying.

But, despite the belief that children are the apples of our eyes, they actually can have a negative influence on marriages, according to the report. And more kids equals more sadness, Gilbert said.

U.S. and European studies show that married couples’ happiness spikes when they're expecting a baby but once that baby arrives, it plummets.

[While I agree that adding a child to the family can be stressful and that stress can lead to sad moments, it is important to note that the level of sadness that a couple has it related to how well the can adapt to the new addition in their lives. How much to they work together? How much do they support each other during the stressful moments? Do they pray together? A couple that can adapt to the change in their lives will not be unhappy. Their joy will increase. Their marriage will grow.]

And forget about empty nest syndrome. The low point comes when children are between the ages of 12 and 16 and happiness only starts to recover once they fly the coop, Gilbert said.

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