Thursday, April 09, 2009

Small Comfort

Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Like when you read this story, headlined "Secret to marital bliss? Don't Have Kids":

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."

This really isn't news as past studies have also shown a diminished marital satisfaction levels among couples who have kids. However, it seems like a quite a leap to go from that to concluding that being childless is the key to marital bliss as the headline implies.

The story did provide some solace to those of us who have elected to help keep this civilization thing going:

Children don't ruin everything, Stanley points out.

Whew. It's good to know that there are actually some--very few I imagine--positive things about having children.

At First Things, Ryan Sayre Patrico agrees that having a baby "accelerates the deterioration" of "marital quality over time":

Sure. If by "marital quality" one means selfishness, self-centeredness, or egoism.

Just the other day, our priest remarked that he believed that those who chose not have children were often incapable of ever fully maturing as adults. It might come as a surprise to some people--like the MSNBC headline writer--to learn that bliss and personal satisfaction are not the most important things in life.

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