Are Married Couples with Children Happier Than Childless Couples?

Some recent studies on parenthood indicate that childless individuals are happier than those with kids.

Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers, reported sociology professor Robin Simon. Some parents may bristle at that idea, but psychology professor Dr. Daniel Gilbert explains that professionals arent saying parents dont love their children. Of course you love your children beyond measure! And kids do bring joy, Gilbert adds. Its just that children do not increase your average daily enjoyment. Lysette Butler said that even 10 years ago she faced accusations of being selfish for choosing not to have children. However, she just attributed the remarks to envy. When you are a harassed mum it must be difficult not to feel a bit of jealousy about couples who do not endure the sleepless nights or the stress and financial drain that children represent. Societal ills aside, perhaps we also expect too much from the promise of parenting, suggested Lorraine Ali of Newsweek. People are getting married and having children later in life, which comparatively may make shuttling kids to various activities less exciting than past experiences.

The answer may lie in the definition of happiness, said Karen Reivich, a research associate at the University of Pennsylvanias Positive Psychology Center. Happiness is more than just that smiley feeling, Reivich explained. Its also feeling a connection to something larger than yourself. When people are in service to something bigger, they describe their lives as filled with meaning. Its not the smiley face, but when its all over, you realize youd do it again. Many parents will seldom cop to feeling depressed due to the everyday rigors of child rearing, writes Newsweek. However, more American parents work out of the home and have less support from their extended family network. This, along with the reality that raising a child from birth to age 17 costs anywhere from $134, 370 to $237, 520 (excluding school or college tuition), makes child rearing more complex and more expensive.

In a marriage where there is genuine, undying, true love and the couples have a full understanding of the fact that marriage is beset with challenges, and that childlessness is one of such challenges, they tend to remain strong and maintain the love and joy they have from the onset of the marriage. Their childless situation presents a perfect opportunity to make their love for each other stronger than ever before.

And that is precisely why a couple can stay together for 22 years without a child. Just imagine! A child given birth to 22 years ago would have long finished high (secondary) school and, in some cases university or college.
On the other hand, if you allow your situation as a married person who is childless to get at you, you struggle constantly with an inferiority complex. Little wonder then that childlessness contribute a great deal to couples being miserable and joyless in many marriages in Africa.

lt is at times like this that the true quality of love that you profess for your mate is put to the utmost sever test. If there is no unity of mind and agreement with your mate, you soon find that you gradually drift apart from him or her. And when this happens, the man soon finds himself a mistress who before long gets pregnant for him – causing him to drift further away from his wife. The scenario described in the preceding paragraph is not peculiar to men alone. It has been observed too that some married women have gone outside their matrimonial home to have illicit affairs with other men with the intent to get pregnant through the extra-marital relationships – with the resulting children presented to their husband as his own. Some childless married couples have even made secret arrangement with a close male friend of the family or even a male relative of the husband to have sexual intercourse with the wife in order to attempt to get pregnant and give birth. It is truly saddening indeed when married couples behave in this manner.

As far as l am concerned, the marriage that has been tainted with adultery has become a complete farce and does not deserve to remain in existence any longer. Of course, having children is a blessing to the marriage union and to be denied of that blessing is indeed saddening and painful. But, as much as it is sorely distressing to be married for a very long time and not have a single child to show for it, there is no justification whatsoever for couples to engage in adultery under whatever pretext they may have. As a married couple, you need to urgently realise that having children does not in any way make married couples automatically happy or guarantee the success of the union. Additionally, you need to realise too that marriage is not a bed of roses. Certainly, childlessness is inevitable at certain times in a marriage. It could be for a short period or it could be for a long period. But for married couples to resort to self-pity amounts to a lack of faith and a strong scepticism of their God-given capability to have children. And, as long as no medical doctor has certified you incapable of having children, there is a strong hope that you too will certainly have your own children at a time that you have given up hope and least expect it. And for your information, medical reports have been proved to be seriously flawed on many occasions.

How to Sustain Happiness in Marriage – Despite Childlessness Maintain a positive outlook. There is certainly no fun and joy in continuing to be childless as a married couple. But, the greatest favour that a childless couple can do for themselves is to maintain a positive outlook. They should have a strong conviction that their childless situation is only temporary and will surely come to an end at a time that they are close to giving up hope and least expect it. That was exactly what happened to the married couple who stayed married for 22 years without a child. Their first child was given birth to at a time that they had practically given up hope and least expected it. Hold on to each other for support.

Married couples who remain childless must of necessity hold on to each other because each other are all they’ve got. The greatest mistake that a childless married couple can make is to blame one another for their childlessness. Childlessness in marriage should be seen like any other problem or challenge that may afflict a married couple. As such, married couples should combine their energies and forces to fighting the challenges which childlessness present. A childless couple owe it to themselves to stick close to themselves as loyal companions irrespective of their unpleasant situation. They need to learn to love and appreciate each other more than ever before.

Totally ignore or avoid discouraging folks. Frankly, it is highly discouraging and disappointing for friends, family members and other persons to make disparaging remarks or make silly jokes about a couple’s childlessness. If the thoughtless remarks and provocative utterances have simply become unbearable to them, the couple may limit their association with folks who seek to derive fun from their unwanted situation, where at all possible. External assistance for childless couples. The government and non-governmental organisations similarly need to assist married couples who are childless with free seminars and enlightenment campaigns on the ready-made alternative of adopting a child. The Need to be Grateful for Small Mercies Life is not always fair. While some people are rich, others are poor. While some have children, others have none. So, while childless married couples may lament their childless situation, other married couples may have challenges of a different kind.

They may have children, but their children may have one form of disability or the other – one or more of the children may be deaf, blind, crippled or disabled in some way. It is therefore vitally important for childless married couples to be thankful all the time that they are alive and healthy, despite being childless. Bottom Line Finally, all married couples, childless or not, urgently need to realise that marriage is not a bed of roses. Childlessness is just one of the numerous challenges that married couples may need to face at one point or the other in their married lives. As such, married couples should not see childlessness as a curse, but as an opportunity to deepen their love and appreciation for each other. Married couples should be firmly resolved to stick together, irrespective of the myriad of woes that their union may present before them to challenge their love for each other. They should stay true to their marital vows to love each other, till death do them part. That is the only way they can surely and truly expect to overcome the sadness and pains that childlessness present in marriage.