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It appears as the American dream of marriage, owning a home and bringing the average of 2.5 children into the world, may be a shrinking violet. As millennials are pushing the marital age limits to 27 for women and 29 for men, the iconic picture of the traditional household is changing, especially when it comes to bringing a child into the fold. Taken from U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the number of two-parent households with children has declined by 20 percent since the 1970s.
Seen as a substantial decline, researchers contribute the results to millennials opting to marry later in life, the uncertainty of changes in current lifestyle, economic strain, alternative living arrangements and the underlying fear that the marriage will not endure the test of time, resulting in a divorce.
These hesitations are not unfounded as years of research indicates that once a child is born, the marriage and the relationship between partners undergoes a transformation.
The Marital Adjustment
Even before bringing a child into the marriage, the marital bliss factor has already begun its decline.
The so-called “honeymoon phase” is short-lived as after tying the knot, couples begin witnessing the decline of personal satisfaction with the marriage and fear that if the decline is severe enough, divorce is soon to follow. This natural projection only intensifies when deciding to bring a child into the marriage.
The Research Reports
Over the past three decades, research studies have studied the effects on a marriage once a child is introduced into the family. Unfortunately, all studies are conclusive by determining that the relationship between the partners suffers significantly once a child is present.
Even if the birth of the child is a welcomed and blessed event, data comparing couples with and without children tends to support a sharp decline in overall relationship satisfaction nearly twice as steep for couples with children than those couples without children. For parents who experience an unplanned pregnancy, the rate of the negative impact on the marriage scores even higher.
The Marital Myth
Studies have proven that a couple will opt for bringing a child into the world hoping the birth of a beautiful baby will bring them closer together. Studies prove that this way of thinking only further complicates the relationship by adding extra duties, often undertook by the mother, who will take on the brunt of child care.
The Marital Catch 22
Quite ironic, the studies revealed that even though the couple is experiencing a higher rate of dissatisfaction with the marriage, the likelihood of the couple divorcing also declines. It is well known that couples who are not happy within their relationship will often stay together for the sake of the children involved.
The Profound Changes
How couples interact following the birth of a child can lead to further relationship damage as parents may become more distant with each other as their entire focus is placed on the newborn. Studies reveal that the intimacy level between couples shrink as all conversations tend to revolve around the daily care of a child not only at birth but well through young adulthood.
Although parenting can be wonderful and satisfying, studies have proven there is a downside, especially when it comes to the health of the spousal relationship. Backed by decades of research on the subject, the results may support why so many women, not only in the United States but around the world have opted not to bring a child into this world.
If your marriage has not survived the test of time and your are contemplating filing for divorce, contact the experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio. Our firm offers a free consultation and will review your situation to offer the best legal recourse available to you and your family. Contact us at 630-920-8855 to schedule your personal consultation today.