A bit of background

December 15, 2011

in Marriage Killer, Series

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Apparently, it takes two parents!

This post is based on information from When Baby Makes Three, the 2011 State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project. The study was designed to look at how children affect a couple’s relationship. It found that “the experience of parenthood varies by the outcome studies, family size, the relationship of the parent, and the beliefs of the parents.” The study showed that “parenthood is typically associated with lower levels of marital happiness” but that for a “substantial minority of husband and wives” being parents was not “an obstacle to marital happiness.” The study then found ten things that “seemed to boost men and women’s odds of successfully combining marriage and parenthood.”

In short, they found that for most couples adding kids reduced marital happiness and raised marital conflict, but that for a sizeable subset of couples, this was NOT the case. It seems to me that the reasons some couples can have kids and a happy marriage are things we all need to know and work to build into our marriages!

Before moving on to marriage parts of the study tomorrow, I want to point out one very important finding of the study. The authors said “we found that married parents generally experienced more individual happiness and less depression that unmarried parents…”. In a world that often sees fathers as unnecessary, this is important news. We’ve already seen studies that show both boys and girls are better off with a mother and a father, and now we learn that those who parent as couples are better off than single parents. Society has declared married parenting as old fashioned, but that does not change the harm that single parenting does to children and parents alike.

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5 comments
The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Steve Pinkham - And thank you for being reasonable. I do have views on this issue, views that tend to get rocks thrown at me from both sides, but as they are beyond the scope of what we do here, I leave them out. Just as I try to leave out politics (which also gets me attacked from both sides!) Feel free to e-mail me if you want to know my opinions.

Steve Pinkham
Steve Pinkham

Thank you for your reasonable response on what is a political and religious issue of much debate. I didn't mean to imply that there was no difference(because I don't think we can claim that yet one way or another), only that there were no good studies, and that the studies that exist are often misapplied. My point is only to point out what this research doesn't say, as it is often misapplied, up to and including in testimony before congress. http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201108010016 Though I will say I do bristle a bit when my friends are excluded and/or demonized, which does happen often, either intentionally or not. But as important as I think clear speaking about the facts on this polarizing issue is, I don't come here for LGBT commentary(and I don't think that was your conscious intent), I come here because I have an awesome wife who I want to be better to. ;-)

Sexy Christian Wife
Sexy Christian Wife

Amen to the depression issue. I find myself wallowing in self-pity only to come out of the bedroom and find my kids all wearing underwear on their heads or something equally as cute. It is hard to stay sad when you are surrounded by their joy.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Steve Pinkham - First let me point out that you have read into what I said, although it is an understandable conclusion given what I wrote. When I said "with a mother and a father" I did not mean "as opposed to two mothers or two fathers” - I meant as opposed to only a mother or only a father. You will note that the point follows discussion of single versus couple parenting. As to your point, it not as clean as you may be suggesting. The Wiki article you mention warns at the top that it may not "meet Wikipedia's quality standards" and the discussion page shows some of the arguments and changes that the page has undergone. The reality is this is a deeply political issue, and getting good, honest, accurate studies of politically charged issues is virtually impossible. Even when such research is done, it tends to be skewed by those who report it - and I blame all sides for that. Ten years ago, professors Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz wrote a paper entitled “(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" [Press release @ http://bit.ly/vjDVJP and full report @ http://bit.ly/rQuHJj (Yes, it’s a bit dated, but I don’t think things have changed much since it was written.)] They looked at a great many studies of this issue, and concluded that they were all "politically contaminated". Beyond this, most of the studies had significant problems that should exclude them from being considered scientific or useful. Some of those problems are beyond the scope of what the researchers can fix - such as a lack of good demographics for homosexuals. Stacey and Biblarz also concluded that many studies downplayed or under reported problems that did show up in their research. So, I would agree with you that there is no GOOD research that shows that being raised by homosexual parents does any harm - and would add there is no GOOD research showing it does not. However, much of the research does show that there are DIFFERENCES (see end of press release). Moreover, it will take a great many more years to know for sure, even if we get all the politics out of the way (which does not seem to be something that will happen any time soon). Recently a report showed that divorce during a childhood resulted in shorter lives for the kids (http://on.wsj.com/uL0pGc) - but that study was started in 1921 and it took almost a century to get the data! If being raised by homosexual parents affected length of life (I am not saying it does, but if it did) then we would need to start a study NOW and we would not have good answers till the end of the century!

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