* So-called "egalitarian marriages" where wives work outside the home and husbands do their share of housework and childcare are more likely to last versus the marriages where wives don't work.
* These "egalitarian marriages" increased from 1980 to 2000 and are happier than traditional marriages.
* More equitable housework may help marital stability since wives initiate about two-thirds of U.S. divorces.
* In 1980 as well as 2000, childless couples were generally happier than those with children.
Those facts, the study, and people's comments were all very interesting to me. The comments delve into all different directions, I've been reading them off and on since this afternoon. I think it's fascinating to see people's views on what makes a marriage (or relationship) successful, how parenting has affected that, and how different people find different stages of relationships and parenting more or less difficult. I would like to point out that I think studies like this vastly oversimplify things though! Happiness is difficult to rate, and how you rate your overall happiness really changes depending on what you are going through at the time. Also there are so many factors that affect a marriage-I think a lot of unhappy people would be unhappy no matter their circumstances.
I like the person who points out that as a parent, your happiness comes in extremely intense bursts-they may be shorter, but they are sweeter. I also agree with this comment:
BUT. (you knew there was a "but" coming, didn't you?). I wouldn't trade my life with kids for my life before kids for anything in the world. It's a different kind of happiness. It's not the happiness of being lighthearted and free and being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want it. It's the deep satisfaction of knowing that I am doing what I was meant to do in this world. It's the joy in my heart that I am privileged to know and love these two most amazing little creatures, and am blessed with the responsibility to help guide them into happy, productive, whole people.
So if I had been writing into that survey, I probably would have said I was happier before kids, because on a day-to-day basis, I had less stress, less conflict, less flashes of fear and protectiveness. But my life is more meaningful now, and I am more content in my soul, because I have a purpose and am working toward that every day.
Note: not saying only people with kids can feel that purpose -- I have known people who you can tell were just meant to do X or Y or Z, and who get that same deep satisfaction by reaching for that goal. It doesn't have to be kids -- it's just doing what you were meant to do. For me, that meant accepting the tradeoffs that come with having kids, because my life would not have been complete without them.
Posted by: Laura May 25, 2007 11:50 AM