Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marriage and Children

One of the interesting results of other long-term trends -- delayed marriage, small families, long lives -- is that most people spend a much smaller percentage of their lives raising children than they did a century ago. Partly as a result, people now tend to see marriage much less as a way to raise children and much more as a relationship between two adults. According to a recent Pew poll:
Only 41 percent of respondents said children were important to a happy marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990. The only thing less important to a happy marriage than children, the survey found, was whether a couple agreed on politics.
Thinking this over, I find the notion that children are essential for a good marriage somewhat odd. I always thought you had children because you wanted children, not to make your marriage better. I can see how not having children would be a problem if one or both partners really wanted children, but that strikes me as a separate issue from how they get along with each other.

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