Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On children and marriage

Here is an excellent post by Nita on the impact children have on a marriage and if they can actually contribute to happiness in a marriage. It is an excellently researched and well-written article and explores different facets of the husband-wife relationship. Personally, I think children play and important role in marriages. As Nita says, much depends on the personal preference of the couple.

But in India, couples face a different kind of problem altogether. First, they really do not have a choice in having children. They are expected to have one, at least within a couple of years of the wedding. Those who don't have kids, either by choice or otherwise are often stigmatised and humiliated by family, friends and by society at large. It is true that things are changing. But, not to the extent that society quietly accepts and embraces those who choose not to procreate. Even in urban centres, the pressure on a married couple to have children is quite high.

If a couple does have children to shut society up, they end up being resentful of the situation they are in. Such an attitude helps nobody: not the children, who end up feeling unwanted and neglected, not the couple who suffocate within the confines that society has imposed on them, and not the family, which, by extension suffers too. As Nita points out, several surveys have argued that children lead to a decline in marital happiness, but "happiness" is an emotion that cannot be measured on a scale of one to ten.

Children undoubtedly influence marital happiness. But what is more important for a successful marriage, or indeed, any relationship, is the willingness to listen. I find that the better I communicate with people around me, the better my relationship with them becomes. If that is true of friendship or of professional relationships, it should be equally true of marriages. As long as the couple is willing to sit down and sort out any issues they might have, a happy marriage is impossible. Other, equally important factors such as fidelity, compatibility and understanding are essential ingredients for a happy marriage.

To sum up, a happy marriage can only happen if both partners are willing to make it work. Resentment and frustration are the main enemies of a happy marriage. Children will only make an already happy marriage even happier, just as they will worsen the quality of life in an already-bad marriage.

4 comments:

Nita said...

Hi Amrutha and thanks for linking my article. You are right, in India the situation is very different from the rest of the world. Also a lot of young women today are career oriented and even if they want kids they don't want them immediately. And you know how it is, if the couple doesn't have a kid within a year, people start to pressure them! But if a couple does want kids I do think they shouldn't postpone it as has happened in the west. No, not because you can't have kids later but because I think its fun to be a young parent. But I guess its a personal preference!

the mad momma said...

i agree. absolutely. they cant change a situation. they can just intensify either extreme....

its sad how many young couples get pressurised into having children against their own wishes

the mad momma said...

Ps: also agree with nita's comment. i've enjoyed being a young parent. i have a lot more energy and its great fun...

Amrutha said...

Mad Momma: I believe you. I see my aunt struggling with two brats at the age of 46 and I swear to myself I won't wait that long. I might just change my mind and regret everything after I get married and have kids though...