Having Kids Ruined My Marriage

by Kristina on August 10, 2015 · 6 comments

divorce, ruined marriage, destroyed relationship

That’s what my co-worker told me yesterday after he announced he and his wife of nine years are getting a divorce.  Now this may seem like a weird topic for me to bring up since I am neither married or have kids but I think it’s a very interesting topic to bring up.

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest

I’d like to know if that’s true.  I would assume this used to be true back in a time when man and woman lived apart until the marriage and didn’t spend quality time together until the night of the honeymoon.  However in 2015 isn’t it customary for an unmarried couple to live together before tying the knot?

If I wasn’t in a relationship I think I would definitely want to live with someone before we got married. I believe that only when you truly incorporate yourselves into each other’s daily routines can you honestly see if you’re a good match together.

I could definitely see getting married, moving in together, building a home together and getting used to each other’s lives all at the same time being very stressful.  When you add in figuring out joint finances on top of that it could me more than someone can handle and that’s why the marriage ends in divorce.  Taking all those steps slowly one by one can help couples adjust to each other before getting married.

Should having a child bring you closer together?

I think having kids is tough, however it’s a choice people make.  Since having children is optional and not mandatory it makes it harder for me to feel bad for parents when they’re going through tough times.   However with that being said I know kids can be awful.

Now  that I’m 35 and look back at my childhood I can honestly say I don’t know how my parents survived together as long as they did.  They got divorced when I was 16 and it was probably a long time coming.  My sister says that my parents’ divorce is on them, they didn’t get along and lost their love; she doesn’t believe it has anything to do with either of us.

I absolutely see her point, but I still think the stress of having kids was a major contribution to their dislike for each other.  They are two very different people who started dating at 19 and grew into different people by the time they were 40.  When I ask my Dad about it he says “Yes you two girls gave me an ulcer.”  My mother on the other hand gives a standard answer “No you girls were great.”  Hence the divorce.

I think if a couple wants a family then having kids may be stressful, but not enough to break up a marriage.  I mean no one said family life is perfect.  However not being on the same page when it comes to raising your kids can absolutely be a hinder to a marriage.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jake August 10, 2015 at 7:27 am

Your parents’ comments sound like they could have come from my own parents, who are still together. Dad’s comment sounds completely self-absorbed, it’s all about him, typical baby-boomer. Mom’s comment sounds like she’s in denial of reality and wants to make the past feel perfect for her own mental sanity.

2 E.D. August 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I think the first 1-3 years living together is the hardest.

If pregnancy and kids bring enough sleeplessness, worry, monetary stress, sexual issues etc., it can crack even strong relationships. My parents are still together (almost 40 years) but probably shouldn’t be. At this point though, inertia has taken over.

3 Kristina August 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Wow Jake we could be related!

@ED – I think that happens a lot with older couples, it’s more about convenience than anything else. I love the idea of waiting for at least 3 years after being married to have kids. That’s a great idea.

4 Brock @CleverDude August 11, 2015 at 10:25 am

I disagree that the first year of marriage is the hardest…..you’re still in that phase where you let things slide. If something annoys you, you just let it go. As time goes on though, the little habits of your partner begin to wear on you. AND you start taking things for granted. You have to go into a long term relationship knowing that you aren’t going to change the other person. if they leave their socks on the ground, they’re ALWAYS going to leave their socks on the ground. If that’s a deal breaker, get out now. I also think the whole “having a kid will bring you closer.” If things are going well, that may be true – it’s a new adventure to conquer together. If things are not going well, it will create resentment and drive a wedge between you.

5 Mistress Susan August 11, 2015 at 11:02 am

I’ve been reading this site for 4 years. Today’s headline really grabbed my attention.

@Brock, we agree. The first year is great because you are still in that “honeymoon phase” unless you have been with your partner for 10 years or so prior to marriage. The $1M question has always been, “How do you keep a relationship going long term with a high level of satisfaction?

As with anything in life, YOU HAVE TO LOVE IT ENOUGH! Kids don’t ruin a marriage…period! The husband or wife ruin the marriage.

6 Nate September 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Be it three years, or eight like my marriage, kids are frequently one of the biggest causes for unhappiness in a relationship. Don’t believe me? Look it up. There’s one been one study in modern times that has found couples were happier with children, and they had to publish a retraction a few months later after they realized their data actually showed the opposite.

I didn’t want kids, but my wife decided she did. I capitulated for the marriage. Now I’m supremely unhappy with a child I didn’t want and she’s unhappy that I’m not the loving and caring father she imagined her child would have. We had a great marriage in the eight years leading up to children, but in the years since, have become steadily more miserable. The times I have been happiest in the last three years were away from my wife and child. We have become two people who live in the same house and sleep together and are intimate when our sex drives cannot stand to go unfulfilled any longer, not the happy and loving couple who were interested in each other and genuinely cared for each other.

I stayed for the marriage instead of getting a divorce because I was desperate to hold onto the relationship with the woman I loved and adored for nearly a decade. Now I stay because I will get raped by the family courts for child support and alimony. It’s cheaper to be together and just minimize the amount of time I am at home than to divorce – looking at the silver lining, my career has taken off as I spend 13 hours a day at work every day and find time to go in on the weekends. When this sloughing misery of a life finally ends when our child is out of the house, we will undoubtedly go our separate ways.

So the moral of the story? Skip the kids unless you both really want them, and even then, seriously consider skipping the kids. Too many couples think they’re “in love enough” or want them enough and end up unhappy. The data overwhelmingly supports the fact that having children is much more likely than not to make you unhappy.

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