Having Children Is Not The Purpose of Marriage
By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
In the last several years a great deal has been reported about the purpose of marriage, lamenting the fact that Americans no longer consider children among the most important purposes of marriage. While most experts are concluding that this is a negative change, we would like to offer a different perspective based on our two and one-half decades of research on successful marriage.
For the past 26 years we have conducted interviews with successfully married couples representing the collective wisdom of over 15,000 years of successful marriage in some forty countries on five continents of the world! We have reported the results of our exhaustive research in our multiple award-winning book entitled Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage and in our new book (due out in mid-year 2009), entitled Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage. Our principal conclusion based on those interviews – marriage is alive and well.
In fact, we have found seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. And guess what – the quality of the relationship between husband and wife trumps everything else in a marriage!
And you know why? It’s simple, really. Without a positive, loving, and thriving relationship between mom and dad, children often don’t prosper, they are not well-adjusted, they don’t do well in school, and they are not as healthy, both physically and mentally.
In all of our interviews over the years with couples that have a long and successful marriage, not one of them ever mentioned that the purpose of their marriage was to have children. Oh, to be sure, they loved their children very much if they had them. They were delighted that they brought children into this world and were very proud of them for the most part. But they also reported to us time and time again that it was the strength of their relationship with each other that made their marriage happy and allowed them to attend to all the myriad of responsibilities and issues present in their marriage.
Marriages thrive and survive more than anything else because of the quality of the relationship between mom and dad. It’s no more complicated than that.
Let’s look at the facts – 73%, some three-fourths, of women 30 years old and older are currently married or widowed in the United States of America. Most importantly, over 90% of all women will have been married at least once by the time they reach the age of 50.
The truth is, American’s love marriage! We just need to learn how to get it right the first time around instead of having nearly four out of every ten of our marriages end in divorce. And the simple truth is, two-thirds of those that re-marry after divorce get divorced again. Nearly 75% who get married a third time get divorced.
So you see, the relationship between mom and dad does trump everything else. Get it right and good things follow. Get it wrong and lots of bad things often happen!
A women quoted in a recent Washington Post article got it right when she said, “When I think of marriage I don’t think of children at all. I have them. But with marriage, I think of a husband and a wife, and I don’t think it’s the children that make it work.”
The purpose of marriage within the historical and social context is strengthened when the focus is on the development of a strong, positive, and blissful relationship between husband and wife. That relationship trumps everything else. Make this relationship work and everything else follows.
The Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book