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Q: Baby to save marriage ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Baby to save marriage
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: plonk-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 01 Nov 2006 20:01 PST
Expires: 01 Dec 2006 20:01 PST
Question ID: 779288
I want statistics or studies on people who have had a baby to save
their marriage/long term relationship. I have searched and only found
"don't do it" advice saying it "won't work" but there seem to be a
lack of facts or figures to back it up. It doesn't matter if it is a
first child or not.

I'm personally biased towards it not working but need to find fairly
reliable sources to "prove" it. I'd prefer information available
online, failing that an answer giving full citations of journals etc
(with excerpts online so I could decide if they would be worth
purchasing) would be accepted.

I will tip, particularly if you find statistics relevant to the UK.
Lastly, time is of the essence so I'd prefer an answer within a week
giving a couple of sources than a well-researched answer in a month.
Subject: Re: Baby to save marriage
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 02 Nov 2006 00:17 PST

Statistics specific to people who opted to have a child with 
the intent of saving a marriage probably don't exist, as such,
since many times this intention is unspoken or subconscious,
even between the partners themselves, and is not likely to be
the focus of a scientific study.

What does seem clear is that there are a significant number of
divorces which occur subsequent to the birth of a child, and
that having a child is a sufficient stressor to the stability
of a marriage that at least one paper concludes that there is
a need for preventive interventions.

The following search results in a single result:

"divorced * after the birth of a child"

If you look at the snippet for that single result, it says:

"15% of her new parent sample were divorced by 3 years after
 the birth of a first child"

I mention this because the snippet does not appear on the 
actual result page. The page itself, however, shows one
page of the full document, which requires membership for
access, and which notes, near the end of the page:

"...a meaningful proportion of nominally low-risk couples
 experience significant problems during the transition-to-
 parenthood period."

Add to that this snippet from an article on
website, regarding unmarried couples:

"One year after the birth of the child, only 15 percent had
 married, while 26 percent had broken up."

Add to that the statistics in the section titled, 'Table 4: 
Marriage and Marital Dissolution Paths in the 10 Years Following
a First Birth, as a Percent of All Women with a First Birth', 
from the PDF file of a study titled, 'Growing Evidence for a
"Divorce Divide"? Education and Marital Dissolution Rates in
the U.S. since the 1970s', from the site:

A + C + E + G ("Families without a stable marriage"):
First births without a marriage intact to age 10, as a percent
of all first births:

Mother?s Education and Year of First Birth
          4-year degree             No 4-year degree
          1970?1974   1990?1994     1970?1974   1990?1994
          26%         17%           36%         42%

The above is a summary, and the document actually breaks the
results down into the following categories, providing figures
for each:

Nonmarital first birth, followed by
A: No subsequent marriage in the next 10 years
B: Marriage intact through 10 years after the birth
C: Marriage, then marital dissolution within 10 years after the birth

First marriage, then first birth, followed by
D: Marriage intact through the next 10 years
E: Marital dissolution in the next 10 years

Second marriage, then first birth, followed by
F: Marriage intact through the next 10 years
G: Marital dissolution in the next 10 years

The statistics clearly show that, for those without 4 year degrees,
the number of unstable marriages following the birth of a child has
been increasing in recent years, from 36% in 1970-74 to 42% in 1990
to 1994. But for those with 4 year degrees, there has been a decrease,
from 26% in 1970-74 to 17% in 1990-94.

So, clearly, education is a factor in how much of a stressor the 
birth of a child poses to a marriage.

Since one might also assume that educated partners are more likely
to make a conscious choice to have a child, and to do so with some
goal in mind, such as strengthening their marriage, this suggests 
that educated partners may, in fact, be able to strengthen their
relationship by choosing to birth a child together.

At the same time, the statistics suggest that those without 4-year
degrees would fare quite poorly with this approach.

A study specific to the UK, on the following from a  page from the
UK Men's Movement website, suggests that, since most divorces occur
when the child is between 3 and 11, that this disproves the popular
conception that the birth of a child is a direct cause of divorce:

" the average age was close to 7, with a standard deviation
 of over 4, it is clear that most ages of children occurred, from
 babies to teenagers. The popular belief that difficult periods
 are after the birth of children, and after children have left
 home, are not supported by these results."

See comments below figure 2.7. Much more on the page:

Of course, this does not provide any support to the idea that
having a child is any guarantee of extending the relationship.

On the other hand, this article on the Department of Constitutional
Affairs website, titled, 'Picking Up The Pieces: Marriage and Divorce
Two Years After Information Provision', notes that the birth of a 
child and the inability to cope is a frequently cited cause of a
marriage breaking up:

"The reasons people gave us for their decisions to end their
 marriage varied widely. People referred to 'drifting apart',
 meeting a new partner, not being able to reach any middle
 ground, not adjusting after the birth of children, or
 experiencing a level of abuse which became intolerable to
 live with."

Much more on the page:

I think that's enough to clarify that having a child for
the sake of preserving a marriage is generally a poor strategy,
since, for most people, having a baby serves as a significant
stressor and an additional burden on whatever marital strengths
and resources already exist. This seems to be offset to a degree,
in the USA at least, by the likelihood that more educated
partners may approach having a child with more foresight,
planning, self-education and intent, which significantly 
improves their likelihood of strengthening their marriage
in the process. I would expect that the same would hold true
in most countries.

Since the percentage of those with a 4 year degree is limited
to about 25%, this still makes having a child a poor strategy
for preserving a marriage, for most people.

If anything is unclear, please post a Request for Clarification
prior to rating this answer.


Additional information may be found from further exploration
of the links provided above, as well as those resulting from
the Google searches outlined below.

Searches done, via Google:

"divorced * after the birth of a child"

divorce statistics "after the birth"

divorce statistics "after the birth" UK

"percentage of americans with a college degree"
Subject: Re: Baby to save marriage
From: ubiquity-ga on 17 Nov 2006 11:23 PST
You mean there is no checkbox on the birth certificate that states this?

Alterantively is there a check box on the birth certificate that says
"parents are complete fools"

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