Should Couples Avoid Having Children to Stay Happier Together?

Both the Guardian’s and the Telegraph’s headlines proclaimed the happiness of couplehood without children. The Telegraph story begins:

For centuries, having children has been held up by many as the ultimate source of fulfilment and meaning in life.

However, according to one of the biggest studies ever conducted into Britain’s relationships, childless couples have happier marriages.

The project has found that people without children are more satisfied with their relationships and more likely to feel valued by their partner than couples with children.

The study, by the Open University, involved interviews and surveys with more than 5,000 people of all ages, statuses and sexual orientations.

When people were asked to rate the quality of their relationship those without children emerged as happier overall.

All sexual orientations? Does anyone doubt that most homosexual couples are happier without kids? Why should that population be generalized with heterosexual couples?

Besides, conducting interviews about what people report about themselves is not really a scientific measurement of anything.

I’ve be interested to know if the answers changed for older couples. Neither story mentions it. But it would be telling if most of the older childless couples were not as happy. Also, I would like to know how long these relationships have lasted. If childless couples are more likely to break up, then by interviewing only couples, and not interviewing single people who were once in a relationship about the stress that led to the breakup, they are skewing their results. They are either catching couples earlier in their relationship or managing to catch the surviving relationships that might not be the same as the norm.

In any case, happiness in general might be different than happiness with one’s relationship. According to the Guardian:

But researchers also discovered that women without children were the least happy with life overall, whereas mothers were happier than any other group, even if their relationships faltered.

It should surprise no one that childless couples have more time and attention to devote to one another. They also have more money to spend on themselves. The Bible addresses this issue in the book of Proverbs:

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

Having children may mess up your perfectly ordered life, and get in the way of your romantic ideals. It will also prevent general economic depression across the globe (at least if enough other couples join you). You also might get grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy some day.

The good news about stories like this is that Liberals are encouraged to pursue their own extinction.