"Three's Company "
What happens when that ‘bundle of joy’ or what was expected to be that uniting factor between couples does just the contrary? Where instead of happiness there is misery and that supposed increasing of pleasure is reduced to near zilch? It is often the result of a common though unsupportable assumption – children increase the happiness of a marriage. The only time when reproduction is truly advisable for a couple is when: a) the marriage is a distinctly good and happy one (the most common misleading notion that children will make the marriage work, needs to be relegated to the bin). b) the husband and wife are more mature emotionally than the average man and woman. c) both mates not only want children in a sentimental sense, but are eager to make parenthood a major enterprise for the next quarter of the century and realize that this means considerable hard study, work, and sacrifice of many satisfactions. The few who meet the above criteria are likely to have their happy marriages made happier by having kids. By inclination and ability these few can have enormous child raising satisfactions. But this then throws up a vital question rarely asked – should all married people have children? “Be fruitful and multiply” is very poor advice for couples that do not prepare themselves seriously for the hard work and burdens of parenthood. Couples who are relatively unhappy bring added misery and lead themselves to complete bankruptcy of their marriages by producing offspring. Add to that another myth – “staying married just for the sake of the children” – and disservice to the offspring as well as to each other is another outcome. How then can we enjoy and be competent parents? An essential prerequisite is a happy marriage. Not that every happy couple qualifies to be a parent. But without marital happiness none is qualified. The attitudes of the parents (usually the mother significantly influences more than the father) – being generally self-assured, optimistic, responsible, un-anxious, un-hostile – and with beliefs that parenting equals responsibilities and sacrifices goes a long way in the down-to-earth reality of parenthood. The realization and acceptance of the demands of time, energy and devotion that usually disrupts patterns of satisfactions that a couple may have worked out between themselves can aid effective ushering of the child into the couples’ ‘space’. The understanding that parental love and romantic love are entities in themselves and that they can be mutually exclusive of each other is to be importantly understood so that partners don’t feel ‘threatened’. The child is not your competitor. Your beliefs about ‘being loved exclusively and completely’ are a reflection of your own inadequacy and had better be done away with as quickly as possible, so that child rearing can be participative rather than resentfully refrained from.
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