Study Shows That Sons Keep Marriages Afloat
Child learning to swim. Photo: David Trood (Getty).
Having children is a big decision to make. You need to be ready for it emotionally, physically and economically. If you are, it can be a great blessing, and apparently this is especially true if you have a son. Before somebody who is/has a daughter attacks us for saying that, let’s pull back and clarify. Having a daughter is just as wonderful, but this article is referring to one statistical study in that says that couples who have sons are less likely to get divorced down the road.
Sons Save Marriages, According To Study
Why is this? Well, apparently there’s a few reasons, but they mostly boil down to gendered expectations and hopes in modern society, and mostly from the men involved in the marriages. Most people won’t publicly admit it, but according to marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon, “there’s an overwhelming sense that men really do want to have a boy.” She describes this as being due to the parents’ urge to create someone similar to themselves, and while this is also true for women, it’s clear that the desire is more prominent in males.
Family psychotherapist Sean Grover has an explanation for this, as well. He thinks that because men have less of an ability to understand just what their role as a parent is supposed to be since they are not directly involved in birthing or nursing a child — or in his words, “A lot of men complain that when the baby arrives they don’t know what to do with themselves” and “they really are lost.” It is because of this that Pharon believes some men “attach themselves to the idea that at least my boy will need me to throw a ball around.” In sons, they see the opportunity to impress some skills they know they have where they do not see this chance in daughters, who are traditionally assumed (incorrectly) to have less of an ability to enjoy sports and other physical activities.
Essentially, the reasoning comes down to men being “much more gendered in their behavior, and in their expectations of the behavior of their kids, than women are,” according to University of Cambridge psychology professor Michael Lamb. This can make or break a marriage. While a husband may feel satisfied with a son, they may be less so with a daughter, and this dissatisfaction can manifest itself in marriage problems that may not have arisen with a more “fulfilling” child (a.k.a. a boy).
Just as important as identifying the problem, of course, is solving it. This is trickier, though, because the tendency for men to be more judgmental concerning gender is a serious issue that cannot go unacknowledged. It must be recognized in a manner that is not in itself just as essentialist as the problem that is needing to be solved. In order to fully solve the problem, we must bear in mind that some men are very accepting and open regardless of gender, and some women are extremely judgmental, as well. What the solution will come down to is ultimately the ability of everyone to be understanding of each other not as men or women — or sons or daughters — but as people.
via The Economist