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In an online survey, we asked about how having children has affected your relationship. Here's what you* had to say (*345 responses):
How has having children affected your marriage?
"It has deepened and strengthened our relationship" ... 35% "It strained our marriage at first, but we've recovered" ... 33% "Our kids are the biggest cause of fights, but we're still happy" ... 19% "Parenting fights have driven us apart -- almost to the breaking point" ... 13%
Fifty-two percent said the main result of having children is that you and your husband have less energy for romance and intimacy. (Among those 30 to 35, the number was 58 percent.) Twenty-four percent said the two of you have less time and energy to pursue hobbies and interests, together or separately. Thirty-four percent said your husband feels somewhat neglected because of the attention you pay to the kids, while 14 percent said he feels that way often. Fifty-two percent said your husband never feels neglected.
What do you most often disagree about regarding the kids? How to discipline them ... 49% Our expectations and goals for them ... 16% How to divide up chores -- cleaning up after them, driving them, putting them to bed ... 13% How much independence to give them ... 13% How they dress and behave ... 5% Their performance in school ... 3% Their choice of friends ... 1%
Twenty-nine percent of you said you wish you had more kids, while 60 percent say your family size is perfect (69 percent of women between ages 41 and 45 felt this way). Only 11 percent wish they'd had fewer children.
Thirty percent said you and your husband disagree over issues related to the kids once a week, and another 23 percent said you disagree once a day or more. Twenty-one percent said it happens once a month, and 26 percent said you and your spouse hardly ever disagree.
Thirty-eight percent of you say you look forward to having time to pursue your own interests when the kids are grown and out of the house, 30 percent say you'll miss them and aren't sure what you'll do with your time, and 26 percent say you'll miss the children terribly. Only 6 percent say you'll be thrilled and can't wait to get your life back.