Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

More Kids, Less Divorce

December 19th, 2011 by Man SL

I can’t vouch for the quality of it, but apparently there is a body of evidence that families with sons are less likely to divorce.

Set aside the facile just-so evolutionary explanation.* What intrigues me is the implied corollary that couples with more kids are more likely to stay coupled, since the more kids, the more likelihood of having a son.

Could the Church’s encouragement to larger families and discouragement to divorce be synergistic? Perhaps even inspired?

*I think the argument for evolution is sound; the argument that most evolutionary explanations are the purest invention is even sounder. If the facts were reversed and daughters make divorce less likely, you could equally well argue that “evolution” explained the result because daughters without dads in the homes were more likely to enter puberty early and be easy sexually (this is true, btw) and therefore fathers needed to be around to get their daughters better quality mating opportunities. Which is plausible enough, except that experience apparently doesn’t back it up. The evolutionary argument proves little to nothing.

In fact, evolution aside, not wanting my daughters to be 13-year old tramps is one of my principal reasons to stay married, the other being, as anyone who knows the Lovely One can attest, that in the connubial cards I was dealt five aces and even this lackwit has enough sense to clutch them.

Comments (10)
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December 19th, 2011 10:47:25

December 19, 2011

I’d have to see the data. My first thought is that maybe the cause/effect has been stated in reverse. Perhaps couples who are more committed to start out with, less likely to divorce, end up having more kids.

The pertinent data to look for would be comparing couples who have just one child, and see who divorces more, those with one girl or those with one boy. Then comparing couples with exactly two children and ranking the divorces: those with 2 boys, 1 boy + 1 girl, or 2 girls. And so on.

December 19, 2011

Page 5 of that article ends with a description of universal unrighteous dominion. Shades of Section 121.

December 19, 2011

Posting anonymously for very good reasons.

It is likely that I am married today only because I had a son. My marriage has been deeply troubled, but when I decided to pack it in one night, when my son was about six months old, I got about ten miles down the road before the sound of an infant crying in my mind was too much and I turned the car around.

Hard to talk about even anonymously on the Intertubes.

It’s been a wary truce in the years since then. The son is now 14 and working through the process of deciding if he has, or wants, a testimony. Not hostile to the Church, but kind of sort of believes but hates getting up early for church.

Please pray for him.

Adam G.
December 20, 2011

You’re a man, Anonymous. We will pray for Son of Anonymous. That’s a tough age, and these are tough times to be that age.

I had the same concern as you about those studies. If they don’t control for family size, the data isn’t that great.
The same article mentions that some couples are more likely to have boy children and others more likely to have female children. Unless the effect of male children on divorce is really strong, really reliable studies would also try to isolate the factors that make some couples more likely to have males and then see if the effect on divorce still holds. My impression (impression only) is that most divorces in the modern US are initiated by the wife and are voluntary in some sense (driven by dissatisfaction, not by thorough beatings). So I would wonder if some factor that makes boy children more common also makes wives more committed in their marriages (husbands with high testosterone, perhaps?)

December 20, 2011

Yes, Adam G., between 75-90 of divorces are initiated by women for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

If immortally is destructive to marriage, it is suggestive that a lot more should be done talking about “dissatisfaction”.

December 20, 2011

Yikes… I knew that looked wrong. Make that immorality, not immortality.

December 20, 2011

I’ve known several couples in which the wife was the first (apparently) to commit adultery, in the physical sense that is.

I used to think that the first (or only) one to commit adultery is the guilty party. However, after learning more about conditions in some of those marriages, it turns out that the adultery (on the wife’s part) came about after extreme emotional and mental cruelty on the husband’s part.

I’ve known of at least two, perhaps three, such cases among otherwise seemingly righteous and fully-active church members.

I’ve come to better understand how unrighteous “domination” can make a woman believe (and sometimes believe correctly) there is no way to solve the problem of being verbally/emotionally/mentally abused without getting entirely out of the marriage.

The unwillingness of many men to even consider the possibility that they are being abusive leaves them open to having a very rude awakening when they discover that they are being served with divorce papers. And even then, I think that most in that situation see it as the woman’s fault, not their’s.

If you think back to high school, you might remember the kind of girls who always had a new boyfriend “lined up” before breaking up with the previous boyfriend. They were never between boyfriends. Therefore honest guys who didn’t move in on another guy’s girlfriend never had a chance with such girls. I sort of think they wanted someone to protect them from the previous boyfriend. But also, I think their low self-esteem prevented them from being independent between boyfriends. And a third reason might be the status, wherein they see not having a boyfriend as being a lower social condition.

So I wonder, in cases where a woman has a sexual affair as a prelude to leaving her husband, is she doing so to ensure she has someone to go to after leaving her husband?

Corrolary: women who were abused (sexually or otherwise) as children, have a tendency to low self-esteem, and have a tendency to marry abusive men. And abusive men have a tendency to be attracted to women of low self-esteem.

December 20, 2011

Bookslinger – I would hesitate before using the abuse defense. There are other better ways of getting out of a relationship, if that is necessary. Further, it is an excellent excuse to use AFTER adultery, even if it was not sufficient before the act.

Likewise, men might have superior strength, but when it comes to being cold and heartless, I am not convinced men can claim first place.

And do we want to give this as an excuse for men?

(And by the way, it doesn’t take abuse for a woman to have self-esteem problems)

December 21, 2011

I’m going to risk rambling on even more…

Divorces are as diverse as the people who get married. So it is wrong of me to generalize or speculate as to what may happen in the majority. I can only speak to situations I’m familiar with, and even then I don’t know all the details of those situations. I also have a tendency to improperly extrapolate from the specific cases I know of to the general.

The intent of my previous comment is to point out things I’ve perceived over the years, and to encourage others to be open to various possibilities, and to try to be as charitable as possible to the parties involved.

There are always things left unsaid, by the parties involved in a divorce, and among those who know them. And I like to say that there are always at least three sides to a divorce: his, hers, and the truth.

I don’t have the link handy, but the CDC has pointed to studies linking Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) to various adult health and self-esteem problems, such as a high correlation to morbid obesity (not all obesity, but the “morbid” level.)

Hoping to better qualify it this time… my experience being around adults with life-altering low self-esteem indicates it usually (in the majority of people I’m familiar with) has roots (in my opinion) in traumatic events in their childhood.

In the lexicon, sexual abuse, physical abuse (beatings) and emotional/verbal abuse are subsets of abuse, and abuse is a subset of trauma. From what I’ve seen in my association with dysfunctional adults, the kind of childhood trauma that has the most life-long damage is sexual abuse.

However, I don’t know what percentages the various forms of abuse constitute of the whole set of cases of abuse.

In the way I perceive things, childhood trauma, but especially abuse (in its various forms), leaves spiritual wounds. If those wounds aren’t healed, they fester and produce toxin which then poison the person’s own life and immediate family members. There’s even a phenomenon called “Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.” The term is sometimes applied to affected children of combat veterans who have primary PTSD.

December 21, 2011

Zen, as I re-read your comment, I see that you used the words “defense” and “excuse”, words which I did not use, nor intend to imply in my comment that you were responding to.

Neither judging/condemning, nor excusing/defending, in the moral or legal sense was my intent.

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