Study Finds Couples Who Have A Baby Before Marriage Might Be Happier In The Long Run

When it comes to planning a family, many people do things in a very particular order. First, they find a parter they want to spend their lives with, then they get married, and then they have a baby (or two, or three).

Society is always pushing individuals to be in a committed marriage before thinking of kids.

Unsplash | Samantha Gades

Whether or not people want to admit it, society has introduced a stigma against those who have children before (or outside) of marriage.

While everyone may have reservations against those who choose to do things differently, it's no secret that times are changing.

Unsplash | Luis Tosta

Today, more people are choosing to go on different routes with their lives rather than stick to tradition. In fact, more often than not, people are having families in "unconventional" ways.

One nonprofit organization has begun studying just how much modern families are changing.

Unsplash | Jessica Rockowitz

The Council on Contemporary Families has made it their mission to educate the masses on how people are choosing to live and start families. As it turns out, people are doing things totally differently these days.

Their research included hundreds of women who have had children.

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

One of their studies included women who had children from 1985-1995 and then compared them to women who became mothers between 1997-2010.

These very different generations of women had motherhood in common, but researchers made some interesting discoveries.

Their data was somewhat surprising.

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

For the women who had a baby first and then got married in the '80s and early '90s, researchers found they were 60% more likely to file for divorce.

However, the modern mothers had a much better chance at a happy marriage after the birth of a baby.

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

New mothers who had children before marriage from the late '90s - early '00s experienced no change in the divorce rate compared to women who had children after getting married.

"By looking closely at changes in parents’ unions around the time of childbirth, we found that premarital births no longer predict breakups, as long as couples marry at some point after a child is born," a report on the study's findings said.

So, what changed?

Unsplash | Matheus Ferrero

With media outlets and society empowering women to become independent and strong, it seems that they're more comfortable making decisions for their own happiness, rather than sticking to society's formal rules.

Additionally, living with a significant other before marriage has become more of a norm.

Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

Getting to know someone inside and out before saying "I do" tends to ensure you two are absolutely right for one another. One family expert also weighed in on this:

"... having a baby out of wedlock only strengthens a couple's resolve and commitment to their marriage if it's something they chose for their family. By being a choice instead of an obligation, marriage for these couples is something they embrace, rather than feel trapped by," said Paul Hokemeyer, JD, PhD.

And, today, more people are accepting of having children "out of wedlock" than in the past.

Unsplash | Becca Tapert

Everyone should do what makes them happy — even starting a family the way that works best for them, am I right?!

Filed Under: