A long-term study has been carried out by a research team and a group of 144 couples, in an attempt to ascertain how marital love and relationships are affected by the birth of children. The data suggested that although women tended to report decreased feelings of love toward their spouses after childbirth, women whose husbands went the extra mile to make time for their families were better able to maintain marital love.
The study, which was conducted by the Benesse Institute for the Child Sciences, Parenting, and Aging, asked 288 people from across Japan “Do you have true feelings of love toward your spouse when you are together?”
The research team surveyed the couples at regular intervals from the time at which the women became pregnant until the child was two years old. The study showed that during pregnancy, 73.4% of men and women said they did feel love for their partners. The study also showed almost no discrepancy between the male and female respondents at this stage.
However, following the birth of their first child, female respondents who reported having feelings of love for their husbands dropped by around 30% to 45.5%. When the child reached one year of age, the percentage fell to 36.8% and at two years of age, the percentage dropped again to 34%.
On the other hand, men reported a far smaller decrease in affection. When their children were two years of age, 51.7% of men still reported having loving feelings for their wives.
Among the women who reported no change in their affection, 79.9% said that their husbands made an effort to create time for their families. Moreover, 71.5% said their husbands recognized and appreciated their work as a housewife. Benesse concluded that in order to maintain marital love, it is important for the husband to make time for the family and to be considerate toward his partner.
Masumi Sugawara, a lecturer at Ochanomizu University, who participated in the research project said, “It would seem that nowadays men’s busy working schedules are adding to the difficulty of raising children and exacerbating the feelings of loss of love reported by women. We can conclude that it is important for both husband and wife to express their gratitude to their partner and to find ways to help each other. Sharing the burden of raising children is the secret to maintaining love in one’s marriage.”
Source: Benesse Institute