Children can be born at any period before or during a marriage or outside of marriage, and the timing of having children has effects on the relationship quality. Some people get married in order to have children, others get married because the woman is pregnant, others decide to get married even though neither partner wants children, and some cou­ples remain single and have children. In any case, the decision to have or raise children is one that most people face at one time or another.

Data from the Commonwealth Survey of Parents with Young Children, which looked at over 2,000 parents with children younger than 3 years old, reported that many parents with young children find themselves with little time to work on their relation­ship (Halfon et al., 2002). In fact, married couples with children report lower marital satisfaction than those without children (Twenge et al., 2003). Satisfaction levels fall lower as the number of children increases. Typically, relationship happiness is higher be­fore the children come, declines steadily until it hits a low when the children are in their teens, and then begins to increase once the children leave the house (P. H. Collins,

1988) . Why is this? Many couples may not have agreed on roles after childbearing, and the female may find, for example, that her partner assumes that she will take primary care of the children (Benokraitis, 1993).

Having Children or Remaining ChildlessSEX in Real Life