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Why do y'all think that so many marriages fail after children come into the picture? What is lacking in relationships that fail in response to stessors related to child-rearing? 

I find myself wanting to pose this question here, to see if there are any insights this community has that I haven't encountered before. I'm wondering whether I should seek parenthood. I'm in a relationship that's shaky at the moment -- well, it's been shaky for at least a year -- and although I'm open to having kids with this person if things improve, I'm worried that if we married and had kids, our relationship would deteriorate again. Just trying to move forward with open eyes. I'm in therapy, but I think I'd encounter perspectives here that my therapist would not be able to provide. 

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I think while children can exacerbate a problematic marriage, they're not the main cause. It's mainly because there's dysfunction in a relationship to begin with, such as an abusive partner or two people who get along okay, but don't have much in common. Sadly, some couples have babies since they assume that children will solve all of their problems, which is definitely a horrible reason to have kids. A baby isn't a panacea to issues; as a matter of fact, bringing a baby in the world for the wrong reasons only increases issues because the problems are still there, plus you have an extra mouth to feed.

Since there are issues between you and your partner, you both have two choices: get counseling or break up. If you're afraid of your relationship deteriorating when it seems to be shaky already, why dump your issues on your prospective kids? Sometimes, it's better to not have kids at all than to have them grow up in a dysfunctional family.

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To answer your first question, there could be some observation bias at work here. I mean, we see relationships fall apart all the time. Are you accurately measuring those that fall apart after having children compared to before having children? Perhaps having children just puts mediocre relationships to the ultimate test, and they fail. Whereas mediocre relationships can survive indefinitely when not facing the important decisions involved in child-rearing.

I agree with S1988. You're in a good position now to follow the most important parenting advice there is : Don't make babies with the wrong person! 

Prevention is so much easier than the cure here. If you're not in an undying, 'nothing could be better', type of relationship, then is it fair to add a kid to the mix? You want your child to be able to someday say "thanks, mom/dad, for doing everything you could to make my life great".

I'm guessing that you're "worried that if we married and had kids, our relationship would deteriorate again" because you already know, perhaps subconsciously, that those things would expose the weaknesses and break the limits of the relationship. I would say you have a duty to your child to get to the bottom of that before creating him/her, not after. If having children is a top priority for you, use that as motivation to either fix this relationship or move on to the next, hopefully ideal partner.

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There is a honeymoon period that covers the first 5 yrs of a marriage. Children often happen before or at that mark rather than long after. 

I also think our parents only try to raise us to adulthood and we have no cultural education for marriage and parenting yet because we used to live in extended families up until 80-140 yrs ago. So parents continued to be around and train wives and husbands how to be and how to parent as well. Anecdotally, I have heard stories of mothers guiding young wives how to be attentive, creating the opportunity for them to make the best of their relationships. Over the phone is great, being around is better. And parents seem to finally get it once their kids are grown (a little late if you ask me). 

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