But what about children? As an ingredient to a happy marriage, kids were far from essential, ranking eighth behind good sex, sharing chores, adequate income and a nice house, among other things. Only 41 percent of respondents said children were important to a happy marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990. The only thing less important to a happy marriage than children, the survey found, was whether a couple agreed on politics.So why do kids rank so low on the list? The fact is, marriages today are increasingly adult-centered, rather than child-centered, an issue identified in a sweeping 2008 report from Rutgers marriage researcher Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. In the report, called “Life Without Children: The Social Retreat From Children and How It’s Changing America,” Dr. Whitehead notes that the percentage of our lives that we devote to parenting is shrinking. Because married couples are delaying children and having fewer kids, they start parenting later and finish parenting sooner than couples of earlier generations.
This is an important point in the argument against marriage equality. It weakens the argument that the primary purpose of marriage is raising children, an argument made by many in the Church Universal.