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More children reduce chances of divorce: QSAstudy
HIGHER the number of children you have, greater is the chance of your marriage surviving. This is the message that a 2010 study of marriages and divorce in Qatar in the year 2009 by Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) seems to convey. The study report released recently by the QSA shows that having more children lowers the likelihood of a marriage ending in divorce. According to the...
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More children reduce chances of divorce: QSAstudy

AISHA SIDAHMED

DOHA HIGHER the number of children you have, greater is the chance of your marriage surviving.

This is the message that a 2010 study of marriages and divorce in Qatar in the year 2009 by Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) seems to convey.

The study report released recently by the QSA shows that having more children lowers the likelihood of a marriage ending in divorce.

According to the report, 57 percent of the total registered divorce cases in 2009 took place among couples who had no children, 16 percent of the divorces were reported among couples with one child, and it was 9 percent for those with two children.

The percentage of marriage break-ups decreases as the number of children born to couples increases: 6 percent of divorces for couples with three kids, 4 percent among those with four children, and only 2 percent for couples with five children.

According to the same report, 30 per cent of the total divorces took place before consummation of marriage, that is, prior to the experience of the bliss of a married life whereas 16 per cent of divorces took place in the first 5 to 9 years of marriage.

In a conservative society which puts family before the individual, the economic prosperity and family laws may provide good explanation for the data presented in the report.

Economic prosperity enjoyed by the Qatari society contributes to the reduction of the challenges and responsibilities that go with the birth and raising of children.

Overwhelming responsibilities, sleep deprivation and stress associated with raising babies and running a house usually take their toll on the physical and emotional health of a married woman and her daily schedule leaves her with little time for anything else.

Over time, this shift in focus from playing the role of a wife to one of a mother that packs overwhelming responsibilities can hurt even the strongest of relationships as the husband increasingly begins to feel neglected by his wife.

Fortunately, Qatari women do not have to face these big challenges and bear such responsibilities alone.

Hiring housekeepers, drivers and nannies is very common in Qatari society and takes a lot of work and responsibilities off the wife’s back and allows her to pay adequate attention to her husband.

Fatima Mohamad, a mother of three kids said; “I think having kids in Qatari society is not as challenging as in societies elsewhere because of the financial capacity and the availability of cheap labour.

Also, there is a certain level of flexibility in the society when it comes to raising kids.

For instance, trusting a nanny to fully take care of the kids, bathe them, play with them and even take them to fun places is not something frowned upon as in other societies.” Family laws and traditions also play an important role in preventing unhappy spouses from seeking escape from an unhappy or bored existence in divorce.

Having to provide for the ex-wife and the kids often leave the husband with little money to remarry and start another family.

Because of this obstacle, many would rather stay in an unhappy marriage than undergo a financial hardship or stay single for the rest of their lives.

Another factor favouring this phenomenon is the values of the Qatari society which encourage the concept of self-sacrifice and putting kids and family first.

These values incline couples in troubled marriages to exclude the option of divorce when they have children.

Most spouses would rather choose to be trapped in unhappy marriage than risk exposing their kids to the devastating consequences of divorce.

Hanan Abdul Rahim, PHD associate director of SESRI, said, “In the Arab society, it is very common to hear of spouses staying in unhappy marriages for the sake of raising their children in a family where the mother and father are not separated.

This has something to do with the fact that society may stigmatise children of ‘broken homes’.

So it is understandable that there would be few divorces when the couples have many children to raise.” Majeeda Alkuwary, a Qatari citizen said: “My relative is a businessman and a father of five.

He has serious problems with his marriage, yet he does not want to divorce or take a second wife because he does not want to hurt his kids.” “Even though he is over 40 years of age and financially capable of providing for two families, he sees such decision as selfish and unfair for his kids and I think he is right,” she added.

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