Fatherhood and Marriage by the Numbers

By Steve Cooper (Hitched Media)

We’ve all heard the saying (or something like it) before, “Any guy can conceive a child, but it takes a real man to be a father.” So what does that mean exactly? It starts with dads giving their time.

A new survey conducted by the Ad Council found that 86 percent of fathers today spend more time with their kids than their own fathers did. This is great news, however, the U.S. Census Bureau still finds that one in three children (more than 24 million) in America live apart from their biological fathers—although those fathers are still finding more time with their kids than previous generations.

Last year, The National Marriage Project out of the University of Virginia focused on parenthood in their annual The State of Our Unions report, which is made up from various studies. In this report they found that married couples were most likely to say they were “very happy” (regardless of parental status) and only single parents report a drop in happiness. Interestingly, 45 percent of married fathers strongly agree that their life has an “important purpose,” compared to 35 percent of childless husbands.

Happy Fatherhood is a State of Mind

Within The State of Our Unions, a survey of Marital Generosity conducted between 2010-11 found that mothers and fathers who see parenting as one of “life’s greatest joys” are about twice as likely to report that they are “very happy” in their marriages. When fathers have strong positive feelings toward raising children, 55 percent say they’re “very happy” compared to 26 percent of fathers who say they do not have strong positive feelings about raising children.

When it comes to sex, 45 percent of fathers between the ages of 18 and 46 who reported above sexual satisfaction indicated they were “very happy” in their marriage. When the father’s said they weren’t satisfied, that number dropped to a shocking 7 percent (for wives it dropped even further to 6 percent).

Being a Good Father Doesn’t Sacrifice the Marriage

One of the most encouraging things about this report was that devoted fathers could also be happy husbands. Fathers (and mothers) who spend lots of time with their children playing, talking, or working on projects together were less likely to divorce and also enjoyed significantly higher levels of marital happiness.

Changing Roles

A new survey from Cone Communications found that 52% of fathers identify themselves as the primary grocery store shopper, with moms acknowledging the more involved role as well. In addition, more than half of dads collect coupons and 52 percent plan meals for the week ahead of shopping. Finally, 24 percent of men are inclined to do background research on grocery products; only 11 percent of moms said the same.

Of course, all these numbers don’t paint a complete picture of great fathers. Those guys report being loving, caring, supporting men 100 percent of the time; and there’s not a survey in the world that can put a value on that.

 

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