Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:03 pm

Here’s more reason to prioritise date night – research has found that when parents have a loving relationship, their children benefit…

Have you been too busy to plan date night?

It’s common for parents to put their own relationship on the back burner and concentrate on their children. However, taking time out with your spouse benefits your kids too.

A new study found that when spouses love each other, children stay in school longer and marry later in life.

The study

Co-authored by researchers at the University of Michigan and McGill University in Quebec, researchers used data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study in Nepal which collected information from 151 neighbourhoods.

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Married couples were interviewed separately and were asked to assess the level of affection they had for their partner.

The researchers then followed the children of these parents for 12 years to document their education and marital behaviours.

The researchers found that the children of parents who reported that they loved each other either “some” or “very much” stayed in school longer and married later.

“In this study, we saw that parents’ emotional connection to each other affects child-rearing so much that it shapes their children’s future,” said co-author and U-M Institute for Social Research researcher William Axinn. “The fact that we found these kinds of things in Nepal moves us a step closer to evidence that these things are universal.”

How you feel about your spouse matters

The researchers speculate that when parents love each other, they tend to invest more in their children, leading to children remaining in education longer.

The children’s home environments may also be happier when parents report loving each other, so the children may be less likely to escape into their own marriages.

Children may also view their parents as role models, and take longer to seek similar marriages.

“Family isn’t just another institution. It’s not like a school or employer. It is this place where we also have emotions and feelings,” said lead author Sarah Brauner-Otto, director of the Centre on Population Dynamics at McGill University.

“Demonstrating and providing evidence that love, this emotional component of family, also has this long impact on children’s lives is really important for understanding the depth of family influence on children.”

10 Fun and active date ideas

Source: University of Michigan via

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