Children are the key to a happy married life, says a new study.
Previous research has suggested that increasing the number of children does not make people any happier, and in some cases the more children people have, the less satisfied they are with their lives.
Rather bleakly, this has been attributed to the fact that raising children involves a lot of hard work and only a few occasional rewards.
Luis Angeles from the University of Glasgow, who led the study, believes that this explanation is too simplistic.
When asked about the most important things in their lives, most people place their children near or even at the top of their list.
Contrary to previous work, Angeles' analysis of the relationship between having children and life satisfaction takes into account the role of individual characteristics, including marital status, gender, age, income and education.
For married individuals of all ages and married women in particular, children increase life satisfaction and life satisfaction goes up with the number of children in the household, a Glasgow release said.
Negative experiences in raising children are reported by people who are separated, living as a couple, or single, and have never been married. Children take their toll on their parents' satisfaction with their social life, and the amount and use of leisure time.
These results were published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.