Wanting Children

My husband doesn't want kids, but I do.

Question

I desperately want to have children. My husband doesn’t want to have children with me. He’s mentioned recently that he’s reluctant because he doesn’t feel my mother cares about him and would resent her involvement in our child’s life. What should I do?

Answer

The longing to have a child is natural and God-given. While God brought you together for many reasons, it’s probable that one of those reasons might have been to give you one or more children to raise as part of a family where the reality of Jesus is both caught and taught.

At the outset, know that the core issue here isn’t whether or not to have children. It’s how you and your husband are going to make decisions and the kinds of things you are going to allow to influence your decision-making process. It’s about your ability to communicate, to feel safe enough to express fears and to really hear each other’s heart. It’s about knowing when to reach out and take advantage of the “wisdom of many counselors.”

Perhaps his concern with your mom isn’t his only issue. As a man, I know that many men struggle with the emotional, spiritual and financial responsibility of having additional children and with the concern that another child might take away from time together as a couple. It’s unhealthy for him to allow his interpretation of your mother’s opinion to become more important than the desire that God has placed in your heart. A man who allows a mother-in-law’s (or anyone else’s) attitude to determine a major marital decision is abdicating his God-given role. He is giving your mother way too much power in his life and in your marriage. This is a great opportunity for him to learn how to see things outside the box of his own emotions and become more of the man God designed him to become.

The first and the simplest step is to make this a matter of consistent and focused prayer. Confusion, weakness, lack of courage, negativity, fear and indecisiveness are all fed by the neglect of regular prayer. Difficult decisions become easier when they are made not out of fear, of someone’s response but only in the light of God’s perfect peace. In my marriage, I’ve learned that the increased time invested in listening to our Lord translates into a better ability to hear each other and find clarity in the midst of confusion.

A critical part of the process of “becoming one” is learning how to share our deepest desires and in return to set aside our own personal stuff to hear the heart of our beloved. As you talk with him about your needs, let him know that you really want to understand the fears and concerns he has regarding this decision. You might even suggest that you set aside a time when he would talk and you would choose to listen and ask questions that help both of you clarify his concerns. For this kind of conversation, the agenda would be understanding and not necessarily agreement.

This “problem” is a great opportunity for you to improve your communication, cultivate new listening skills, better understand when your emotions can and can’t be trusted, deepen your trust and intimacy, increase your oneness with the Lord and learn new ways to experience his presence and faithfulness in your marriage relationship.

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