Catholics, what if you don't want children during marriage?


I am assuming you are young still. Forgive if I’m wrong. I think it will take a long time before you will be at a place in life to understand that God had His hand on all of this. It really does work out for our betterment.

It took me many, many years before I understood and was able to see that my losses were really my gains. I have no words to explain this beyond just stating that as fact. Through much prayer and time, healing and clarity came into my heart. I was able to move past the why mes and see how blessed my family is. We have 13 personal saints to cheer us on our journey back home to heaven. That is so amazing!

I don’t expect you to understand this. You are not in a stage of life to even begin to ponder such things. Many people way smarter than me might be able to give you theological points to consider. All I can offer you is a voice of experience. And one that understands you may not yet be ready to hear with an open heart yet.

I hope God continues to bless your journey towards understanding, and that He leads you to exactly where He wants you in life.

  1. If this couple has never wanted children, then as per church teaching they do not have a valid marriage. It’s that simple. No matter what they call their relationship it is not a marriage.

  2. If this couple wanted children and does not due to fertility issue then they have a valid marriage.

This is all basic church teaching. It’s not up for debate.


I’m not Orthodox because its Church has a looser standard on contraception. In fact, my Orthodox family is now WAY more skeptic about what their church says now, because very often it so happens (Especially in the Orthodox denomination) that authority figures tell their people to do so-and-so because they’re the spiritual leaders who know what God wants. That type of stuff. Here’s the problem: a lot of these authority figures turn out to be so corrupted, or otherwise say such mental things, that it brings a lot of doubt as to whether their rules are truly God-ordained or not. Sure, a lot of Christians use contraception, not because of what the Church said, but because they thought it over and reasoned that birth control doesn’t hurt anyone. “Hey, I’m not hurting anyone, and more autonomy over myself thanks to advancements. So why not?” That type of mode of thinking.


What about if you don’t want them but go into
Marriage accepting that you will try your best anyway if they do come along ?


Sure, a lot of Christians use contraception, not because of what the Church said, but because they thought it over and reasoned that birth control doesn’t hurt anyone. “Hey, I’m not hurting anyone, and more autonomy over myself thanks to advancements. So why not?” That type of mode of thinking.

Conscience has an important place, and it’s a complicated topic for moral theologians to sort out what this means when you’re up against established church teaching.

No one should ever do anything against their conscience, but we must form our consciences carefully. And your kinds of questions suggest that you are trying to figure it out. That’s good. We all have times in our life where we try to determine where we fit in with the “norm” that is Christian teaching.

"Hey, I’m not hurting anyone, and more autonomy over myself thanks to advancements. So why not?” That type of mode of thinking.

I know you’re just quoting others, but it’s worth pointing out that this understanding of sin is not complete. Even if something does not directly harm someone, it doesn’t mean it’s not wrong. Remember Jesus said even our lustful thoughts could amount to adultery (hyperbole or not, his point is that even in private we can sin!)


That’s kinda of a semantic technicality but ok ok you got me. If the couple intends on not having kids (which is what I had meant originally) then they do not have a marriage.


Conscience. Precisely. I believe that we are accountable for our sins largely based on what our inner sense of right and wrong is. Granted, I know the full definition of sin, but listening to what my conscience was ACTUALLY saying and not just dismissing it as irrelevant to the situation really helped me cope with my former fear of Hell.


This is basically me. I got married as a Protestant in a Protestant church. I was open to the possibility of kids as a theoretical thing, without any desire whatsoever to have a baby. Still don’t have this. I am now a catholic and am changing to NFP once we are moved into our new home which will be early in the new year. I have never had any maternal instincts but have always liked the idea of a grown up child who has become my friend over the years so I guess deep down on some level I must like the idea. Not broody whatsoever and will be totally unfazed (and if I’m honest right now, partly relieved ) if I can’t have any. God’s will be done and I have talked to a priest about it


Sometimes when we are far away from a given life situation we think about it very differently than when some years go by and that time is upon us. I remember dreading going away to college at the beginning of my senior year, and then I couldn’t wait to go by the end of my senior year. Seriously, it’s probably good that you feel this way right now at the age & life situation you are in right NOW. But be open to God possibly changing your heart and your desires as the years go by. Your happiest and most fulfilling life is to simply follow his plan for your life, and you can choose that freely.

And then there is this. I have seen couples choose not to have children, and that is an easy decision to make when you are in your childbearing years and the option is open to you. But then the day comes where the door closes biologically and you can’t go back and change your mind. Consider carefully what you choose. To choose to be childless is to choose to be alone in your elderly years without the traditional children and grandchildren entourage. It may seem a long way off, but it would be wise to think about how you would feel about that. God bless you.


The Church begs to differ. To go against the Church, which has the authority to speak on Heaven’s behalf, is to go against God.

Same concept as in Luke 10:16.


Thou shall not kill is the 5th commandment in the Catholic numbering, based on Augustine.

Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Lutherans, and other Protestant groups have different numbering schemes for the 10 commandments.

This Wikipedia article has the differences in a chart:


What I wrote has no contradiction with that question, nor with that document of the USCCB (nor any other Church document).


me and my wife got married last December and found out in January we were having a baby. Both of us did not feel prepared for parenthood BUT during our vows when the priest asked us if we are willing to be open to life according to the teachings of holy mother church we both shouted “Yes!” Because we knew that by getting married, our vocation was parenthood.

Sure we don’t make love all the time, because we also want to be responsible. But that means we must have to fast from sexual relations for a time here and there. Yet somehow at the end of the day we are still kind to each other and love each other without fear. Kind of trashes our secular cultures idea that in order to have a healthy marriage a couple needs constant sex. :wink:

Me and my wife are 26. It is realistic. Also it’s not about whether you want kids or not. When you are Catholic and married you are to be open to children regardless, otherwise you are not practicing your Catholic faith or fulfilling your vocation by the simple act of not having an attitude of openness.


We also rent a small apartment and do not have all our ducks in a row.

Please take the time to read the Catechism or apologetics. One cannot call themselves Catholic and follow their own rules as to what they feel is right and wrong. It depends on whether you want to be a true Catholic or a Relativist. I do mean that in love. But sometimes love requires us to be blunt sometimes.


Beautiful testimony.
Natural family planning (no use of artificial contraception like chemicals and devices) is actually more effective to help with concerns of the number of children that need care.
And this, what your post seems to allude, NPF, is open to children.
And where artificial contraception is accepted and wide spread; killing children in the womb also goes up.
here is a very interesting article.


I can understand being ambivalent about wanting children. But I don’t think fearing pregnancy or fearing having children is a good thing.

It’s better to find the man of your dreams. You will then want to create a life that flourishes with him. You may like to see a smaller reflection of yourselves, somebody who is dependent on you, somebody who unifies you as a couple, and makes you a family. Perhaps you will have more confidence to trust that your husband will help you in all things.

Don’t worry too much about pregnancy. It takes nine months, so a woman can get used to the idea of giving birth over time. It’s a process. If you are afraid of pain during childbirth, you can take the epidural. Some women go straight for the C-section. There are ways to cope.

If all of this scares the heck out of you, I advise staying single.


Perhaps married life isn’t for you.


This completely misunderstands the Church, then, in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy


Explain, please. How can one be open to life yet not have sex during marriage?

UPDATE: I have a copy of the 3rd Ed. of Catholicism for Dummies , & in Ch. 9 under “Committing to a lifetime and avoiding annulments” (p. 137), it states as follows:

"An annulment is not a Catholic version of divorce. Divorce is a civil decree from the state (civil government) that a legal marriage is no longer in force. An annulment, on the other hand, is an ecclesiastical decree that a marriage, even if entered in good faith, was determined to be an invalid sacrament from the first moment ( when vows were exchanged at the wedding ceremony).

How could this sacrament be invalid? When a baptized man and a baptized woman marry for the first time, the Church presumes the marriage to be valid unless proven otherwise in a Church court. That same assumption applies for all baptized persons: Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox. If, however, one or both of the participants did not intend on their wedding day to enter a permanent , faithful , and fruitful union, then no sacrament took place, and the Church can declare the marriage null and void. If that happens, both parties are free to marry someone else – the Church hopes validly this time.

Likewise, if one or both parties had a lack of due competence or a grave lack of due discretion, the marriage is invalid…"


My wife and I, both Protestant at the time, were married a quarter-century ago. Neither of us wanted children. Do you have some opinion you’d like to share with the room?

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