Husband and I can't agree on when to have children


#1

Hello everyone,

My husband and I have been married for almost a year and a half, and while we both want to have children, we can’t agree on when to start trying to have a baby. I am very much open to having a baby anytime, but my husband says he’s not ready now and that he can’t predict when he’ll be ready. We do use NFP and I am grateful my husband has been so willing to use it. Sometimes it can be very challenging though, because my desire in general and desire for a child are so strong. My husband, on the other hand, has lower desire than I do and is very disciplined. He will absolutely not have sex on any day that is potentially fertile, and that’s the end of it – he just rolls over and goes to sleep, while I often end up lying there awake, frustrated, angry and sad. Whenever we try to discuss this, he says I get too emotional (which is probably true – I’ve always been very emotional), that I’m pressuring him, and that he’s just not ready for a family. I want to submit to him, but it just feels so one-sided. I’ve said that we should try to come to a compromise, and he says there are just some decisions – this one included – that we won’t ever agree on. I feel so stuck and sad about all this! I would be so grateful for any advice and prayers. Thank you & God bless.


#2

You certainly have my prayers. Advice I am leery of providing because a recalcitrant hubby isn’t going to be moved by anything other than plain ol’ conversion, which you can’t force and any sneaky stuff will just cheese him off and might make him even more stubborn. You are in the right in the sense that marriage bearing children is a moral norm and if one ain’t ready for a family, one ain’t ready for marriage. But I imagine being right doesn’t make you feel better or solve the problem. The only advice is to recite the 4 tools of the Christian: good example, encouragement, prayer, suffering & sacrifice. I have faith that your husband will pull his childish head out of his behind. Hopefully sooner than later. God bless.


#3

Had you discussed this BEFORE you got married? Did you go into a marriage where he was saying “In five or ten years maybe” and you were thinking “We’ll have one sooner” or did you agree at first and then change your mind? Are there other areas where it’s always HIS decision imposed on you or is this the only area he is absolutely rigid?

At least be glad he’s not imposing immoral birth control on you.

If this goes on too long, it could bring into question whether your marriage is even valid. Someone’s indefinite “putting off having children” could be a smokescreen for never wanting them.

You don’t say how old you are. Your fertility isn’t a given. And it isn’t indefinite.

Good luck.


#4

A couple of things caught my eye.

First, you are glad he was “willing” to use NFP. Uh, that’s a sign of trouble IHMO.

Does he embrace NFP or tolerate it? If he embraces NFP he likely also embraces the *Church’s teaching *regarding marriage and family. If he tolerates it, I would say he hasn’t internalized what the Church teaches on sexuality, marriage, and family. Are you both practicing Catholics?

Second, has he given any reason regarding why he’s “not ready”? Are we talking finances, career pressures, economic uncertainty, health issues, or just some vague “don’t want to” sentiment? How does he spend his free time? Does he have hobbies that are very time consuming? Is he house and home oriented, spending time with you?

Third, your communication styles seem to vary substantially. If you cannot have a rational discussion about such a serious topic, I suggest you both work on communication styles and techniques.

Fourth, what sort of discussions did you have before marriage? What were your initial timeframes? Have they changed? What are your ages? Are you in stable jobs? Housing situation? Etc?


#5

To answer 1ke’s questions …

  1. Does he embrace NFP or tolerate it?

It’s probably closer to tolerating NFP. I’d agree that he hasn’t internalized the church’s teachings on family.

  1. Are you both practicing Catholics?

Yes.

  1. Has he given any reason regarding why he’s “not ready”? Are we talking finances, career pressures, economic uncertainty, health issues, or just some vague “don’t want to” sentiment?

Mostly finances and health issues. We’re both self-employed (we run a wedding & portrait photography business.) The business is doing well, but we are still in the start-up stages. Also health-wise, he says he’s not as healthy as he used to be before we were married, but we’re both working on that together (joined the Y together and go regularly, take martial art classes together, etc.)

  1. How does he spend his free time? Does he have hobbies that are very time consuming? Is he house and home oriented, spending time with you?

There isn’t much free time for either of us since we’re building the business and work from home. He does spend a lot of quality time with me.

  1. What sort of discussions did you have before marriage? What were your initial timeframes? Have they changed? What are your ages? Housing situation? Etc?

Our discussions about children before marriage were not as clear as they should have been. I think we were both vague and said we’d both like to have kids sometime, but didn’t talk about specific timeframes. We’re both 24 and we’re renting a couple of rooms in a house we’re sharing with relatives. We are hoping to buy a house this year.


#6

First off… I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time with this…

My only suggestion is to try to have a calm and unemotional discussion. Be open to his feelings for wanting to wait… and TELL him you are open to those feelings, because he probably wants to make sure his concerns are heard. The “weight” of raising a family can be really heavy for some husbands and it’s important for you to understand his feelings on that. The start-up job, financial concerns, health, and housing issues may be contributing to his fears and to be honest, those are valid reasons.
I emphasize sympathizing with him FIRST because once he knows that you understand his point of view then maybe he’ll be open to listen to yours as well. Unless that threatening wall is broken down with understanding he may just close his ears and not want to talk about it at all.
You have valid feelings too… and your desires to start a family may be God’s way of nudging you along as a couple.
But without communicating properly (with understanding & sympathy for each others feelings) you may not be able to gracefully allow God’s hand to guide you in these decisions…

Proper communication is the key!

HTH a little! Good luck!


#7

My advice to anyone who says that they aren’t ready is that you are never really ready. You can always come up with some excuse if you want to. my wife and I have a friend that has been going through the same thing for the last 5 years. The husband sets a goal on finances, or something, when they will be ready to have kids, but everytime the goal is met, he comes up with a new goal.

I know I wasn’t ready to have kids, when we were unexpectedly blessed with our first. But I wouldn’t change anything. It sounds like you really need to talk about expectations with someone, either a counselor or mentor. Most guys I know are scared to death of having their own kids. They are scared of being a good dad, a good husband, a good provider. But once, they have them, they realize that they can do it.

If health is a concern, the earlier that you start, the earlier they are on their own so you don’t have to worry about your health when you are older. We are pregnant with our 4th baby. It helps being younger with your kids, just so that you can try to keep up.


#8

Hi Kristie,

I just saw that you posted back to me regarding all my questions. I hope that didn’t sound like the “inquisition”-- but you know… the devil’s in the details!

Based on your ages and the fact that you are in the start up phase of your business, his concerns seem justified. If you were unable to work, that would really hamper your business-- your sole source of income. And, as self-employed people, insurance is also a consideration.

You are also living in someone else’s house! Probably not ideal for starting a family.

I don’t think his concern are unreasonable. As has been mentioned-- there never is a “good” or “perfect” time. BUT, I would want to be at least in my own apartment and with a plan for how you will operate the business and/or another income source.

So, why don’t you set some timeframes-- like, give it a rest for 6 months and then revisit it. And, set a time to revisit it-- not when he’s tired or your upset or in bed! Sit down with the finances, set a goal: we will have X in the bank, have our own place to live, etc, then we’ll seriously revisit babydom.

If he then continues to put it off even after you’ve achieved some mutually agreed upon goals and milestones, then it’s time to consider some counseling with a priest or other third party.

Also, if you really struggle with communication, look into some marriage workshops/resources.


#9

Do a novena together…and believe me, you will come up with a real decision when it is completed. It worked for us.


#10

I can see how for him ‘now’ is not a good time…but there might always be something: when your business takes off, you’ll need to work because it’s ‘going so well, we can’t stop now’ and when you have your own house you’ll need to work ‘because we’ve got a mortgage to pay’…there’ll ALWAYS be something for some guys!

I’m kinda glad we got 2 kids in before hubby got second thoughts…now he won’t hear of a third ‘because we’re only just starting to get our lives back’…A lot of men do see children as a hindrance, as someone who’s spoiling their free-and-easy lifestyle. Really, you guys NEED to talk and fix a date for when you can start trying, and when that time comes it’s non-negotiable! Even then, it could be ages before you fall pregnant…I have friends who had tried for years before their first was born, it’s not ‘do it once and get pregnant’ for most people…that in itself might calm your dh down a bit…and life is not ‘over’ once you have kids, as I have to remind my dh every so often…:shrug:


#11

What better advertising for a portrait studio than a neverending source of baby/children portraits. It’s the first thing that came to my mind:D . As some one stated earlier, Pray!!, leave it to God.


#12

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