Husband doesn't want any more children


#1

I’m a Catholic convert (as of January!) and my husband is sort of a cradle Catholic. (Long story short, he’s spent some time in the AOG churches and it def. shows! Hes back bc he realized the importance of the Eucharist, but that isn’t the point.)

We’re expecting #4 and is he adamant that he wants no more children and even says he’d love a vasectomy. I don’t think he’d ever do it bc he knows I’m very against it and he agrees that there’s plenty of Scriptual evidence of sterilization being wrong. I’ve gotten him to agree to using NFP after this baby is born (although it took some work and prayer on my and the Msgr.'s part!)

Its mostly for financial reasons I think and I agree that we need a little time after this one before welcoming another child. We will have 4 kids 6 and under and our financial situation is precarious at best.

It just makes me sad to think that this will be it when I would gladly be open to more children in the future, even if it isn’t for a couple of years until we’re on our feet a little more.

Any advice for me?
Thanks!

~Pax Christi


#2

Four children is a ton! How many is it that you want and why so many?


#3

We are talking Catholic size families here - 4 children is just getting started. My mom is from a family of 16, there are 10 on my dad’s side and there are 11 of us. Oh, and the smallest family that any of my aunts and uncles have is 7.


#4

I don’t feel that 4 is a ton and I just adore large families! I feel that if there are little souls out there that God feels inclined to give us, we should accept his plan with open arms. What better gift is there??!!


#5

I don’t know that it’s so much a Catholic thing as it is a cohort thing. Certainly, the general populous doesn’t average even 4. I don’t mean it’s a ton as in “that’s too much,” I mean it’s more than average.

More children would be a blessing if you can sustain them. You’ll have to pull out some psychological gambit:

You: "How many children are you satisfied with?"
DH: "I’m satisfied with the four we have"
You: “Well I’d be satisfied with 12 so let’s meet halfway at eight!” :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

Remember, our secular world holds the view that children are a burden unless they come just as we planned them at the time we planned them. If your husband has been living in this world, it is natural for him to hold these beliefs to some extent. Be patient with him.
I think what the two of you need to do is rediscover your marriage vows. You need to delve into WHY God created man and woman and why contraception is in contrast to God’s plan for us and in contrast to the value of each of us. Marriage is bonding and procreative. When we close our marriage off to more children, we are ultimately closing it off to God’s work. Does your husband know of NFP alternatives to sterilization? Not contracepting does not mean you are going to have 10 children. You might, but you probably won’t. There are many of us on here who have been successfully avoiding using NFP.


#7

I don’t know your husband, and I can’t pretend to know him. But, the family’s financial situation can really be a large burden on his shoulders. I know that I constantly worry about our finances and how I can support my family even when times are good. Men who desire the best for their family are most likely thinking 2 to 3 years down the road, and how different situations (to include the birth of children) could adversely affect the welfare of their family. For the most part, it is unfounded fear, but it’s still stressful.

Once things begin to be more financially stable for you guys, he will likely be more open to it. Ultimately, his intentions are good. So I think with some prayer and increased stability his heart will soften to having more children.

Just some thoughts from a husband and father.

Dean


#8

Agreed - perfect response. If he is the only source of income it can be quite burdensome and stressful! Ignoring that burden (or at least not acknowledging it) can cause stress on him, on the marriage, on the kids, etc. Communication on WHY he feels that 4 is enough is probably necessary - talk through his fears.
For now, NFP sounds like the perfect approach. 4 years down the road things may be totally different. NFP would allow for you to change your mind! Sterilization would not.


#9

Hi Michelle,

I was in a similar situation as you are. After our fourth, my husband really didn’t want any more. He is a cradle Catholic and I am a revert (baptised Catholic, grew up evangelical Protestant). When I came back to the Church, it was with the attitude that I would embrace all of Catholicism, including the teachings on being open to life and not using ABC. DH has agreed to NFP since he knows my convictions, but he hasn’t fully embraced it. Well, since NFP doesn’t seem to be foolproof for us, I am now pregnant with #5. My husband has been suprisingly accepting of it. We will have almost three years of spacing, so I think that has helped my husband’s outlook. So, I think my advice to you is to pray for your husband, give him time and be a good witness. Be very affectionate and kind to your husband so that he feels valued as a husband and senses your happiness as a mother. Tell him how happy that having his children has made you.

If there is anything about dealing with your children that is particularly stressful for him, see if there is anything you can do to ease that stress. That may help him to be more open to additional children. For example, going to mass with our little ones is very stressful. When the kids make too much noise, he becomes embarrassed. Well, even though I think our kids are making normal kid noise, I will take the kids out of mass out of respect for his feelings. This is a small example, but one way in which I try to relieve stress for my husband.

Sending out prayers for you! Congratulations on #4!


#10

If he’s open to NFP, that’s huge! Lots of men aren’t.

Practice it carefully, love your husband and let God take care of his heart.


#11

Congratulations on becoming Catholic! I’m a convert, too.

This is a very personal topic and one that is very emotional. We have 3 children and some days I’m at my wits end keeping up with all that goes on. I really don’t think I could manage much more. My age has a lot to do with that and maybe because I didn’t grow up with siblings. There are many reasons a couple can have to stop and raise the ones they have. It’s a joint decision and both have to be “yes” for it to be a “yes”. And NFP can be tough if you aren’t used to it.

You do not make it sound that your husband is being unreasonable. It is obvious your wants and his are not together on this. Did you have this discussion before marriage? Did one of you change perspective? It’s a very fluid thing, marriage.

Your husband has said yes to 4 children so far AND to NFP. I’m sorry if this may come off as insensitive, but please consider counting your blessings. I suspect they number far greater than 4.


#12

Great post.

Wish I could learn to be this concise.


#13

WOW :slight_smile: I like it when the family is big. This is what Catholic families are about and it is amazing. Not like today, people thinking that they shouldn’t have any more children. I can understand for different reasons and I believe that a Catholic family should be big.

God bless :slight_smile:

Lorella:blessyou:


#14

I don’t think she is NOT counting her blessings. I think that her desire to have a larger family is in line with God’s will. Of course NFP is a good solution as her husband is not wanting any more children because it does not compromise her morality. But NFP is NOT the default setting for a Catholic marriage. It is of course moral to use, but her desire for more children is natural within the context of God’s design. I don’t think you should chastise her for that. Also, keep in mind that NFP is no guarantee that a couple won’t have more children (I have two so far while using NFP to prevent), so the spouses should both understand that God MAY send them more children, even while using NFP. They must be open to that fact.


#15

I have been where you are at. It was after three children. We were not Catholic at the time, though we were devout Protestants, and my husband was not interested in any “abstinence-based” birth control. :blush: He also didn’t want more children.

Here is what I did. I asked him not to do anything permanent. Well, I begged him. He saw how much I was in earnest and so he agreed to that. I think he couldn’t understand why I was so against it when his father was a pastor and had had a vasectomy. I showed him the info on the pill being an abortifacient and although he was not completely convinced, I told him I would not under any circumstances go on the pill. This was one area I was stubborn about. The only “compromise” we could find at the time was a barrier method, which I didn’t like either but at least it wouldn’t cause an abortion. (Our Protestant church, of course, encouraged birth control.) Then I prayed like crazy. I am not kidding here. I prayed for two years and kept my mouth shut. I did what I could to be a cheerful wife and mom and my husband had no idea how hard I was praying and what I was hoping for. One day, I didn’t have it in me to pray anymore. I totally gave it up to God, telling Him that He could change me or change my husband but I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I’ll never forget it. I was crying into the dishpan while my kids were all in bed and my husband was at work.

THE VERY NEXT DAY my husband basically told me that he had been wrong, he wanted more kids, and he hoped God would bless us with a bunch of them. Bam—just like that.

We have had three more kids since then. We now have children that are 12 1/2, 10 1/2, 8 1/2, 5, 3 and 1. My husband is still not interested in any type of abstinence :blush: but we do use ecological breastfeeding to space our babies about every two years. We were received into the Church this year at Pentecost and love the fact that, for the the most part, children are viewed as a blessing.

With our fifth child, while I was pregnant we made less than $15,000 that year. It was hard to have faith, hard to trust God, hard to see what God was doing giving us a child at such a time. When he was about 3 months old my husband was offered a position he knew nothing about and it has provided for us nicely for the past 3 years. God provides the pasture for the lambs He sends.

No matter who you are or what the issue is, Jesus says the same thing: “Trust me!” You can trust Him to work in your husband’s life, just like you can trust Him with your salvation.


#16

I’m with you, absolutely!!! I’m even pregnant with my 4th too! :slight_smile: I was one of 4 and I always wished we were a larger family (my mom became a widow at age 30 and never remarried). I do agree with the approach of prayer and discussing it when you see a good moment. Insist on avoiding him take any immoral approach such as a vasectomy etc, but since you are still pregnant with your 4th, at least there is a little time for his heart to soften.
I agree with the pp that says you are not being ungrateful towards your other blessings by wanting to be open to more children. Goodness! Like you mentioned, God may be inclined to give you more kids, and wanting to find His will and do it is what we are all called to do, we need to do it. Sure you can be grateful that your dh accepts NFP (just as you can be grateful he isn’t having an affair or trying to divorce you, etc etc) and grateful for the children that you have, but that does not mean you should not aspire to live your marriage as close to what God wants of you as possible. Now, this isn’t the type of thing you want to lecture him about or anything along those lines. Pray for him, like someone else mentioned, take care of little details, be a loving wife, set example, do sacrifices here and there… if the opportunity comes, talk about it, but be very careful to do it with patience and love and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to know what, when and how to say it. You personally can also talk with a good spiritual director for guidance on what you can do too.


#17

Again, I did not mean for it to appear to be condemnation but as an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the blessings she did have. She seemed to be mourning the fact that this may be her last child and blaming her husband already. Like there is no hope in prayer or faith in her husband, even though, it’s clear that prayer has worked for her in the past on this subject. I was merely trying to suggest she try to look on the bright side of things.

We are to try to discern the proper moral level of children because we are called to be prudent about family size. (See the CCC) NFP is a process of understanding the woman’s cycle. Nothing more. How one uses it (or abuses it) is a different story. NFP SHOULD be a default in marriage. Because as many here will tell you, it provides valuable information associated with the health of the woman, too. NFP and prayer. With both, God’s will be done.


#18

With all due respect, I believe you are slightly off in your analysis. Family size isn’t up to us. We can have far more or far fewer children than we expected or think we want. NFP is a tool that we are allowed to use in order to help us conceive or prevent, but it is not a guarantee and it is certainly not a requirement. And it is not the default. There is nothing in the catechism or other church documents that say that.


#19

I agree. The “default” is openness to life. Preventing pregnancy with NFP is to be used for “grave reasons” and with regrets. If using NFP was necessary or essential to our faith than what about the centuries prior to the 1960’s? Were people practicing a somehow-deficient form of Catholicism?

As I said in my previous post, my husband is not a fan of “abstinence.” He travels for work and so we take the time we have together without referring to a chart or schedule to tell us whether or not we’re “allowed” to. That said, if we had a grave reason to delay having another baby (and I mean “grave” as in, if I had cancer and might be dying)
we would consider that worth the privation we would suffer. Practicing abstinence for a married couple IS a privation. That is why there should be a good reason attached for doing so.

Before we were Catholic, any time we went out with our kids we were asked “You must be Catholic, right?” Our culture still has that view of Catholics, even if within the Church it is becoming strange to see large families. Who knows, in a few years people may start coming up to us and saying, “You must be Muslim, right?” :frowning:


#20

I think the OP needs to sit down and talk to her husband about WHY he doesn’t want any more children.

My wife and I only have two, we thought we would have at least three and as many as five when we first got married. Our oldest son had massive medical problems that required so much of our time (literally months on end in hospitals) and then his home treatment required more intense care than an infant does - and that lasted 5 years. Today we feel his condition is stable enough that we might consider another child but we have to seriously question how good of idea it is. I’m 42, my father died at 52, both of his parents died in their 40s, I had an older brother that died at age 30. The idea that I may not live to see a baby born today graduate from highschool is a very real possibility - much less be around to help with college or ever be a grandfather. At age 48 my mother (to 12 children) suddenly found herself the breadwinner with 4 children and life was very hard on her and the children.

Even if I live to see 60, I see being 52 with a 10 year old being very taxing on me (and the child).


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