Husband says No Way to a baby. I feel disrespect for him

Hello! I am new to Catholic Answers and have arrived here somewhat desperate. I love my husband. He is a blessing from God. However, we are experiencing lots of stress on our marriage because I want to have another baby and my husband does not.

I feel I am losing some respect for him because I think he is acting so selfishly. Frequently on Sunday in mass, we hear some beautiful version of- die to yourself and live for Christ. He thinks raising the 3 children we have in the church is living for Christ. I tell him, not as much as we could be. I feel we have more to give God, and he is preventing us from doing so. We are supposed to be helping one another get to heaven.

Day to day, my husband is a good husband. He spends time with the children in the evening, takes part in our evening prayers, puts our 2 year old to sleep after I nurse her (while I finish the sleep routine with the other 2). He often cooks dinner and prefers this to doing other things required in the house. He is a good natured, well adjusted, relatively optimistic man in our day to day life. Aside from this topic, he brings much joy to my life and our family.

Praise God, upon reading Pope John Paul’s encyclical, he decided not to have a vasectomy. However, he is using NFP in such a way that is not open to life, with no plans to change that.

To try to describe his reasoning- he says a variety of things that break down to him not wanting to do any of the work involved in another baby, and wanting to get our kids (almost 6, 4 & almost 2) grown up to more easily managed ages. Pope John Paul’s encyclical endeavors to describe acceptable reasons why families would not have another baby. I asked, where do you fall within that list? He says mental health. It seems he fears another baby would put too much of a stress on our family.

I have prayed so much. I go through spells where I don’t bring it up. Yesterday he said I ruined his Sunday by forcing this topic over and over.

We are not financially stressed and both have successful career paths. I don’t wish to be working outside the home, but do it because he doesn’t want the stress of supporting the family alone. That is not the topic I am concerned about. I would happily work forever if it meant getting to expand my family. I am 40 in the fall and don’t have the luxury of being able to pray forever and wait for God to change my husband’s mind.

I feel myself thinking of him as something of a selfish teenager, lacking in perspective. It is making me think of him with less respect.

We are going to a marriage enrichment retreat put on by our diocese. What else should we do? What else should I pray for and consider? I greatly appreciate all thoughts, and including those who could offer a male perspective.

He doesn’t sound like a selfish teenager. Scroll up and read everything else you wrote about him. Contentment with what we have is a very valuable thing.

People are allowed to use NFP to try to avoid conception. You are still open to life.

I think the marriage retreat will be good. It might not do what you are hoping it will do. They aren’t going to persuade your husband that he is wrong for feeling happy with his three kids. It might persuade you to selflessly table the topic for a time. It also might make you both come away from the retreat so madly in love you just can’t help but make a baby. :woman_shrugging:

You mentioned nursing the 2 year old. Maybe he needs more time with just you for a while before thinking of more kids. I know my marriage takes a hit when I get into that trouble weaning a kid who just wants to be on me all the time phase. (Not saying thats where you’re at but its possible)

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Are you able to go on dates? That would be something else to do. Just go enjoy eachothers’ company and don’t talk about babies. Put some currency in the relationship bank apart from the baby talk.

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Welcome! I understand your wish for another baby. But I see nothing in your post that indicates your husband is being anything like a selfish teenager, or anything other than a loving, responsible husband and father.

You know it’s in Scripture that you are to respect your husband. I suggest that you ask God to help you do so and repent of this lack of respect, because it is a problem regardless of whether you think he’s wrong not to try for another baby. It’s also going to badly affect your life together.

I wish you the best.

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My wife and I have four children and our youngest we had very deliberately, is now two and I feel has completed our family. My wife wants a fifth but in addition to God giving us the ability to be fruitful and multiply he also gives us the ability to learn basic math. Lets face it, kids are expensive and they’re only going to become more so. For me, my time is already divided four ways not including my wife and another baby would mean less time for me to devote to my current children, especially during the first couple years. It’s certainly a difficult decision but I think your husband is being anything but selfish.

So many people misunderstand John Paul II’s encyclical, it’s not surprising you have misunderstood it as well.

All of your husband’s reasons for not wanting to have another child are completely legitimate.

You can use NFP conservatively and still be open to life. As long as you will love and accept a “surprise” baby and not have an abortion, you are still open to life while using conservative NFP. Based on everything you’ve posted about your husband, it’s very unlikely he wouldn’t love and accept an unplanned pregnancy.

Your husband is anything but selfish. He is doing everything right.

I can certainly understand why he would feel that way.

I’m going to gently point out that perhaps it is you who is acting selfishly. Demanding to have another baby when your husband is legitimately at his limit as far as the energy it takes to raise a child, and hounding him about it over and over isn’t a loving way for a spouse to act.

And yes, you can go on a marriage retreat, but it won’t likely work out the way you want. No one at the retreat is going to tell your husband he is being selfish and needs to immediately abandon NFP and try to conceive another child. It’s actually more likely that they will tell you to work on being happy with the three beautiful children and loving husband that you have rather than obsessing over having one more.

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I don’t see anything in your husband’s behavior or statements that are disrespectful or immoral.

He is communicating with you honestly and telling you he is at his limit right now.

I encourage you to pray for the wisdom to accept that this may be your family size, given your age and the age of your children, and his current state of mind.

I suggest you back off and stop talking about it and let him make the next move.

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Welcome to the group.

Kids pick up on FAR more than we parents think they do. You would never want your kids to feel that they are “not enough”.

This phrase is very popular in our Catholic world “open to life”, and it is a phrase that is squishy, difficult to define. What the Church uses in official documents is that each marital act must be “ordered toward procreation”.

You have three children, you are not using contraception or sterilization, that my friend is the picture of people who are open to life.

He knows how you feel. Let it be. Continue to monitor your cycles, know that the decision to refrain during fertile times today does not mean that you will refrain next month, or a year from next month.

Retrouaville may be the best choice for a retreat.

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Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree that I need to wean the toddler from nursing and spend more time enjoying my husband!

Yes we do occasionally but could certainly do it more. My in laws would like to babysit more, so that would be good for them too. I understand what you’re getting at. Thank you!

I agree that the lack of respect is unhealthy. It’s part of why I feel desperate because I don’t want to harbor these feelings about my husband and father of my children. Thank you for your well thought out words!

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Remember God has the last say in having another baby. Just pray and accept whatever happens. And pray for your husband.

I can sympathize because I really would like to have one more child and my husband is currently rather firmly against it. I don’t think his reasons are bad and frankly, I don’t think your husband’s sound selfish either. I just have this feeling that there is more coming for our family and I get kind of sad thinking of my current baby as my “last”. I’ve decided to deal with it by accepting that if it is what it best for our family, my husband will change his mind when the time his right. He was very hesitant about our current baby but then he had a change of heart.

I don’t think my husband is at his limit. I can tell when he’s stressed. I can see it on his face before he even speaks a word. He is not often stressed. I also dialogue with him about how he’s doing etc.

That’s why I think when he says he doesn’t want to do the work, it is being the opposite of living as generously as possible.

As I read that encyclical, I see it provides reason why a couple may decide not to have more children. I’m not sure why what I’m saying to be incorrect?

God bless, and thank you for your thoughts!

However, we are not required to actively try to conceive another child just because we are not at our limit. It is okay to have some peace and down time in this life.

Is this maybe about more than just another child?

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This:

And this too:

So…you want to push him until you find his limit? It sounds to me like you’ve got it pretty good. If I were you, I’d just count my blessings and be happy with the good life God has given you.

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No, friend, you do not know for certain how stressed he feels. It is not likely that he dialogues with you about every single thing he is stressed about. You do not know every thought that goes through his head. You also are not likely with him every single second. Perhaps he has these looks of stress on his face when you are not around.

And, if he is not stressed now, but would be stressed with another child in the picture, is it not a legitimate concern on his part?

Having three young children, while making time for your marriage, while holding down a full time job, is work! How is he being “not as generous as possible?” Based on what you’ve posted, he is extremely generous! We are not required to conceive more children and put ourselves over the edge just because it’s technically possible.

There is no list of reasons that are “good enough” for a couple to avoid pregnancy. That is because everyone’s situation is different. Your husband already cited “mental health” reasons for wanting to avoid pregnancy at this time, and that covers a lot of ground.

As everyone has said, there is absolutely nothing selfish or wrong about what your husband is doing.

Please examine your own motives here…is it possible you are hiding behind this encyclical to get your own way?

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No our marriage is quite healthy. It’s only about a child.

No I feel a call from God to have a child deeper than anything I’ve ever felt. I want to have a child for God to have another object for His love, and to strengthen the kingdom of God in earth.

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Maybe your husband doesn’t have that same call?

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