Husband still refuses to be open to any children


#1

In the last year I have posted several questions (and prayer requests) at Catholic Answers about my deepening upset over my husband's change of mind about children. We are approaching our one year anniversary, and it might not seem like much to have to wait for a year to try to start conceiving, but...we got married (first time for each of us cradle Catholics) at 40 and 43, and during engagement we talked extensively about trying to start a family after 3 or so months of marriage.

Initially I was in agreement about waiting, since I was so stressed and exhausted before our marriage that my weight had dropped and I wanted to get healthier and move past the stress. After I returned to a healthy weight, the next goal was that we had to "wait" because we were moving to a shared apartment. Then he thought we should "wait" because things were so tense and stressed in our marriage (the dual move, plus work, plus major life transition, which in my mind is normal). Then we had to "wait" because he decided that he doesn't want "his" children living in an apartment and wants us to buy a house first. I tried to remind him that little kids don't know where they are for the first year, and that it might take a long time for us to conceive at our age, and that a baby takes 9 months! Plenty of time to find a house. I also suggested that we should trust God to plan the time course for bringing life to our marriage, and his comment was that he "needs more". When I incredulously asked what he meant by this ("you need more than God???") he said that he wants to make sure that everything is in place financially and that we have a house and that he feels ready.

Of course the first year of marriage is also bound to be stressful, especially when two "older" people are getting married for the first time. During our transition this year things have been very rough at times, and my husband has seemed to be irritated by the changes that marriage can bring. To be fair, sometimes I am as well. He worries constantly that I am not happy all the time and seems to think that until we are happy all the time our marriage isn't "stable". He resists change. He is not the best communicator (defensive and critical). And yet he is consistenty getting better with small changes and in talking about non-happy things without becoming argumentative and mean. He can also be really wonderful and generous, making me Sunday breakfasts, bringing me flowers, doing laundry for us both, planning restful mini-vacations, sending me articles that he knows I will find interesting. Despite life becoming more settled and our friendship growing and plenty of fun happy times, my husband still he thinks we should avoid trying to have children for some indeterminate amount of time.

I have been going to a counselor to try to work through my own grief about the state of this supposed Catholic marriage. My heart is so heavy. I spoke with a priest about my situation four months ago, and his advice was that I concentrate on fulfilling my husband's needs and see if that brings him around. Despite my misgivings about this advice, I have been doing as he suggested and being as kind and loving and generous and happy as I can be, and I have kept my deep saddness and pain inside my heart and tried not to let it show. Nothing has changed.

Last night my husband and I watched a video about the life of St. Gianna, and I thought that perhaps he would be struck by the Holy Spirit (a good holy smackaroo!) and it would be clear to him that he is being deeply selfish and violating his marital vows by eliminating the possibility of children from our marriage. Nothing. Tonight he made it clear that we are still going to abstain from intimacy for the 12 or so days he thinks are "dangerous". I wonder if he is trying to "run down the clock" (perhaps on an unconscious level).

I have prayed, others have prayed, and I have begged God to please convert my husband's heart. I have been so strong in my faith for all my life, despite some tragic and very difficult periods of time, but this situation is causing my faith to fail. I cannot understand how God isn't acting somehow to nudge my husband (toward the truth, so he can exercise his free will), or make things so completely clear to me that this is not a sacramental marriage and it was over before it began. There is nothing at all from God. Nothing but desolation. No prayers answered from St. Gianna (I even prayed while touching her relics), St. Anne, or even Mary ("never was it known that anyone who sought your intercession..."). I feel like God has abandoned me. I so want to believe and be heard by God and to have my prayers miraculously answered like so many others. How much longer should I wait for my husband to have a conversion of heart, especially when I know that he is morally wrong, and the outcome is so dire? How can I bear this suffering, and how can I survive this marriage knowing that the person who is supposed to cherish and love me the most in this world (and he does profess to adore me) is blocking me from having one of my deepest desires. A desire that was knit into me as God created me. It is not just that I want a child -- I desire a strong Catholic marriage and family life, to give everything that I am to my husband and children. It is excruciating to have so much love and generosity and no family to pour myself out for. What should I do? I am at the end of my ability to figure out what I should do or who I can get to help me. Thank you for reading this long post and letting me pour out my heart. Please pray for me, and if there is anyone who can give me any advice, I will be extremely touched and grateful.


#2

I remember your earlier requests and posts, and am sad for your heartache. It could be God is concerned that your husband is not welcoming to children and so your children could suffer harm and hurt as a result, and the fact that your husband doesn't respond to the pain he sees in you seems to indicate that. God can't force others' free will, but all that doesn't ease the pain in your heart, and your desperation that time is running out.

I know my son wasn't awfully keen on having children at his age, though he'd earlier wanted children, but he totally caved because his wife, at your age...married early this year...absolutely longs for children. He loves her so he now welcomes the possibility. He'll be as old as I am now by the time a child (if the Lord grants) reaches 21, as I am for my granddaughter who is 21 this year, (another son's child) and that is a challenge not everyone can accept. Words are easy, but wholehearted love for another person isn't. Perhaps your husband isn't communicating his real feelings and convictions on the matter. Easy to say I adore you, but on my terms being the underlying message. It's very human, but in the matter of denied children it is heartbreaking.

From his viewpoint...it's not unusual for people to be scared of their life changing, of the challenges and anxieties and inconveniences that children can bring, and want to keep things as they are, hoping to win out with delaying tactics. When expecting a child parents can be quite nervous about the disruption that may result, and the changes that necessarily come...and perhaps your man just simply won't take the risk, doesn't want to lose what you have, so stalls, while doing his best to keep you sweet in other ways. Either you accept him in his limitations, or you continue to suffer and plead for the privilege to become a mother. Either way it remains a profound heartbreak for you.

You realize it isn't God's heart that needs softening, of course, but your husband's.
A priest once wrote to me, "Free will is a two-edged sword pointed directly at the heart of God." God's heart shares your pain.
I ask God to help you in whatever way He can.


#3

[quote="GraceIsEnough, post:1, topic:251580"]
In the last year I have posted several questions (and prayer requests) at Catholic Answers about my deepening upset over my husband's change of mind about children. We are approaching our one year anniversary, and it might not seem like much to have to wait for a year to try to start conceiving, but...we got married (first time for each of us cradle Catholics) at 40 and 43, and during engagement we talked extensively about trying to start a family after 3 or so months of marriage.

Initially I was in agreement about waiting, since I was so stressed and exhausted before our marriage that my weight had dropped and I wanted to get healthier and move past the stress. After I returned to a healthy weight, the next goal was that we had to "wait" because we were moving to a shared apartment. Then he thought we should "wait" because things were so tense and stressed in our marriage (the dual move, plus work, plus major life transition, which in my mind is normal). Then we had to "wait" because he decided that he doesn't want "his" children living in an apartment and wants us to buy a house first. I tried to remind him that little kids don't know where they are for the first year, and that it might take a long time for us to conceive at our age, and that a baby takes 9 months! Plenty of time to find a house. I also suggested that we should trust God to plan the time course for bringing life to our marriage, and his comment was that he "needs more". When I incredulously asked what he meant by this ("you need more than God???") he said that he wants to make sure that everything is in place financially and that we have a house and that he feels ready.

Of course the first year of marriage is also bound to be stressful, especially when two "older" people are getting married for the first time. During our transition this year things have been very rough at times, and my husband has seemed to be irritated by the changes that marriage can bring. To be fair, sometimes I am as well. He worries constantly that I am not happy all the time and seems to think that until we are happy all the time our marriage isn't "stable". He resists change. He is not the best communicator (defensive and critical). And yet he is consistenty getting better with small changes and in talking about non-happy things without becoming argumentative and mean. He can also be really wonderful and generous, making me Sunday breakfasts, bringing me flowers, doing laundry for us both, planning restful mini-vacations, sending me articles that he knows I will find interesting. Despite life becoming more settled and our friendship growing and plenty of fun happy times, my husband still he thinks we should avoid trying to have children for some indeterminate amount of time.

I have been going to a counselor to try to work through my own grief about the state of this supposed Catholic marriage. My heart is so heavy. I spoke with a priest about my situation four months ago, and his advice was that I concentrate on fulfilling my husband's needs and see if that brings him around. Despite my misgivings about this advice, I have been doing as he suggested and being as kind and loving and generous and happy as I can be, and I have kept my deep saddness and pain inside my heart and tried not to let it show. Nothing has changed.

Last night my husband and I watched a video about the life of St. Gianna, and I thought that perhaps he would be struck by the Holy Spirit (a good holy smackaroo!) and it would be clear to him that he is being deeply selfish and violating his marital vows by eliminating the possibility of children from our marriage. Nothing. Tonight he made it clear that we are still going to abstain from intimacy for the 12 or so days he thinks are "dangerous". I wonder if he is trying to "run down the clock" (perhaps on an unconscious level).

I have prayed, others have prayed, and I have begged God to please convert my husband's heart. I have been so strong in my faith for all my life, despite some tragic and very difficult periods of time, but this situation is causing my faith to fail. I cannot understand how God isn't acting somehow to nudge my husband (toward the truth, so he can exercise his free will), or make things so completely clear to me that this is not a sacramental marriage and it was over before it began. There is nothing at all from God. Nothing but desolation. No prayers answered from St. Gianna (I even prayed while touching her relics), St. Anne, or even Mary ("never was it known that anyone who sought your intercession..."). I feel like God has abandoned me. I so want to believe and be heard by God and to have my prayers miraculously answered like so many others. How much longer should I wait for my husband to have a conversion of heart, especially when I know that he is morally wrong, and the outcome is so dire? How can I bear this suffering, and how can I survive this marriage knowing that the person who is supposed to cherish and love me the most in this world (and he does profess to adore me) is blocking me from having one of my deepest desires. A desire that was knit into me as God created me. It is not just that I want a child -- I desire a strong Catholic marriage and family life, to give everything that I am to my husband and children. It is excruciating to have so much love and generosity and no family to pour myself out for. What should I do? I am at the end of my ability to figure out what I should do or who I can get to help me. Thank you for reading this long post and letting me pour out my heart. Please pray for me, and if there is anyone who can give me any advice, I will be extremely touched and grateful.

[/quote]

These are the kind of things that make you wonder if the wife is allowed to force the husband for conjugal dues
:hmmm:


#4

All I can say is....simply keep praying.

My Lord please help our sister and her husband so that their matrimony may have kids so that they as a family may give glory to you my God.

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death
Amen.


#5

You need to speak to a priest, possibly a different one. Ask for a referral to a Catholic marriage counselling service, and persuade your husband to go. If he refuses, go on your own. You need to suggest it to your husband as a way of finding better ways for both of you to communicate with each other, as you came to marriage at a later age.

You have been taking all your husband's feelings on the matter onboard, he needs to do the same with yours. He seems to think that things have to be "perfect" all the time, within a marriage or when a child arrives and that it is his job to make things that way. You need to tell him, hopefully at the counselling, that things do not need to be perfect and help him to explore the reasons he feels this way. If he thinks you need to be happy all the time, tell him that there is no way you can be happy until you are trying for a child. Point out that even with the quickest timescale for conception, it will be at least two years before the child was in a position to "need" to live in a house. If he refuses, then I think you need to seriously question if this is a marriage at all. If he has gone into this with the intention of not having children, then isn't that grounds for an annulment?

I will pray and pray again that it does not come anywhere near that point but perhaps he needs a wake-up call. I hope that things can be sorted out, and I will ask St Gerard Marjella to allow you to become a mother as soon as possible. There is a religious community that make and distribute relics of St Gerard, the request form is here: papastronsay.blogspot.com/p/relics-of-st-gerard-majella.html

I hope that your husband will come to his senses, I will be praying for you.

God bless


#6

Dear Grace,

from what you have written it seems that your husband is very comfortable the way things are. You pretend you are happy and try not to show your real feelings about this matter. You do things that make him happy and feel secure. Things are great on the surface. At the same time he is constantly making up excuses and finding new reasons why having children would be a bad idea. You don't have a house now. Maybe when you get a house he will insist you get a bigger one before you have a child. Or have ready funds for the kids' education. There is always something more we can have and use as an excuse to avoid having children.

I think you need to have a very honest conversation about this. Be prepared to hear things you don't want to hear, for example that he really doesn't want children. In that case you will have to come up with a plan B. Discussing the validity of your marriage with a priest would be a place to start. I really, really hope that it doesn't come to this but you have one life to live and being with a man who doesn't want to give you what you desire most (and have a right to since you are married) will always be a source of great pain and frustration.

Please don't blame God for this situation but find courage in Him.


#7

It seems to me that he may not have had any intentions of having children in the first place. Tricking someone, deceiving them, or being dishonest about one's feelings and having no intentions of having children in the first place is grounds for annulment in the Catholic Church.

I would confront him flat out and insist on him being straight up with you. You don't have time to play the "let's all be supportive game". Either he is going to be open to children or not. If not, you need to be able to know that and then make your decision accordingly. I can say for me if my marriage causes me more pain that happiness and my husband is only doing nice things to placate me and he's stalling and being dishonest, it sounds as if he hasn't been honest, and without honesty there is no marriage. I looked honestly at the marriage and one of God's signs to me I didn't have a sacramental marriage was there was no signs of the fruits of the Spirit in my marriage and no signs of true abiding happiness. Even in the midst of trials there should be a deeper sense of companionship/love/sharing the struggles together.

I will pray for you.


#8

Dear heart:

I married a man like yours and I am childless today. And we will likely divorce after over 30 years together. When I realized he had denied me my heart's desire I couldn't come out of the grief and depression. I still love my husband, but wonder if he ever really loved me.

I pray your husband's heart will soften. You will never be happy if your deepest wishes, founded in love for God and your Catholic faith, are denied.

Gob Bless you.


#9

Does your husband understand the statistics and potential difficulty involved in conceiving at your ages? Maybe he truly believes you have a lot of time to wait? Many people overestimate how easy it is to get pregnant in their late 30's and early 40's because they see so many people- both celebrities and people in they know in real life- who are doing so. Many of these folks have resorted to unethical methods of artificial reproduction, however- something it sounds like neither of you are comfortable doing.

I agree, of course, with the above suggestions of counseling and, most of all, praying, but would your DH also attend a medical doctor's visit with you? Perhaps hearing the statistics from a medical professional would help to persuade him that you don't have all the time in the world to wait for a perfect situation to have a baby.


#10

It sounds to me that your husband doesn't want children but he is also afraid to lose you. Maybe that is why he is trying to placate you.

You need to figure out what you want to do. Are you looking at a divorce if he tells you he never wants children? Or is it something you could live with?


#11

I think you need to be in counseling together. You guys need to talk to a priest together. And you need to decide what you will do if your DH doesn't want kids ever. Like PP's have said, if your DH lied to you and is refusing to have a family now that you guys are married, it is grounds for annulment. I really hope you guys can resolve this. Oh, and I'd suggest you both see your OB together and have your dr. tell him what the odds are of conceiving the longer you wait. :thumbsup:

Prayers,

KG


#12

What she said.


#13

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