I want a child, my husband doesn't


We agreed to have many children when we were married as Catholics 8 years ago. I have been working towards this goal for years, making money, “setting up house”. 4 years ago he left me for over a year, we got back together, of course, I have since stoped monetarily supporting us, which has left us living very simply, in a studio apt. in an ugly city (he refuses to make money, just enough to support food and rent). I have been so upset because he told me I am “too angry” to have a child and that he would be happy to have a child with someone else, just not me.
I feel like it is the second vow he has broken in our marriage. Please tell me I am wrong and just being selfish, I have been crying for 2 months now. I would love to have a child.


Some one can point to you the official statements regarding this, but in short, you are right and he is wrong, the Church maintains a couple must have children in a marriage provided there is no medical problems and etc. Being in a city or in a studio apartment doesn’t make void that you can’t at least even have one child.


I would be happy to have were something in the church says such but, considering we have both pretty much lost faith, I don’t think it would hold much water. Even though this is the case, I have been able to stick to all of our marriage vows to the best of my ability, no waivering. I feel like I have to choose between a marriage or a child (I probably only have 5-10 years left to conceive).


“He would be happy to have a child with someone else”

If that is not a Freudian slip, I don’t know what is.

I think you have more issues at hand that you know of. A statement like that tells me that he may have thoughts of unfaithfulness.

It sounds to me like he may have some anger.


I think that you need to “set up” a different house before you bring a child into it. You need to have the relationship between you and your husband on the “right track” before you bring a child into your marriage. I do not see the apartment or your finances as a reason to not have a child, but I think that it stands out like a sore thumb that the two of you have issues that you need to work through. Maybe something that a retreat at Retrouvaille www.retrouvaille.org could help out.

The things that stands out to me is when you said:

he told me I am “too angry” to have a child and that he would be happy to have a child with someone else, just not me.

I think that saying that you are “too angry” is an excuse for his true feelings about this. Maybe after 8 years his feelings about children have changed? That would be my thought. Also, having a child with someone else, WHAT?? What did he say after you slapped him? This has to be the most rude and immature thing I have read on here. Time to get to Retrouvaille.


You two have serious issues in your marriage, from your lack of a faith life to your finances and marital problems.

Now is not the time for a child, now is the time for some serious counseling and returning to the practice of your faith.

Go to Church, pray, receive the Sacraments. Let God back into your lives. Go to some counseling with a Catholic counselor, attend Retrouvaille.

You two need to be emotionally healthy first, don’t inflict your issues on a child.


Hey, I’m not married or anything but I’ll pray for you and your husband.


I think there are more serious and immediate issues here that are more urgent then trying to conceive. Your marriage is in trouble and that problem needs to be addressed.

Do you have a “Retrouaville” retreat for married couples available in your area? Please also talk to a priest or deacon for advice.

I will pray for you, this must be so very hard for you. Lean on Christ, he loves you. Hope this helps.



You need help with this marriage -


I agree, you really need help sorting through the marital problems, befor you bring a child into the world…it sounds o me like he has already mentally ‘checked out’ of this relationship…

Anna x


I definitely agree with this comment. I think it’s time to get back to your faith. I think that God is calling you to Him through this situation and through this forum. Please respond to His call. Our lives go to pieces when he is not in our lives. You need Him and He loves you so much. He is waiting for you with open arms.


Thank You for your prayers and replies, please, suggestions are most helpful not just stating “your marriage is in trouble” and agreeing with wideswept statements, don’t worry, I know this.
There is no Retrouville anywhere near us, well, 8 hours away in Las Vegas, I do like what I see. However,my husband does not and will not go to anything regarding the marriage. Any failsafe coersion tactics?
Thank You !!!
PS- Have talked to many priests about past matters (like when he left) and they were no help at all. Actually I went so far as to ask for advice from a Rabbi he gave me the best advice and I think it was because he is married.



I am very sorry to hear about the difficulties and the pain that you face. I can certainly relate with your desire to have a child. It is a good and holy desire.

That said, I agree with the other posters who have said that you need to have a good relationship with your husband before starting a family. Children need to feel secure, safe and they always benefit from seeing their parents in a loving marriage. You and your husband will be their model for marriage and so many other things.

While you may very much enjoy having a child, the presence of a little one in your life will not better your relationship with your husband. The two are separate issues. In fact, a child may very well put more stress on your relationship.

Is there any chance that you can communicate to your husband just how urgent the situation with your marriage is? Is he willing to do anything, no matter how small, to improve the situation? Really what it comes down to is that he needs to be willing to work on the relationship before it will improve and before you bring a child into your marriage.

I am very sorry to hear that you did not receive good advice from the priests in your life. They are, after all, humans like the rest of us. I have been very fortunate to receive excellent advice from priests about a multitude of different topics. Just because they do not marry, does not mean they do not know how to advice married couples. Some of the most beautiful language about marriage that I have ever read was written by Pope John Paul II, who, as you know, was never married.

I urge you to pray daily about your situation. Ask God how He wants everything to work out, even if the situation is daunting.


Well, married or not…I don’t think it matters: in my previous parish we had 2 ex-Anglican married priests (who were both pretty much useless on the marital advice front) and 1 born-and-bred Catholic-and-thus celibate priest (who was marvellous in every way, I swear he could look into your soul and always give the right answer! Very holy man!)

I think if your husband won’t ‘work’ on his marriage, you can do whatever you like, but you’d be deluding yourself…you and he are not on the same ‘page’, and sound like you’re drifting apart, in more ways than just the kids question…so, sit him down and say ‘Is this still worth fighting for?’ and see what he says…You may have very different expectations than he has, and if he wants to stay married to you, he has to listen to what you’ve got to say…otherwise you’ll end up two strangers sharing the same house. Which I’ve seen happen, more than once!

Anna x


When you not so jokingly say “are there any fail-safe coercion techniques” to make a man want to work on a relationship, you don’t have a relationship.

You want to manipulate him and make him do something he doesn’t want to, when he’s already tested life without you and obviously found it okay for a year.

Been there, done that.

Mine was gone for a year. Came back. Eventually decided to leave again. He’s still leading the manly studly swinging bachelor life. It hasn’t made him happy. And his children suffer for watching it.

Be glad you have not yet brought a child into this mess. Other posters are correct when they say a child deserves better and a child won’t fix this.

It doesn’t sound like you have a marriage. It sounds like you are a candidate for annulment proceedings. Was there any time during your dating or engagement or early marriage where he expressed hesitation about having children (or said “In about five or ten years”) or expressed reservations about parenthood? If so, he is just carrying out his original plan. And you don’t have a marriage. That he left so soon after exchanging vows shows a lot of immaturity. His refusal to go to counselling or work on it shows that his heart isn’t in it.

So what is he getting from this? If he loved you, his happiness would be entwined with giving you what you want. Are you just providing disease-free sex for him? Laundry duties and cooking? Is he even being faithful? If he doesn’t go to church there isn’t much to work with there. You seem to be in a relationship where you are being used and he is getting more than he is having to put into it.

Are you going to hang around till you are no longer fertile and surrender your dreams of a family and then wait for him to dump you for a younger woman?

You cannot make someone love you. You cannot force someone to live in accord with church teachings. This is why the Church in Her wisdom says that there is no marriage if BOTH don’t want children.

You need to sit down with husband and really list what your plans for the marriage are, and why he is back if your happiness and what you want don’t count for him. Of course you are angry. He played bait and switch on you. You agreed to marry him based on what he said. Your original Catholic marriage was the right way. Now you are miserable because you have had to abandon those good things. Maybe you find you don’t have faith anymore because you had to throw it overboard to be on the same page with him? Your old Catholicism is still valid. Your new views and all you have had to surrender are not serving you. You are not happy anymore. I suggest that maybe if you went back to the old things you valued you would find some peace.

What you have is a man who agreed to marry you and have lots of children. You worked like a dog for years to make that possible. Then he left. Then he came back and doesn’t want kids. He says he’d have them with anyone but you. You aren’t working. You have no money. He isn’t supporting you or giving you any indication he would be interested in supporting a family.

This is what you do:

Find the person you used to be. Go get a job. Work and put that money in an account for YOU. Go back to church. Find your peace. He will either leave you or fall in love with the woman he used to know. If he leaves, you are at peace with yourself and able to move on and he has not succeeded in destroying you. If he decides to stay and grow up and become a husband and father, then you can find happiness with that too. But in either case, you will continue to be angry without God in your life.


Pray and fast for your husband - sounds like only God can change him.

You also mentioned that you were no longer working, I would advise you to get back in the work force - you may be supporting yourself in the near future.


There is a lot of wisdom in this post. Consider it seriously. You are the only person you can control or change. Don’t surrender your values to what may well be an invalid marriage. Work on yourself. Do not get pregnant until you honestly evaluate whether this marriage is even capable of being repaired in a reasonable amount of time~meaning well before you sacrifice your own fertility or hopes for a loving marriage and family.


I agree with others that this troubled marriage should be fixed before bringing children into it. Many counseling techniques are effective at improving the relationship only if both parties are equally willing to do the work it takes to improve things. However, I believe you said your husband is not willing to work on the marriage with you? That is very troubling, but you asked for specific suggestions, not sweeping statements.

I see great advice in the previous posts; the only thing I have to add is to check out a book by Dr. Dobson (of Focus on the Family fame) called Love Must Be Tough.


The key thing in Dr. Dobson’s book is that even if you are the only one interested in and willing to work on the relationship, there are things that you can do alone to demand respect and better treatment from your husband. Your husband hopefully will improve, he hopefully will stay, but he may not; you cannot control his behavior, only your own. But you will have the self-respect to be all right and at peace either way things turn out.

May God bless you, and may you feel His comforting presence in the struggles ahead.



Check out the Pastorial Solutions Institute. Their web page is at exceptionalmarriages.com
Faithful, helpful, Catholic counseling is available over the phone. Even if your husband refuses to participate they can give you help.

Be brave.


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