If you don't want kids, does that mean you shouldn'tget married?


#1

Since we are pretty much required to be open to children within a marriage, if one doesn't want kids, does that mean he/she shouldn't get married ever??


#2

As a general rule, marital giving calls for openness to children. So I understand that it is expected to be a part of a sacramental marriage.


#3

:smiley: If you are truly Catholic, & you truly do NOT want kids, then yeah… being single just might be your vocation.

Might want to ask yourself why you do not want kids. I don’t want to know why, but maybe it would help you to know.

And for what it’s worth…I’m married, 23 years, 7 children, and believe me… there are plenty of times I DO NOT WANT KIDS. haha. It’s just that I thought it seemed like a good idea at the time. Usually though, they are just fine to have around.

Good LUck!


#4

As I remember it from pre cana, if you are attempting to enter into a marriage with no intent to bring any children into the world at all or to adopt, then the marriage will not be grated and won't be valid. This is different from knowing your're infertile, its the willful decision to never have children.


#5

Yeah, you might want to ask yourself why you don’t want to have children, because not only is it the vocation of a married person to have children, but it might be a little hard for you to find a Catholic spouse who feels the same way anyway!

If you are sure you don’t want children then perhaps you should look into either religious life or some other life of service to others, since to live alone without anyone else (spouse or children or community) could end up becoming a very selfish and self-indulgent lifestyle. Having some kind of self-giving occupation or ministry would help prevent this.


#6

[quote=nunsense]If you are sure you don’t want children then perhaps you should look into either religious life or some other life of service to others, since to live alone without anyone else (spouse or children or community) could end up becoming a very selfish and self-indulgent lifestyle. Having some kind of self-giving occupation or ministry would help prevent this.
[/quote]

While many of us single people live alone not all do - some may live with family members or share a house or flat. Some of us recognise that living alone is the best option for us but that does not mean we do not serve others in other ways.

Also think it is wrong to assume that single people are more prone to a selfish and/or self-indulgent lifestyle than those who live with others. It does cost more to live alone and those sharing acconmodation, without dependents, are more likely to be able to afford a self-indulgent lifstyle.


#7

You miss my point and are taking this personally, which is a shame since it was not intended as a slur on anyone, living alone or with other people. What I was trying to say (obviously very clumsily) is that when a person has only themself to think about, they can become more self-centered, unless they are involved with activities that take them outside their own needs, wants and desires. Self-indulgence does not just refer to material possessions, but to a way of life or thinking that focuses on self, rather than on others. A person who lives in community, or in a marriage, or with children, or even as a caregiver, must consider the needs of others as well as themself, must compromise and share and sometimes put others first.

I too am a single person sharing a flat and on a low income. I don’t spend a lot of money but I know that my thinking could become quite self-indulgent or that I could spend too much time thinking about myself, or even become slothful, but I keep to a regular routine of prayer and involve myself in activities such as cleaning our church once a week and volunteering for Catholic Charities in a variety of ways. In the past I fostered children as well, but I am not currently in a living situation where I could do this now, or I would. A person can fill their day with activities, but if some of these activities aren’t of benefit to others, then I would say that they are leading a very self-centered and self-indulgent lifestyle, money or no money! You say that you serve others in other ways, so I don’t see why you object to what I said - that is exactly what I proposed to avoid self-indulgence - serving others! Wonderful!


#8

Yes, there is a way in which I take comments like those above personally and this is because I think it is inapproriate for single people like us (especially those who are living alone) to be constantly reminded to make sure that we are not living a self-centred or selfish way of life.

To me it seems to overlook that those living in other situations eg marriage and children or with their middle-aged children are not immune from living life selfishly or self-centredly. After a few decades it begins to grate and sometimes I overbite!!!!!!!

And this is also true of people in other living situations

Think where this gets me is because many people's definition of serving others (and I am not accusing you of this) is so narrow often restricting it to the physical care of the young, aged and infirm.

Spending time with them, doing messages and chores for them fine - but not physical care. For some other types of helping people eg getting them the information they need just doesn't count.


#9

Amen, Salonika, amen! :thumbsup:

I never married because I didn’t want to bring children into the kind of world we have today. I live alone because there was no other alternative for me. I’m considered ‘too old’ for religious life, and I’ve ‘been there, done that’ with Third Orders [twice]. I live a solitary life and stay ‘under the radar’ as much as possible. I prefer the hidden life to having my hands into all sorts of activities.

Maybe to some it sounds selfish-but I don’t think so. I’m solitary by nature. But I resent it when people say that because a person ends up being single [by choice or by circumstance], that person is stigmatized as ‘selfish’. Being alone sometimes is preferable to being in an abusive marriage and having children who won’t listen to anything you try to teach them to live an honest and virtuous life.


#10

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:9, topic:181954"]
Amen, Salonika, amen! :thumbsup:

I never married because I didn't want to bring children into the kind of world we have today. I live alone because there was no other alternative for me. I'm considered 'too old' for religious life, and I've 'been there, done that' with Third Orders [twice]. I live a solitary life and stay 'under the radar' as much as possible. I prefer the hidden life to having my hands into all sorts of activities.

Maybe to some it sounds selfish-but I don't think so. I'm solitary by nature. But I resent it when people say that because a person ends up being single [by choice or by circumstance], that person is stigmatized as 'selfish'. Being alone sometimes is preferable to being in an abusive marriage and having children who won't listen to anything you try to teach them to live an honest and virtuous life.

[/quote]

You are both smarting under perceived insults which just are not there. I am assuming that this has been an issue for you both in the past, and that is why this is causing you such concern. I am single too, and considered too old for religious life (although I don't accept this) and I have also had children (adopted two) that are grown and independent and living far away. I know for a fact that on my own, there is more tendency to focus on myself. Just taking this thread too personally is a sign of self focus, in my opinion, since it isn't meant to be about anyone in particular, but about single life in general. Even God said that it is not good for man to be alone, because we are meant to be interactive beings, loving and serving each other. If circumstances lead us to a solitary life, then we need to see how we can still make that life about others, even if not in a physical way. Cloistered nuns never interact with the public, but they offer up prayers for the world - they are thinking of others. They do have the benefit of community life, but it is just an example of how any activity (even prayer) can be about and for others). The amount of time we spend thinking about ourselves should be limited to what is essential for our well being and survival and sanctity.

The simple fact of being around others (no matter what the situation) makes more demands for compromise and self-sacrifice than spending a lot of time alone. That is why hermits are almost always expected to have lived in community before they go off to be alone with God, so they know how to focus their thoughts and prayers on others. This is not to say that married people or religious in community can't be selfish! Of course they can be, and often are - perhaps that is why God has put them in that situation - to teach them how to compromise and think of others before themselves.

It is basic human nature to be selfish, from the time we are first born and think that the world revolves around us as a baby. But as we grow, we interact with others and learn about sharing and relating and finally serving each other. The reason that many marriages fail is because the couple disagrees on who is "giving" more in the relationship. So don't think that I am saying that marriage or religious life is necessarily a holier state than single life, I am not. I am just saying that the dangers inherent in the single life are different than those in married or community life - the main one being focus on self.

Try to make this a little less personal and you will see what I am talking about. Just as water is wet, single life is about self -- UNLESS the person makes effort for it not to be. Try to see what I am saying as sort of a caution sign on the road - saying "Warning, Beware, Danger, Don't fall into this hole!"

As for the type of service offered to others, I don't think I personally made any mention of any kind of service - what I am saying is that anything done for others is NOT done for self (hopefully) and so will take one outside self. If you give messages or do errands or just sit and keep someone company, the point is that you are thinking about someone else. To live of just prayer for others does require a great level of personal and spiritual maturity though, so most service for others (in the beginning at least) needs to be of some personal, interactive kind to really take one outside self - even things as simpleas sorting clothes in an charity shop or folding leaflets for a cause, which are pretty solitary activities but are done for others. I clean our church for two to three hours once a week and I do this entirely alone, which is heaven for me. It is a solitary activity but I am doing it so that the congregation will have a nice clean church to come into on Sunday mornings. There are just so many different ways that service can be done to take focus off of self.

And perhaps one of the reasons I think that people with children are less likely to be as self-centered as single people (although not always - I am talking the "ideal" here) is that having a child is an unrelenting responsibility, there is no time off from thinking and caring about their well being, even if there can be physical time off. Now before you start telling me about all of the really selfish parents you know, remember that I was a foster parent for many years, and have probably seen it all! We are talking generalities here, and what doesn't apply to you, leave. If something is poking at you a little, maybe you do need to re-examine your situation and see if you couldn't do just that little bit more for others - that is not for anyone else to determine except the person involved. But if someone told me that single life could become selfish - instead of taking offence, I would just say "Thanks, I need to remember that so I don't fall into that hole!" We are all human, we are all sinners, we all need grace.
pax xti


#11

[quote="HeWillProvide, post:1, topic:181954"]
Since we are pretty much required to be open to children within a marriage, if one doesn't want kids, does that mean he/she shouldn't get married ever??

[/quote]

A permanent intention against children is an impediment to a valid marriage.


#12

[quote="HeWillProvide, post:1, topic:181954"]
Since we are pretty much required to be open to children within a marriage, if one doesn't want kids, does that mean he/she shouldn't get married ever??

[/quote]

Yes, I would think this person would not be called to marriage. Marriage is about the union of spouses and being open to children with each marital act.

Now, a physical inability to have children, infertility, does not prevent a couple from entering marriage. Only if they actively prevented those children from coming into this world.


#13

If you intend to never have children without a just reason for doing so (simply not wanting to probably is not a just reason), then you would not be able to validly marry.

But keep in mind that the understanding on marriage has changed in the past and may change again.

Personally I don’t think it makes sense to forbid marriage to people who don’t intend to have children even when they are healthy and able. Marriage is about so much more than children.


#14

You don't have to want children, you just have to be willing to accept the gift of a child or children should God bless you with them. Wanting children, really isn't the be all and end all people think it is.


#15

Wouldn’t presume to speak for Barb as each person has their own experiences and even when different people have the same experiences we react to them in different ways.

What I do smart about are the assumptions that are made about those of us who have chosen to be single and the feeling of many people that they have the right to warn us about the dangers that it holds for us. Some of these are intended as insults and others are not.

I might feel different if the same things were said to people who were married and to religious but for some reason these are not made. But to do this would be socially unacceptable and justifiably so.

Of course in the single life was have to focus more on ourselves. We are responsible for ourselves, for earning a living, for caring for any dependents, to getting repairs done etc etc. In multi-person households these tasks are shared so each person seems less absorbed.

The difference is being that in relation to the single life is that some people have a tendency to stress the dangers while in relation to other states these are often seen as secondary.

Would you put a similar sign up of cautions for marriage or the religious life? If not, why not? Stress the dangers and disadvantages of a state of life hardly adds to the status of those who are on the receiving end.

And perhaps one of the reasons I think that people with children are less likely to be as self-centered as single people (although not always - I am talking the "ideal" here) is that having a child is an unrelenting responsibility, there is no time off from thinking and caring about their well being, even if there can be physical time off.

Don’t think it is necessarily having a child that makes people less self-centred, but that the care for children comes from within and would be shown in other ways if a person did not have children.

Also I think that the term “self centred” has both positive and negative connotations though most societies tend to use if mainly in the negative sense. Being self-centred is positive when you know yourself, know what you believe and are not at the beck and call of any whim that comes along.

We can probably all benefit from such reflection. And maybe I need to learn to deflect sometimes when people make what I consider are inappropriate comments.

But this is difficult when I feel I am being judged only on my state of life.

Perhaps it’s a bit like as a child being told by people “of course you’ll be selfish and unable to share, all only children are”.

Also it hits because I believe that people should assessed and related to according to their qualities not their state of life.


#16

A person who has children and want to have them isn’t any more selfless than someone who doesn’t want children and doesn’t have them. If someone really wants children and doesn’t have them for some “greater cause”, they could claim to be more selfless than someone who is doing something consistent with their desires.


#17

The Church’s understanding,and the understanding of Judaism and indeed of virtually all other religions, societies and cultures throughout history, is that the primary and essential purpose of marriage is the conception and upbringing of children. The Church has never changed this understanding of marriage and it never will.

If you intend never to have children, REGARDLESS of whatever your reason is, you are unable to validly marry,


#18

That’s not true, relatively recently the Church has recognized the unitive purpose of marriage as well as the procreative one. Also, as far as I know, other religions don’t forbid marriage to couples not intending to procreate.

So your position is that if a woman has a heart condition that would kill her if she got pregnant and intends to have children as a result that she can never validly marry? Doesn’t sound like Church teaching to me.


#19

[quote="flyingfish, post:16, topic:181954"]
A person who has children and want to have them isn't any more selfless than someone who doesn't want children and doesn't have them. If someone really wants children and doesn't have them for some "greater cause", they could claim to be more selfless than someone who is doing something consistent with their desires.

[/quote]

A lot of people on this thread are taking things way too personally and I don't see any point in restating the same things over and over again about selfish vs selfless. Either a person gets it or they don't. Selfish is focusin on self and selfless is focusing on others.

As for the main topic of this thread, that has been answered over and over again, and anyone who still isn't sure, might want to post in the Ask An Apologist forum to get a final and definitive answer, but according to the Catholic Church the main purpose of marriage is procreation, and if someone is physically able to procreate but has no intention of having children, then they shouldn't get married.


#20

The Church has always recognised the unitive purpose of marriage. Recently she has emphasized it more, but she has definitely not stated that the unity of man and wife has displaced the procreation and upbringing of children as the primary and essential purpose of marriage. And she never will.

Also, as far as I know, other religions don’t forbid marriage to couples not intending to procreate.

Until the mid 20th century all major Christian groups did. And until the late 20th century, no major group of any kind denied the fact that the primary and essential purpose of marriage as a natural human institution is the procreation and upbringing of children. Even today this novel idea is common only in rich white Western countries.

So your position is that if a woman has a heart condition that would kill her if she got pregnant and intends to have children as a result that she can never validly marry? Doesn’t sound like Church teaching to me.

It’s not “my position”, it’s the truth taught by the Church. The Church didn’t cause her to have a heart condition. Your argument is analagous to the “gay” establishment’s preposterous claim that the Church “unjustly discriminates” against people with same-sex attraction disorder by “telling them they can’t validly marry”.

If I have a condition which causes me to have dizzy spells, I’m not going to be allowed to get a pilot’s licence. This is not unjust discrimination. Same with the case you mentioned. If for any reason you don’t want to have children, then don’t get married.


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