Problem: I'm scared of getting married


#1

I’m a 16-year-old girl and I have never dated a boy. I’m still attracted to men though (not that that’s wrong, I guess)

The thing is, I kind of want to get married, be one with another, have a child/children and all that good stuff, but at the same time I don’t. It’s not the responsibilities as a mother or the pain of childbirth (although the latter I’m a bit scared of, but hey, a mom’s gotta be tough anyway), but rather what I’ll have to give up.

I read this one comment on an article that basically said “if you are a married woman and open to life you should be having a baby every couple of years and NOT be working. It is impossible for a woman to be married, have children, and work because the children will be lonely and devoid of parental love.” (I’d also like to vent out my irritation on the fact that the same person said “women, if you’re not going back home, at least quit sports” I mean really). My mom worked when I was young and I NEVER felt devoid of her love. She was always there for me, she taught me the faith, she comforted me when I was sad, etc.

Does a married woman HAVE to have as much children as she can? I know a lot of faithful Catholic families have like six or seven kids or even more than that, but is it wrong for a couple to say, stop at 3? I know NFP should only be used if there is a good reason to space out children, but what if you just don’t plan on having more?
Also, *should *she be a stay-at-home mom? I myself have plans for a career in psychology, and I fear that if I get married I’ll have to just give that up.

Are these just stupid, selfish reasons to not want to be married? I have no problem with a big family and being a stay-at-home mom.
The problem is when I’m told those are mandatory.


#2

I think you have a lot of time ahead of you and that you should not get all worked up about this for one thing. Also, a woman not called to be a nun is not required to get married asap and start having kids asap. If you don't think you'll be happy getting married, then don't. And if you won't be happy having a lot of kids then don't. NFP can be used to space out kids for financial, health, or psychological reasons. You can look that up in Humane Vitae. That last reason means that if three kids are driving you crazy enough and you feel you can't handle any more of it, you can NFP so you don't go crazy. Also, it's a totally normal thing to feel like you want to be a mom because that is the natural vocation of every woman, meaning that every woman is physically designed to be a mother by nature. It does not mean that every woman should be a mother just that every woman has that natural tendency within her. If you really want to be a psychologist, then go ahead and do it but I would also advise you to not be afraid to give that up if at anytime you fall in love with someone and feel called to marriage since marriage is a vocation also and every vocation entails sacrifice. Your trust in God will reward you! :)


#3

St Therese of Lisieux’s mother, Blessed Zelie Martin, wanted to become nun at first but was rejected, and built a lace business before she was married. As I recall it was actually a small factory, with Zelie as owner and manager, and was very profitable. She married at 27, had nine children, and used a wet nurse, so she was similar to a professional mother of today. Zelie and her husband Louis have been regarded as exemplary Catholic parents and have been considered for canonisation.

Perhaps ask Bl Zelie for guidance. :slight_smile:


#4

I am a SAH mom and I totally disagree with that writer!

  1. NO!!! You do not *have *to have a baby every year or two–first of all, God doesn’t always send that many babies, and I’ll take God’s decisions over the writer’s anytime. Marry a good Catholic man and you two prayerfully make those decisions, which are *only between the spouses and God. Period.

  2. And a married couple needs to make decisions based on what is best for their own family. Mothers work… part-time, full-time, a different shift from their husbands, for different reasons: need for that income permanently or temporarily, mother’s need to do this (consider the mother of St Terese of Lisieux who had her own shop!), for educational purposes like affording a good Catholic school, college, so father can go to college for a while, etc.

I sure do hope that was a mscommunication there, because I hate to think a Catholic is spouting stuff like that!!!*


#5

[quote="Steph_L, post:1, topic:327980"]
I'm a 16-year-old girl and I have never dated a boy. I'm still attracted to men though (not that that's wrong, I guess)

The thing is, I kind of want to get married, be one with another, have a child/children and all that good stuff, but at the same time I don't. It's not the responsibilities as a mother or the pain of childbirth (although the latter I'm a bit scared of, but hey, a mom's gotta be tough anyway), but rather what I'll have to give up.
.

[/quote]

You are 16. Finish high school, go to college, then reevaluate whether you want to get married or not. I didn't think I would get married (not that I didn't want to, I just didn't think anyone would want to put up with me. :D) when I was 16. I honestly don't think you should be worried about this right now. :)


#6

You are not required to have children all the time, but you should prayerfully consider if God is asking you to have another child and use NFP to abstain if you don’t feel called or ready to have more children.

Also, women can choose to either be a stay-at-home mom or a working mother. There are two extremist camps that can be quite hostile toward each other. One camp says the children should come first (which is true) but then they take that a step further and say the mom should stay at home with the kids until they’re grown (which is not required and isn’t even possible for most families in our current economy). And the other camp believes that because women weren’t always allowed to work in certain fields that women should be full-time working career women… which is good for some women (not all women want to work a 9 to 5 career job) as long as you are still being a good wife and mother (not ignoring or abandoning one’s family). Women need to be supportive of each other, not tear each other down because they are part of the opposite camp.


#7

Haha. I’m in the same boat, but for different reasons. I’m also 16, have never dated, and although I like guys, I’m really iffy on the idea of getting married- partly because I don’t think I can handle too many kids, and partly because I’ve gotten cynical about it after the death of my father. I’d be too scared that daddy might die and leave me alone to care for all those little ones.

But you know what? We’re 16! We don’t need to know what we’re going to do as far as marriage goes yet. Focus on school and friends and improving your relationship with God. If you want to, date.

I would say that the remarks of that writer are way off-base, though. You don’t have to have a baby every couple of years, and you don’t have to stop working (although I imagine it’s really tough to work and care for really little kids all at once). So I say finish studying psychology and cross that bridge when you come to it.


#8

[quote="Kamaduck, post:7, topic:327980"]
Haha. I'm in the same boat, but for different reasons. I'm also 16, have never dated, and although I like guys, I'm really iffy on the idea of getting married- partly because I don't think I can handle too many kids, and partly because I've gotten cynical about it after the death of my father. I'd be too scared that daddy might die and leave me alone to care for all those little ones.

But you know what? We're 16! We don't need to know what we're going to do as far as marriage goes yet. Focus on school and friends and improving your relationship with God. If you want to, date.

I would say that the remarks of that writer are way off-base, though. You don't have to have a baby every couple of years, and you don't have to stop working (although I imagine it's really tough to work and care for really little kids all at once). So I say finish studying psychology and cross that bridge when you come to it.

[/quote]

I'm 66, have been married 38 years and am still scared of getting married! I have never felt that I have done an adequate job of being a husband, or father, or a man in general.


#9

[quote="Steph_L, post:1, topic:327980"]
I'm a 16-year-old girl and I have never dated a boy. I'm still attracted to men though (not that that's wrong, I guess)

The thing is, I kind of want to get married, be one with another, have a child/children and all that good stuff, but at the same time I don't. It's not the responsibilities as a mother or the pain of childbirth (although the latter I'm a bit scared of, but hey, a mom's gotta be tough anyway), but rather what I'll have to give up.

I read this one comment on an article that basically said "if you are a married woman and open to life you should be having a baby every couple of years and NOT be working. It is impossible for a woman to be married, have children, and work because the children will be lonely and devoid of parental love." (I'd also like to vent out my irritation on the fact that the same person said "women, if you're not going back home, at least quit sports" I mean really). My mom worked when I was young and I NEVER felt devoid of her love. She was always there for me, she taught me the faith, she comforted me when I was sad, etc.

Does a married woman HAVE to have as much children as she can? I know a lot of faithful Catholic families have like six or seven kids or even more than that, but is it wrong for a couple to say, stop at 3? I know NFP should only be used if there is a good reason to space out children, but what if you just don't plan on having more?
Also, *should *she be a stay-at-home mom? I myself have plans for a career in psychology, and I fear that if I get married I'll have to just give that up.

Are these just stupid, selfish reasons to not want to be married? I have no problem with a big family and being a stay-at-home mom.
The problem is when I'm told those are mandatory.

[/quote]

As I guy I find these fears unneeded. Your husband should be helping you with the kids. You can stop at one kid if you want to. My mother and father both work and are happy with their jobs. You can have kids and a job just remember what is more important when planning your time


#10

Everyone here has given very good advice.

I would like to point out to the OP that there are some Catholics who will try to tell her exactly what that article says. Please don't let their words affect you too much... I do have a few male Catholic friends who try to claim that a woman who has a career while fulfilling the vocation of being a mother will not make a good mother, but at the same time, keep in mind that you don't have to choose such men as your own husband. There are Catholic men out there who honor and respect women's career aspirations (with balance, of course!).
Believe me, my mother never worked when I was a child, and I feel like that affected her nurturing side in a negative way later on; she got overbearing when her 4 children stopped "needing her" for basic things like getting dressed and making lunch, and I think she sort of got depressed from it because she was losing her sense of purpose and seriously needed something to occupy her time. Heck, my dad was practically begging her to go back to work (and money was not the issue) after a few years of this had passed since her boredom made her really fixate on asinine things rather than real household and family issues. As long as you as a wife and mother are creating an acceptable balance in your work in family life, I don't see why you cannot have a career and be a mother as well.


#11

I know I’m kind of repeating what others have said. But, the one about the couple themselves prayerfully deciding a) how many kids to have, and b) whether both parents will work or not, is right on, I think. If you have discussed it between yourselves, and have come to an agreeable conclusion that you both believe to be in accordance with God’s will, then it will be a good decision, no matter what it may be. You have plenty of time - you should be able to try to attain your goals in the field of psychology with a clean conscience.


#12

Thanks so much for your advice guys! They really eased my mind a lot, as I am quite sensitive and react easily to other people's words, especially if they're negative.

I'll have to say, my fear came from that comment (I would post a link to it, but I think that would just be rude to the person who wrote it). Which kind of made me reconsider whether or not I want to get married. I always get uneasy when I read posts from some Catholics that can take things to extreme because... well, I do respect other Catholics (and if they were Protestant/something else I wouldn't take it as personally as I would have). I know the people in the Church are not perfect, but sometimes I just don't know who's right and who's wrong...

But yeah, I guess you guys are right that I have a lot of time ahead of me. I will finish studying psychology (not that I've started yet lol).
Also, I've only recently started taking my faith seriously (I did a couple of years back, but I just got so irritated at some Christians that it just kinda led me to not care)

*Haha. I'm in the same boat, but for different reasons. I'm also 16, have never dated, and although I like guys, I'm really iffy on the idea of getting married- partly because I don't think I can handle too many kids, and partly because I've gotten cynical about it after the death of my father. I'd be too scared that daddy might die and leave me alone to care for all those little ones.

But you know what? We're 16! We don't need to know what we're going to do as far as marriage goes yet. Focus on school and friends and improving your relationship with God. If you want to, date.

I would say that the remarks of that writer are way off-base, though. You don't have to have a baby every couple of years, and you don't have to stop working (although I imagine it's really tough to work and care for really little kids all at once). So I say finish studying psychology and cross that bridge when you come to it.*

Hey! A fellow teenager! ^^ I'm always grateful when I see other kids my age being faithful, considering all the bad stuff happening with our generation.
I'm so sorry for the death of your dad, and I pray for his soul.


#13

[quote="Steph_L, post:12, topic:327980"]

Hey! A fellow teenager! ^^ I'm always grateful when I see other kids my age being faithful, considering all the bad stuff happening with our generation.
I'm so sorry for the death of your dad, and I pray for his soul.

[/quote]

If you want to talk to more of us, there's a social group based here on CAF called Catholic Teenagers! You can find it here. It's generally pretty quiet, but there's at least one other active girl there, and we'd love to get to know you better! :D


#14

The only thing that should be “mandatory” is that you discern your vocation and you continually, prayerfully follow God’s will for you. Marriage may NOT be your vocation. OR it may be and then you are to be open to life, that doesn’t mean though you have to procreate every year. Keep in mind as well that fertility is not a guarantee. You may experience infertility from time to time in your marriage if and when you marry. Other hurdles or road blocks may also prevent you from having a big family.

As far as working vs. staying at home, again, its about discerning what is God’s will for you and your future family. There is no right or wrong answer to what a Catholic wife has to do in this area. Some wives and their families greatly benefit from the wife pursuing a career, other families do better with the wife/mother staying at home. But that’s a decision you will make with your future husband when the time comes.

The point is nobody can tell you what is mandatory, other than having to be open to life and honoring your marriage vows. Being open to life does not automatically equal tons and tons of kids. It may…but its not mandatory. Having a ton of kids isn’t going to make you a better Catholic wife/mother than the woman down the street that has only been blessed with one child. What will make you a better Catholic wife/mother is to always be discerning God’s will for you and your family.


#15

Marriage is an awesome responsibility. Parenting even more so. You should have a little trepidation.

As an aside, my first BA degree is in psych - not much can be done in that field without grad school.

Someone mentioned this economy - stay out of debt. If you are not enslaved to debt you will have the financial freedom for you and your mate to choose from a variety of work combinations.


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.