Question from Confused Fiance


Ok, so I’ve been engaged for a couple months and everything started out great. I met her at a christian concert and we both had the feeling we were meant for each other from the moment we laid eyes on each other. Things were going great until a little while after I proposed. Now she is worried about some issues and I don’t know how to handle some things we face.

The main issue we face is she now tells me she doesn’t want to have children. She is in vet school (1 year left) so she is stressed out and low on time and never has had time for herself, so she thinks kids would be a big time burden. She also says she has never had a maternal instinct. The main problem is I don’t want kids now, but probably in a few years after we get married. She also said she would have kids if I want to, cuz she wanted to make me happy (but doesn’t really want them).

I guess I’m just looking for advice on how to handle this situation. Will she come to enjoy kids after she would give birth? Also what is the christian viewpoint on not having children (avoiding having them)? Thanks a bunch for any responses.


No, no, no, no, and again, NO!!! If you really want children, you either cannot marry this woman, or you cannot marry her until she is sure SHE WANTS to have children. Children deserve to be wanted by both parents. They are so time consuming and they take so much love and effort. Parenthood is not something you can do only because your spouse wants it. If she does that, she’ll resent you and the children for all the effort she has to divert from the things she really wants to do. And that is very damaging to children. They know when they are wanted and when they are not.

I’m not sure someone can get married in the Catholic church if they have stated an intention not to have children. (If you can’t have them through no fault of your own, that’s different, I am talking about the intention, here.) In the wedding ceremony, you take a vow to accept children lovingly from God. You can’t do that if you refuse to accept them at all!


Thanks Dusky, I know what you are saying. With the time commitment and love needed for children, both parents need to be behind the decision to have them. It’s hard for me right now because I love this girl so much and she is so perfect for me, besides this issue.
She says she doesn’t and has never had that maternal instinct. Do you think there is a maternal instinct in women and not in others? I’m confused on that because I thought women were supposed to want to have children. I don’t know if she truly doesn’t want them or if she just wants time to herself and thats why.


I agree with Dusky and hope that you will realize that Marriage is a Vocation.

It has uncomfortable trappings that go with it if one thinks they can make it up as they go along.

May I suggest you wait until you are in a situation that is more open to life?

I know this sounds archaic, prudish even. Maybe I am upsetting your sensibilities by saying this. But, I do think you and she are most worthy of a great start together in life, therefore my comments.

I am a nag at heart.

Hell, after all is real. And, I know you think about that too. We all do.

Back on topic, I will add that you both have a lot to offer the community in the vocation of marriage as a sacrament. And will be willing to obey God before your own desires, no matter how hard the sacrifice may seem today.

Because, you are worth it as a child of God Almighty.


I’m so sorry you didn’t know about this prior to proposing to her. This is big. Huge. The issue of children is so important, and not something to be taken lightly. This would be a major deal breaker for me, because I wouldn’t assume I could change anyone’s mind about something so serious. I am also a college educated woman (like your fiancee). I have wanted children since I was 3 years old, and yes, even while going to university. It has always been in my heart, and I would NOT have married my husband if there was any doubt regarding his willingness to accept children as a vital part of marriage.

Your profile says you are Catholic, and you didn’t specifically say if your fiancee was, but Catholics are bound by the sacrament of marriage to accept children lovingly from God. I really get the impression that you want to do the right thing and follow God’s plan for yourself. You didn’t say how long your engagement was going to be, but the engagement period is the perfect time to truly discern if this is the woman for you. You obviously love her, so I would recommend that you only marry her if she ever decides she wants kids. She must really want them, not just because you want them. Like duskyjewel said, children deserve to be wanted by both of their parents. You owe your future children at least that much.


I would say that it’s perfectly natural for a woman to want children, and I have never understood those who do not. That said, I have known plenty of women who have claimed they never wanted kids, only to meet the right man, and then want nothing else than to bear their husband’s children. I agree with the previous posters - Either wait until you are both open to life, or find someone else who is. They are out there.

I hate to be such a rational, logical person, :wink: but no one is perfect for anyone else… There’s always more than one incompatibility, the key is to minimize the most important ones.


I have heard of some women who spend their 20s thinking they don’t want kids, but then it’s like some alarm goes off in their head when they cross the threshhold of 30, and they suddenly do want them. For some, it happens even later.

I can’t really relate, because I knew I wanted to be a mother when I was a teenager. Boy did I make my feminist mother angry when I told her I thought I could be perfectly happy being “just” a mother. (You can tell I had no idea of what motherhood entails when I said that! :wink: ) But I know there are many women different from me, for whom the desire comes on much later.

And then there are those who never want to have children. A very small minority, but there.

I don’t know how you find out which your fiancee is except to wait. You have to decide, I guess, how long you are willing to wait for her to discern this. I know people hate to hear this, but love is not enough. There has to be more foundation than that for an exclusive, lifelong relationship to be successful.

Maybe it would be helpful for her to talk to other women, some who didn’t have children until 30, 35 or later, and some who had them young like me. And some who decided not to have them at all. She might get a lot of insight from them. I think women who have kids young have an advantage on the “time to yourself” front or for having careers, because they are still young when all their kids are in school all day.

But you still have to actually want them when you have them. There is no replacing that.

Good luck.


Thanks for the responses everyone. I understand what you are all saying and it makes sense. The hard part is actually waiting. Some things I didn’t mention about her are as follows: first of all, she is 25 years old; one thing she has always been hurt by is her parents were poor and she has worked very hard her whole life (she had to take care of her brother growing up, worked at a job in high school, and has worked very hard in college). Her parents also seem to care about her now but I don’t think they spent a bunch of time with her growing up. So I know she has other issues she struggles with and wonder if that could be partly why she doesn’t want kids. Maybe she does need to figure some of those issues out first…


That could be, that she had enough taking care of her brother and working hard, she hasn’t really had time to enjoy being young. Maybe she needs some time to learn how to have fun.

I never had much of a maternal instinct and never liked taking care of other people’s children, but I fell in love with mine when I had them. It was a whole new dimension to life. Of course it is a big responsibility, perhaps that scares her.
I suggest you give her a little time, meanwhile study the catechism together so you know what God requires of married couples.
God bless.


It may sound a little odd to some of the forumites, but have you perhaps discussed the what-ifs of having children? She sounds so strong and motivated, a ‘hero’ eldest-child if there ever was one (I really don’t think these things are necessarily split along sex/gender role lines, but personality and experience). So, maybe what worries her is not being able to work and defend and care for her family in the way that she is used to thinking about these things and conducting herself. Would you be willing to give up your career to stay home and take care of any children? Or meet her partway possibly?


When you go to see a priest about filling out the paperwork for a Catholic Marriage, one of the first things he will ask you and your fiancee is if you are willing and able to have children. If you make it to your ceremony he will ask you in front of your friends and family if you will willingly and lovingly accept children. There’s no way around it.


the Christian view is that marriage has two purposes, the union of the spouses in Christ and procreation of children. If a person enters into marriage without the intent to embrace this dual purpose, and with deliberate intent to frustrate either purpose (i.e., does not intend marital fidelity and/or intends to use any means to avoid having children) no valid marriage can occur. Marriage for this woman, if her situation is in fact as you describe, she intends not to have children, is not a possibility, there is no way you can contract a valid marriage.

A person who does not want children is a person who does not want marriage. No one, of whatever religious or moral persuasion has a right to the comforts and rights of marriage including and especially the marriage act outside a valid marriage. OP describes a woman whose vocation is to single life.

I suspect OP does not fully describe the circumstances and attitudes of this woman. I suspect there is a lot more to her story, a lot more depth in her reasons for fearing or avoiding maternity. I further suggest, that irregardless of the engagement, her personal happiness and well-being depend upon her discovering, through therapy, prayer and any other means, the basis of her fears and dealing with them. That however is beyond the question of OP, but if he cares for her, he should be aware of it.


I think a lot of women who have had to work their way to school, and had a lot of responsibilities placed on their shoulders to care for others, often feel this way in their mid-twenties. It sounds like your fiance may need some time for “herself” after finishing school.

A lot of friends I knew in my twenties said they never wanted kids, but once they met the right one, they changed their mind. That being said, I have one friend (who left the Church about ten years ago), who knows she does not want kids, and is clear about this when dating.

I am 31 and still single. I hope to find Mr. RIght and have kids one day. But it wasn`t until the last couple of years I felt ready for this. I had worked my way through college and graduate school, and then it took a little while to find a job that paid enough to make ends meet. I was so overwhelmed and so broke and needed to know I could take care of myself, before even thinking about marriage and kids. Your finance may need more time to learn this for herself.

I strongly recommend prolonging your engagement. Your faith needs to come before anything, including your fiancee. As hard as it is to except, she may not be the one who can give you the type of marriage you need. If she truly does not want children, and is not willing to enter into a Catholic marriage, she is not the women for you. It is better to discover this now, then after you are married.

I will keep you in my prayers. I recommend lots of praying. Especially the rosary. I would also attend Mass as often as possible. This will help you discern whether now is the right time to enter into marriage, and whether your fiance is the one God wants you to be with. Please be patient and do not rush into marraige.

Again, I am only 31, and sadly several of my friends are already divorced. You don`t want to be in their shoes in a few years.




It doesn’t sound like OP’s fiance is called to marriage at this time, which means that OP is not called to marriage to her at this time, either.

This is a very important issue that ought to have been discussed prior to engagement. She had not discerned properly to determine that she is “available” in marriage, and did OP a great disservice by assuming she could enjoy marriage without a desire or intent for children.

OP, it will be extremely difficult, but you should part ways now- sooner rather than later. This girl deserves better than someone who would reject her vocation for his own warm fuzzy in love feelings, and you deserve someone who shares to desire for parenthood.


I don’t think I can add to advice, but I’ll pray for you. I’ve been in a similar situation. My last ex-girlfriend and best friend also didn’t want children for the time being and neither did she know if she would ever change that. She was getting used to the possibility, I think, we even actually sometimes ended up talking about those future children, making jokes, whatever. In the end, however, something broke and I think the unwillingness to have children prevailed. She was very young, her parents married in early twenties but had children in mid-thirties, you get the idea. She will probably meet the right guy at some point and have children with him, but the relationship with me seems to be a thing of the past and it was her choice.

Since she doesn’t specifically exclude children and she says she will have them if you want them, then at least you have the time to work it out and even as still a couple.


Are you both Catholic?


The feminist propaganda has ruined so many otherwise fine, intelligent young women these days. They’ve been groomed from day one to be career, career, career women, and that’s it. This is a huge red flag and you need to get out of this relationship.


I haven’t always been a “kid” person myself. In my teenaged years I couldn’t imagine ever having children. When I met and married my husband it was still a conscious decision, with his wonderful influence, to have children as opposed to a natural inclination. I think my lack of maternal inclinations was mostly rooted in selfishness and secondly a lack of experiences with children.

My maternal inclinations are definitely more developed now with 5 kids. I can’t imagine life without them. It has been a long process of maturing, and following God’s will.


Well, I can only say from my experience that before I had my son, I had never had any real maternal instinct. I wasn’t too fond of other people’s children and always thought kids were rude, loud and annoying.
Then, after I had my son, everything changed. I started feeling that “maternal instinct” that everyone kept mentioning. I would do anything and everything to protect my son from harm and I want the absolute very best for him.
This has been my experience that I wanted to share. :slight_smile:
You know her better than we do so you have to make the decision whether or not you want to marry her. All we can do is offer advice and personal experience. :wink:
I hope that helped! :slight_smile:


Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to state that we are both Catholic. But the problem is she is a little mad at God right now (which is a major problem I realize and am trying to work through it with her). She also has endometriosis so may not be able to have children anyway (it can cause infertility). I don’t know how much that plays into things for her, but I just told her if God wants her to have kids he will work through the disease with her.

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