Want to get married, but don't want children


I am a 24 year old woman, and I definitely want to get married, but do not want kids. I hate the idea of pregnancy, childbirth, everything about it makes me shudder. I do not want to put my body through that. I know so many women who enjoy being pregnant and go on and on about how beautiful pregnancy is, but I just don’t see it or want it. I also hate the idea of raising children. The thought of it is not appealing at all to me, I’ve never had “maternal instincts,” and I just don’t find the “mommy life” as a life that I want for myself. Even when I was a little girl, I never wanted to become a mom and each year that goes by I want kids less and less. I don’t find babies cute, I don’t like holding them, and they honestly make me feel so uncomfortable. I can handle older children in small doses and like some of them, but I would never want to commit to having my own child that I’m responsible for 24/7/365. It would drive me nuts, and it wouldn’t be fair to the child to have a cranky mother. I’ve always desired marriage, however, which is how I know that I’m meant to get married. I know that I would make an excellent wife, since the requirements for what makes a good wife are different than that of being a good mother.

And please do not start in with trying to lecture me on how I’m young and will change my mind and blah blah blah. Like I said before, with each year that goes by, my desire not to have children becomes even stronger. I think that it’s ridiculous especially when men try to lecture on why it’s wrong to women who don’t want children. I don’t believe men have any right to tell a woman how to feel about putting her body through something as traumatic as pregnancy. They’re not the ones going through it, so they have no right to be pushing women to have children if they don’t want any. I find it incredibly insulting and insensitive.

I get frustrated given that I am Catholic, have a lot of faith and do love God with my everything, and yet have this deep-rooted aversion to having children, and therefore would be considered ineligible to get married in the Church. I am having a hard time accepting the Church teaching that one must be “open to children” in order to validly marry in the Catholic Church. If not wanting children is an impediment to a valid marriage within the Catholic Church, is there any other way in which I could get married outside of the Church yet still have the Church recognize my marriage as valid? Is such a thing possible? Because doesn’t the Catholic Church recognize other marriages outside of it as valid? If so, in which cases?


Stay single. That’s my advice.


If I may ask - why do you want to get married?

I feel like the 24-ish years, right after college, were rough, because it often felt (and sometimes still feels) like everyone was getting married and “friends” was being discarded as a childish notion. I think it can seem like you want to be married when that’s not necessarily what you want.


Because as a woman who has been single for all of my life, I want to finally fulfill those feelings of romance I’ve always desired but have never gotten to actually experience. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to find the man of my dreams. I want to be able to connect with a man romantically in a way that obviously you can’t experience with friends. I’ve always wanted to have someone who loves me in the way that only a husband could love. It’s much deeper than just a friendship, and I desire that so much.

I’ve had plenty of friends in my life, but no friendship could ever substitute for the beautiful connection that only a husband and wife could have. And that’s why I feel so strongly. Trust me, I want marriage 100%.


Can you clarify whether you’re engaged now, or whether this is speculative?


No, I’m not engaged. Per my prior post, I am single and have been single my entire life. I’m just trying to figure out now what I need to do in order to get married but not be obligated to have children, given that I don’t want kids.


You can go for counselling with a priest or Catholics who are experience in the marriage ministry. Children is part and parcel of marriage. It is its purpose which God designed for. Children are beautiful and are gifts from God, the Giver of life. There are many couples who desire children but could not have them. Bringing up children can be very fulfilling and if done with love and care, can be holy and Godly. Rightly, parents never regret the children that they have.

Do not hold wrong wishes because you may get it and will regret for wishing it.


I’ve never felt that children are gifts from God. Sure, they may be for most people, but not me. I have no desire for children.

I do desire marriage though. But is there any way that I can get married and still have the Church recognize it as a valid marriage if I get married outside of the Church given its prerequisite that you must be open to having kids, and since I don’t fulfill that requirement? Nobody has answered this question yet.


No, the Church will not agree to your marriage if you want your marriage to omit children.


Then if I were to get married outside of the Church, would the Church still recognize it as a marriage? Because doesn’t the Church still recognize couples who were not married in the Church as still being “married”?


The only difference in validity between marriages involving Catholics, and those involving non-Catholics, is that Catholics are expected to marry in a Catholic church (unless dispensed), while the otherwise valid marriages of non-Catholics are recognized if performed outside the church. However, all the other promises are required - fidelity, openness to life, and so forth.


OK, I understand now.

Could you be considered “open to life” if you and your spouse don’t use contraception during sex, but still use non-contraceptive methods (ie. NFP) with the intent of never having children? Because
then you’re not breaking the Church’s teachings on contraception, and since you’re not using contraception, isn’t the act of sex itself “open to life” since it’s not being interfered with contraception? Even though the intent of using these methods would still be to prevent pregnancy permanently.


Regardless of whether you ultimately attempt to pursue marriage in the Catholic Church, make sure you are upfront about your wishes with anyone you date seriously. Having a family is often a core dream for people marrying, and it would be extremely unfair to lead anyone on if you’re certain you’ll never be willing to have children.

Other posters are right- marriage with no openness to children is impossible in Catholicism, whether you marry outside the church or not.


I think you’ll find the methods aren’t effective enough to ever secure no children unless you limit sex to a handful of times per month for most of your married life.

In the Church’s view, no, NFP is not intended to be used to avoid conception indefinitely.


Then why does every pro-NFP, anti-contraception Catholic brag on and on about how effective NFP is at preventing pregnancy if it isn’t 100% foolproof? :confused:


Because nothing that isn’t total abstinence is 100% effective. And, selection bias.


I think you are confusing the validity of marriage and what the Church wants in a marriage.

Your marriage can be valid if all the externals are complied with.

But if you want a marriage in the Church and you tell your priest that you do not want any children in the marriage, then that is against the concept of marriage that the Church teaches.

If you continue with such marriage it could be a factor in annulment later since you never wanted children in such marriage, which you hid from the Church.


I just want to stop in and be pedantic of a moment. But I think the point I’m making is important. Romanic love, eros is actually not the highest form of love. Rather agape, the brotherly Christian love between friends is the highest form of love. As fr. Mike Schmitz says, “why else does everyone say, ‘I feel like I’m marrying my best friend’?”

On another note:
I’m sorry that this is tough for you, but it’s really true. If God is calling you to marriage He’s calling you to kids–that’s what it’s for. There’s no way around it. Pray about it and see where your Christ leads you. As a convert I can sympathize. Though far off from marriage even now, the thought of not being able to use contraception to “protect” myself from kids was unbearable.

But God changed my heart, He does that.

Finally, I don’t think that not wanting kids is an impediment to a valid marriage. You must be open to having them, that’s different than wanting them. If however the plan would be to contracept, or indeed even use NFP, for the entire marriage so as to be never have kids you would have an invalid marriage. And in at least the case of contraception be living a life of sin. Marriage divorced from family life is cohabitation with extra steps.


Yes, I’ve already seen that Father Mike video. But again, I’ve never experienced romance, I’ve already experienced non-romantic Christian friendships and while I certainly value friendship, it’s not the same as romance and won’t satisfy me in that way. And it’s not sinful to desire romance.

But why does marriage always have to involve having kids? Like I’ve said, I’ve never desired children and not every woman should have kids. In fact, a lot of women out there I see have no business having kids as they’re not cut out for motherhood, yet they’re the ones who pop out kids like rabbits and then these kids turn into little brats who terrorize society. And it angers me to no end.

Why can’t people just desire having romance and marriage without children? How is that sinful? I hear the argument that having a marriage without children means that the two people are just using each other for sex. But I disagree. If both people are agreeing to it, the sex acts themselves aren’t sinful or degrading, and if contraception isn’t used, how can it be using each other? How is it “cohabitation with extra steps” as you called it, when they’re married- which means they’re not cohabiting? They’re committed to a life with each other since they’re married.


Well, to be pedantic again, it doesn’t have to. But it has to be open to them. Infertile couples have a valid marriage.

Because it goes against God’s plan for marriage and sexuality. Loosely stated sin can be defined as deviating from God’s will or design. Marriage, most fundamentally, is an opportunity for man and wife to become co-creators with God.

Marriage, properly understood, is an image of the Holy Trinity. The husband and wife love one another as the love between the Father and the Son. But the Holy Spirit proceeds from this love. Love which is barren isn’t complete. Just as God sustains creation through His unending love, love in marriage must create.

The list goes on and on really. Christ married the Church and we’re their offspring. Etc etc. A marriage is an image of God in so many ways. And in all of those ways God is fruitful, He creates.

I respectfully suggest this is an uncharitable attitude. “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” No matter what your vocation, loving kids, just the same as all people, is part of it.

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