Whether to Pray for release from "relucant husband syndrome"


This may sound like the MOST ridiculous question ever asked on these forums, but… we have been blessed with 5 healthy biological children and recently adopted one special needs child from China. My husband alway knew from the time he asked me to marry him it was my childhood dream for a large family and to adopt. I can’t say that he shared either of the two aspirations but he went along because he knew that was “the deal”. He recently on his own accord and without any provocation converted to Catholicism at easter vigil this year. YEAH! He is an excellent father.
My question is I would really like to adopt just one more child. A biological child is medically impossible for us anymore. We can well afford more children. I feel called to motherhood as my vocation. 1 of my children is gown and gone, 1 will leave next year, and 1 will go in the next 2 years. But the mere mention of this sets my husband into complete shut down mode.
I wonder if given the circumstances it is even right or fair to ask this of him or be praying for it?


I don’t think it would be wrong of you to pray for him to have a desire for more children. If you pray for him to give in to your desires on this subject, that would be selfish. But if you pray for him to feel these desires too, then if that prayer is answered you will both be happy adopting. Go ahead and pray. I will say a prayer for you, too.


IMHO, it is terribly UNfair of you to ask this of your husband right now. You have six children at home, one is special needs. It seems that your husband has willingly allowed you to pursue your dream of a large family.

I think you need to respect HIS needs too, which may include a little breather.

Have you discussed HIS needs in this situation, HIS desires, HIS concerns? Doesn’t sound like it to me. Maybe he has some financial concerns, is stressed about the emotional resources that go in to caring for a special needs child, and cannot imagine another right now.

Perhaps AFTER some of your children have actually left home, you might bring it up again. And, then come to a mutual decision, even if that decision is “not right now.”


I agree with this.

But I do think it would be wrong to pressure your husband to adopt another child. He has obviously been very good about accomodating your desires on a large family. I think you may need to give him this one.

God Bless


Sounds like a wonderful life long relationship here, but he sounds a bit stressed. I’m sure he doesn’t ever want to deny you anything. (I understand that feeling;) ) Have you two talked about “retirement”? What does he feel about becoming an “empty nester”? Might he be wanting to move on to becoming a grandparent and not a parent? Many of us reach a point of wanting to raise what we have. I was never one to want a large family. I require “quiet time” even when the ILs are over for holidays. Could his “noise level” be exceeded?

I’m sure he just doesn’t want to say “no” to you, but he really doesn’t want to say “yes” to the idea. He is communicating. But with his body and not his lips.

Do you two go on dates? I mean, long ones? Not just to dinner.


It sounds like the man NEEDS, DESERVES a break…Enjoy what you’ve got and concentrate on KEEPING WHAT YOU’VE GOT…You don’t want him so worn out, that he legs it…


Before everyone gangs up on me here like I am some selfish woman. I raised 3 of these children MYSELF! One is an ADULT. One is going to leave next year. One in 2 years. These I raised myself. My husband did not. I almost died giving birth to my son that he had to have! Against medical advice I went forward in order that he shoud have his son. I would have been well justified in practising NFP for permanently delaying childbearing giving the medical prognosis. That said, I agree totally with all the above advice. I agree that my husband is entitled to his dreams and to have them and I will give up mine. I just wish maybe I had been given my appreciation for what I’d done. But that’s a personal problem.
Thanks for all the advise, I think I’ve got the point.I don’t think I need anymore.
OH and the special need was an undescended testicle. Not like he’s in a wheel chair .


Maybe you and your husband could take a weekend to attend Retrouvaille? Your first post and last post seem like opposites. Retrouvaille is a great tool to help spouses communicate their needs.


Speaking from a man’s perspective here…

As a former Child Life Specialist I have desired children since I finished college (92) and always wanteded at least 4 kids. Yet my wife and I were unable to have any until 5 years ago. Now we have been blessed with 3 wonderful sons and if He wills it we will have more. We both love being parents, it’s one of our vocations but we also have another vocation together - our Sacremental marraige.

From the sounds of it you guys aren’t too far away from being Grandparents. You have raised your children in the Church, and it sounds like your marraige has been free, total, faithful and fruitful.

My guess would be that your husband wants to focus on that sacrament between you and he. You said that he has recently become Catholic. That may have brought a new understanding of how truly important and how truly spiritual marraige is between a man and a woman.

I would pray that God continue to bring you guys together in the Sacrament of Marraige and to strengthen what you know in each other. I believe that through that He will answer your questions about another adoption.

In Christ,



It does NOT sound to me like you are trying to get your husband to concede at all costs. I think it would be fine to pray for God to lead the two of you in the decision about what to do.


Okay…he is an excellent father, but you raised 3 kids yourself? Something is not jiving here.:confused:

Sorry, but having 3 boys myself, I know that only having an undescended testicle does not NOT a special needs child make!:wink:

Either you are putting us on, or there is way more the story here.:cool:


I see nothing wrong with praying for another child and asking God to bless your spouse with that desire.

I would love another child too and in our case God has yet to bless us with a healthy pregnancy. I’m learning to take the time I have now to keep our honeymoon phase going and devoting myself to my husband. I imagine if you do something like that too it will make your marriage even healthier and stronger so if you do adopt again, you’ll be able to have an even better family as a whole.

God bless,



You can pray for anything that you wish, but be careful, God may not give you what you think that you need and/or want.

I agree with the other posts that say that you and your husband definitely need to be on the same page here. For one to have the final say in a situation like this would be wrong. For the sake of both of you and your family that you currently have, I say that a date night is in order. Go out to dinner and have a great time. Talk about it over a glass of wine or ice tea or whatever. Not get into a debate, discuss. There is a difference. Take pen and paper if you need to. Pros and cons. Then once you have talked about all of that. Take your list to adoration. Take them to the Lord, whichever brings you peace, peace with yourself, with God, with your spouse, with your family, that is what you should do. But this has to be a collective decision between you and your husband. Two have become one.


paulinet, when you didn’t get the response you wanted, you turned really nasty on the board members here. Is that what you do when your husband doesn’t give you the response you want? If so, that’s why he shuts down.

It sounds from the children’s ages that he may be starting to think about empty nest and retirement. Perhaps he has plans that another child would interfere with. Maybe he wants to travel, maybe he just wants the two of you to be able to enjoy each other alone. It is not wrong to look forward to a time when it will be just the two of you.

Maybe you need to pray for release from “it’s my way or the highway wife syndrome.” :shrug:


I wonder if given the circumstances it is even right or fair to ask this of him or be praying for it?

paulinet, if you’re still reading in, here’s what I always advise to friends whose family size desires differ from their spouse’s: **Pray for likemindedness between you and your spouse. ** Either spouse should not have his/ her “way” in this. God should have His Will. The spouses should ask God to join them in likemindedness of His will.

Trust God. If He calls you both away from adoption, He will certainly call your generous gifts to service some other way.

Finally, in peace and goodwill: I think your characterization of a child with an undescended testicle as “special needs” is not really fair to us readers. but maybe it’s all a matter of perspective. I think my beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome has special needs until I meet the mom whose little boy has cerebral palsy and needs to be fed 6 times daily through a shunt into his stomach because he can’t swallow.


I agree, that’s a BIG step from the first post!

AS for the husband, at his age he may well have plans to travel, enjoy his wife’s company, I don’t that’s selfish…


Sorry, but having 3 boys myself, I know that only having an undescended testicle does not NOT a special needs child make!

Yes I agree. And, as a mom of a truly special needs disabled for life child, I find that descriptor of your son, with something so minor as an undescended testicle, to be…utterly ridiculous.

I will likely get blasted for saying this, but I see a lot of women using the 'I feel called to" when it comes to having more children when really it is a matter of hormones doing the ‘calling’ or simply fear of not knowing what to do with oneself with no small children around. After all, when your whole reason for living gets up and moves out and you are all alone, you actually have to live your own life and you actually have to try to live with your spouse. It’s a time when many people end up separated or divorced. I don’t know if this is the case with the OP, but I think consideration needs to be given to the husband as adding to the family HAS to be a mutually decided thing.

This was great advice

Pray for likemindedness between you and your spouse. Either spouse should not have his/ her “way” in this. God should have His Will. The spouses should ask God to join them in likemindedness of His will.


Just to assume the best of the OP, maybe in China a child with an undescended testicle is labeled as special needs?:shrug:


When two people marry–it should always be the primary goal of both spouses, to want what is best for the marriage. You become ‘one’ and this doesn’t mean you abandon your dreams, personal goals, and aspirations–but those dreams and goals should be discussed together and decided together. I don’t make life altering decisions on my own, anymore. My husband is supportive of a variety of dreams that I have, and I, of his–but collectively, we come to those destinations–especially when my my dreams might affect his life directly and permanently. When one spouse veers off on another path away from the primary destination of what is in the best interest of God, and the marriage–then, the marriage starts to become a splintered unit, instead of a cohesive one.

Adoption is such a beautiful and noble calling, but again, if this is something that your husband is vehemently opposed to, it might be in the best interest of the marriage to not adopt anymore children. When we take on noble causes, we shouldn’t do so at the detriment of someone or something else. That’s what would happen here, it seems, unfortunately.


shannyk, I won’t blast you! I too wondered if perhaps the wife is looking for a way out of having to be alone with her husband once the kids are gone. Her reaction in the second post seems irrational, like a hyper-defensive reaction. Some women become so enmeshed with their children that they completely neglect their husbands. The marriage stagnates to the point that they don’t know each other anymore. So the prospect of one on one time alone together after all those years is really scary. The husband may be looking forward to that time as an opportunity to reclaim the marriage and focus on each other. He feels he has patiently put up with the neglect and so reacts badly when she seeks to extend that period, thinking he has paid his dues and now it is his turn. And she, facing having to actually interact with this man she has probably not treated well and come to regard as something of a fixture, becomes so fearful and stressed out by the prospect that she seeks to force the issue of another child, who will naturally extend the period that she can use the “children’s needs” excuse for not focusing on her man and her marriage.

This is all my speculation, but it’s what popped into my head quietly after the first post and very loudly after the OP’s second post.

Note to ladies currently parenting young children: The way to avoid this problem is to take every opportunity your kids give you to jump your man! :smiley: And even manufacture a few with cartoons and locked doors. :wink:

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.