I’ve been married six years to a most wonderful man in every respect, except one. Prior to our marriage, we agreed to have one or two children. I’m now 36 and he is 39. Every time for the last year when I suggest starting a family, he makes excuses. We own our own home and the first excuse was finishing the backyard so our children would have a place to play. That project is completed. Now, it’s painting the outside of the house. Please help me approach this in a conversation with him that isn’t threatening.
Would LOVE to be a Mom
Can I begin with a blunt question right from the beginning? If you were to discover in subsequent conversations with this most wonderful husband of yours that he has changed his mind and no longer wants children, would you still want to stay married to him? This is a clarifying question. I ask this because it is a very serious wrong to trifle with a wife’s heart in a matter as tender and intimate as this. Biologically speaking, the time has come and gone to worry about a threatening conversation. If he’s as wonderful as you say he is, then he will do just fine when he hears the unvarnished truth from you. Here are some reasonable comments that come to mind: “Sweetheart, please explain to me why you’re making excuses about starting a family. Surely you believe I deserve to know your true feelings about this.” “Did you mean what you told me about children six years ago? Have you changed your mind?” “Honey, I believed you when we talked about this before our wedding. Back then, you told me you wanted to have children with me. This is very important to me. We need to deal with this. Right now.”
If Mr. Dad-to-Be refuses to be straight with you on the subject, then I suppose there are conversations of a different sort that you might be bold enough to initiate: “Sweetheart, I just got back from the adoption agency. I’m very excited about becoming a mommy! Here are the papers. I just need you to sign, here and here.” Or … “Let me pour you another glass of wine darling. Why don’t you put on that Barry White CD and then come over here?” Or … “Honey, I’d like you to meet Steve. I’ve chosen him to be the sperm donor for our baby! I hope you two can become friends!”
And of course, stop immediately all birth control. Beyond that, I sincerely wish you two precious children – very soon! (I’m a happy dad, NOT a licensed therapist.)
Rev. Jon T. Karn
Light on the Corner Church
Dear Would LOVE to be a Mom,
This is an issue that deserves serious consideration. A pre-nuptial agreement that has not been honored will create a source of discontent, and, unresolved, will keep growing and greatly affect other areas of your marriage because trust will have diminished. Begin with a heart-to-heart conversation in which your husband’s feelings about parenting and your feelings of frustration and your deep desire to be a mother are discussed. Parenting is a huge responsibility and your husband may be overwhelmed at the prospect of becoming a father. Listen compassionately, without judgment and ask that he listen to you without judgment, as well. His sharing his feelings and you sharing your frustration will help you understand each other’s perspective and help you create a solution that is acceptable to both of you. Keep the lines of communication open and encourage him to observe family dynamics of your friends who have children. I consider my two children the greatest blessings in my life. The joy outweighed the challenges. Given the opportunity, I would choose to be a parent again.
If, after both of you have aired your concerns, and an agreement has not been reached, I suggest professional counseling, either from your minister or a marriage and family therapist. I sense from your question that when you have approached the subject of having a baby and your husband answers there is yet one more project to be completed, you drop the discussion because you do not want to “rock the boat” by pursuing your request further. You deserve a definitive answer Go for It!
Rev. Beverly Craig
Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta firstname.lastname@example.org
My wife and I are the proud parents of three children, two of whom are hers from a previous marriage and one son, ours together. Our kids play summer ball, I coach little league, my wife co-coaches her daughter’s eighteen and under softball team. Most of the kids’ games fall on the same night. My wife’s daughter’s league is in charge of the concession stands so on the nights that the girls are not playing, my wife is working the concessions instead of attending our son’s game. Our nine-year-old son is a loving and forgiving little guy, but has lamented many times that he wished his mother would come to a game and has asked her many times to come, but her priorities seem to be with her daughter. Their relationship is more best friend… not mother/ daughter. Can this be resolved without causing a huge rift??? – Concerned Dad
Dear Concerned Dad,
As children learn lessons about this world, they are learning lessons about themselves in relation to their parents. Later they will learn bigger lessons. At 9 years old, the little boy may be basing his relationship with his mother ONLY by whether she comes to see him play in a game. There are other priorities the little boy should consider. He is loved, fed and cared for by a very busy mother who must look at the big picture and the whole family. His mother can sit down and explain the reasons for her choices, and show in other ways how much she loves her son. His mother is choosing to give her time and energy where she thinks it is best for the whole family. The little 9 year old boy should not make his judgment of his mother’s love solely on whether she comes to see him play for a few hours. Life is about making many choices every day and children can learn to understand difficult choices their parents must make. That little boy is loved in many ways besides having his mother watch him play ball. Do not make a big judgment for a whole life based on one small choice at 9 years old! There are many opportunities for life to give many lessons every day. A missed ball game does not change LOVE for a whole life’s relationship. The little boy can learn that parents show love in many different ways.
Rev. Steven Van Meter
Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta
Dear Concerned Dad,
One of the most concerning aspects of organized kids’ sports is that games get scheduled on two church-significant days of the week; Wednesday and Sunday. Another is that after paying for uniforms, registration, awards, etc., parents are also strapped into snack-stand servitude.
Maybe some don’t mind, but I did, and it bothered me that we couldn’t just let our children enjoy sports without us having to take another job.
In this instance, it would behoove mom to find whatever loophole to absent herself from this non-essential duty. She has three offspring, and the little boy needs her to act as if she has equal interest in his well-being. I’m not sure the significance of the detail concerning mom’s “best friends” relationship with her daughter, but friend or no, she is above all, a mother. She must make her children understand that she loves them all, and then make that apparent by equally dividing her time. I think a nine-year-old would especially need mommy’s nurture more than a couple of teens who already had many years of her undivided attention. If she absolutely cannot change the current circumstance, I would suggest she plan special mother/son dates to compensate. “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26).
Rev. Bryan Griem
Montrose Community Church