Question: My wife doesn’t want to have kids, but my desire for a family is only getting stronger. This issue is tearing us apart. Is there any way we can resolve it?

Answer: Deciding whether to have children is a huge issue in any marriage, so it’s not surprising that such differing views would pull you apart.

The debate over starting a family is a fairly recent trend among married couples. Historically, children have been considered a blessing for a marriage and not a burden or liability. Your wife appears to be imagining a life with only you. Perhaps she values the certainty and financial stability that such a life would provide. You seem to desire a more fulfilling and unpredictable life with children. It is probably difficult for either of you to see the future in any other way.

When I was dating my wife, I told her about my ambitious desire to have 10 children. She did not share that ambition. In fact, she did not want children at all. We now have two kids, and she loves them dearly; but she has no desire to expand our family, and I have woken up to the realities of raising kids.

Understand each other's desires

My question to you both would be, why are you wanting or not wanting to have children? What’s really driving either desire? Timing and selflessness are important elements in considering parenthood, so make sure you get some honest feedback from a trusted friend or counsellor.

Your wife may be anxious about the difficulties of childbirth or doubt her abilities as a mother. Only she would know. Ask her about her concerns and listen empathetically; be responsive rather than reactive. I suggest that you have a counsellor guide the discussion as you try to navigate this delicate issue.

Mutual sacrifice

Remember that your marriage vows are permanent, even if you disagree on major decisions. This means that both of you will need to sacrifice to make sure your marriage endures this hurdle.

It’s possible that the more your wife interacts with friends or relatives who have children, the more she will experience the "motherhood itch." The Lord makes it clear in Scripture that children are a blessing and ultimately one of the purposes of marriage. I encourage you and your wife to study what Scripture has to say about this subject.


© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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