What can be done if one spouse wants children, but the other doesn’t?

MortalGuardian Asked: What can be done if one spouse wants children, but the other doesn’t?

Please read my novella, which is to follow. This situation is complex. Please remain patient with me as I explain everything.

My wife and I are in our mid 30's. We got married three years ago in December. Married life has treated me well. I am thankful to be married. My wife is a wonderful young lady. She and I have a lot of compatibility. However, there are some rather important issues that may be of concern. One of these issues is having children.

We dated for about two years before getting married. She told me that she wanted lots and lots of kids. In fact, at one point, I remember her saying that she actually wanted ten children. She has this fantasy of owning a farm, and having everyone chip in with the chores. But her thoughts about having so many children was years ago. Now, she is a little more realistic. She seems to want perhaps 2 or 3 kids. She is afraid of growing old and being alone. For example, she dreads ending up in a nursing home one day in the distant future, and she's afraid of being completely bereft of family. So one of the reasons she wants kids is so that she doesn't die alone. I know that in the existential sense, we are all ultimately alone in this world. But my wife doesn't believe that.

Before we got married, I told her that I do not want any children. I think that the relationship almost ended. She was very devastated when I told her this. I felt badly, too, because I felt selfish. You see, I am afraid of responsibility. Having a child would change my life permanently. My wife and I are mentally ill. I have severe OCD- she has severe Bipolar II. We are living with her maternal grandmother, in an upstairs bedroom. Yes, we pay rent, but it's a nominal amount. We want our own place to live, but we don't have the means now to accomplish that. Again, I am petrified of having any kids at all, because I can barely take care of myself. My wife can barely take care of herself. I have made tremendous progress towards independence, but I am still battling an ensemble of different issues. I struggle to keep jobs. I am trying to attend college, in order to become a teacher. My wife, like myself, is disabled. We are both physically fine, except we're both overweight. We are disabled because of the mental disorders. But we aren't totally impaired or incapacitated. We can do some things, but we have both had a few setbacks that have hindered our flight from the proverbial nest.

So basically, that is it. We saw a pre-marriage counselor, and he pointed out this dilemma. He said that one of us wanting children and the other not wanting them would be problematic. I guess his words fell on deaf ears. I was lonely, desperate, and worried about growing old alone. I can't speak for my wife. I suppose that I thought that no one else would love me or accept me, because I am very controlling. Yes, we love each other. Yes, we are both Christians. Yes, we have some degree of compatibility. But this children issue is not going to go away, and I realize that. She is not to be condemned for wanting to have children- it's completely natural. Perhaps I am an aberration, because most people do indeed want to have children. I guess I am selfish.

I chose to marry this woman, knowing good and well that she wanted kids. She chose to marry me, knowing that I didn't. But perhaps I have been leading her on. Perhaps I was not clear enough. Maybe we believed that we had to be together, for whatever reason or reasons. This was both of our first marriages. My illness isolates me. My wife is also mostly a homebody. We do not socialize much at all with the outside world, although we do not hate people. We just like being by ourselves most of the time. I think that many family members might really misunderstand us. They might make assumptions, and never bother to find out if they are accurate. I digress.

I might change my mind some day, if we get financially stable. We need our own place to live. We need to be at least moderately successful. Am I setting landmarks here, or am I just being realistic? I know that there is never, ever a "perfect" time to have kids. But my wife is 35 now. She is worried that she may never have kids, and she doesn't want to have that privilege taken away (which is quite understandable). I can have kids anytime I like. Her time is limited. So this problem is getting a little more urgent as we grow older. I don't know what can be done.

What can we do to peacefully, lovingly resolve this dilemma?


Liz Answered:
You and your wife were both fools to get married to each other, knowing you did not see eye to eye on this important issue.Having kids or not having kids is not something you can compromise on.I don't know why people see this huge red flag yet still get married to the person thinking that they'll change their minds later.You two should get divorced so that each of you can find a partner you are better suited to.

MoneyMen Answered:
So you both knew that you disagreed on the issue but you chose to NOT resolve it before you got married??Gee, what a shock that it's a problem now.

There's no resolution.One of you will need to give in.Or you can get divorced.

Been There Answered:
Either one of you accepts the other's position, or the relationship ends.

But if she wants to have kids so she won't end up in a nursing home, this is unrealistic.Most households need two incomes to keep going, and there's no time or energy to nurse elderly parents … so the parents go into the nursing home.Also, children often move away for work/jobs and other reasons, and are not around for their parents in their old age.And in some families either the parents or the kids actually disown each other.

Wanting kids so we won't be alone in our old age is a dysfunctional reason for having kids.She should be going to a psychologist to find more-constructive ways to deal with her fear of growing old.And she shouldn't really be thinking about having kids until she has overcome this need, because it will have a negative impact on her ability to be a good parent.

Furthermore, it is not right to have children when you are not yet in a situation to provide well for them.And you two are not in that situation.It is not fair to the kids.

bunnyONE Answered:
This was a MAJOR issue for your wife BEFORE you two married.Though you both have several very SERIOUS obstacles in the way – ANYWAY…

Not being in an economically stablized position.Being overweight, unhealthy-ly so.She's bi-polar as well and has always been?Rather unrealistic of life's expectations (i.e., 10 kids?living on a farm?Disabled and "fearful" of the future?we don't procreate to have children TAKE CARE OF US – EVER!)

Unfortunately, you two went ahead marrying, knowing fully well – the both of you – that you both had different expectations.

Under no circumstances at this time in your lives, should you procreate – you are wise for "getting" that and knowing that, even though you were not up front and married her in spite of this major difference.

"Peacefully" ????You can only gently reason with her, as there are MANY other ways to help children have worthy lives, whether through foster parenting or mentoring children.I don't think she's "well enough" in SEVERAL respects, to be a mother, and I'll be most honest here.She has, some real "baggage".Does she see it?Apparently not.She is being rather self-centered in several respects.

I wish you luck in convincing her that this "ship as sailed" on many levels AND?-That there are many other ways to contribute to a child's life and well being without being a mother, if you open up your world and your heart to the countless opportunities…


Melpomene Answered:
I think you are being reasonable in not wanting kids until you are financially stable and living in your own place.It is probably decision time now.Decide if you can have kids or not.Let her decide if she can be happy with out kids.If you decide that you do not see yourself ever having kids and she decides that she can not be happy without kids, then the only real solution is a divorce, otherwise someone is going to be bitter and things are going to really sour.Now if you decide that maybe the only thing holding you back is the financial situation, then you can compromise with her.Set a goal for moving out, figure out how to reach that goal, and then promise her that you will have kids once you reach that goal.If she decides that she can be happy without kids, then continue on as you are.Maybe you can foster kids once you get your own place.That way she can nurture kids who need it and you can take a break whenever it gets too overwhelming.

Heres Johnny Answered:
leave the releationship

Clover Answered:
I'd have to side with you on this one.
She is making an emotional decision and you a logical one.
Children are not easy to raise in this day and there is no farm.
Could she be talked into foster care? Sometimes families who start out with foster children end up finding perfect matches and are able to adopt. So many children out there needing loving parents who do not have them, why not help some of those already here?

You don't have to physically give birth to be a real mother to a child.

Godsproblemchild Answered:
One of the things i am wondering about is any medications you both are on…is it safe to get pregnant on these meds?

If we manage to cure Bipolar disorder and Ocd. we will do away with most of the art in the world.
here is a list of famous bipolar people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peo
here is a list of famous OCD people. http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/pub

Babies are pretty cool pray about it together he made you the way you are for a reason God does not make mistakes.

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