While we were dating my wife said she didn't want any children, and I agreed that I, too, didn't want kids. We have been married for three years now and have pets, but now I have changed my mind. I would like someone to carry on my family name, but she is adamant that she entered the marriage knowing that she never wanted kids. She has suggested that I divorce her and marry someone who wants kids, but I love her and don't want that. How can I convince her that one or two kids will enhance our union?
You got married with the understanding that neither of you wanted to have children. You've now changed your mind. You are feeling frustrated that she hasn't and won't change her mind. It's an interesting dilemma you find yourself in. However, your situation gives me the opportunity to expound on a principle while offering you my counsel.
When we agree to marry someone, we're agreeing to do so on the basis of what they have represented to us about themselves: Their values, their standards, character, desires, and even their past. Getting the best understanding of what that person is presenting and representing about themself is CRITICAL. (This is why premarital counselling is important, to help unpack and unearth everything about each other. Make the investment, contact us at www.counsellorscouch.com.)
Consider the "defraud" dynamic: When you presented yourself as a suitor to her, you presented as a man not wanting children. She signed up for that. Changing the deal is akin to "defrauding" her. In a business contract, after signing it, you can't change your mind and demand terms outside of the contractual agreement. There's a concept of "defraud" in marriage in the Bible (See: 1 Corinthians 7:5). It teaches that you can defraud your spouse when you change the deal on them, with regard to intimacy, the immediate context. But it's also apparent to be so if you change the deal on loyalty, and indulge in an affair, abuse, abandonment, etc.
Consider the "negotiation" dynamic: Yes, consider creating a strategic case and space for negotiating with her. Maybe she'll reconsider if you discuss your request from a position of strategic negotiation, with proper terms and a good offer. But chances are, "yuh have to come good good!" You want children, but she doesn't. What are you offering her that might make it attractive? Don't say, kids. Think world cruise, think relocating to Spain, thinkâ€¦ big! #Hush.
Consider counselling: Yes, consider getting further help, to even assist with the negotiation. And then if she says "No", you can always come in for a discussion with me. Divorcing her for saying "no" wouldn't be right either. Yes, we can change our minds, and we do learn and desire new things as we grow, but a covenant is a covenant. She's given up years of her life, etc, to be with you. I'd urge you to stand by your word, above chasing the current wave of desire.
Consider a legacy from mentoring: Your legacy with children doesn't have to simply be from the children of your loins. And it doesn't even have to be from adoption, which is another possibility, depending on your wife's position. But you can work on your legacy including impacting youth via mentorship programmes. There are folks who are more of a parent to some youth than biological parents. I personally know a few. It's a wonderful and noble thing to do. There are children out there with great potential just waiting for a guide.
I hope you both can work this out with mutual respect and without compromising your relationship.
Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.