If you have an income, are healthy, and your wife wants a baby and is healthy, there probably isn’t a valid excuse to delay children

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Rob Fall's picture

the couple tries real hard (sorry can't get more vivid this place is rated G) and God says no.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Charlie's picture

This is really creepy. It starts off being oddly specific in a 1950s way - working husband with wife who wants children. Then it puts a lot of very specific words and feelings into the wife's mouth that an essayist probably shouldn't. It has a creepy patriarchal edge - the wife can't tell the husband what she's feeling because she "respects" him. Then the passive-aggressive gets turned on males: "I really hope that your lack of response to your wife comes from a lack of understanding her and her situation. I really hope it’s not a lack of maturity or biblical thinking or love that’s behind this delay."

There are so many weird rhetorical moves and odd assumptions about gender and how married couples relate that this is just icky.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Easton's picture

Charlie wrote:

This is really creepy.

'I really hope that your lack of response to your wife comes from a lack of understanding her and her situation. I really hope it’s not a lack of maturity or biblical thinking or love that’s behind this delay.'

...this is just icky.

Creepy, icky -- I would've used the word "freakish"...

Love the last paragraph and the assumptions contained therein, as though couples without children (or with a low number - say, "sub-Duggar") are sitting around thinking, "Well, we could have a baby, but -- BMW is introducing a new 4 series next year..."

Jay's picture

“Wants” might not be the right word; it might make her desire seem less serious. Did you know that your wife spends a lot of time crying about this – when you’re not around, because she doesn’t want to upset you or disrespect you? She calls her friends up when she needs to talk about this and they do their best to comfort her, but it’s really not much. She avoids the baby section of the grocery store because one time she went through it and ended up sobbing in the parking lot without the groceries. She is not being a suck. She is suffering.

Well, the author at least gets points for being transparently manipulative.  That ought to count for something...but I'm not sure what.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

christian cerna's picture

Sadly, this is the exact situation my sister is going through. She has been married for almost 7 years. No children. For a while now, she has been thinking about and desiring to have children. But when she talks to her husband, he comes up with excuses for why they shouldn't have any right now. He claims they can't afford it. Though both of them are teachers and live in Colorado Springs, and didn't pay too much for their house. 

I feel bad for her because I know he probably just doesn't want any kids. She is 31 years old, so she still has time. But I wonder if that is a valid reason for divorce. If you marry someone, and then later you find out they don't want to have children, are they not denying you something that is your right, according to the Bible?

rogercarlson's picture

Christian,

 

No its not a valid reason for divorce. 

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Charlie's picture

According to Catholic canon law, one can get an annulment if the other spouse is unwilling to have children. Protestants have varied approaches to this. Depriving a spouse of children used to be considered a very serious offense. Part of the optional approach to children was softening that line. I'm torn, b/c I don't agree with Catholics that procreation is the primary justification for marriage, but I do tend to think that such a fundamental disagreement about the purpose of marriage could be a reason to dissolve a relationship. 

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

TylerR's picture

Divorce is a concession to sinful people, and the only Biblical grounds are adultery. I would encourage your sister to seek counsel from her Pastor; I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed by him. It is a heart-wrenching situation.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Charlie wrote:

According to Catholic canon law, one can get an annulment if the other spouse is unwilling to have children. Protestants have varied approaches to this. Depriving a spouse of children used to be considered a very serious offense. Part of the optional approach to children was softening that line. I'm torn, b/c I don't agree with Catholics that procreation is the primary justification for marriage, but I do tend to think that such a fundamental disagreement about the purpose of marriage could be a reason to dissolve a relationship. 

It seems it would be a biblical reason to avoid a marriage relationship, but not to dissolve one.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

TylerR wrote:

Divorce is a concession to sinful people, and the only Biblical grounds are adultery. I would encourage your sister to seek counsel from her Pastor; I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed by him. It is a heart-wrenching situation.

Where does the bible teach that adultery is a biblical basis for divorce?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

TylerR's picture

Mt 19:9. Obviously, reconciliation is the goal and adultery is not a trump card (e.g. "Yes, she cheated and now I'm outta here!").

 

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

James K's picture

Tyler, what Christian has the right to have a hard heart?

Failure to have children is not grounds for marriage.  Children neither make nor break the marriage covenant, which is to be picture of Christ and the church.  The marriage relationship trumps the parent/child relationship.

One might wonder why she married this guy with such an obvious character flaw, but many men just refuse to grow up and take responsibility.  They want the sex without the responsibility.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

christian cerna's picture

I don't know if my sister ever talked to her husband about children before they got engaged. It is possible they did, and he lied to her about whether he wished to have children. It is also possible that she naively assumed that he would want children. Or maybe she was afraid to ask.

I know that sometimes when we date we are afraid to bring up certain topics for fear of finding out the answer.

I know that the times I have gone on dates, I have been guilty of not asking important questions, such as "how many boyfriends have you had", "would you like to have children one day?", or the hardest one of all... "are you a virgin?".

I guess I am afraid of what I might hear. I know the type of person I am, and I know I would begin to form mental pictures in my head and not be able to see the person the same way.

 

rogercarlson's picture

I always cover the Children question in premarital counseling.    She should have known before they were married.  Very sad that he did not tell her. 

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Greg Linscott's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

the couple tries real hard (sorry can't get more vivid this place is rated G) and God says no.

The author does seem to be addressing those husbands who have taken intentional measures to prevent pregnancy.

I do think some of you might have somewhat of a point in your observations about tone and such, but at the same time, there are plenty of professing believers who, right or wrong, live in what you might deem a more antiquated approach.

Regardless, the intentional delay of children for very long after a marriage begins seems at best unwise. What one might lack in finances or material preparedness is easily overcome with any kind of resourcefulness, and youthful energy and stamina is a decided benefit when raising an infant the first time (not that life experience can't also be an asset). 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Susan R's picture

A couple who think they 'aren't ready' to have kids probably shouldn't get married. After all, 'accidents' happen. 

I've personally known one couple in a similar situation, where the wife wanted kids and he didn't. He finally agreed to children, but told her they were her responsibility since he didn't want them. He's a preacher, by the way. :/ So I don't doubt that this kind of husband and wife dynamic exists.

Personally, if I was in the situation of desiring children with a man who didn't, I'd just deal with it. Yeah, I might be upset, but if I committed to marriage with such a man, I believe it's my responsibility to deal with it. I would think it a nightmare to bring kids into this world with a father who was reluctant to have them. I'm not talking the natural 'fears' of the huge responsibility of parenthood, but someone who, as the article describes, simply doesn't want kids for selfish (freedom, money, immaturity) reasons. This marital divide definitely requires counseling, but even so, I don't know that I'd ever trust the man enough to bring kids into the world with him. The implications of bearing children with a reluctant and uninvolved father are staggering, IMO.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

TylerR wrote:

Mt 19:9. Obviously, reconciliation is the goal and adultery is not a trump card (e.g. "Yes, she cheated and now I'm outta here!").

 

I assumed you were talking about Matthew, since Matthew 5 and 19 contain the only explicit clauses permitting divorce. However, in both cases, twice in chapter 5 and once in chapter 19, Jesus actually uses the term for adultery, just not in the exception clause - if you divorce outside of the exception clause, you cause adultery. Whatever the exception clause is specifically referencing, it seems to be textually clear that it is not adultery. A useful book I was given years ago by my pastor is called The Divorce Myth by J. Carl Laney. You may not come to the exact same conclusions as the author (I did not) but it does a good job of working through the issue from scripture. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Anne Sokol's picture

doesn't it raise that?

Just my personal experience, but I think that the desire for a child is probably the strongest desire many women will ever experience, even more than the desire to marry. This is why infertility is so excruciating.

There are exceptions to this, and I know one personally Biggrin

To send some kindness toward the author (and I have no idea who this is), I think she's addressing a very particular type of situation--a man doesn't want kids for apparently selfish reasons. She's not addressing every reason for childlessness known to mankind.

And it's true that statistically, conceiving after 35 (or 40? I forget which) is much, much harder.

I honestly don't agree that motherhood is a calling. That kind of irks me. I just think it's the normal state, esp for the married. We don't have to answer the feminists by somehow ultra-glorifying it.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

rogercarlson wrote:

I always cover the Children question in premarital counseling.    She should have known before they were married.  Very sad that he did not tell her. 

I have also Roger. I agree that it is sad she did not know this before hand, though perhaps the husband has changed his mind over time. Either way, very sad. However, not an excuse for divorce.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Anne Sokol's picture

i was recently perusing a book on Puritans, and infertility/childlessness was a reason they allowed for divorce. It was interesting to read what they allowed divorce for!

Neither here nor there just a factoid from respected Christians in the past.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I have never seen that before Anne. Could you pass along the reference so I can do some more reading myself?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

christian cerna's picture

Well, I still think that choosing not to give your spouse any children, when the spouse wants them, is a great evil. It is denying your spouse one of the greatest blessings there is in life.

I remember the story in the Bible of the woman who lost her husband and was childless. Her brother in law was then required to have sexual relations with her to give her a child. But when the brother in law slept with her, he wasted his semen on the ground, because he did not want to share his inheritance with this woman's child. What did God do? He struck that man dead.

James K's picture

I am honestly amazed anyone looks at the puritans as these great models of christianity.  Thanks for posting Anne.  This is more reason to reject their nonsense.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Mark_Smith's picture

Matthew 19:9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.

 

Can you please elaborate a little more. As I read the above verse, the "exception clause" is that the other spouse has committed sexual immorality (ie adultery). How are you reading it?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Matthew 19:9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.

 

Can you please elaborate a little more. As I read the above verse, the "exception clause" is that the other spouse has committed sexual immorality (ie adultery). How are you reading it?

Mark,

Your bolding makes my point - two different words are used and adultery is not used in the exception clause. The word translated sexual immorality is porneia; the word translated adultery is moichao. The second specifically means intercourse with another's spouse - adultery. The first is a much different term loosely referring to inappropriate sexual conduct. I think there is a reason why an "exception clause" is only included in Matthew and why Jesus gives this exception clause in almost the same breath that He affirms marriage to be a life-long, indissoluble relationship. 

 

Give the book a read; it's not a huge volume. I think you would find it interesting even if you don't come to agreement.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

DavidO's picture

Just give us the upshot.  Infidelity during Jewish betrothal period or what??

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

DavidO wrote:

Just give us the upshot.  Infidelity during Jewish betrothal period or what??

That's what Laney concludes, though he does offer three (I think) possible solutions. I personally think it's more a matter of God's rejection of an illegitimate marriage, one that God never recognized as a real marriage in the first place - like a marriage between a brother and a sister. These two could have a ceremony, live together, have children and be accepted by their friends and family, but they are really never a husband and wife from God's perspective. Gay marriage today would be the same. A gay couple who have a marriage ceremony would be justified in later dissolving the relationship if one (or both) gets saved and realizes their sin.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

josh p's picture

Chip are talking the Ryrie/Laney position? That is something I need to read up on.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Laney offers more than one possible conclusion, and memory indicates he leans toward the unfaithful betrothal explanation. I am more inclined to his second suggestion of the illegitimate marriage. I have done little reading of what Ryrie wrote specifically on divorce and remarriage, though I did peruse this article recently, and my brief scan suggests he also supports the illegitimate marriage understanding (see page 189 in particular).

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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