Dr. Molly Barrow

The Official Dr. Molly Barrow Blog offers educational self help advice about relationships, business, dating, marriage, parenting, teenagers and children, self-esteem, love and romance. Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of Matchlines for Singles and the self-esteem adventure series, Malia and Teacup Awesome African Adventure and Malia and Teacup Out on a Limb. Dr. Molly is a relationship and psychology expert host on progressiveradionnetwork.com and television guest.

Monday, October 09, 2006

NO CHILDREN? STOP FIGHTING AND DISCUSS IT Dr. Molly Barrow author of Matchlines

What if he says he does not want children?
Wait until you calm down and can discuss the issue rather than start a war. In attack mode, you may throw wounding comments at your spouse that may take years to get over. Avoid doing more damage to each other, even though you feel hurt and wronged. The goal here is a positive resolution, not revenge for what he said. Later, when you are both calm tell him that you would like to discuss the subject of children with him and let him give you a time to talk.
One in a zillion. To procreate or not to procreate, that is the question. This is only one of countless issues in your marriage that you will discuss, overcome or just choose to differ about even in a great relationship. How you handle conflict is what is important to the future of your relationship. Can you listen to him spill his guts about his feelings even when you completely disagree? Can you listen with respect and belief that you will work this out as a couple somehow? Does he allow you to have a different opinion about something very important to him like finances, friends, his parents or the weekend without shutting you up with criticism or domination? The more important the issue the more carefully you proceed.
Talking means listening. Tell him that you are very certain that you do want children and that you are concerned that he does not know if he wants kids. Ask him to tell you why he thinks he may not want kids. Listen and do not react or respond. If you freak out while he is explaining himself, he will hesitate to tell you the truth about anything in the future. No matter what he says, just listen and even write it down so you do not put words in his mouth later.
Think through his side. Thank him for talking about it and say you want to discuss it more after you both have some time. Then go away and take a few days to think about his side. Talk again and ask what would help him be more comfortable with having children, suggest babysitting for a nephew, if its finances, suggest creative financial solutions or solicit advice from trusted friends or family. He is entitled to not want children whether it is because he is selfish, wants to live free, believes the world is over populated or is simply “scared to death” to be a father. He can be all of the above and still be a husband of great merit.
Was there an existing verbal contract? Did you have a previous discussion that led you to believe your husband agreed to have children with you? Do you feel misled or betrayed? On the other hand, did you make an assumption based on your own strong desire to have a family? If he previously agreed and now has changed his mind, you need to know what made him change.
Are you jumping to conclusions? If you are aware of serious problems in your relationship, and are hoping a child will help mend those rifts, the opposite is more likely to occur. Is his comment really a symbol of something awful? Perhaps, you wonder if he regrets his commitment to you. Do you worry he cannot imagine tying himself to you for the rest of his life with children? He did not say any of those things, and you could hurt him by suggesting that he does not love you enough to want children. Anyway, do you really want to put that idea in his mind?
What Time is it? Are you young and just starting out? If you are young, realize that both of you will go through many changes in the next few years. Maturity and responsibility are important necessities for the “three a.m. rocking to sleep again.” Your partner may need growing time before they are confident they can be a good parent. Or, are you a thirty-five year old newlywed with a loud ticking sound from your tired ovaries? If you want a child, no one can stop you from having that experience. You know in your heart if your relationship is more important to you than your need to have a child. You may have to make that difficult choice.
What did he really say? He said, “He doesn’t know.” The day that a baby comes to you will change your life and his forever. Men do not often come with a nesting instinct. They have aggression, sarcasm, adorableness, but rarely the strong call to have an antiseptic bathroom. The nesting instinct is alive and well in the female of nearly all species. Yet, many men and a good number of women do not have measurable paternal or maternal instincts before their child’s eyes meet their own. Then suddenly, a parent would kill to protect that little person. Nature kicks in and you are a parent in every sense of the word. Until it happens to you it is difficult to imagine that the relief and appreciation in a babies face when you change their diaper for them is a moment of bonding and love that fills your heart and soul with purpose. The down side is that we are talking about diapers and not fancy cocktail parties or adventurous trips to exotic places. Being a parent is the hardest and the best job in the world. You both have a right to be afraid, cautious, and hopefully someday, willing to try your best.

Dr. Molly Barrow, author of the new book, “Matchlines: A Revolutionary New Way of Looking at Relationships and Making the Right Choices in Love,” is a leading forensic expert and authority on relationship issues and mental health. A member of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Molly has appeared on NBC News, PBS IN FOCUS, KTLA, GO-CO feature film MY SUICIDE, WGUF FM TALK, READY TO EXPLODE Documentary, and interviews for Psychology Today, Newsday, MSN, Hitched, Lavalife and O Magazine. For more information, please visit: http://www.askdrmolly.com/.


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