How can my spouse and I resolve our disagreement about starting a family? I'm anxious to be a mother, but he says he isn't ready to have children yet. My biological clock is ticking away, and the tension between us is growing. What should I do?
Why does your husband think he isn't "ready" to start a family yet? The best thing you can do at this point is to get to the heart of those feelings. It's pointless to think about moving forward until the two of you can arrive at some kind of a mutual understanding.
This will have to be handled carefully and sensitively. Some men are intimidated by a sit-down, face-to-face confrontation. If your husband is like that, you might suggest that the two of you spend a day together doing something that he enjoys, like fishing or hiking. Then, when you're both relaxed and having a good time, tell him you've got something on your mind. Ask him if he wouldn't mind talking about it.
Above all, be yourself. Don't try to be the person you think your husband wants you to be. This is a common mistake in marriage. So be straightforward and honest. Remember, you married your husband because there was a "spark" of some kind between the two of you. You had an emotional, spiritual, and social connection. When there is a negative shift in the relationship, the first thing to do is to attempt to restore and preserve that connection.
When the time seems right, start by saying, "I really want to understand your feelings about starting a family." Based on what you've told us, we assume he'll answer, "I don't want to start a family yet." Your response at this point can make all the difference. Resist the temptation to whine, lecture, or interrogate. Adopt a listening attitude. Let him say whatever he needs to say. Don't interrupt or take the discussion down any rabbit-trails. When he's finished, simply start over. Like a "broken record," reiterate your original concern: "I really need to talk about this."
If he puts you off again, follow the same procedure. Don't criticize him or cut him off. Just keep verbalizing your own feelings in a calm and respectful tone of voice. Ask him to give the matter some thought.
If this doesn't help you get to the heart of the matter, it would be a good idea to consider the option of short-term marriage counseling. Call our Counseling department for a list of referrals to qualified marriage-and-family professionals in your area. It might also be advisable for both you and your husband to seek out the help and guidance of older and wiser mentors within the spiritual community of your local church.
Bridging Differences With Your Spouse: Dr. Greg Smalley explains that when you work to bridge differences, your spouse will feel more loved.
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