Last week on Wifey Wednesday I asked the question, "What do you do when you don't agree on something big?". It was a really interesting discussion, and I thank everyone who participated!
I think it warrants some follow-up, however, and that's what I'm going to do today.
If I can summarize, the basic consensus was that we should submit to our husbands and follow them. The sooner you learn to do that, the better. And that is certainly Scriptural, and there's also a certain logic to it. God has placed the man with increased accountability for the relationship, so even if they make a bad decision and we go along with it, it is the husband who bears the responsibility for its outcome, and not us. So in a way it's a weight off of our shoulders.
That can be very difficult to do, however, with issues near and dear to our hearts, especially with children. Earlier in the week I promised that I would share some very difficult dilemmas that had come through this website lately, and this is one of them. One woman wrote in with an extremely sad story. Let me recount it here, with some embellishments, because I'd like to comment on it today.
She said that when she married she assumed they would have children. He'd always talked about wanting children. But almost as soon as the ceremony was over he announced that he didn't. And so now, almost a decade into their marriage, they are still childless. And she is trying to come to terms with this.
First, I think this was an incredibly selfish and cruel thing for a husband to do. But I'm also not sure it's right. So that's what I want to throw out today as a question: is it okay to refuse to have children at all, especially if one partner wants kids? I think it is all right if you're not a believer, but if you are a Christian, is it all right? After all, God did say "be fruitful and multiply". Now most of us limit that, and may only have two or three kids, but on the whole we follow it.
Is it okay not to?
I think if God has called you to something specific, like a ministry in missions in dangerous places, or something that requires a lot of travel for Him, then you may forego it. But on the whole, is this okay?
I tend to think it's not. Children are a blessing, and they do change our orientation to life and our attitude as soon as they are born. They make us far less selfish and far more invested in the future.
So this, to me, is a perfect example where submission is really difficult, and where I have a hard time just telling this woman she needs to submit. Imagine if your deepest dream were to be a mom, and your husband was taking that away. It's one thing to have to give up your dream to infertility, but even there at least you can choose adoption. But to give up your dream simply because of a husband's selfishness is way worse, in my opinion.
How I would counsel this woman, I think, is that marriage counselling is a must, and she should go to the elders of her church and ask them to intervene. That may sound drastic, but I think there's a spiritual issue going on in the husband here that needs to be addressed. I don't think I would just tell her to submit, because quite frankly, her biological clock is ticking.
I had two friends who were planning on never having kids, because he had had a really difficult childhood and didn't want to be a bad father. Then, at 35, she got pregnant by accident, after using birth control for 16 years (they'd been together since she was 19). Not wanting to have an only child, she had another one at 37. And they're both blissfully happy with the situation now.
I don't think I would advise simply to forget to take the Pill, though, because that is being deceitful. And you should never be deceitful with your husband. But I do think that this is an issue that is bigger than submission.
So what do you think? Submit? Get pregnant anyway? Or do something about it? And if you say do something about it, can you spell out why you think having children is an important thing to do? That's an argument I'm still trying to make a little more clearly from Scripture, and if anyone has any good insights, I'd love to hear them!
P.S.: I don't really want this discussion to get into whether or not it's all right to use birth control. Let's just deal with the main issue: what should she do in this one situation? And why? Thanks!
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Labels: loving, marriage, submission