Even couples who agree about most things may find themselves at odds when it comes to the timing of family planning.
Here are ways to get in sync with your partner . . . or deal with the situation if you can’t.
Imagine that you and your husband are cruising down life’s highway together, when up ahead, you notice a fork in the road. You want to turn right, but, your husband—well, he’s thinking left. Which way do you go?
Being out of sync with one another about when, or how, or even if to create a family can happen at any time in your relationship—right out of the gate, or further down the road.
When my client Casey got married, having a baby was not in her plans. Now, two years later, she’s having trouble thinking about much else, while her husband likes their life just the way it is. Elizabeth didn’t hit a roadblock until she was well into fertility treatment. At first, her husband, Carl, was her champion, holding her hand every step of the way. But when their doctor recommended an egg donor to deal with Elizabeth’s ovarian failure, Carl’s support came to a dead stop. Patty’s jolt came after she had already exhausted all biological options, and had begun pursuing adoption. She assumed that her husband’s passivity meant that he was on board. Things seemed like they were moving along nicely until the home study. There, she listened in disbelief as her husband expressed, for the first time, his reluctance to adopt.
Clearly, differences can stand as obstacles that keep you stuck. But there’s another way you can perceive them.
If you and your husband are a young couple, and he’s not sure if he’s ready, it helps to keep some things in mind. See your youth as an advantage, and remind yourself that you have time to make this decision. Give him a chance to warm to the idea. It may just be that children are a little foreign to him, and that something as simple as attending social events with other couples who have children, can help ease the transition.
See Differences as Opportunities
If you’re further down the pike, don’t panic. Disagreements happen—they’re a normal part of relationships. In fact, differences can be seen as invitations—to slow down, reconsider your options, and perhaps most important, see the big picture.
Kristen learned this lesson in her own marriage. “Every time I’d bring up the baby issue, I’d notice that Lenny would get quiet, or change the subject.” What Kristen realized was that, if not addressed now, this default pattern could rear its head every time a dilemma arose.
Challenges like this one, then, can be a springboard for learning how to negotiate differences, and make decisions that work for both of you. Here are five steps to get you started.