Be a Team
One of the best gifts parents can give a child is a loving relationship. Strengthen yours by focusing on the positives, and finding ways to build on your friendship. If the baby issue seems like too much of a hot topic right now, shelve it for a bit, and give your marriage time to grow into it.
You can be a strong team and still negotiate differences by listening and expressing your feelings without blame. Rather than accusing your husband of standing in your way, for example, you can say, “I know that you’re struggling with the idea of having a family, but I just want you to understand how important this is to me.” If you’re not sure you understand your husband’s response, check it out by saying, “so what I heard you say was . . . “ and then rephrase his statement in your own words. When each of you feels understood by the other you have a greater chance of coming to an agreement.
Step Into the Past and Into the Future
The choice to have children is one of those decisions that links you to your past and your future. Your yearning for a baby may represent a way for you to recreate the loving family of your childhood, while for your husband it may evoke memories of his parents’ bitter divorce. Your unique experiences can translate into very different expectations.
The same can be said for your future. Have you talked about what a baby’s impact will be on your careers, your savings, your retirement? Since men are biologically wired to be providers, financial concerns may weigh heavily on your husband’s mind. Exploring these issues together will allow you to create a plan that’s right for you.
Take it Slow
Big decisions take time—uninterrupted time. Put aside about an hour, once a week or so, specifically to discuss this issue. If things get a little heated, agree to be silent and allow the other to vent, or take a break and agree to pick it up later. Putting your thoughts on paper, and then asking your husband to read what you’ve written, is a great way to open the discussion once again.
Make a Date
Decide together on a target date when you hope to come to a resolution. If you work on this issue consistently, you can always extend that date, or you may decide to get a third party involved.
Don’t even think about becoming pregnant on your own! A baby arriving as a point of contention could have devastating consequences on your relationship.
When No Means Never
If your husband simply refuses to have a child, you have to decide: do you stay or do you leave? If you stay, it’s important that you work through your feelings of loss, to stop them from poisoning your relationship. Counseling may help you come to terms with your grief. Through your healing, it can become possible to find creative ways to move forward as a couple.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Conceive Magazine.
Related Topics: Stress and Fertility; Your Relationship and Trying to Conceive
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