By Joyce Oglesby
Q: “We have been married four years, and my husband wants a baby. I’m not ready for parenthood. I want a child, but I want to enjoy my career for a while longer before we start a family. This is something we discussed at great length before we got engaged. I made myself perfectly clear that I intended to launch my career and had very specific goals before becoming a parent. I want to travel and see the world. He’s seven years older and is anxious to become a father. But once we become parents, the fun is over. I’m not ready to give up that part of my life, but tension is mounting. A deal’s a deal, isn’t it?
Joyce: Absolutely a deal’s a deal, until it becomes a really BIG deal.
Discussing critical issues like becoming parents is sensible. Agreeing on important elements of marriage is prudent. Realizing that not only marriage but life calls one to cooperation, teamwork, and harmony is incredibly wise. I do, however, sense folly in your dilemma.
Allow me to address the glaring obstacle — “I.” “I want, I want, I want.” The problem of you and your husband’s separate desires could possibly lie within the I-wants, which seem to be a common thread in your dilemma. I would encourage you to first examine the framing of the issue you presented. Without reining in your desires and creating the atmosphere of “our,” I feel the two of you could be facing other conflicts in years to come, if not already.
Now, let’s get down to finding a solution to this “deal.”
1. Time is relative. Seven years is a gap. For example, if you’re a high-schooler, then dating someone seven years older might cause someone to question the logic behind it. Once you enter college, the gap narrows. It can widen again once a couple is considering becoming parents. I would contend it is very natural for him to be eager to become a parent at his age.
2. Age brings wisdom. Many folks are waiting to have children until after realizing the benefits of a hard-earned degree, securing a worthy position in their career, and experiencing recreational adventures. And it works very well for them. Keep in mind that in another seven years, you will likely catch his fever for a child.
3. Fun is a perspective. From your viewpoint, fun may be over after becoming a parent. From his, it might have only just begun. Having been a parent by the age of 22 (my husband is five years older), I can attest that I was clueless about the fun that lay in store. There has been no greater joy in my life than that of being a parent…except for becoming a grandparent. So dispel the idea that fun is over. With that kind of perception, you might never appreciate the utter thrill of becoming a parent and then a grandparent.
4. What’s the deal? Even though the subject was broached before your engagement, it appears to have been an open-ended resolve. If there was an agreement that you would be, for instance, 35 before you become pregnant, then he should honor the deal without undue pressure on you. If there was no timeline to your pact, is there really a deal at all? If you keep extending the I-want list, you might discover that the battery supply to your biological clock is depleted. Besides, it could take a while to see the world. Exploring it with kids is pretty special, too.
5. Home loves harmony. Every home, with or without children, needs to be in accord. I encourage you both to take every aspect of this I-want dilemma — his and yours — and weigh the consequences of continuing in disunity regarding when to become parents. Again, I see existing underlying problems that could complicate your marriage with or without kids. I urge you to address these before becoming parents in order to make children one of the biggest deals you’ll ever enjoy.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at and find a solution for life. Listen to The Just Ask Joyce Show M-F from 3-5pm on WFIA 94.7FM/900AM.
What do you think about her situation? What would you do?