I'm anxious to be a mother, but my husband doesn't want to have children yet. My biological clock is ticking away, and the tension between us is growing, but he says he isn't ready to take the step into parenthood. How can we resolve this conflict?
There must be some reason your husband doesn't feel ready to start a family yet. The best thing you can do at this point is find a way to get to the heart of those feelings. It's pointless to think of 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 can feel a bit 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 engaging in some kind of shared activity that he enjoys, like having a nice dinner or a walk in the park. Then, when you're both relaxed and having a good time, tell him you've got something on your mind and ask him if he wouldn't mind talking about it.
A common mistake in marriage is trying to be the person we perceive our spouse wants us to be instead of being ourselves. So, be straightforward and honest. Remember you married your husband because there was a “spark” of some kind between the two of you: 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 said about him, we assume he'll probably respond, “I don't want to start a family yet.” It's at this point that you'll need to steel yourself to resist the temptation to whine, lecture or interrogate. Adopt a listening attitude and 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 and, 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 criticise 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 counselling. It might also be advisable for both you and your husband to seek out the help and guidance of older and wiser mentors.
This article was extracted by Focus on the Family Malaysia (www.family.org.my) with permission.