Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marriage, Babies & a Change of Mind

I was having a conversation with friends about relationships and children. We have a friend who is in a serious relationship with a man who has been raising children for quite some time now. She, on the other hand, does not have any children yet and presumably wants some. One friend raised the question of whether or not he would even want anymore children since its been years (and perhaps because he doesn't want to be an "old" dad with a small child/children) since he's had to run behind kids. I maintain that because their relationship is so serious, they've likely had the discussion about marriage and having more children. I am of the opinion that when two people are considering getting very serious about their commitment to one another (whether they're deciding to be exclusive or they're beyond that and considering marriage), this is one of those very important topics to be discussed.

One of the things I got in response was, "But why do you HAVE to talk about that?" Admittedly, I was stumped because I was shocked by the rebuttal so I asked my friend to explain a bit further. Simply put, she feels that while it might be "smart" to talk about children and whether or not one or both party wants them, a person can change their mind at any time and that conversation can be right out the window. "So let's say you're married and at the time you both wanted kids," she says, "but after that year or two of being married, one of you decides that you like things the way they are and don't want children. Then what? Its like, what was the point of ever talking about it if someone has changed their mind?" My response is that we need to seriously discuss if we're at a crossroads with this because if one person has decided to change their mind (and a change of mind is a person's right) and the other hasn't, this could be a deal breaker. She further states that the person in the relationship who wants children - and this is all prior to marriage but in the getting to know you stage or committed stage - should not say
anything and the other person, if they DON'T want children, should be the one to speak up first. Why? Because if pregnancy should occur and the person who didn't want children finds themselves upset about it, the response can be, "Well, you never said you didn't want children."

I laughed because the SENTENCE was funny to me - the idea behind all of that didn't fully sit well with me. Yes, I believe people are allowed to change their minds about anything and I wouldn't dare try to change it back - makes no sense, probably won't work and even if it does, there will be resentment - but there's possibly a lot riding on something like this. First, these are important discussions to be had before marriage (even if someone's mind changed later) to at least see if you're somewhat on the same page; if you're not, the discussion would move on to see if there's something here that you still need to pursue. Second, I wouldn't want to play the "but you never said xyz" game. Finally, if we get to the point of marriage and afterward your mind changes, this MIGHT be a deal breaker. We might have to divorce. Maybe not but the conversation has to be had so that we know what we're dealing with.

So in a committed relationship (I'd like to solely say marriage but that's not for everyone and I recognize/respect it) where there is love, deep feelings and all "caught up-ness," what if a person just ups and changes their mind about what you both wanted in life and with each other?

Let's discuss.

1 comment:

Ms. K said...

I would be at a loss if after standing before my pastor, my family and friends and declaring my love for life for this man before God, he decides that he doesn't want kids. Before getting married, we would have talked about all of our wants, needs, plans and desires. Hence the reason that we would be married because we love each other and our values line up together. That could quite possibly be a deal breaker for me. Simply because I have finally accepted the fact that I do want to be a mommie.