Encouragement for Those Who Are Sick of “The Question”

We newlyweds get this question all the time, especially at holidays: “When are you going to have kids?” This question is particularly challenging because, I’ve noticed, there isn’t a lot of Christian material out there for just Christian wives. I’m reading a book now that talks about being a confident woman, but the author dedicates several chapters to how she feels about being a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love free parenting advice, but it’s almost like someone sent me a text message that was meant for someone else.

As a disclaimer for some of the readers in my family who think that this is a direct attack on them, I did get asked this question a lot over the weekend, and your questions did inspire this post. I’m more comfortable with this conversation now than I was, you know, during my wedding reception. However, while talking with my family, I gleaned some encouragement that I wanted to share with the couples out there who are still rolling their eyes when people see a baby and ask when they’re going to have one. So, thanks to my family for asking the difficult questions.

Some people are selfish, but most people mean well. Most people are also genuinely interested about your plans for your life. The people in your family or at church are simply enjoying watching you grow and taking the next step of your life.

I first noticed people asking me about the next step of my life when I was trying to pick a college. During my senior year, I didn’t know where I was going to go yet, but I remember getting asked about it five times in only one day. But the questions didn’t stop there. When I decided on a college, I didn’t have a major. When I decided on a major, I didn’t have a car. When I got a car, I didn’t have a degree. When I got a degree, I didn’t have a job. When I got a job, I didn’t have a boyfriend. When I got a boyfriend, I didn’t have an engagement ring. When I got an engagement ring, I didn’t have a wedding ring. When I got a wedding ring, I didn’t have a baby. Or a house. Or another baby. And then my kids will get asked the questions.

Some of my family members are in high school now, and I ask them almost every time I see them where they’re going to college and what they want to do as a career. It may not be what they end up doing for college (they still have a couple of years), but it’s nice to see that them grown up and making big-kid decisions. So, when I get asked the question, “When are you having kids?” it’s really just the next step of life, and I’m sure the person asking me is just really happy to see me grown up and making big-kid decisions.

If you get asked this question a lot, think of it as a compliment. It means that you’re ready in the world’s eyes. It means that the person asking you sees you as a mature adult now, able to parent your own children and make big-kid decisions. Please, do not see it as an insult. You and your husband are complete without children. You and your husband are not lazy for choosing to wait. You and your husband have your priorities in order if your priorities include focusing on your marriage or saving money.

For those of you who are sensitive about this topic, try not to answer their prying questions with too much detail. My husband and I already have a rough draft idea for our children, from when we want to start trying to get pregnant, to actually raising our kids. Hormones and circumstances could change things, but no one knows that plan but us and God. Why? Because no one will be happy (I mean 100% happy) with our plans, because they’re not their plans.

Being vague with our plans also gives God space to work. God is ultimately the giver of life. I know people who were on birth control and got pregnant anyway. I know people who used every form of fertility method and still couldn’t get pregnant. Our answer, over all, should be that we’ll have children in God’s timing. Until then, we’re serving Him as best as we can as husband and wife by loving each other and growing where we are planted.

Photo by Andrew Itaga on Unsplash


Don’t Parent Your Spouse

Whether you have kids of your own or not, people joke all the time that if you’re married, you have at least one kid. What a terrible joke, to say that the loves of our lives are mere children! Unfortunately, sometimes we treat our spouses like children.

On The Good Doctor, one of the staff members made a statement (paraphrased below) that describes the difference between parents and spouses: “Parents know their sons as boys, but wives know their sons as men.” How true that is! Even when I was a little girl, I imagined my Prince Charming, not as a little boy but as a mature adult, strong enough to stand by my side and valiantly face whatever life throws at us. Although it is my job to help my husband grow into maturity, why is it so tempting to talk to him like he’s five?

Generally, women are more guilty of talking down to their spouses, but men do it also. I can only speak from the experience as a woman, but I’m sure men could learn from my words as well. In our society, the pendulum has swung in the exact opposite direction, from “submit to your husband” (as in, “your husband can do with you as he pleases”) to “parent your husband.” It may be a control issue, it may be payback for a patriarchal society, it may even be a response to how our spouses were raised, but it’s time that we treat our spouses like adults.

After all, the more you treat your spouse like a child, the more your spouse will act in childish behavior.

Start by praying to see your spouse as an adult. God calls us to maturity, and as spouses, we should be helping our spouses to grow in faith and character. Our spouses should be doing that for us as well. Pray that God would give you eyes to see your spouse the way that God sees him, and pray about your speech and your behavior toward him.

My husband and I do not have any children yet, but we are having conversations about our future parenting styles. If you don’t have children yet, but are treating your spouse like a child, write down or make a mental note of statements you make to your spouse that sound more like a parent than a spouse. After reviewing the words you say, decide if that is even how you would want to parent your children! It can be a learning experience for both of you to talk about how it feels to be spoken to that way, so it might hurt your children if you talk to them that way as well.

Finally, I think we need to stop congratulating our spouses as a form of positive reinforcement. My husband put away some dishes that I left out, and while I appreciate what he did, I didn’t make a huge deal out of it. We are both responsible to keep our space neat and to put everything back in its place. I pick up Lenny’s socks from the floor (NOT all the time!) but no one throws me a party. Why do I have to make such a big deal over Lenny doing me a “favor”? Let’s have a conversation with our spouses about the expectations for our household chores and finances. That way, our spouses will actually do what we expect from them, instead of guessing what we want them to do.

Generally speaking, people work in different rhythms. I may ask my husband to do something for me, and it may take him five minutes just to get up from his chair. In my mind, what I need is an emergency, but in his mind, it can wait. Our conflicting personalities in this way have grown my patience and have grown my husband’s efficiency. Just because he doesn’t get up right when I ask him to, doesn’t mean I should treat him like a child. He’s an adult; he can make his own decision about when to get up from his chair. Unless I’m bleeding or the house is on fire, there is no need for him to rush.

Overall, have grace with yourself and with your spouse. You don’t have to control your spouse; you have to be patient and let him do it in his own time. Your spouse also needs to have patience with you, since it’s frustrating when your spouse treats you like a baby. Have an honest talk about the communication in your marriage, and make steps to grow each other into maturity instead of keeping them locked in childish behavior.

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash