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Eman

Wife wants more kids, I'm done

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Very "simple" problem. Have 4 crazy energetic children. Wife want's another. Youngest is 1 year. I'm done. I don't feel I can handle more. Moreover, I don't think she can handle more. I can't understand why she wants another when all she ever does is complain about the ones we have (they really are a handful and I don't blame her). We've talked about it off and on since our last was born. I really felt we were done and told her so. Eventually, I said we'd consider it later, when/if things mellowed out with our other children and if/when things got better in our marriage (having other issues that cause weekly fights).

Anyways, we're struggling just to keep ourselves together and this topic came up again. I finally just said no, it's not going to happen. Now she's all a mess, tells me how selfish I am, how if I loved her I would not do this to her, etc. I know it sounds so selfish so her words really hurt. But I can't do something like this just to please her. I honestly feel like our marriage is so fragile that we couldn't handle yet another. I've even prayed to have God change my heart, but to no avail.

What can I do? Do I just remain steadfast, and let her "morn?" She accuses me of being cold, emotionless, but really it hurts me to make her so sad. Have any of you had conflict with quantity of kids? How did you resolve it?

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My man, I think that you have bigger problems than the number of children. You both need to sit down and acknowledge this fact before you tackle the problem of children.

I notice that my husband is very compartmentalized. He looks at a problem in one compartment and thinks that if he can only solve that one problem, everything will be fine and he can move on to the next compartment and solve THAT problem. It rarely works because I have this strange habit of saying that the problem is a headache when as a matter of fact, it is sooooo much bigger than that. So much bigger that even I don't realize it.

So yes, sit down and try to get both of you to a point where you can acknowledge that the problem is bigger than that. Then you can try to figure out the root cause/s of the problem. Then you can begin to solve it. Then when you get some stability, then you can discuss more children without the shadow of the bigger foundational cracks.

Also a side note: Some women go through post-partum depression all the way through breastfeeding. So this might play a part in your foundational issues.

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I think it's too soon to call it (your youngest is only a year old!), but our philosophy has always been it takes 2 "yes"es to have a baby, 1 "no" to not. Be willing to revisit it in a year or two, though.

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@anatess Yes, we do have bigger problems. Too much to go into detail here. We both know that and get it. And my wife verbally has agreed that it wouldn't be prudent to consider having a child until these issues are resolved. We've been working for over a year to resolve our issues and honestly, haven't had a ton of improvement. Take all of our marital problems away, though, and I still don't want more kids. Four is enough.

@Eowyn I agree. But she doesn't. She simply thinks it's selfish of me to refuse her. Right now, I can't fathom me changing my mind. But if I did, I'd of course revisit the issue.

Right now I just want to know what to do to help her. Maybe there is nothing I can do but appear to be a jerk...It's just so hard. She's very melodramatic and emotional. Logic means nothing to her.

Thanks for both your replies!

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@anatess oh, and she hasn't breastfed for over 6 months. But she does feel depressed and suffers from anxiety. All of this, of course, makes it worse for me. A big part of me wants to give in to make her happy and her suffering less. She suffers from a variety of issues right now, and I don't help. But I feel the desire to have a baby is just her way to try and fill the emotional void she feels from other problems, and that having a baby will make things worse, not better....sigh...

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@anatess oh, and she hasn't breastfed for over 6 months. But she does feel depressed and suffers from anxiety. All of this, of course, makes it worse for me. A big part of me wants to give in to make her happy and her suffering less. She suffers from a variety of issues right now, and I don't help. But I feel the desire to have a baby is just her way to try and fill the emotional void she feels from other problems, and that having a baby will make things worse, not better....sigh...

You're seeing the problem as a nail. This is not the problem. Her complaining of your selfishness... I can bet you if it wasn't for the number of children, it will be for something else. Like I said... fixing the problem in that compartment doesn't necessarily fix the problem itself. So, thinking of making her happy through solving the problem of your incompatible desire for children is merely trying to put out a fire with a pitcher of water.

Fix the foundational cracks and you'll get a better idea of how different you truly are in the desire for children issue. You might find that you are actually in tandem!

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Would love to, but don't know how. :)

When you don't know what's wrong with your car, you go to the mechanic... this might be one of those things... you probably need to go see a professional marriage counsellor.

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When you don't know what's wrong with your car, you go to the mechanic... this might be one of those things... you probably need to go see a professional marriage counsellor.

Sigh again...I've asked. She won't. She believes we can work things out on our own. At a general level our problems stem from both of us being different than when we married. She is a person who hates change for no other reason than it lacks the comfort of the familiar. Thus it's really hard to adapt to changes when you refuse to accept them. Another problem is that I thrive on independence and resentment builds when I feel controlled. My wife likes to control (see the first point and how control relates to non-change). She claims to not love me or feel close which she sort of uses as an emotional club to try to get me to do whatever she wants. Anyways, I could go on and on but then I'll just be reprimanded for being uncharitable and pointing at her as the source of the problems. I'll be the first to admit that my view is inevitably distorted. That's why I'd love to see a counselor... Both of us have admitted that if we met each other today, we'd likely not even start dating. Makes for a really hard problem. If kids weren't an issue, we'd probably be separated by now...

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If she won't go with you, go yourself to begin with. Maybe she'll join you later. You can't force her, though, so you'd might as well get some help coping yourself.

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Oh and I should clarify...we know WHAT the problem is. We've read a few marriage books. I'm not sure how to fix them. I'm the type of person that reads something and INSTANTLY jumps into action making changes, sometimes without sufficient thought. So I work to apply the principles we've read. She doesn't. And if I point it out she just get's defensive. Like I said, she is very emotionally driven. Logic doesn't work even a little with her. So when I say I don't know what to do it's because I know I can't change her. Any change I make is unnoticed or ignored by her. Any request I make on change on her part may be tried once and then not again by her. She is in a big sense in a rut but can't or won't change. Thus I don't know how to fix it...

This is why I"m hesitant to go myself. I know they'll help me change, but if she doesn't change, it doesn't help. In fact, some things I've applied from books made things worse when only done by me...

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Sigh again...I've asked. She won't. She believes we can work things out on our own. At a general level our problems stem from both of us being different than when we married. She is a person who hates change for no other reason than it lacks the comfort of the familiar. Thus it's really hard to adapt to changes when you refuse to accept them. Another problem is that I thrive on independence and resentment builds when I feel controlled. My wife likes to control (see the first point and how control relates to non-change). She claims to not love me or feel close which she sort of uses as an emotional club to try to get me to do whatever she wants. Anyways, I could go on and on but then I'll just be reprimanded for being uncharitable and pointing at her as the source of the problems. I'll be the first to admit that my view is inevitably distorted. That's why I'd love to see a counselor... Both of us have admitted that if we met each other today, we'd likely not even start dating. Makes for a really hard problem. If kids weren't an issue, we'd probably be separated by now...

Well, there you are. Your problem is not the number of children.

And these issues may sound really insurmountable. But there's one tried and true solution to marital problems. You have to be willing to let yourself go... just like Christ said - it is not until you lose yourself in complete service to others that you have experienced true Love. He gave us the commandment to Love One Another and demonstrated it by kneeling infront of his apostles and washing their feet.

When your focus is what you want and how everything affects you, nothing will be solved. But when you are committed 100% to helping your wife find and stay on that strait and narrow path of gospel principles, your differences can be bridged.

This is just years and 4 kids later of both of you not being in service to the other so that you drifted apart without the other. I went through this with my marriage too. It's just that both my husband and I are 100% committed to making things work. Divorce is not an option for us so we have to bang our heads together until something clicks.

The thing is even if you do all these things, it's not a guarantee that your wife will then do the same and put herself in 100% commitment to your service. That would have been ideal but it all doesn't work out that way. But Christ promised that you will be blessed for Loving your wife no matter how difficult it is. You can't control what your wife does but you can control what you do and how you react to what she does. Choose the Right and you'll be okay.

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I only read the initial post.

I have a relative and a friend that keeps popping out babies. Yes, they love kids, love their current kids, and will love any future kids - but I've seen them both struggle keeping a handle on the 4 and 5 kids they already have. Not just that, there are many times I get a good earful of how hectic and unpleasant things are from THEM. If they were to be honest with themselves, and really dig deep, I think the truth of the matter for both of them would be NOT to have anymore kids. But it's a hard thing to face sometimes, the idea of capping off your offspring limit, knowing that your youngest is your last. I think everyone goes through that regardless of how many kids you have.

I think there are two really big factors that people just don't pay enough attention to when considering and bringing more children into the world: (1) can you financially support and provide for your kids and (2) are YOU and YOUR SPOUSE emotionally and physically able to take on more kids? It's just not fair when you grossly lack in those departments, everyone has bad days and falls on bad times, but if it's going to be a constant issue - I think it's selfish, personally.

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...there's one tried and true solution to marital problems. You have to be willing to let yourself go... just like Christ said - it is not until you lose yourself in complete service to others that you have experienced true Love. He gave us the commandment to Love One Another and demonstrated it by kneeling infront of his apostles and washing their feet.

When your focus is what you want and how everything affects you, nothing will be solved. But when you are committed 100% to helping your wife find and stay on that strait and narrow path of gospel principles, your differences can be bridged....

I was wondering when someone would bring this up...;) I've heard it before and have to admit that I somewhat disagree with it. Sure, if I were PERFECT, giving selfless service and unconditional love would work great. But I'm not. I'm human. I'm selfish. I want things. I crave love. When my needs aren't met I feel depressed. I've attempted what you suggest and it works just fine...except that I feel depressed. eventually my endurance or patience gives out and I revert to more selfish desires of having her actually show love/intimacy back. So while I agree that it would work, I am not yet "spiritual" enough for this method.

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Would she be willing to do this? Emotional Needs Questionnaire

Probably..and looking at it I could likely fill it out for her. :) Meeting her needs is doable sometimes. But if I screw up, as I'm bound to do (like show up 5 mins late from work) she refuses to accept an apology and something small becomes 2days of me either begging for forgiveness, somehow showing my sincerity, or else 2 days of silence. Moreover, it does nothing for her meeting my needs. I"ve been very frank multiple times with her and she doesn't do anything. For example, I have expressed to her my desire to have things done for me that show me she is thinking of me and loves me (Such as a little note, random gift, her planning some activity, anything that shows extra effort on her part) and she WILL NOT DO IT more than once.

Anyways, I'm getting the feeling there is no easy fix to our difference in children. If we had a strong marriage built on mutual respect, this wouldn't be such an issue because she wouldn't want to have a kid knowing it would make me unhappy. I'll lett her "get over it" on her own. It's hard but there's nothing else I can do.

Thanks,

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The purpose of that questionnaire is to determine how to fill each other's banks, so when a withdrawal is made (showing up late), there's enough of a balance that you aren't going in the red, so to speak. My main purpose though was to give her a chance to see what your needs are and how she can meet them. You seem to be making a lot of effort and she seems to be digging her heels in. (Of course, we are just getting one side of the story.)

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@Eowyn,

Thanks. While she would take it she would also get angry for "trying to fix her." We've read a few books together and apart and done survey's like it before. So it's not that she's unaware of my needs. Just too overwhelmed (by children!) to bother with them.

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Wow. I could have written your post word for word. Except I'm the wife in my situation and I am the one wanting more so keep that in mind when I say what I do. We have four children all under 10.

I do think your marriage has other kinks and not because your wife wants more children, but because of other things you've indicated). And I do think you should address them and correct them before having another child. Your wife is manipulating and controlling you from the things you've said and that's not healthy and needs to be addressed.

I think the issue about more children should be discussed and resolved only after you address the other issues. But for now, I would let her know that you're not comfortable at this time in having another child (I wouldn't say you 100% don't want anymore until after other issues are fixed, don't go out and do anything permanent.).

I'd also let her know that you desire counseling and I think you should go, even if you start out alone. It can be a great help to help you communicate better with your wife and eventually open the door for her to go with you. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force them to drink it, but you can set an example and control your own side of the marriage and yourself.

Edited by Normandy

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I was wondering when someone would bring this up...;) I've heard it before and have to admit that I somewhat disagree with it. Sure, if I were PERFECT, giving selfless service and unconditional love would work great. But I'm not. I'm human. I'm selfish. I want things. I crave love. When my needs aren't met I feel depressed. I've attempted what you suggest and it works just fine...except that I feel depressed. eventually my endurance or patience gives out and I revert to more selfish desires of having her actually show love/intimacy back. So while I agree that it would work, I am not yet "spiritual" enough for this method.

My husband and I are not perfect. But just because I suck at dicing tomatoes doesn't mean we throw the entire chili down the drain.

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My mother had 7 seven kids, while fighting depression her whole life. I concluded that she had kids to feel better about herself, but I don't fault her for being a poor mother as she did her best. My parents are now divorced. Please do not have kids to distract from relationship issues, as it is irresponsible and seems to lead to an inevitable divorce with the kids being scarred for life.

It sounds like you two are in a feedback loop. You ask or suggest, she withdraws. She withdraws so you ask/suggest, which leads to her resenting how you are asking or suggesting. Toss in the male tendency to focus one problem and believe there is one solution that will fix the complaint, add a huge dose of the female believing everything is connected and her not actually talking about the root cause but some minor thing, then you get a cocktail of life. You both need therapy, combined and separate.

This could help in the meantime:

Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life: Phillip Moffitt: 9781594630927: Amazon.com: Books

Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families: David Stoop: 9780830757237: Amazon.com: Books

I credit you for coming to these forums for advice, but I also think about my father and how I acted in my crazy "relationship". My father would tell my mother how she could "fix" herself, which would then lead to her feeling more isolated and resentful of his suggestions as it seemed he didn't care or understand what she was going through. Fast forward to my 4 years of life with a woman and she didn't care nor want to understand my depression and she resented my suggestions to "fix" herself, while exploding over minor issues and not speaking of the root cause.

You two can work through it but I think its a case of getting out of the feedback loops and looking at alternative ways of communication or approaching each other.

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Since we're only getting one side of the story (and probably an underrepresentation of your own flaws and shortcomings) I'll let it be that you have bigger problems to sort out.

The only question I would ask related to children is this:

Does your wife want more children? Or does she want more babies?

Those aren't the same thing. I don't really have much love for newborn or infants. My younger daughter is just about to turn two years old, and it's only been in the last six months that I've really felt any interest or affinity for her other than "she's my offspring."

Your wife sounds like another mother I knew who wanted a very large family. Each time she had a baby, she would dote on the baby, but most of her public communication about the other children became frustrations and complaints. As far as I could tell, she loved having someone completely rely on her, but didn't care much for the stress and challenges of watching them develop their independence. The judgmental side of me wishes such people would stop having kids and play with dolls instead.

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Since we're only getting one side of the story (and probably an underrepresentation of your own flaws and shortcomings) I'll let it be that you have bigger problems to sort out.

The only question I would ask related to children is this:

Does your wife want more children? Or does she want more babies?

Those aren't the same thing. I don't really have much love for newborn or infants. My younger daughter is just about to turn two years old, and it's only been in the last six months that I've really felt any interest or affinity for her other than "she's my offspring."

Your wife sounds like another mother I knew who wanted a very large family. Each time she had a baby, she would dote on the baby, but most of her public communication about the other children became frustrations and complaints. As far as I could tell, she loved having someone completely rely on her, but didn't care much for the stress and challenges of watching them develop their independence. The judgmental side of me wishes such people would stop having kids and play with dolls instead.

Maybe I was talking to a wall but I think your post reflects a lot of how I feel about this situation. The bold especially is spot on!

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I think MoE could be on to something, too. I dearly miss having a baby to hold and snuggle. But I know that I actually have all I can handle, and the hard parts of it would do me in. I'm finally getting a handle on my depression and raising the family I already have. Adding another, at least anytime soon, would really make things bad.

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