Delayed Marriages – Discussion about Children???

Barb and I have 6 big strong grandsons and one little grand princess. Our boys range in age from 21-31 years of age. By the time we were their ages, we had been married and had a couple of children.

First, some hard questions. Do you know how many children per family are required to sustain our population? We are not close to that today…For example, if we need 2,000,000 new workers in the workplace in 2044, we can’t get there if there are only 1,000,000 new births this year. Something has to give. Some are putting off having children due to the uncertainty afoot on the earth.

Overlay that with the lengthening delays for our young folks to marry. One of ours said he thought you would not consider marriage until you had been together at least 5 years.

So how long after marriage should you wait before marrying and having kids?

Whether you’re just dating, living together, newlyweds or have been married for years now, the answer depends on your unique situation. I can’t give you a definitive time frame, but I can give you and your spouse or prospect some important things to consider. Having children is a highly individual decision, and it’s one you should make carefully.

Before we get started, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this decision is yours to make as a couple. No outside source can tell you the right time for you. Instead, it’s crucial for the two of you to stick together as you make this decision.

What if my wants to be a parent before I’m ready or isn’t ready when I am? Then what?

So what happens when one of you wants children, but the other is hesitant? First, it’s important to avoid trying to sway your spouse to your “side.” Instead, commit to being open and honest with each other.

Talk together, and truly listen, and listen with curiosity to better understand each another. It’s important for both of you to feel heard and understood and cared about…not just about this topic, but at all times. Don’t pressure your partner to see your side, but be vulnerable in sharing your feelings.

It does not matter what your peers are doing, it is important you do right for YOU.

If you still aren’t on the same page by the end of this discussion, I suggest setting a time frame for when you’ll revisit the topic again. Put it on the calendar, then stick to it. You might need to revisit the topic more than once over time, but it’s important for both of you to feel at ease with your decision when you do decide to have children. If you want to have these discussions inside a very secure setting, we can help.

It’s easy to compare yourselves to other couples you know, especially if your friends are having kids and you aren’t. While it’s tempting to try to “keep up,” your pacing might simply be different than your peers’. And, it’s understandable that you and your friends might want to be able to raise your kids together.

Still, when it comes to having kids, the best timing varies from one couple to the next. Some couples start having children immediately because they’ve chosen to do so. Others wait until after schooling is done, careers have stabilized, or finances are in order. The best decision is ultimately up to you.

How do you respond if parents pressure you, “when are you going to bring us grandbabies?”

If parents, in-laws, or other family members are pressuring you to have kids sooner, remember this is a decision you and your spouse are making together. Gently remind your family when they push for an answer. You could say something like, “Mom, we love you, but this is our decision to make on our time. We understand how excited you are for grandchildren. When the time is right, we’ll celebrate together.”

But if your families continue applying pressure, you might need to set firmer boundaries. For example, the topic of having kids might need to be off-limits for a time. Ultimately, you and your spouse get to decide what’s most appropriate.

Regardless of when you decide to have children, it’s important to focus on growing into the kind of parent you want to be for them. Les and Leslie Parrott’s book, The Parent You Want To Be, is a guide to choosing and modeling the kind of person you want your kids to grow into. You can start that process any time.

Oh, and by the way, we’d really like to have some great-grandbabies to spoil. Who will be first?