Q. I desperately want to have children. While my husband has a nine-year-old son from his previous marriage, he doesn't want to have kids with me. He says he does but then makes excuses for postponing any attempts each month. I think it's really because of his strained relationship with my mother. He's mentioned recently he's reluctant to have kids with me because he doesn't feel my mother cares about him and he'd resent her involvement in our child's life. What should I do?
A. The core issue here isn't whether or not to have children. It's how you and your husband are going to make decisions and what things you're going to allow to influence your decision-making process. It's about your ability to communicate, to feel safe enough to express fears, and to hear each other's heart.
It's unhealthy for your husband to allow his interpretation of your mother's opinion to become more important than the desire God's placed in your heart. A man who allows a mother-in-law's (or anyone else's) attitude to determine a major marital decision is abdicating his God-given role. He's giving your mother way too much power. But perhaps his concern with your mom isn't his only issue. As a man I know that many men struggle with the emotional, spiritual, and financial responsibility of having additional children and with the concern that another child might take away from time together as a couple.
The first and simplest step is to make this a matter of consistent and focused prayer. Confusion, weakness, lack of courage, negativity, fear, and indecisiveness are all fed by neglecting to pray regularly. In our marriage we've learned that the increased time invested in listening to God—that small voice within that speaks biblical truth—translates into a better ability to hear each other and find clarity in the midst of confusion.1