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Help! My Marriage Is Childless

By Teri M Bethel

The old saying, “Marriage is easy to get into but difficult to get out of” doesn’t seem to have any effect on the speed in which couples enter and exit marriages today. The reasons why people pursue marriage have also changed over the years. Marriage vows have been edited for comfort, deleted when convenient, and often professed with glee then totally ignored when problems come as though tossing them in the tall weeds of life would bury their significance.

Are your expectations reasonable?

Many men marry with the expectation of having children. When discovering a wife is unable to conceive after several years of not having a baby, he wonders if he chose the right mate even though most of the other areas of their relationship are going quite well. All too often the bottom line is whether or not the wife is a good “breeder”; can she produce an heir or a grandchild to make him and his family happy? Such was the case of a young couple we’ll call Collin and Carlie, who tried to have children for seven years but were unsuccessful. Tired of his family’s badgering about his wife’s barren womb, Collin decided it was time to look for more fertile pastures despite claiming to love his wife. That pesky “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” part of the marriage vow was no longer convenient for Collin who later engaged in an adulterous affair resulting in a child out of wedlock.

Mike and Beth (not their real names) have a similar story. He accused his wife of being barren and left her for a woman who had already proven her fertility. Beth was heartbroken at the time but found consolation after remarrying and becoming pregnant for her new husband. Mike and Beth’s inability to have children was not what Mike thought; the problem was due to Mike’s sterility. These weighty expectations couples have of each other can easily be managed with open communication before getting married. While this might be the last thing a couple thinks they will have to deal with in their marriage, it is an unfortunate reality needing wise and gentle handling.

Some causes of childlessness

According to the Standford University article, “What Causes Female Infertility?”, there are numerous medical reasons couples could be childless. Additionally, their issues can also range from physical (such as drug use) to spiritual matters. Whatever the problem, seeking professional assistance can often correct the situation. Playing the blame game with your spouse is not helpful when both parties are distraught and perhaps already blaming themselves. Allowing interference from family members or friends who insist it is time for you to have a child has never proven to advance the situation.

There’s always a solution to a problem

Many couples have proven adoption to be so rewarding that they have taken in multiple children, some even related to each other. In the absence of having a biological child, adopting a child in need of love and care regardless of their age is an incredibly selfless act which could benefit the couple, the child and society. It requires a couple whose greatest desire is to love children just as much as they would if they were biologically theirs. A few well-known people who were adopted and made a mark in the world are:

• Nelson Mandela (former President of South Africa)

• Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s)

• Babe Ruth (famous baseball player)

• Faith Hill (singer)

• Steve Jobs (founder of Apple)

• Eartha Kit (Actress)

• Edgar Allan Poe (Poet)

The child that is adopted may be the very one to save a life, lead a nation or bring joy. A friend of mine tried to have children for many years. It was emotionally painful for her not having a child after 20 years of marriage. To have friends celebrate Mother’s Day year after year and not experience the joy herself weighed her down. After many prayerful and tearful treatments and operations, she and her husband decided it was time to adopt. They believed that there were children who required love just as much as they needed to express that love. Days after bringing their adopted child home, she conceived—today the couple has two beautiful children. The point is, a problem is merely a situation that has not yet uncovered a solution. When the couple took the focus off of themselves and was willing to love a child in need, they opened themselves to received double for their trouble.

Is your marriage really over?

Should you toss your marriage out of the window because your spouse is unable to conceive? What if the shoe were on your foot, is that how you would want to be treated? Consider all of your options before taking such drastic measures that could put you in a far worse situation. You must be willing to seek the advice of people who have wisdom in your area of concern. In the meantime, adjust how you look at the situation and treat your spouse with respect. Take the time to respectfully discuss what you both may consider the best course of action. Conflicts will come in any relationship, but it’s not the problem that is the problem, it’s how you choose to address it. Rather than chucking your marriage because you hit a bump in the road, consider holding your spouse’s hand and going through it together; for better or for worse.

• Teri M Bethel is a publisher and an author of relationship enrichment books which include: “Before We Say, I Do…” and “My Marriage Matters”. She has also published romance and adventure novels, purse-making and fabric painting DVDs. Additionally, Teri provides a free online directory for local authors to showcase their family-friendly books. She and her husband have two adult sons. Visit her website, www.BooksByBethel.com, or e-mail her at tbethel@booksbybethel.com.

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