ADVICE AND ANSWERS: When a Woman Doesn't Want Children


Today's "Advice & Answers" question comes from an anonymous reader. It was actually asked as a comment to a previous post, but I thought it was an interesting question for all Making Home readers to consider, not just those who happened to read the comments of that particular post.


So here's the question:


"What about women who don't want children at all, and would rather have a career only? Maybe marriage, maybe not? Is this sinful?"


So what say you? Mind you, this situation is not asking about someone who *can't* have children, or who has medical difficulties and may not be able to have children. This question is about a woman who doesn't *want* children.

So, biblically speaking, if a woman knows she doesn't want children, is she free to marry? Any other thoughts, answers, or advice you'd have in response to a question like this? Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this interesting question!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, in the New Testament Paul tells people that they should marry rather than burn with sexual desire-- I don't know if that changes the idea that marriage is for procreation.... but I think it would be more biblical for her to marry than to not marry but have sexual partners.

That's pretty much a non-answer.... good question!

~Emily

Kid Feed Mommy said...

I think it's okay if a woman doesn't "want" children when she gets married. God can easily change a person's heart. It really does come down to the heart. Are we preventing God from creating life for our own selfish desires? Or are we open to letting Him decide whether or not we have a child?

If that woman were to get pregnant, would she truly believe that God made a mistake in creating that life?

I believe God is unable to make mistakes, and that any child conceived is his perfect will. If God can't make mistakes in his creation, I don't see any reason to try to get in his way. That woman could give herself completely over to God's will, and ultimately find peace in total submission to Him knowing He will not make a mistake.

Buffy said...

I think some women have a vocation, for example to heal or teach people. They may have no interest in romance or having children or even having a sexual relationship.

Getting married and not having children? It would be pretty pointless to force a woman to have children that didn't want them. When this has happened (for example, some Catholic women who think it's a sin to use birth control) the children have sometimes ended up neglected and damaged. Obviously the woman must be absolutely clear with her husband before they marry what her feelings on the subject are.

Anna S said...

Jess,

You know I feel a strong conviction against the use of birth control - and therefore, in my eyes, the only way for a woman not to have children without is to remain celibate for her entire life. It might sound judgmental to some, but since you asked, these are my 2 cents.

Now, the question is, *why* doesn't she want to have children? Is it because of health issues? Because she's afraid she would make a bad mother? Because of her own pleasures and comforts she's afraid she might not be able to pursue once she has children?

Kelly said...

I personally think that God can call a woman, or man, to a life that wouldn't involve children, or even marriage. Just because we all have the equipment doesn't mean we're supposed to use it.
And if you really don't want children don't have them. Depending on your religious background would depend on if that meant no marriage or forms of birth control that are barrier method as opposed to the pill. Perhaps a women who didn't want children because she felt she had a call to a particular vocation may be led to a man to cannot have children, you just don't know.
I personally advise people that if they don't want children they shouldn't have them. Children are a blessing but a huge responsiblity and if you're not ready for that then don't do it.

Kelly

the Girl said...

I do think it is not suppose to be that way, that married women doesnt want to have children. They are a blessing after all. But the question about calling, I think if you feel you might be single, you have no desire to be married or share your life with a other half, or you think you can serve the Lord better being single, it is ok, but if you want to do career and that´s why decide not to marry, even if you want to be with somebody, I think that´s not so right, you should listen to your heart and pray about it. Only God knows whats wright (for you).The real inner peace will help you guide your way.

CB said...

In my experience, God does change hearts! I didn't want any more kids after having one boy and one girl. My second was colicky and life was miserable. We were 95% certain we were done, and only allowed that 5% in case God gave us a baby unplanned by us. We did that for three years, but began to feel more and more strongly that our desire against children was fear-based and not faith-based. We decided to have another baby! We are so blessed that God changed our hearts. I think God is such a personal God that He deals with each person, and not "across the board" on this issue. Otherwise, it would seem to be a clearcut, spelled out direction --"You must have as many children as you physically can have." And I think both husband and wife have to be in agreement in this, or pray for changed hearts if not.

As for a woman who does not want children getting married ... she better be very honest with her husband-to-be, and if he's in agreement, it seems fine with me. That said, God could change their hearts!

Rebecca said...

I was going to just say 'no' and leave it at that. However, Emily's reasoning is pretty good. But, pretty much I'd have to say that the woman who "knows" she never wants children should stay single and focus on whatever ministry the Lord gives her.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a good thing to have a firm idea of what one wants. This woman seems to have an awareness & sensitivity toward God. People who don't care at all tend not to use the word "sinful".

If she doesn't feel called to marriage, but to a career, I would say that is fine. I know a couple of women who are quite fulfilled with their life's work. One spent 30 years in Tanzania as a nurse, & brought a good many babies into this world.

And if this woman (with the question) meets someone?....then what? Frankly, I don't know what I would tell her. But not all childless couples are selfish gadabouts. She would need to be completely upfront with the man she may meet & desire to marry, about her wish to remain childless.

Brenda

Christine said...

When contemplating this subject, I pondered Malachi 2:15, "And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed." He made man and woman one flesh so that they would have a godly seed. So if a man and woman are not open to having any children, I do not feel that they ought to marry. This is what I feel, after honestly searching the Scriptures.Blessings!

FreeIndeed said...

Hmmm. After reading the comments and really giving it some thought, I'm going to say no, it's not a sin.

Women who don't want children make that claim for a variety of reasons, some of them even appear to be quite understandable and unique to every individual. To then say that these women aren't free to marry is to put many of them in situations of fornication, perhaps adultery and, definitely, out of the ideal relationship (marriage) for which children should be born to should she ever change her mind. And change their minds, women often do. One of my dear friends didn't want children when she married and made this very clear. Her husband agreed and they married anyway. 7 years into the marriage he changed his mind, convinced her to give him a child and she's happy she did so (even though her marriage fell apart not long afterwards). Had she been forbidden to marry though, I'm almost positive she never would have changed her mind and her daughter wouldn't be here today.

Besides, woman was given to man first and foremost for him not to be alone. While both were commanded to multiply, this wasn't the primary reason for her creation. She is a companion and a helpmeet which many women can still effectively be to husbands who also agree that they don't want children.

I understand that not having children is a breakdown of the natural order of things, but at the same time, we are given free will and even in having such, our will can change from day to day. I think a woman is closer to His will in marrying and not having children than she is without marrying at all. Since the bible doesn't clearly and expressly forbid a woman who wishes to remain child-free from marrying, I don't think it's a good idea to tell her that she can't because of varying opinions on the matter. I say let Elohim be Elohim and not make up additional rules that may be too hard for one to follow and cause them to sin more in the process.

I understand that this is hypothetical too, lol, so I'm not suggesting that we're making up new rules, I'm just looking at how we can stand in the way of His work and cause others to stumble while at the same time believing we are legislating His morality.

I also am subject to change my mind on this tomorrow, because it is such a close call and such an interesting question! ;)

Thanks,

Free

Kim said...

I think that the Bible says a lot of great things about marriage and children, but it doesn't say that marriage is ONLY for the purpose of having children (although that is one of the reasons for it). I don't agree with a person being married and not wanting kids - but who am I to judge? We've all got our own situations that can be seen as Biblically questionable. That said, I stick with the "better to marry than to burn" and also that "God can change a heart" arguments that are so eloquently laid out by others.

Steph VG said...

Wow, you've already gotten some great comments! I could write a book on this - I was asking this just five years ago. But I'll refrain from book status...maybe just a pamphlet! :-)

So far, we've just looked at the surface of it - is the decision okay or not okay? CB came closest to the most important thing when she asked Why? That one word gets to the heart of the issue, the question of who's worshiping whom? When we make decisions based on feelings (i.e., what we feel like accepting from the Lord's hand, or what we're afraid of), we're leaving God out of the question. Especially in the latter category of fear, decisions made out of fear are really decisions made out of unbelief. Decisions made on the basis of what we feel like leave God out of the question because, then, where is there room for sacrificial obedience? Lots of people do lots of things for God's glory that they don't feel like doing. Any time we leave God out of any question, we are symbolically turning our back on His throne to worship another throne we've set up for ourselves. Sometimes a career is on it. Sometimes a material possession or dearly-loved person is on it...at the heart, every time, we're on it, because we're wanting what we think is best, rather than trusting what God in His perfect wisdom thinks is best.

Asking whether something is sinful doesn't necessarily mean that one is spiritually sensitive enough not to be sinning. In fact, it could be God's call to this dear sister to grow in discernment. A bit of my own story:

It was in high school that I first became aware of not wanting children. I didn't understand my reasoning - in fact, I didn't think I had any reasons. I remember a conversation with a friend where she suggested that maybe my feelings on the subject were God's protection because I wouldn't be able to have children. I held onto that belief through into marriage. Neither Matt nor I were "keen" on having children - if they came, "Great!" we said (but didn't feel), but if not, we were fine with that, too.

But then I started thinking: Is this attitude toward having children sinful? And after praying, reading Scripture, and talking with some wise people - some parents, some not - God began to reveal the idolatry in my heart. There isn't room to go into all He showed me, but suffice it to say that while the original lack of pursuing desire for children (and by that I mean a desire strong enough to make me pursue after it) may not have been sinful at the start, it did eventually become sinful. I became attached to the idea of what I wanted. Many of my underlying thoughts were fear-based. Some of them were even penance-based (i.e., "I don't deserve to have children").

All that to say that on the surface, a simple lack of pursuing desire for marriage or children may not be sinful. But when that lack of desire is tied to concerns about one's own feelings or control over a situation, or leaves out God's clear statement that children are a gift from Him, those sinful "idols of the heart" must be dealt with. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that because "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9) we can never assume that we are totally free from sinful motivations. It's a constant call back to the cross and what Christ accomplished for us there.

My prayer is that this woman will joyfully honor and glorify the Lord with her life whether He chooses to keep her singly-focused on Him or brings marriage and children to her. That's really all it comes down to.

Seashell / Chelsea said...

I can see a woman remaining single so as to focus on a ministry or possibly even a career. Staying single is God's plan for some.
However, "not wanting children" is a different issue. God says that children are a blessing. I think that marriage and children go hand in hand. If one doesn't have time for children it quite possible one doesn't have time for marriage either.
I would say that the core issue here is not what one should do if one doesn't want children. But rather do you view children as a blessing from God?

Cristina said...

Hi all. I now can't imagine why someone would not want children. However I was married 10 years before having any, and told everyone I was happier without them. Why? Because of all of the lies and feminism I had been taught in the media, and because all of the horror stories other women told me about labour and how you have to give up your life for children, mind you "without" ever telling me any of the positives. I now have a beautiful daughter and one on the way. My desire grew when I started to learn biblical principles, discard feminism, learned to be less selfish and give more love, and learned the truth that children are adorable, cute, wonderful little human beings with which my life would never have been complete. I am now 7 months pregnant with my second child, and I want another two after this ! So in closing, I don't believe women should get married if they don't want children, but now if I meet a woman who feels this way, I would try to find out the underlying untruths that she has been told that may have caused fear - because if she really knew the joy of having children, her career would pale to it no matter what she did for a living. Sincerely, Cristina :-)

Anonymous said...

These posts really disturb me... seriously. All of you are making it out that a woman who does not want children is psychologically messed up. Ummm.... no. Everybody is different and wants different things out of life.

Oh, and the comment that a woman who "doesn't have time" for children doesn't have time for marriage? Honey, I don't know where you are getting your facts from but your source is seriously messed up.

Get a clue.

Kris said...

I was raised in a typical feminist household where it was expected that I'd have a college education and an established career before even considering marrying, and of course my career would come before any other vocation--including motherhood. It was a truly self-centered way of being raised, and I am thankful for being confronted with the truth in God's plan for the family while my family was still young.

Biblically speaking, our "plans" shouldn't be ours. They should be God's. It is not in us to direct our paths. The way that seems right to a man (or woman) is not what's important. Likewise, what we "want" sometimes conflicts with what God has planned for our lives. While it's true that there is a growing number of women (and men as well) who choose to remain childless because they just don't WANT children, it wasn't God's plan ever to have the family unit serve the individual. If someone wants one part but not the other, then yes, I believe it's a heart issue and really needs to be examined in the light of God's plan. Selfishness issues need to be sorted out before someone is truly ready for marriage, no matter what those issues are.

Anonymous said...

Hi again!

I've thought about this a little more... and the letter reminded me of a favorite family member. She is mentally ill, but functioning very well on medication. She does not want children- she would have to go off her medication while pregnant, and she doesn't want to do that. Also, she doesn't think that she could raise children.

I think that those are valid reasons... She needs her medications. She also, I think, is being very responsible in acknowleging that she can't handle a family.

If she finds a man who loves her and treats her well and wants to marry her, I hope that she will marry him.

I tried to make my first answer 'purely' biblical... this one is more opinion. There *are* valid reasons for not wanting children. It doesn't sit right with me that those women should be denied the love and intimacy that comes with marriage because they don't want children.

:)
Emily

Jess said...

I think it's interesting that no one (at least in their comments here) recognized that this question, inherently, has two problems:

(1) Not until this century would this question even be asked... because not until this century was this kind of arrangement (marriage sans children) actually a possibility... every marriage, Christian or no, for thousands of years, by God's earliest design (see Genesis 1:27-28), has been intrinsically linked to the *possibility* of children.

(2) Even still, once the question is asked, it is still semi-absurd to the extent that NO birth control (except for abstinence, which is OUT for all Christian married people--see 1 Corinthians 7:3-5) is foolproof.

So, regardless of whether or not the desire for a marriage without children is in and of itself sinful, the question itself is impractical and foolish at best. Children may feasibly come to ANYONE who is sexually intimate.


Now, as to the sinfulness of such a desire... I could say a lot, but Al Mohler has written much more eloquently than I am able on this issue. Here's an excerpt of his article "Deliberate Childlessness":

Christians must recognize that this rebellion against parenthood represents nothing less than an absolute revolt against God's design. The Scripture points to barrenness as a great curse and children as a divine gift. The Psalmist declared: "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate." [Psalm 127: 3-5]

Morally speaking, the epidemic in this regard has nothing to do with those married couples who desire children but are for any reason unable to have them, but in those who are fully capable of having children but reject this intrusion in their lifestyle.

The motto of this new movement of chosen childlessness could be encapsulated by the bumper sticker put out by the Zero Population Growth group in the 1970s: "MAKE LOVE, NOT BABIES." This is the precise worldview the Scripture rejects. Marriage, sex, and children are part of one package. To deny any part of this wholeness is to reject God's intention in creation--and His mandate revealed in the Bible.

The sexual revolution has had many manifestations, but we can now see that modern Americans are determined not only to liberate sex for marriage [and even from gender], but also from procreation.

The Scripture does not even envision married couples who choose not to have children. The shocking reality is that some Christians have bought into this lifestyle and claim childlessness as a legitimate option. The rise of modern contraceptives has made this technologically possible. But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design and order.

Couples are not given the option of chosen childlessness in the biblical revelation. To the contrary, we are commanded to receive children with joy as God's gifts, and to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to find many of our deepest joys and satisfactions in the raising of children within the context of the family. Those who reject children want to have the joys of sex and marital companionship without the responsibilities of parenthood. They rely on others to produce and sustain the generations to come.


He goes on:

The church should insist that the biblical formula calls for adulthood to mean marriage and marriage to mean children. This reminds us of our responsibility to raise boys to be husbands and fathers and girls to be wives and mothers. God's glory is seen in this, for the family is a critical arena where the glory of God is either displayed or denied. It is just as simple as that.

The church must help this society regain its sanity on the gift of children. Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion. To demand that marriage means sex--but not children--is to defraud the creator of His joy and pleasure in seeing the saints raising His children.



We, as Christians, ought not to follow the world's lead, using arguments that are derived more from a focus on human "happiness" or what is politically correct. We ought to be a people that sees God's design and uphold that design and all that it implies about how we are to live our lives. A people who looks to His WORD as our standard rather than human feelings.

For example, God's first command to the first man and woman was to "be fruitful and multiply". There is nothing in Scripture that remotely comes close to "well, it seems wrong to deny a person something GOOD just because she's not keen on following God's design". Rather, what we see over and over again in Scripture is the idea of taking up one's cross and submitting yourself to the will of the Father. A focus on personal "happiness" or "fulfillment" isn't ours to focus on... abundant life comes from following the will of God.

Now, singleness is definitely the option for this woman, as this is a calling for certain people, and as this is an admirable choice, if you are going to do work for God's Kingdom with the time/energy/etc. that you are then not putting into a family. Biblically speaking, unless her heart is changed to be open to whatever God brings to her marriage (sickness/health, rich/poor, children/infertility), she ought not consider marriage. Period.

But to be deliberately childless simply for reasons of our own ease, desire, or plans, I believe, is simply NOT an option for a Christian marriage.

Blessings,
Jess

Val said...

Well, the Bible teaches that it's better to marry than to burn (with lust and unfulfilled sexual desire). So it's still a good idea for a woman to marry if she feels those desires, even if she doesn't want children. That said, generally people's reasons for not wanting children are selfish ones, so I would hope that a woman who doesn't want kids would examine her motives in light of the teachings of Scripture. And God can and does change hearts.

If a woman doesn't want kids and doesn't feel the need for sex or a husband, then by all means she doesn't need to get married.

Valerie

Caroline said...

My reply refers to those who want to be married, but don't want children. I think that those who want to be married, men and women, should be open to having children. In Genesis 1, God created mankind, male and female and commanded them to fill the earth and subdue it. In Genesis 2, Adam and Eve "get married" and in chapter 4, have kids. How else where they to "fill the earth and subdue it"? Sex is not just for pleasure, but also for pro-creation (a great privilege to be part of God's Creating of new people!). So, while in this day and age, we can delay having kids (contraception), I don't think that choosing NOT to have children is God's idea for marriage and sex. Godly families are one of God's main ways of building his kingdom, as we mums and dads evangelise our kids and bring them up to know God. For all these reasons, I think a marriage should be open to receiving the blessing of children. Voluntary childlessness is a very new status in the grand scheme of history, and we should carefully examine our motives for it.
Part of our problem is the massive devaluing of motherhood and that our society almost despises children. Kids are inconvenient. They mess up your schedule, your career, your finances, your clothes, your sex life, everything. People will roll their eyes at you if you have more than 2 kids, and you are encouraged to whinge about how hard it is. I know women becoming mums and they love their child, but they will only have one child, so they can return to work and minimise the impact on their lives (perhaps). In this environment, it is difficult to really believe what God says, when He calls children a blessing. In Psalm 127, "sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." Those of us who are mothers have a fair bit to answer for if all child-less women hear are our complaints about our children. No wonder they don't want kids! We have to say a lot more about the joys of being parents and the delight it is to raise a child to know God.
Having said all that (well done if you are still reading), this would all need to be discussed with great sensitivity (and not matter of factly as I have written it!) with women contemplating a childless marriage. I hope that we'll all give this a lot of thought, and consider carefully what God says in the Bible about marriage.
Well, I've only just skim read your comment Jess, and excerpt from that article, and am glad we are in agreement (what I read anyway). Thanks for hosting such an important discussion!

Kay said...

Here is something that I don't understand - and please, know that I am not trying to attack anyone or anything, I am just kind of struggling with trying to make sense of a very confusing world right now - anyway, why is it that choosing to prevent fertility through birth control or whatever is against God's plan, but creating artifical fertility through something like IVF is okay? What if this woman did get pregnant, but knows that being a parent would be, for whatever reason, wrong for her? Would it be a terrible thing to give the baby up for adoption to a loving Christian couple who have decided not to go against God's plan by using IVF?

Rachel said...

I believe, as a Catholic, that marrying means leaving one's self open to children. In fact, that is a part of the ceremony--asking whether they (bride and groom) are willing to accept the children that God will give them. The Church is not, however, against NFP--which is quite successful in avoiding pregnancy. It should be noted, though, that the Catholic Church does NOT say that every woman should crank out baby after baby after baby. The Church does say that a married couple should have SERIOUS, GRAVE reasons for avoiding pregnancy, and that these should be prayerfully determined, and re-evaluated on a monthly (cyclical) basis. That hormonal, barrier, or withdrawal methods of attempting to avoid pregnancy are wrong, sinful, and are an attempt on man's part to remove God from the marital union.

As far as IVF and other artificial means of conception, those are condemned as well. ANything that removes conception from the marital act, is wrong. There is no question or division in my mind between the issues of IVF/ABC. Both usurp the role of God....or at least, attempt to...

As far as a woman who doesn't want children, and yet wants to get married....its wrong. Period. Sinful, yes. TO deny that sublime union with her spouse..that total and complete giving of self...Is selfish. Regardless of how unpopular that notion is (cause after all, it's all about how we feel about things--not any notion of "Truth"), to prevent the true union of the two into one flesh, in the meeting of egg and sperm...is a sad mis-use of marriage and sex for merely pleasurable purposes.

Anonymous said...

God said that it wasn't good for man to be alone. That would lead me to believe that marriage is good-with children or without.

Christine said...

Hello, I just wanted to make an observation about some of the "alternatives" to marriage and children mentioned here. I am also Catholic and as most people know we have a long tradition of celibate woman serving God. I would issue a caution to those who may view the desire not to have children as a confirmation that God is calling them to a path other than marriage. I know and have visited many sisters, both active and contemplative and by enlarge they all agree that a firm desire not to have children and/or the belief that one would make a "bad mother” is a "red flag" and such women are rarely allowed to join their communities.

This is because a woman should be able to understand the beauty of motherhood and regret that she will not have children. If she does not, her desire to serve God is more than likely based in her own will rather than His and as such, is selfish and not a true calling to serve God outside of marriage. Additionally, a woman who thinks she would be a poor mother would not make a good sister/minister because, if she can not be a mother to the children of her body, how will she be a spiritual mother to those people God places in her life via her apostolate? It is natural to feel concerned that one might not do a good job as a mother, especially if her family of origin has been violent or abusive. Such an understandable lack of self confidence is not to be viewed the same as a calm, convicted belief that one does not want to have children because she has no patience, doesn’t like them, doesn’t want to be bothered etc. It is a woman’s nature to give of herself in a maternal way. Regardless of whether you are doing God’s work in the family you create with your husband or serve God in an apostolate outside the home, you will be a mother one way or another and you will not be able to choose who God sends you to mother spiritually as a sister/minister any more than a housewife gets to choose the personalities of her children. It is important to understand this because a person (man or woman) who tries to follow such a path out of their own selfish will, rather than God’s can cause much pain and scandal to the Body of Christ. – Christine

Prayingmommy said...

Mr. Mohler summed up the situation quite well and I thank you, Jess, for posting the article.

Along with others who have stated the same, I believe the ultimate question is "Why?" Why wouldn't a married, healthy, Christian, God fearing woman want children?

In my own experience, it was because I thought the ideal of two was enough. So often in church I heard, "Well, look, you've got a set! A girl and boy, isn't that nice?" My mother always told me, "If you know what I know, you'll only have two." I never exactly learned what she knows. :-)

So, with two children and almost 18 years on and off various methods of birth control, God opened my eyes one day as I stared in the drawer at my little pill. I realized that I had been taking this thing for so long and never had I asked what was in it. Never. Had not a clue. I searched the web for some information and I went to the library and checked out a whole lot of books. What I learned about birth control humbled me and what God revealed in my own heart seared my soul.
In short, the Lord revealed the selfishness of my heart and I repented. I prayed for my husband and the Lord changed his heart as well. We had our third child this year and we are hoping that the Lord in His mercy and lovingkindness will give us more.
We are not wealthy, we have a modest home, but we know that if the Lord God Almighty of the universe is able to come out of eternity and put on human flesh, then He is infinitely able to provide for any children He will give us. Seek ye first His kingdom and righteousness ...
We want the Lord to build our house, realizing that the only things we can take to eternity are our children.
With this, we also realize that as much as we depend upon Him to give the gift of children, we must rely upon His word to raise them in godliness. Parenting is not for the fainthearted, but it is worth every minute.

My rambling two cents.. :-)

Nancy said...

My darling husband and I are both 40, have been married for more than 10 years, and are both active churchgoers. We lead adult Sunday school in our Methodist church, regularly help to provide food to a homeless shelter, attend a weekly Bible study and do many other things for our church. We were both raised in Christian families - my DH's mother is even a licensed minister - and we met in college through a university ministries group, although we didn't marry until years after
graduation from college.

We made the decision a few years ago to not have children of our own, after much prayer and concern for the fact that we didn't feel called to be parents.

I didn't expect for us to be without children. When we married, both DH and I thought we'd have children "someday," since that is what most Christian couples do, and that is what our families expected of us. But we responsibly decided to put off parenthood until DH finished graduate school
and we were in better financial means to raise a child (and me possibly be a stay-at-home mom). The delay was fine with us because we felt no real yearning to raise a child of our own - we were content to just spend time with our many nieces and nephews and friends' children.

But years later, after DH graduated and started working full time and we bought a small house, he and I STILL didn't have a strong urge for parenthood. So we prayed about it, had many conversations about it and gradually came to the decision that we called to do other things in life besides be parents.

We are very fortunate that not one of our church friends, including our very close friends in our adult Sunday school class, has scorned us for not having children. Instead, they've accepted us and viewed us as role models for a Christian marriage, since our marriage has persevered through bad times (illness for me, job loss for my DH) and remained strong.

I mentioned the service we give ot our church. I believe that my husband and I can both devote more time to service to our church and to Bible study precisely because we don't have to balance those things with raising children.

I also think that those without children of their own have very important roles to play in society and in their extended families. My husband and I are the primary ones of our our siblings to care for his and my aging parents. Our siblings are too busy with their children to give as much time to our parents as we can. In addition, I think DH and I are very important parts of our nieces' and nephews' lives, and we may not be able to play as big of a role as we do if we were raising our own children.

I've searched the Bible, and nowhere have I seen any passage that says that the PRIMARY purpose of marriage is for raising of children. But I definitely believe in the passage that says that man should not be alone, which is why I am definitely supportive of any couple who wants to be married, but who doesn't necessarily want children to be part of the marriage. I am also supportive of anyone who chooses to remain single. God did not create every human being to follow a certain script - just as some are called to be married and have children, some are called to be married without children, and some are called to be single. But all have important parts to play in doing God's work on the earth.

Nancy

Anonymous said...

As a single woman, I feel called by God to serve the world without marriage or children. In my heart, I feel that God wants me to be without a husband or children to serve Him best.
Everyone must listen to what God tells them...

-P.

Adrienne said...

I believe the Lord at His word, He gave the bible to us as a guide in our life. Whatever question we have about life and even love its in the WORD of GOD. The Lord does not see marriage as just a way to get rid of the lonliness, He has made it a design to subdue the earth. We live in a society that feels "A girl for me, a boy for you..thank the the Lord now we are through." Babies are hated in this country, unless you are wealthy or a celebrity. If that wasn't true we would not be fighting against abortion right now. I believe God has a plan for every person, for some that means to stay single and serve Him. I do believe that marriage is a design for many things and having children is one of the designs. We are dying one generation at a time, because Christians are not having children. As of right now the In Time Army of God is looking pretty weak. Because Christians have adopted the worldly view. God is the same now as he was in Biblical days. He has said for a woman to "love her husband, her children and, to be a keeper of the home." If a woman has medical issues, including infertility there are many ways to be a nurturing mother without having children. But if a woman who is a healthy,sane, Christian woman does not want children because of material things then yes that is a sin. It is selfish, self-centered, and goes against God's design of Biblical Womanhood. Here are some really good books on this particular subject if any of you are interested: The Power of Motherhood by Nancy Campbell
Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell and Does the birth control pill cause Abortions by Randy Alcorn.
The only reason I have such strong feelings on this subject is because I was a heart that was changed.

Hannah said...

First, Scripture: children are a blessing (Ps. 127)! To view them in any other way is wrong, plain and simple (that includes viewing them as an inconvenience, expense, interference...).
Secondly, unless a married couple plans to remain abstinent, which would be unscriptural (1 Cor. 7), there is always a chance, though perhaps small, that conception can occur, even with birth control methods in place.
In short, I think it's very safe to say that if you're not ready for kids, you're not ready for marriage!!