I want children, he doesn't
I live with my boyfriend, it is a serious relationship and we will be getting married in the next few years. I didn't want kids before, but now I think I would like to have them sometime after we are married. The problem is that he doesn't like kids and has said that he never wants to have any. Is it possible for us to have a strong marriage/relationship when we disagree about something as important as having children?
You have asked an extremely good and important question. Most of us grow up being taught how important the feeling of love is and it is indeed a very important feeling. For an intimate relationship to work it is really essential to have a strong feeling of both romantic love and healthy caring love for the individual who you wish to be connected with.
Everyone knows what romantic love is. That wonderful feeling of wanting to be with a person, tell our secrets to, and wanting to be with them sexually. Unfortunately, we are often told that this is the sole basis of a relationship. When we are not directly told this it is intimated by most movies, books, and television programs. "Love will conquer all."
Healthy love has more to do with caring about another person and having their best interests at heart. It too comes from the heart, but also equally comes from the logical head. This means that even if you are being treated poorly by your beloved or they don't do something that you want you still treat them with dignity, respect, and love. That doesn't mean that you allow yourself to be abused or think only of their needs.
However, the biggest reason that relationships work out or don't work out has to do with this healthy love and the practical parts of the relationship. What makes a relationship flourish is how good of friends the individuals are, how much their values match, how well they communicate, how well they negotiate and compromise. A good relationship is where both persons needs can be maximized. You cannot get everything that you want as an individual, but you should be able to have most of these needs met.
Most of the issues can be compromised, but sometimes one person's needs have to be sacrificed for the others. This cannot happen too often however or the particular individual will not be taking care of themselves. Some issues are too important for someone to neglect. They may want to put this aside for the sake of the beloved, but all too often resentment builds and a slow cancer develops in the relationship that eventually causes the relationship to dissolve.
As an example the relationship that I have been in for sixteen years has had many compromises. We are planning to semi-retire in southern California at some point in the future. My lady's sister lives there and they are very close. I dislike that area, but her needs are more important in this area and I can feel ok with this compromise. However, if she wanted to have a child I would not be able to feel good about that at the age of fifty and could not bend on that issue. If that was to come up we would each need to look deep inside of ourselves and ask how important these different needs were for us.
Having children is an extremely important issue and both people need to feel good and ready for the responsibility. This is important for both of you and for the well being of the children. Children will feel when a parent is ambivalent or does not want them. This might well be negotiated if each person's position is not held too strongly, but if it is strong this might prove to be a relationship breaker. Talk with your partner at length about this and have both of you think long and well about your positions before you make any decision.
This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit: http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/