Dr. Mark: I have been married for almost 5 years now. When we married, we agreed to have children someday. I suffered a back injury a few years ago and am mostly better now but my wife has suffered an injury as well. I'm the only income producer in the family. The other night, she stated we either have children or get divorced. That was a shock to hear that. I feel that we are not financially or physically ready to have children. I feel that she has emotional problems as well. So I guess I have a choice, to let her control me and have children or live my own life. Please let me know if I'm thinking clearly now, or is this just an indication of an underlying problem of our marriage.
Pressure to Conceive, Sacramento
In no way, shape or form, does this sound like the sort of circumstance or situation with which to decide to have a child. From your perspective, the injuries you have both suffered has created quite the burden on your marriage. What was once a multiple income marriage is now on your shoulders alone. You are certainly correct to think that children are extemely costly. Not that the decision needs to be competely financial but I do support your view of wanting to make sure your family life is solid and stable prior to making a decision to get pregnant. From the sound of things, your situation is not stable. Your wife is behaving impulsively and impulsivity is not stability. To give an ultimatum out of the blue to have children or get divorced is madness and to be treated with great caution. The decision is too big and the stakes are too high to approach things in this fashion. I suspect that since her injury, she is feeling less satisfation in her life and is trying to find a way to add more meaning. And while having children can be amazingly meaningful, parenting is mostly stressful...........especially if there is an absence of stability within the marriage and the parents. My advice.................do not be pressured into this decision. Instead, acknowledge her desire to have children but affirm your lack of readiness and your concern of feeling pressured by her. Offer an alternative. Suggest the two of you have a third party mediate the discussion so all the important issues can be raised and processed.
March 12 2006
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