Iv’e been married for five years, not always happily, and now my wife is pushing for kids. During the holidays, every member of our respective families asked when we are going to have kids. My wife told me that she feels left out and ashamed that we don’t have children (nearly all our friends do). But my buddies who have kids say that the only reason they are not divorced is the kids. As their marriages go on, their wives criticize everything they do, sex is non-existent and arguing is constant. My wife says kids will bring us closer together, but I don’t buy it. I’m not happy now and I think that it will get worse, like it has for my friends. Should I get a divorce and let my wife find someone who wants kids?
I think that you should consider what first attracted you to your wife and what inspired your decision to get married. Otherwise, you might slide out of the marriage saying it had to end because she wanted kids and you didn’t. That would obscure the deeper issue, wouldn’t it? The real dilemma here is when, and why, you grew apart. Whether you remain together or not, you need to know the answer so that you don’t recreate the problem. It’s common to become disenchanted when you realize that you married a whole person, someone with good and not-so-good qualities, rather than someone with just the qualities you were willing to see and accept. Investigate your relationship. You’ll learn whether to renew or release your marriage.
I think it is incredibly sane to postpone bringing children into your relationship right now. Kids aren’t glue. It’s odd to me that people have ethical challenges with parents who, for example, have a baby in order to provide bone marrow for another child, but see no ethical problems with having a child to mend their marriage. It also appears that your wife believes that having children will complete her. This belief is as damaging to her and to any children she produces, as the belief that a women must have a man to be complete. I think that she is struggling to fit into popular culture and you’re struggling to avoid being trapped by it. There is a middle ground. Let a Jungian-trained therapist or spiritual director help you find it.
A friend sent me an article about a study that proved that children are better off when their parents stay together, even if the marriage is unhappy. I want a divorce. Please help.
Divorce is hard on kids, in part because adults don’t understand how to transit the death of a relationship gracefully and, therefore, they cannot pass that knowledge along. A truer study would measure that. When I was a child, my parents argued so often and so virulently that I often wished that they would divorce. My mother explained that they wouldn’t divorce because of me. They’re still married and I am still undoing the beliefs and behaviors that I adopted by observing and participating in their relationship. Though I greatly appreciate who I have become and realize that I am the culmination of many experiences, including those difficult early years, my preference is for children to have a healthy model of an intimate, committed relationship at home.