As someone who’s been married for a while now, I’ve noticed that there’s two questions you start to get from EVERYONE after the wedding, particularly from people you know but aren’t close with. Now these questions are USUALLY well meaning, but can also come across as prying. The first is innocent enough, even if it can get old fast, and that is:
“How’s married life?”
I’ve probably been asked this question more times in the last 4 1/2 years than I’ve been asked my name in my entire life. It’s not a rude or inappropriate question, and usually people are just curious how you’re doing and striking up conversation. But it’s also an awkward question, because what’s a proper response? Good? Amazing? Horrible, my wife hogs the blankets and her hair gets everywhere? To be honest, everything’s pretty much the same as before, we just live together now. And when you’re asked this question multiple times a day, you run out of things to say. And I’m still asked this question 4 years later!
The second question, however, is far more intrusive, and while most people probably don’t mean anything by it, they don’t realize how hurtful it can be, and that is:
“So when are you guys going to have kids?”
I started getting this question before I was even married. What many people don’t realize is that this is an extremely personal question, and might not be something people want to share. What’s even more ironic is that I get this question more often from acquaintances than close friends. I know people are curious, but let’s take a look at this question.
First off, newlyweds are just starting to figure out life together, and many need to do that and create stability before wanting to bring a child into the mix, so asking this right away feels like you’re rushing them into something they aren’t ready for. I know for me as a newlywed, I just wanted people to appreciate the stage of life I was in and not push their expectations of what my family should look like on me. I needed to learn how to be a husband, spiritual leader, home-owner and a provider, and the last thing I needed was adding more to my plate! More than that, I just wanted to enjoy being married and this new season of life, and it felt overwhelming to even consider throwing a baby into the mix.
However, beyond the added stresses and pressures, where this question really cuts deep is to people who are silently trying to have children but aren’t making any progress. It hurts even more depending on how you phrase it. “So why haven’t you had kids yet”, “So when are you having kids”, or my personal favorite: “Don’t you want to be a dad?” (yes, that’s a real comment I’ve received). These questions come off as demanding, assuming, and for someone who’s trying, extremely hurtful and insulting. While it would be better to just not bring it up at all and let the couple tell you their plans when they’re ready, the very least you could do is phrase it along the lines of “are you guys THINKING of having children” or “what are your thoughts on kids?” Even then this could still be hurtful, but at least it comes off in a humble, questioning manner and not a prying, demanding one. You never know what someone is going through, so unless a couple has trusted you with information about their struggles, it might be best to not even ask.
This especially goes for family members. Sometimes, they’re the ones that add the MOST pressure, whether it’s for grandkids, cousins, or just because it’s what’s expected. Let the couple come to you. Make yourself available. But please, don’t assume you know when and how couples should have children. Many are probably trying, praying, crying, and hoping for the opportunity, and nagging them about it only causes more pain, frustration, and despair.
As you may have guessed, I am approaching this topic from first-hand experience. While my wife and I are still hopeful and trying, it’s so hard to be asked these questions. We were the first of our friends to get married, and now almost five years later we are the last to have a child. We went from being “ahead of the pack” to now trailing behind. Every baby shower we attend, every ultrasound we’re shown, and every Facebook announcement or gender reveal that’s posted is just another reminder of what we’re missing out on, and furthers our growing concern that even if we do happen to get pregnant, all our friends will be well past this stage. Our hopes of raising children together with our own childhood friends grows dimmer, and it becomes so easy to lose hope.
And if you happen to be someone who is struggling with something similar, please know you are not alone. As hard as it is some days, I still trust in God’s plan. I might not know what the plan is or where He’s taking us, but I feel Him moving and know He’s with us. This doesn’t mean we are guaranteed a child, but I know that whatever happens He is using it for good. It’s definitely hard to remember that most days, but I believe whatever happens He can and will use for His glory.
Continue seeking Him,
Native of Southern California, middle school history teacher and high school swim coach. Grew up in a Christian home and attending Christian school, but more recently decided to rededicate life to Christ. Passionate about helping other Christians who also feel lost or stuck searching for God.