Marriage without kids – is that normal?
For the most part, engaging with couples who have kids about kids is a breeze. But conversations centered around children, with couples who don’t have kids, can be tricky.
Not always, but sometimes.
My husband and I have been married for a while now and we don’t have children.
Over the years, we have received a fair share of questions, even assumptions about our childless status.
It’s not easy to extract yourselves from questions and explain yourself to others.
So how can we dial down the discomfort for both parties, especially when we don’t have the background story of why a couple doesn’t have children? Specifically, what should we not say to couples who don’t have children?
Here’s a few things I think we should not say when we come across a marriage without kids …whether the couple has been married one month or fifteen years.
1. Don’t assume you know why they don’t have kids
You don’t know their heart or their reason.
Just because you can’t see what you think you ought to see, doesn’t mean you know the entire story.
Just because their situation doesn’t check your boxes doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about their specific situation.
Sticky point: don’t make assumptions because unless they tell you their reason, you don’t know. And even if they tell you their reason, you don’t have to share your opinion about it!
2. Remember, a marriage without kids is not your marriage without kids
Don’t take it personally.
It’s their life: They are “answerable to God”, not to you.
(And most likely, they know about that Scripture on being fruitful and multiplying in number.)
When you feel like you must do something, perhaps do nothing?
3. Asking “have any kids?” is okay. Maybe.
Delivering a whole lecture about it is not.
If you are friends already, you might have permission to discuss personal matters. Just remember permission doesn’t mean bringing up the matter over and over again.
If you are not friends..don’t assume permission. Just don’t. (I think we forget how kids are made and that many couples don’t like to talk about that with everyone? )
Don’t dig around for information. Especially when you sense discomfort. Many couples can tell when someone is pushing a conversation just so they can run you down and deliver a conclusion.
4. Let it go. Give grace.
Living in a new culture (I was born and brought up in Kenya, currently live in the USA) continues to stretch me in ways and places I didn’t even know existed.
Some of the things that are normal to the American culture are “abnormal” to me and some things that are normal to me are mind-bending to an American.
So I am learning to tread lightly, keep an open mind and learn. Instead of judging, resisting and taking everything personally.
Kids are the “normal” “fruit” of marriage. Until they are not.
When “abnormal” (a couple without kids, way past honeymoon and no kids) shows up, we want them to have a neat reason and explanation for their “abnormality.”
But Christians do well to remember that kids are “are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward”. You are neither a gift giver nor a rewarder.
In other words, “I don’t need to understand everything and that’s okay” is sometimes the only answer there is.
5. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say it.
Some couples without kids understand the unique position of a marriage without kids, especially long-term married. They don’t expect everyone to understand or have the perfect words when the conversation comes up.
So if you don’t know what to say, it’s okay not to say it. By that I mean, don’t feel the pressure to grab the first thing that pops to mind to just look like you “get it.”
Because the chances are the first thing you think about might not be the most polite or sensitive thing to say in that moment.
You can take a pause. It’s okay.
6. Don’t joke about it
Y’all are still having fun, when are you going to grow up?
When we are gonna see some fruit from all that fun?
Are those boys swimming upstream or what?
When are you joining us?
Especially when you don’t know the couple very well. Even when you do, just be sensitive because while some of these comments sound funny (the couple without kids might even laugh along) it’s just impolite. Hurtful.
A commenter shared her experience with an “insensitive person” (extremely rude person, in my opinion) and it just broke my heart.
I lost my one and only son last year. So this year, on Fathers’ Day in church, fathers were asked to stand and my husband confidently stood. Only for some lady to poke me from behind and whisper ‘tell him to sit, he’s not a father’.
Don’t.do.this. Or anything remotely close.
Feel me? 🙂 Newlywed or oldie, kids or no kids, how do you/did you deal with the kids questions? How did you navigate a marriage without kids? Share in Comments below.