The Truth about What Kids Do for Your Marriage

Dad and child by the ocean surf
Photo by Steven Van Loy

The Truth about What Kids Do for Your Marriage


Pope Francis had some words for married couples this week that will set some hearts ablaze, and challenge others.

Speaking to couples celebrating between 25 and 60 years of marriage, the pope spoke of 3 pillars of a Christian spousal relationship: fidelity, perseverence and fruitfullness.

His comments on each of these are beautiful and worth reading, especially the likening of faithful love between spouses to Christ's fidelity to the Church, but what was most striking and counter-cultural were his comments on the fruitfullness of marriage.  

“These marriages, in which the spouses do not want children, in which the spouses want to remain without fertility. This culture of well-being from ten years ago convinced us: ‘It’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free…it might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness. It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His Church fruitful.”

The "culture of well-being" is a great way to put it. My wife and I have spoken about it and I used the term "cult of lifestyle." It's the sense that children will encroach on the good thing you've got going and mess it up. "Maybe we'll make some room for a couple of kids. After we've done everything we need to do, of course."  

My wife and I, when we were engaged, were not immune to this thinking. Lovers of travel, we thought we may want to really do that for a while, maybe a couple of years. Save the real growing up for.. later.

We were blessed in that while we were still engaged, we went over for dinner to an amazing Catholic couple's home. They had a bunch of kids at the time, and they have a bunch more now. They witnessed to us what their life was like, receiving gratefully the children God blessed them with and ordering other things around that. Trusting in God's provision for their financial needs and seeing Him provide.  

They challenged a lot of our pre-conceived notions and fears around child bearing and left us with a lot fo reflect upon. I'm so glad that they did!     

Our thinking on the matter has changed so drastically that I cringe to think how our different our family would be if we had delayed our child bearing a few years. I also cringe in my heart every time someone sees our kids and asks us, not intending any offense, "So are you done?" No kidding, I must have heard this question 30 times or more. Ever since we reached two kids. 

Did you know that in the Bible, every time fertility is brought up it is in the context of blessing? What has happened to us that in our culture we seem to associate it more with curse?

Am I giving the impression that raising kids is easy? Ha! Haha! Hahahahahahahaha!

Ahhh that was good. No, I'm saying it's a blessing. I'm not saying it's a cakewalk. 

Our friends that I mentioned modeled for us a spirit of true generosity in marriage and family life. They were generous with God in thier disposition toward accepting children. God was generous in blessing them abundantly with new life! And they were generous in giving their time and their lives to these children. Kids also have a way of making you more generous... 

May we have this same spirit of generosity. 

You may also like: 6 Resons Not to Say You're "Done", by Jennifer Fulwiler

What has happened that has made us see the blessing of fertility as a curse? — Josh Canning

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