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A Wife Examines the Hidden Motives Behind Her Desire for Children

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Today’s post is a guest post from a dear sister in Christ in response to “I Want a Baby, but My Husband Doesn’t Want One Right Now – What Do I Do?” Thank you for allowing me to share your story! It is entirely possible to have pure motive and to want babies/children for godly reasons. But something that we just don’t talk about much in the church is the fact that there can also be some impure motives in our hearts for our desires at times. We often don’t even realize we have anything but good motives – our true motives can be quite buried and hidden. (Interestingly, our husbands may sometimes see those motives that we keep from ourselves. Maybe some of the gentlemen would like to talk about that.)

Until we see our hearts the way God does, and comb through our deepest motives and theology, we remain blind to some of our sin and we may not see that we have put other things above God (idolatry). I pray that God might expose our motives to us – even though it may be painful at first – that He might refine our faith until our only motives are to love, honor, and obey God and to love and bless others. Much love, my precious sisters!

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FROM A READER:

I feel hesitant but lead to share at length :

The post about pornography and hormone rushes really got me to thinking about how my own choices have been influenced by hormone rushes and inner aches. The more I searched online the more I saw how women can be greatly affected by the surges in oxytocin (typically understood as the “bonding hormone”) and how even ruminating on particular (love) ideas might increase it. When I think back about starting a family so early with my spouse, my behavior shocks me.

WHAT WAS BEHIND MY MOTIVES?

On the surface, I pushed for children because

  • ‘we should be open to life’
  • ‘why not’ since there’s never a perfect time for a baby.

However, I really wanted:

  • little faces that looked like his in the event that he died (fear of abandonment due to my own father dying when I was a baby)
  • to ensure he was going nowhere even though at the time he gave me no reason to think he’d ever be unfaithful (again, fear of abandonment).

I didn’t personally have the adult tools to go into deeper intimacy like embracing the time to know another person and being known. The closest I could get at the time was through having children. I wanted to be close to someone, to bond with them intimately. This was the way I knew how to do that and of course all the planning, the ruminating, and the showers gave me full blast rushes of feeling loved while my poor husband faded to the background.

He did not want children right away but his feelings on the matter were simply irrelevant to me. Looking back, I went after having children like a drug addict.

Surely he’d change his mind once he saw that sweet little face looking up at him and he’d love me all the more – I reasoned to myself.

Now that we have words for our feelings, wants, needs and it’s safer to express our fears and dreams – we have opportunity for real intimacy. I now see sex, affection, and romance as icing on this cake. But without the cake, it’s empty, distracting activity to fill in gaps for skills I don’t have. I entrapped my husband and as the years went on I found other, subtle ways to share my devaluing ‘love’ with my husband. If they weren’t subtle, I had a good Christian cover for it. No wonder he’d have an ongoing sense of being smothered or that I didn’t care about him. Yesterday I asked myself, have I really loved my husband or was he simply filling a spot so I felt loved? Granted, he also came into our marriage with difficulties, but I am sharing my part of our mess.

If I had known then what I know now my husband also might’ve had a much more enriching experience with the births and early days of our children because they could’ve come out of the mutual respect and intimate love of our union. My rushing ahead for my own reasons absolutely took that away. Their births would not have been pursued to appease my own hunger for security and love. I simply had aches I didn’t know how else to fill and I legitimatized my actions. Now I also have the work of undoing some truly unhealthy coping behaviors that I’ve passed on to my children.

  • Praise God I’m learning all this now while they are still young!
  • Praise God I now know to turn to my Father for all my needs and am learning to walk in healing not brokenness!

My husband deserves a wife who really loves and respects him.

He has not shared much on this topic. He doesn’t have to and I haven’t pushed him. It had never occurred to me to ask myself why I wanted my babies and what was motivating that desire. Or even if something good is done for wrong reasons, how that does not make the end result good even if God can turn things around for our good. Funny what one can see when scales fall off the eyes. Thank you for allowing me to share.

SHARE:

Has God ever shown you hidden motives about something? What did He show you and how? What was the outcome?

Are you struggling to decipher your motives?

What godly wisdom do you have to share with other women who may be battling wrong motives for desiring children or anything else?

Husbands, any masculine insights that you might like to share?

RELATED:

The Fantasy of Romance

Breaking the Romance Addiction

My Secret Idol (my husband’s salvation)

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Happiness

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Facing Our Deepest Fear

Experiencing God’s Victory Over Our Fear

Bitterness

Praying in Faith Not Fear

 

18 thoughts on “A Wife Examines the Hidden Motives Behind Her Desire for Children

  1. To the reader who shared, I thank you for your incredible courage,insight, your thoughtfulness and guts to share what you did.

    It takes so much to do what you did. My story is long and painful to this very moment. I was in the same boat as your husband 25 years ago in marriage and 4 before that. My wife insisted on children no matter what, even to the point of being with other men (before marraige) . My insecurity quickly gave in to keep from losing her which does not work. I was robbed of the awesome experience of being fully involved because I was so scared and unknowingly resentful. After they were born I ceased to exist except for a paycheck and emotional punching bag. Our story is not ending happy.

    I think you are very brave and to be commended for your honesty and unselfishness. Your husband is so blessed to have you, someone who loves him enough to do what you have done and recognize how it affected him. Even at this very late stage (divorced filed, she left a little over two tears ago with our children after I had open heart surgery, right after our youngest turned 18, after I am disabled and now cancerous top if it) if she just did what you did I could let it all go and see the beautiful woman I thought I married. My point is, we all sin, it’s never too late and you have shown a monumental act of love that should allow a much stronger (real) marriage, a father and a mother free to love and enjoy children and feel what God wants us to. I know you both face some bumps maybe, but IMHO Your willingness to critically think and examine your heart, listen to God and act on it will transform your family into something of beauty, contentment, a blessing from God. Awesome, simply awesome. I am so happy for you and your husband.

  2. “and I legitimatized my actions”. This is what scares me about our sin. How we can make anything no matter how wrong, seem like it is so right. When we push ahead of God and take matters into our own hands because we don’t really believe God is trustworthy and can work it all out, or because we are so determined to make sure that things go according to plan, we usually wind up with an Ishmael instead of an Isaac, and all the attendant sorrow and regret that goes with it.

    I know of at least one situation in progress right now that is ending in a divorce, because the wife in question reduced her husband to a need meeting machine while she focused on her children; once she got the man and then the children, she became incredibly controlling to the point where she refused to see how miserable she was making him. The sad thing is, when we do this with our children, we aren’t really giving them ourselves and loving with a life giving love, we are using them to meet our own emotional needs which is a selfish and parasitic form of relationship. The burdens we place on them, to carry our pain and our needs, can keep robbing them long after we are dead and gone, if we don’t repent of this serious sin. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your dealings with hidden motives. We all have them, but its those whom God brings revelation to that are truly blessed.

  3. what an interesting story —it opened a memory to a much different situation about 20 or more years ago…God dealt with me about my motives for entering the local art contest, which I never won or placed. I knew my art was good and often better than the art being chosen for awards. God showed me I was entering my art in a spirit of gambling, small entry fee for big bucks to be won. Funny thing is I never had any desire to gamble in traditional ways, Vegas, cards, horse racing, even local lotteries. But there it was and never even knew it until God showed me. When I confessed and changed my heart and entered with a different attitude, guess what, my art won. Not just once but several times.

  4. This story has helped me a lot. My husband and I are in separate bedrooms because of the lack of emotional intimacy I don’t feel any love from him. God has been showing me how I used sex in our dateing to feel loved by him and needed. Then I pushed marriage, then right away pushed for a baby. He obligated me in every way, why? He loved me and wanted me to be happy. The problem with that is, I was never happy. I didn’t understand how to have intimacy with a man and the end result is a 19 year marriage where sex feels like rape to me because I never took the time to allow intimacy to grow. We are in marriage counseling together now, we want to save our marriage. But this is more about me than him. Im being honest with him about all of this, sooo very embarrassing to admit my foolish insecurities and selfishness. I am humbled, and his response has been nothing short of compassionate respect and concern. I have such a great guy. We started walking together after dinner every evening to get to know eachother and build intimacy. We take turns chooseing where we will walk. I have fibromyalgia so I wear a pedometer and so does he now. We set goals on how many steps to take. Its been fun and I feel my Fibro pain easeing up with the laughter we share and the exercise. God is healing us both. Its quite humbling but beautiful once I surrendered to Gods authority in my life. We even started going back to church together last month. Which my sinfull nature deeply resisted but I made myself go at my husbands promptings. Its taken a couple years but things are turning around for us. Been a lot of crying on my part but its healing tears. Discipline tears. Repentence tears. Happy tears. Knowing how loved I am. And getting my bad behaviors out of the way so I can feel it. Thanks for your blog April, it changes lives.

  5. Really want to commend and uplift the reader featured in this post. It takes a lot of courage to look at these types of tough things, and what this reader has done is very respectable. It looks like the fruit of God’s spirit in her life. 🙂

  6. We are married since two years and an half and I got married late (38 years old). We decided not to have children before 6 months after we got married. Since we have been trying (more or less) in vain. We had a rough start, and these 2 first years have been sometimes very painful. Two years ago, I discovered that I wasn’t respecting my husband and since, I am in a journey of learning. My husband have to overcome wounds that I did. He hurt me too many times but I am forgiving very quickly as for him he is still in the process of forgiving me I guess. Our sexual life is a desert. He wasn’t really intense since the beginning for reason or problem that my husband only know. Now, if we have sec once every 2 month, I am lucky. I know I have a part of responsibility but I wasn’t Christian, I would have left him I think, I need to live frustrated, my needs unmet until God change him, hoping He’ll do it one day. Since last year, I’ve been fighting that my husband will have sex with me and especially when I am fertile. But many times, he didn’t. I suffered so much, cried so much but I decided to not go there anymore. My husband took care of a child when he was living in Africa. We went in a process of adoption and he arrived almost 1 month ago. I feel so happy to be mom even if I would like to have my own and go through all the stages of raising a child. I miss 7 years of my son’s life. My husband talk like if he wants 2 or 3 more kids as I but he doesn’t act to make some. Yesterday, I told him that if he wants some the responsibility is his and of God. If I only have my son, I will learn to deal with. I ask God’s grace to stop begging for sex and children and let it go. It is painful but this is the only way. I hope God will intervene one day and I will have a bless marriage and family but meanwhile I will praise God for what I have and what I don’t. Married life is not a fairy tale, there are some good moments but some very painful too. I want to learn to dance in the rain and hope for the sun to come back. And if it doesn’t, I want to continue dancing.o

  7. I think it it’s important to note here, especially with this talk of hormones affecting who we are, and talking about preventing children, that the main way to prevent those babies may change who we are. Hormonal birth control can have a serious effect on the individual. Not to mention mothers are often encouraged to take right after giving birth, regardless of the fact that we know the hormones will be given to baby through the breast milk, thus potentially having an effect on baby. Add to that young girls are often encouraged to get on birth control even if they are not sexually active to help with menstruation.

    I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot the past few days, and hesitated commenting because while I do agree that some women make the idea of having a baby an idol, I find it even more common that we make preventing a baby an idol. It seems most people want their perfect family of 2 children, then they want to stop. Even strong christians dont seem to have a problem trying to exert our control over something that was never supposed to be ours to control. We are either trying to force God to give us a new life, or trying to force Him not to.

    how are we to say when there are perfect circumstances for the creation of life. God knows far more then we do. I know of many women whom have given their fertility up to God, some have never gotten pregnant, some were given only 1 or 2 children, others have been blessed with many. As Christians are we not supposed to sacrafice our will for His? Yet often we feel like we often have the power and right to decide whether or not to create a life. With fear of our futures, our desires coming before His. God alone desides whether or not to create a life.

    What it comes down to is we should be seeking His will and not our oheadshipwn. not just taking birth control, or fertility treatments because of what we want, but seeking to see what will glorify Him.

    I’m thankful that Christ is using this situation to bring this women closer to Him. And that He is braking down her idols, and she us seeking his will instead of her own.

    As for the last post, I would have said to that women that she is being given a great gift. Her husband is telling her what he needs from her to feel loved and respected. I would take that, and try to improve in every way he mentioned. And sit in prayer asking for the Lords will to be done, whether it means changing her husbands heart, or her accepting what she has for now. Even if her desire is not wrong, we still live under the headship of our husbands and must submit to him.

    1. Sarah,
      I agree, it is absolutely possible to make not having babies into an idol, too. I address some of those issues in the post linked at the bottom of this post “The Birth Control Issue.”

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. April, I am so grateful for this post and the last one about having babies. A dear friend of mine once described idols as this: anything we are willing to sin for. And I certainly have been disrespecting my husband with my demands for a child. But your last post and some of the comments really helped me put on the mind of Christ and see it through His eyes. I feel like God really opened my eyes up to how even though babies are an incredible blessing, trying to force this on my husband would be disrespectful and damage our marriage, sinful.

    “No wonder he’d have an ongoing sense of being smothered or that I didn’t care about him.” I know my husband has felt this from me as well as I would flip between wanting to be close to him and then resenting him for not giving me what I want.

    I pray we will have kids but I am going to give this to God and stop willfully sinning in order to get what I want. And if God does grant us our own babies I want my husband to enjoy it, not resent it.

    🙂

    1. Helpful Wife,
      Ooh! That is a great definition of idolatry.

      Yes, sometimes what we want are good things. But if we are willing to sin and disobey God to try to force our way – we are not honoring God!

      I am so excited about what God is doing in your heart! Woohoo!!!!

      Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister!

  9. “But without the cake, it’s empty, distracting activity to fill in gaps for skills I don’t have.”
    “I didn’t personally have the adult tools to go into deeper intimacy like embracing the time to know another person and being known”

    I would love to hear more about about the specific skills and tools that the writer of this post mentioned in these two sentences. Something I need to grow in!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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