The Case for a Childless Christian Marriage

Wow!  Great response on Rebecca’s guest post last week!  I am so thankful she shared with you and was excited to see conversations popping up between different groups of people on Facebook and the like in regards to her post.

Being that a good portion of my readers are Christians, I can see how you may have cringed at first and then thought, “Well, maybe I can see her point as a non-Christian.  She has no real duty to God to raise godly Children from the standpoint of the Bible.”  But my friends, it is time to throw you for another loop.

When I first met Tahlia, it was at TGIFriday’s for dinner with her and my brother-in-law, Ronald.  I was 7 or so months pregnant and Tahlia told me she didn’t care for children.  I thought to myself, “Well, certainly she wants some of her own, she just doesn’t like other people’s kids!”  And then we talked some more, and the more we talked I realized, no, this girl doesn’t want any of her own.  She is not the maternal kind!  As a Christian, I believe that Christian people who married are called by God to have children and raise them to be godly!  I might be on the extreme end of the spectrum, because I want to have as many children (biologically my own and through adoption) as the Lord blesses me and the Milk Man with, but I still cringed at the thought of someone who professes Christ to be adverse to having children.

Then I read what Tahlia had to say on the matter.  Though this is not my viewpoint, and I cannot agree with it for myself, I was surprised at how I could totally see her side of things by the time I finished reading her guest post.  So without further ado, I give you Tahlia!

Hi, Cradle-Rockers! 

I’m preparing for my wedding next spring and Rachel invited me to share my brilliant plans for motherhood…

That’s right, ellipses, I don’t have any plans for motherhood!


I really appreciated what Rebecca said in the last post because it all rang true to my own experience. If you talk to me in person, you’ll hear me cite pragmatic reasons like Rebecca’s, because that feels like safer territory to me, but since Rachel asked me to add a Christian’s perspective to this issue, I’ll do my best to focus on that angle.

I’ve always believed that it’s a choice that you and your spouse should make after a lot of prayer. Isn’t that how you choose a college, career, and the spouse who is involved in all this? 

So, Christians, let’s talk. Why do some of you freak out when I tell you I don’t want kids? Why is that not okay?

Here’s my best guess: You think child-rearing is a Christian duty?

I think most Christians have accepted that some of us are called to singleness so we can devote ourselves to God. I doubt many Christians would say that I needed to get married for the sake of being married. If I’m meant to get married, God will bring the right person into my life–that’s generally how it’s understood, right? If there’s no one I feel called to marry, then not getting married is fine as long as I’m not living in sin with a man. 

Okay, hopefully, I’m not offending anyone up to this point with my assumptions. I’m *really* trying!

So let’s continue on the premise that marriage is not something all Christians are required to participate in. And obviously, you’re not supposed to “be fruitful and multiply” outside of marriage, right? Children are only a Christian duty for those who are married. Now, what if you’re getting married, like I am? Is the whole point of marriage to raise a brood of little Christians? Is the purpose of marriage negated if we don’t have children?

I think not. My interpretation of marriage is that it’s main purpose is to serve as an illustration of God’s covenant with his people. Marriage is about experiencing a love that reflects (albeit dimly) God’s love for us. You can learn about love through other types of relationships, but marriage is special because of that bonding promise you make at the alter –two sinful people committed to loving each other (and accepting love) despite their fallenness. They are swearing an oath to find the true freedom that comes with surrendering. Of course, only God can bring us perfect freedom and we’ll never manage total selflessness since we’re only human, but that’s the ideal. 

Having children is a huge decision too, and in many ways, a much more serious and complicated one. I suppose it’s a type of covenant as well, but I think you enter into that family covenant when you get pregnant, not when you get married. I think sex inside of marriage can be an exclusive way to express your love for your spouse without necessarily having to lead to procreating. 

For me personally, I don’t feel called to have children and I think if God wanted me to be a mother, he would have given me some inner sense of calling towards that to prepare me. Personally, I’ve always felt called to be a writer. I’ve been given this gift and I feel a strong duty to use it for the glory of God and having kids would most certainly delay that mission even longer. Sure, I could try to write while raising kids, lots of authors do that, but I want to focus on the gifts God has already given me and really honor my commitment to God, my craft, and my husband. I truly feel like it was an act of God that brought me and Ronald together as a way for us to become closer to Him. And neither of us feels led towards starting a family, so unless that changes, I’m going to take my best guess that it’s okay with God if we leave that area alone.

Post Script: This is not meant as an attack on parenthood. So please don’t take it that way. I am in awe of those women (and men) who choose to be homemakers. Also, please refrain from patronizing comments about how I’ll change my mind once I’m married. Yes, you may be right, but your condescending treatment will just make it harder. 

If you have any comments for this blog or questions for my soon to be sister, please feel free to leave them below, but as stated in the previous guest post PLEASE, be kind and respectful, these are her views and she isn’t forcing them on you, simply sharing them with you!

Please pay Tahlia a visit in her neck of the interwebs.  She writes for both her personal blog Miss Mystra, and is a writer for Diamonds and Toads.

Kids? Not for everyone…

Hello Friends!

I am happy to share the floor with my next two guest bloggers.  Though this blog is about raising children, both your own and in childcare, I thought something a little different might interest you.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back who claimed that she didn’t think a woman could be truly against having children.  She said that there was something ingrained in every woman that made her want her own family.  Though I had held this viewpoint to be true, thinking some women just suppressed the “urge” to have children and raise a family, I had been set straight by a particularly interesting friend of mine named Rebecca several years ago.  Some women, though not the majority, truly are not interested in having their own families.  Not just because their partner doesn’t want children, or because they are physically incapable, or were called to singleness, and simply say they don’t want children to deal with the pain of not being able to have their dream come true.

Because I love  kids, and because I have my own and hope to have many more, I didn’t feel I would be the best person to write this one, so, without further ado, a bit from my friend Rebecca!

Hi.  My name is Rebecca, and I don’t want to have children.

“But… but… you’re a girl!”

Sure am.  Still don’t want any.

“You’ll change your mind when you’re older.”

I’m in my mid-thirties.  How old do I have to be before people stop saying that?

“Maybe you just haven’t met the right man.”

Well golly, don’t tell my boyfriend that he’s not the right man for me.  The last eight years will seem like a total waste!

As you might have guessed, most times someone finds out I don’t want to have children, they argue with me.  I used to get really angry about it, enraged that someone would question my convictions about my own body and my own mind.  Now that I’m older, I still don’t want children, but I’m less hostile about the question.

I believe that you (that’s the universal you) really believe that I just don’t know what I want.  In the same spirit of understanding, can’t you believe that I might just know myself better than you do, total stranger?

“Okay, so, let’s say I do believe you.  For heaven’s sake WHY?  Why don’t you want kids?  Kids are awesome!”

You’re right.  Some kids are awesome.  But a lot of them aren’t.  In my years working as a substitute, I worked with multiple hundreds of children grades K – 8 and I learned that the kids I like are vastly outnumbered by kids I genuinely can’t stand to be around.

“But it’s different when it’s your kid.”

Is it?  Tell that to all of my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends who were either given up for adoption or put in foster care.  My boyfriend could tell you a lovely story about his mother putting his two older brothers in placement because she simply didn’t want to deal with them anymore.

“Well, they are just terrible people.”

You don’t know that.  I can tell you, however, they all did what they thought they had to.  I’m just saying that blood does not guarantee bond.

“But you even said you like kids.”

I do.  I’d go so far as to say that there are some kids I really love.  You know what else I love?  Going to bed whenever I feel like it.  Having popcorn for dinner.  Saying to my boyfriend on a friday evening “let’s have breakfast in San Francisco,” and leaving.

You know what I don’t love?  Loud noises.  Sticky hands.  Endless questions.  High-pitched voices.

Strangers laugh when I tell them I have no maternal instinct.  I don’t just lack the skills to  care for someone, I actually just plain don’t like it.  Nothing about parenting appeals to me.  I’m not afraid of kids (as so many people have suggested when having this conversation), nor is it sour grapes.  I just don’t need them to feel complete.

“But being pregnant is awesome!”

To you, maybe.  To me, it sounds like having a small animal kick you from the inside for a few months, and then kick you from the outside for a few years.  No thanks.

“But babies smell delicious!”

Okay, seriously, what is this?  Every time I see someone sniffing a baby’s head I get creeped out, and SO MANY PEOPLE DO IT!  Look, if you think they smell good, fine.  But on their best days I think babies smell like rotten milk, and like white-hot garbage on their worst.

“Nothing feels as good as hearing a child call you ‘mom.’”

When you work in elementary schools, the kids occasionally slip up and call you mom.  And every time it happened, I cringed.

“What about leaving a legacy?”

Sorry.  If you need that for your ego, that’s your issue.  I personally don’t feel that way.  I don’t need to carry on in this world.  I’m given one life to live – my own.  And I’m going to live it.

“Who will take care of you when you are old?”

I will.  I don’t need kids to pay for assisted living.  I can use the money I didn’t spend on kids to pay for my own assisted living.

What I try to get people to understand is that we have different ideas of rewarding experiences.  You might find the child-rearing process rewarding.  I wouldn’t.

When it comes to being a parent, my personal belief is that you should only do it because you really want to.  Not because you can, or because you think you’re supposed to, or because you just have to capture a slice of immortality and live on through someone else.  I feel that you should just really, really want to be a parent.

And me?  I don’t want to.

You don’t have to agree with that.  You might think the only way I can be a real woman is to be a mother.  That’s fine, you can think that.  Just know that if you do, I’ll think you’re clinging to an archaic value system that has no bearing in my life and I will probably not be interested in any of your other opinions about me.  To be fair, though, I’m not generally concerned with or interested in anyone’s opinions about me.  At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters (other than my own) is that of the person with whom I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life.  And lucky for me, he doesn’t want kids, either.

I love my life.

Do you?

If you have any comments for this blog or questions for my friend, please feel free to leave them below, but PLEASE, be kind and respectful, these are her views and she isn’t forcing them on you, simply sharing them with you.

Tune in for a couple days for a guest post by Tahlia!