The topic of children is an almost inevitable conversation for every serious Christian couple. You will both want to discuss the possibility of having children together at some point in the relationship. This helps each partner understand the expectations of their significant other and test compatibility in an important area of consideration for marriage.
Ideally, each partner will desire the same number of children before entering into the covenant of marriage. It’s not uncommon for those numbers to change during the marriage, but typically, they change as the result of mutual agreement between spouses.
However, partners might sometimes disagree about the number of children they would prefer to have. Occasionally, one partner may not want to have any children at all. If left unresolved, this can turn into a major cause for concern in the relationship.
Having a Conversation about Children
When to have a conversation about children is almost as important as your partner’s answer itself. If the conversation occurs too soon, it might signal to them that the speed of the relationship is moving too fast and inadvertently push them away. If the conversation occurs too late, you might become overly attached and experience extra heartache depending on their answer.
You want to have this conversation sometime after the beginning of the dating relationship (perhaps between months 2-3) but in a lighthearted manner. The “rightness” or “wrongness” of their answer is completely subjective, and you don’t want your behavior to their response to come across as judgmental of their personal character. The point of Christian dating is to find a suitable partner for marriage, and this initial answer about children should factor into discerning their suitability for you.
Depending on their answer to your questions, a second conversation may need to occur at a later date. Obviously, if you both have the same answers, then another conversation is not necessary. However, if you have a difference of opinion about children, it’s important to have a serious and non-lighthearted conversation at some point in the future before the relationship develops too much (perhaps between months 4-5).
The outcome of this second conversation will likely dictate the future of the relationship. It’s a serious conversation to have, and you should both be ready to approach it as such. That means getting ready for a “we need to talk” type of conversation.
Below are two questions for consideration regarding the final conversation. The first question should be answered by you before the second conversation ever begins. The second question will be answered over the course of that conversation.
How Firm is Your Position on Children?
This question seeks to determine if you could ever change your mind about having children. Perhaps you’re not ready to responsibly raise children at this point in life. Perhaps you’ve allowed family or friends to influence what’s expected of you. Perhaps this is the only option you’ve ever considered. These are the types of questions that should factor into your thought process.
Don’t let this question give you analysis paralysis. It’s not supposed to take longer than a month or so to consider and reflect upon. However, if you’re position is unmoved after some worthwhile introspection, you should have a second conversation with your partner about children with the following question.
How Firm is Their Position on Children?
This question seeks to determine if your partner might reconsider their position on having children. The outcome of asking this question should shape the course of the relationship. So it’s quite important to be thorough in the answer.
The best way to get a conclusive answer is to ask them clarifying questions about their position. Would they consider children at a later age? These are the types of questions that will help you determine their position.
After this conversation, you should understand if the relationship should continue. There is a possibility that more time may be needed for them to reconsider their position, but this should not take long to do. After they reach a conclusion, you will know if this person is the best suitor for you.
How Online Dating Eases This Conversation
Most online dating sites take the guesswork out of having a conversation about children. Typically, the worthwhile dating sites will have their users fill out some sort of “children section” as a default part of their online profile. People can even sort matches by their answers in this particular section of their profile.
There are usually two main prompts to the children section of an online dating profile. You will be able to ascertain each user’s answer to these prompts in some way.
The first prompt inquires about any children already in the picture. Basically, the online dating site is asking if this person has any children from a previous relationship. Depending on your own preferences, the results of this prompt might influence your decision to date that person.
The second prompt inquires about the possibility of having any future children. This is where you will learn if your match wants children or not. This is a lot easier for determining possible suitors than the conventional method of having hard conversations after multiple months of dating.
Is It Sinful to NOT Have Children?
No, choosing not to have children isn’t sinful. Nevertheless, there are some verses describing the blessings of children (Proverbs 17:6; Psalm 127:3-5). So, if anything, the person who chooses not to have children is deciding to forego some biblical blessings.
With that said, those choosing to have children aren’t always qualified for that job. Deciding to have children is one of the biggest life decisions. It’s important that a person be fully committed to their offspring, or they may turn the blessings of God into something that feels like a curse.
God allows us to personally decide the matter of children for ourselves, but whether you choose to have children or not, He still loves you the same amount.