Guest Author - Previous BellaOnline Editor
Religious weddings call for couples to accept children as part of the process of marriage.
Do couples always reply truefully they will accept children within their marriage?
Counseling before marriage by the church may well highlight the fact the couple are living together before marriage or that decisions to be child free have been agreed. However the minister may be more concerned about building a solid foundation to the marriage rather than the question of children in marriage. Couples themselves are often caught up in the process of arranging the marriage itself rather than the attitude of the church.
With an understanding ministers' guidance couples can focus on understanding what a successful marriage requires. Compatibility, friendship, compromise and an ability to maintain open communication are all key qualities that couples have to develop to maintain marriage after the honeymoon period.
Decisions about future children may not be discussed or assumptions made that children will follow the wedding.
I wonder how many couples lie to their minister about their child free choice! There are many reasons for marrying in church. It may be a lifestyle choice 'Lets have the big white wedding'.It may be part of a dream which has been held for many years. Family pressures can also lead to couples marrying in church, expectations of mums and dads can lead to pleasing them rather than couples doing their own thing Let us not forget that religion may be a high priority for some couples.
Marrying in church may be fundamentally part of a couples spiritual well being.
However let us be honest.
Religion may have motives based on historical principles rather than equating the decision making process of procreation on modern day factors.
Each religion wants to create a larger following handing down religious values to future generations ensuring the religious message is spread further and further across the globe. That is as true today as it has ever been.
The need to create a religious family and thus ensuring longevity was based on amongst other considerations material facts rather than the spiritual need of the couple.
I do not follow an organized religion although I do class myself as a spiritualist. My church attendance is woeful although at one time is was a major part of my spiritual well being.
My belief is that every couple should have the right to choose their own pathway which includes the right to a child free marriage. Couples who through other factors cannot have children should not be made to feel failures.
For active members of a church the decision not to have children may be in direct contrast to the teachings offered you each week. Religious dogma is a mixed bag. Often offering support in times of need and giving the feeling of guilt when in direct conflict with religious values.
So what are you supposed to do?
In my opinion there are several options you can take.
Conform and go against your own overriding principles creating life to satisfies other peoples beliefs and attitudes.
Or recognize you are accountable to no-one but your self on this major decision. Once you and your partner have agreed a course of action which includes remaining child free then stick with it.
I often counsel people who feel pressured by family, friends and local communities to confirm to societies beliefs of what is 'normal'. Religion along with all of the other pressurizing factors should be placed in the file of 'butt out'.
You know your self, your partner and your marriage. You make decisions based on your needs that are right for you. No-one person or part of your community should influence the way you wish to lead your life, now or in the future. Make decisions based on what is right for you.
Trust you will be lead in the right direction. Trust that you will know yourself well enough to know when you are right and above all else remember your partner is with you on this one!