What do you think about couples who choose to be childless?

Couples who mutually decide to not have children are often motivated out of protecting pleasure or preventing pain. Understanding the motivation behind their decision will help you to know how to connect in respectful ways, instead of coming across in a harsh or judgmental way.

Protecting Pleasure- they may be having such a blast together connecting in romantic and intimate ways that the daily responsibility of parenting kids looks like a roadblock to the fun they are having in their relationship. That fear, along with the vastly different priorities of budgets and schedules that couples with children experience causes some couples to choose to delay or postpone having children that they believe would steal the intensity of being totally focused on pleasing each other.

Learn to view this type of couple as individuals who really want to have a fun and fulfilling marriage, instead of treating them as self-absorbed child haters, since you don't know the whole story of their journey, which may include overcoming cancer, infertility or an irreversible vasectomy from an earlier marriage.

Preventing Pain- This type of couple enjoy their marriage, but choose to remain childless because one or both of the partners came from a severely dysfunctional family and experienced severe trauma or abuse in their childhood. They make the decision to avoid having children because they are either uncomfortable with the role of being a healthy parent or are afraid of bringing a child into a stable marriage for fear of history repeating itself in some way or another and they just want to play it safe to not hurt one more child.

Both extremes are about control and both are subject to being misunderstood or attacked by friends, family or even people of faith who don't understand the motivation behind their decision. I suggest that couples agree on an 'elevator speech' (about ten seconds long), that appropriately states the facts about their decision and then to change or move on to another subject than their reproduction habits. Once others see that a childless couple are comfortable with their decision and can voice it with confidence, the critics thin out, and the manipulators will be more obvious to spot with their hidden agendas out in the open to be confronted directly.

Understanding the motivation will help improve the relationship because childless couples can then move beyond feeling harassed to finding peace in their decision to have a really great marriage, or to avoid passing on dysfunction to another generation. Both of which can be wise and appropriate decisions.

Dwight Bain Bio:Author, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of http://www.stormstress.com/ and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. Corporate clients include: Toyota, State Farm, DuPont, Bank of America & Disney. Organizational clients include the US Army, Florida Hospital & the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Quoted in: Investors Business Daily, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution & Orlando Sentinel. http://www.dwightbain.com/

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