I Want to Have Children, But He Doesn’t

03 July, 2017
Q As-Salamu `Alaikum. I have been married for a few years. Alhamdulillah, my husband is kind, loving, and generous. Regarding the issue of having children, he always said we would have them later. Recently, however, he said to me that he didn't want to string me along, and that he had thought long and hard and for a variety of reasons he didn't want to have kids. I felt really betrayed and hurt and don't know what to do. We spoke about it, I even cried, and now I don't know what to do. I never imagined myself not being a mother, but I also love my husband dearly. Should I accept this as a test and move on? Please advise.


In this counseling answer:

In a marriage, what both partners must understand is that they need to make decisions mutually and not individually. The counselor advises the sister to talk to the husband honestly about her feelings, maybe in front of a marriage counselor, and then make a decision: stay in this marriage or seek a divorce.

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum Sister,

Thank you for sending us your question. I can see that this issue is very important to you and that you are caught in something that you never expected. I ask Allah (swt) to assist you to choose the best route and to grant you success and happiness in this life and the next.

Most married couples expect to have children sooner or later. It seems you had this expectation when you married your husband. However, for whatever reason, your husband did not express to you his lack of desire to have children until recently. You mentioned that you “felt really betrayed and hurt”, and you have every right to feel that way.

In a marriage, what both partners must understand is that they need to make decisions mutually and not individually. Based on your question, it seems he has never told you before marriage that he did not want to have children.

Even after marriage, you may have felt mislead when he never dismissed the idea of having children, but rather to postpone it. His sudden decision to not have children altogether probably came as a shock to you, especially since you always wanted to be a mother and marriage is the only avenue to fulfill that desire.

The first thing you need to do is to talk to your husband about your feelings of betrayal, hurt, and shock that you probably feel as a result of his decision. It seems like he has changed his mind about having children since he has married you and did not share this with you until you brought up the subject.

I highly recommend that you and your husband go to a marriage counselor in order to be open and honest about both your feelings and the rights and responsibilities your partner has in a marriage. Someone who is trained in marital counseling may be able to help the both of you understand the importance of empathy and emotional openness within a relationship. It will also give you a chance to voice your feelings and concerns regarding this issue and will give your husband a chance to voice his feelings and concerns about having children. The wisdom behind this is to enable the both of you to see and understand your partner’s point-of-view and would compel the both of you to find a common ground or some sort of compromise that would keep both parties satisfied.

It is important to keep in mind that the issue of having children is a major decision that would affect both of your lives profoundly, so neither party should be pressured to accept their partner’s decision by force. In fact, for the majority of couples, it is a deal-breaker in regards to their relationship.

No one can make a decision for you regarding whether you should stay with your husband because no one truly knows your capabilities and what you are able to compromise with conviction. A question you should ask yourself is “Will I resent my husband if I stay married to him knowing that I will not have children?” Ponder on your answer to this question.

Making a decision like this is never easy and will take a lot of time, energy, and thought. Of course, never underestimate the power of dua’aa’ and prayer. Pray istikharah and ask Allah to point you in the right direction and to choose the best for you.



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About Aliah F. Azmeh
Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.