Dear Rachel,

My husband and I have a wonderful relationship and love each other dearly, but there is one issue that we cannot solve. I desperately want children and he doesn't. This is not a surprise, as I knew when I married him that he did not. But at the time, I also didn't realize how badly I would one day want a child. I feel like I am running out of time and as it is, he is quite a few years older than me. Do you have any advice?


Dear S.R.,

While there are so many things in a marriage that you can, and have to compromise on or meet halfway, children are just not one of those things! This is obviously not a situation where being flexible and giving in to the other person is easy, since this is something that requires both of your involvement, time, energy and will ultimately affect both of your lives forever.

On the one hand, it sounds like your husband has been completely honest with you from the beginning. He told you he didn't want children and he simply didn't change his mind. At the same time, people change, as you did, and even though it might not have been important to you when you married, it is now, and asking you to just give up the hope for children is extremely difficult as well.

I think the only thing you can do is to speak with your husband, openly, about how you feel. The ability to create a new life, to bring a new soul into this world, an everlasting part of your marriage and your love, is something irreplaceable. Maybe he needs to see what a baby means to you through your eyes.

Additionally, it is very important for you to understand his fears and hesitations and do what you can do to help resolve them. Is he scared that he won't be a good father? Has he had much experience with children? Is he worried that he is too old? He doesn't want to change diapers? You may discover that his biggest reasons against children are things that are solvable and will require just some time, effort and work.

In Jewish law, the first commandment is to be fruitful and multiply. However, interestingly enough, it is not a commandment of the woman. Rather, it is incumbent upon the man to procreate. Now, clearly it seems strange, since in order for a man to have a child, a woman must be involved. But it is not her obligation.

This teaches us that what may be natural and desirous to a woman — so much so that no divine commandment is needed — may not be to a man. Yet it is his obligation, his commandment, to bring children into this world. Now I don't suggest you take this line of reasoning with him and tell him he must, but I am mentioning it to bring out the point that he is far from the only man that did, and does, not want children. And yet, fortunately, many of these men went on to have children and to love them and care for them and to raise amazing people into the world.

You need to show your husband that you believe in him and show him what he has to offer that will make him the incredible father that you know he will be. And assure him that he is not doing this alone, but with you, his loving wife who wants to be a loving mother.

In theory, there is no way to convince him of the love he will feel towards his own child. But what is real to him now is the love he feels towards you. Speak with him, openly and honestly, and show him how his love can and will expand even more if you can have a child together. Give him time and space and respect his feelings, and hopefully the two of you will be able to soon share the same vision for your future together.