My husband and I have been married for just over 5 years and one question that continues to regularly irk me is, “When are the two of you going to start a family?” I know what everyone means; I know they mean, “When are the two of you going to have children?” but that’s not what they say. What they say, or rather imply, is that our family is somehow incomplete without a child, as if my husband and I are not a family on our own.
That breaks my heart. It hurts. It puts me on the defensive. I don’t want to tell everyone I meet that we’ve been trying to have a child for 5 years. I don’t want to tell everyone I meet that we’ve lost two pregnancies to early miscarriage. I don’t want to regularly break down into tears over the idea that we may never have a child. I certainly don’t want to spend every day of my marriage feeling like I don’t have a family of my own simply because we haven’t been blessed with a baby.
Not having a child already leaves a hole in my heart which is something that I struggle with every single day. Feeling as though somehow my family of two is not quite a family because it’s small tears that hole just a little bit wider every time I hear it.
Every time my heart hurts over it I turn to the Bible. I have searched countless times about marriage and family; I always return to the same verse:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
It’s not all about other people though. I catch my husband and I saying it from time to time too. We say things like, “I hope we’re able to have a family of our own one day.” or “Do you think God will ever bless us with a family?” or “I know you’re sad, I want us to have a family too.” but we shouldn’t say those things. Saying those things diminishes the value of the family we have in each other.
Family is about supporting each other, encouraging each other, loving each other, enduring through trials, and just being there through all that life throws our way. It’s about those vows, those precious vows, that are exchanged on your wedding day – sickness and health, richer or poorer, better or worse. It’s about friendship and everything that lies in a relationship beyond friendship.
I was born in to a family with my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins. I formed a new family with my husband. If we ever have a child then our family grows larger but it’s already began.
The next time someone asks me, “When are the two of you going to start a family?” I think I’m just going to respond, “We already started a family, we started it in May, 2011.” A family of two is a family. A family of three or more is simply a larger family.
Do you consider children a necessity for a family? Did you consider yourselves a family before you had a child? If you’re childless, do you consider yourselves a family?