My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 1/2 years and love one another very much. My girlfriend wants to get married, and decide whether to have kids until right when we're ready for them (expect that'll be in ~3 years); I want to agree before marriage to have kids. Besides this we're ready for marriage, and we're really stuck on this.

My perspective is that I don't want to be 3 years into marriage and realize then that one of us is ready to have kids and the other has decided that they don't want kids at all.

My girlfriend's perspective is that our circumstances might change, and she doesn't want to agree now to something that we will be doing several years for now. We have been together long enough that we don't want to put off any longer the question of whether to get married.

Does anyone have any advice on how we can resolve this?

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    I think this is opinion based, but I would not marry someone unless we were on the same page on the major issues. Children are a 24/7 deal for a long time. What happens if you have a child born with a medical issue? The last thing you need is anyone feeling "I did not even want a kid." Kids are just one of the major issues. Compromise is for figuring out what is for dinner. This is about building a foundation safe enough for a very committed thing -- kids.
    – WRX
    Mar 26, 2017 at 23:35
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    I'm on the same page as Willow. I've been together with my now wife for 15 years before our daughter was born. One year after that (we just didn't have the time, 24/7 etc.) we married. Find out what you want, you can marry anyone anytime, but you can't undo having a kid with someone. Mar 27, 2017 at 8:55
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this isn't a parenting question (as defined in the help center) but rather a relationship question, which is explicitly off-topic.
    – Becuzz
    Mar 27, 2017 at 11:56
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    One example: my mother divorced her first husband because having children was a "MUST" for her in life and a "NEVER" in life for him. They did not talk about kids before marriage and she just assumed he would eventually want kids. Second example: My hubby and I talked about kids before marriage. We both were sure we wanted 2 kids. Now we are discussing it again as we realize that maybe kids aren't so necessary for a happy life. ... Mar 29, 2017 at 16:00
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    (continued)... If kids are a MUST for one of you and a NEVER for one of you - dont expect that to change. If you both agree that it is something that can be talked through like anything else in a relationship though, then trust that you will be able to come to an agreement later. Being ready/not ready to have kids is vastly different than willing to EVER have kids. Timing is something that can be discussed. That said, if timing is something that is SUPER important to you (ie. dealbreaker) then she needs to know this now. She should also share any MUSTS/NEVERS with you. Mar 29, 2017 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


Your girlfriend is correct. An agreement now would be pretty much meaningless; someone who really doesn't want kids will not feel bound by an agreement made n years ago.


Your girlfriend seems to be a mature and sane person. Listen to her. You really don't know how circumstances will change after 3 years. It is possible that one of you may lose interest in having any kids at all.

At least for kid's sake, it is wise to be on the same page when it comes to parenting.

Your girlfriend won't be able to be a good mother if she loses interest in having children. She won't be able to be a good mother if she produces children only because you want them. She should want them equally.

My advice to you would be to wait patiently till she agrees on her own to have children. Do not talk about this again, do not force her. She may agree to you under pressure and then it will effect your mutual relationship.

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    It's also possible that one of you may lose interest in the other entirely. Planning long term and having a preference is one thing, but you can't make agreements many years into the future because you don't know what the future will look like.
    – Erik
    Mar 27, 2017 at 11:57
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    Yes and no. All that is true, but if he absolutely has his heart set on having kids, then he probably should not be getting married to someone who does not feel the same way. Yes, subject to change, but you can't ignore something that is a huge life priority for just one half of the couple and forge ahead. It is a recipe for a broken marriage. Wanting very different things in life and marriage can't be glossed over because you think the other person is wonderful. Note, this isn't saying that she should change, this is saying that this is a very fundamental issue of compatibility. Mar 29, 2017 at 14:24

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