Your spouse is not alone. There are now more dogs per American household than children. In one poll, 54 percent of people said dogs are a better fit for them and only 46 percent said children are the better fit. Most couples discuss the material matters of life and marriage prior to tying the knot: religion, kids, money, and family. However, some of us can change our mind over time, and changing your mind on whether or not you want to have kids can cause major disruption in your marriage if you and your partner aren’t of like mind.
The best bet to navigating the road from fur babies to human babies is start talking and listening to your spouse. Start with the question, “What is your biggest fear about having children?” Listen and learn from your spouse’s response. Resist the urge to argue your points of why you want children, and practice listening until your spouse feels heard. You may not find immediate resolution; take your time unpacking the fears and concerns for your spouse and yourself.
As often as you can, build a discussion around the topic as opposed to debating it. When you find yourself repeating your position, it’s generally time to stop and reframe the conversation. Rather than repeating yourself, ask your spouse if they understood your position. Then ask them to repeat it back to you to make sure you have been heard and clearly understood. Do the same for them.
Conversations of this magnitude rarely come to resolution overnight, so take your time, get curious about your spouse’s perspective. In time, you may find yourself with a baby accompanying your spouse and Fido on your walks, or you may change your own mind in the process. Communicate often and honestly, and your marriage will be stronger no matter what you decide in the end. The most important thing is that you make major decisions together.