Catholic Weddings

Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?

Hi Ladies! I need more clarity with what "open to children" means with regards to having valid marriage. As, I have discussed before on this board my about not wanting to have children. As I have been informed I must be open to children within marriage for it to be valid.
Is open to children meaning I want children? 
It's hard for me to word what I am trying to say but I will do my best to convey it.
I still have reservations about having children however I am beginning to be more and more open to the idea than I had been before and now I can even see myself being a mother with a child or children. Something that I had never imagined before. That's a big deal for me!
However I was wondering if I still wasn't open to children by the time I got married and I ended up pregnant with a child would my marriage then be valid since I was pregnant? 
Or is it that I have to want to children for it to be valid?
I wanted a clearer understanding of that.
Because if I got married and still wasn't "open to children" or wanted children that would make my marriage invalid from the start. But would that change if I happen to get pregnant even if I didn't want children. Is that being open to children or just having a child? I hope you can understand what I am saying.
TIA!

Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:ae1f0853-d4de-4df3-9720-7fe33dbdcc41">Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hi Ladies! I need more clarity with what "open to children" means with regards to having valid marriage. As, I have discussed before on this board my about not wanting to have children. As I have been informed I must be open to children within marriage for it to be valid. Is open to children meaning I want children?  It's hard for me to word what I am trying to say but I will do my best to convey it. I still have reservations about having children however I am beginning to be more and more open to the idea than I had been before and now I can even see myself being a mother with a child or children. Something that I had never imagined before. That's a big deal for me! However I was wondering if I still wasn't open to children by the time I got married and I ended up pregnant with a child would my marriage then be valid since I was pregnant?  Or is it that I have to want to children for it to be valid? I wanted a clearer understanding of that. Because if I got married and still wasn't "open to children" or wanted children that would make my marriage invalid from the start. But would that change if I happen to get pregnant even if I didn't want children. Is that being open to children or just having a child? I hope you can understand what I am saying. TIA!
    Posted by afrenchprincess[/QUOTE]

    <div>To me being open to marriage mean's you are not against having kids and you aren't using some form of contraception to prevent conception. Does it mean you have to want them badly? I'd say no but you wouldn't be against it and trying to prevent it from happening. I would also say it means you are open to them at some point in your marriage so you could use NFP to wait a few months if you had a valid reason. I could be wrong but this is my interpretation of the rule. I'll ask my FI.</div>
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  • I would say that "open for children" means "open in your heart" and not physically preventing using BCP. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:8c979309-d2ea-474d-aabc-6980776de09c">Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means? : To me being open to marriage mean's you are not against having kids and you aren't using some form of contraception to prevent conception. Does it mean you have to want them badly? I'd say no but you wouldn't be against it and trying to prevent it from happening. I would also say it means you are open to them at some point in your marriage so you could use NFP to wait a few months if you had a valid reason. I could be wrong but this is my interpretation of the rule. I'll ask my FI.
    Posted by sigmaurse[/QUOTE]
    Thanks for the response. I will be using NFP but I will be using it to prevent pregnancy. Not necessarily trying to use it to have children. Not at this time and I am very unsure about when if ever I will be using it to help conceive. If I am using NFP does that mean I am open to children? Or do I have to have the desire to want children as well?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:f0faa0de-4493-440b-81da-309018a49954">Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would say that "open for children" means "open in your heart" and not physically preventing using BCP. 
    Posted by insanityofamom[/QUOTE]<div>Ok so when you are using NFP you are "Open to having children"?

    </div>
  • This maybe isn't exactly answering your question but I will say this. Being "open to children" doesn't have to mean "OMG I want a dozen babies right this very second!" Plenty of couples wait to have kids for good reasons. In your vows I believe the wording is "will you accept children lovingly from God?" And it sounds like that is your case. Also, the thought of having a child is terrifying to most people, even when you are 100 percent sure you want one so you are certainly not alone!
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  • French, it's not so much about one practice or another.  It's about your frame of mind.  From what you describe, it sounds like your heart is in the right place.

    You certainly aren't expected to get pregnant immediately after your wedding and to keep having babies, you just have to understand/accept that children are a gift from God and accept each gift that you are given with love (which you've always said you would do).  And maybe (hopefully) someday you will decide that you are ready to be a parent!
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  • Hmmm.... I'm on the fence with this one. We aren't supposed to be avoiding pregnancy except for exreme circumstances (financial, health problem, etc). So, I think this is something you have to really think/pray about. I believe using NFP is definitely a million times more "open" than using artifical BC. But, you have to ask yourself why you are choosing to avoid... if you are physically and financially capable, it becomes difficult to say you are still being "open to children" while avoiding....
  • A permanent intention against having children is an impediment to a valid marriage. One can use NFP with a contraceptive mentality. NFP to avoid children is only supposed to be used when there is some sort of serious/grave/just reason. 

    Marriage an an icon of the trinity, 2 begets a 3rd. It makes love incarnate and you get to give a name to your love.


  • Yes, I understand that you don't have to have children as soon as you marry and you can put off having children. But I am wondering about the desirebto even have any while using NFP. What if you use NFP exclusively to avoid pregnancy and never at any point in your marriage have any children is that sinful? Is it using NFP for 'evil'? I mean many people use NFP anf never conceive. But I know many have fertility issues as well.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:f36f6764-48d6-4fe5-a182-ca86e5105a11">Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yes, I understand that you don't have to have children as soon as you marry and you can put off having children. But I am wondering about the desirebto even have any while using NFP. What if you use NFP exclusively to avoid pregnancy and never at any point in your marriage have any children is that sinful? Is it using NFP for 'evil'? I mean many people use NFP anf never conceive. But I know many have fertility issues as well.
    Posted by afrenchprincess[/QUOTE]

    <div>I think Riss and Carrie addressed that point very well.</div><div>
    </div><div>I remember your first post on this board, and I feel like your attitude has changed a LOT since then.  While I can't speak to your feelings and what is in your heart, I do think you are moving in the right direction.  God wants us to be fruitful in our marriages, we need to listen to him.</div>
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  • It's the use that is the problem: continually avoiding pregnancy. So, yes, if you use NFP your entire life, in order to avoid pregnancy, without having a extreme/grave/dire reason to avoid.... you are not "open to children". If you use NFP your entire life, and even while trying to conceive, never actually become pregnant, that is very different as you are intending to achieve pregnancy.
  • I would think that being unprepared for kids yet is a just reason.  I don't want kids for a couple of years after I get married (so that we can hopefully save enough money that I can be a SAHM), but we will be OPEN to kids and not actively preventing them if God gives them to us anyway.  And we also want to wait so that we can build a strong foundation as a married couple before we add children to our family.

    I'm sure that I'll hear about it if I'm incorrect, but to have the valid marriage you need to be:

    --not using birth control (which you already plan)
    --willing to accept lovingly any child that you create

    You're uncertain whether you want kids, but as long as you don't go into the marriage thinking, "I never want children" then you are not closed to the idea.

    I suggest praying for guidance.  Tell God that you want whatever He wants for you and ask Him to put a desire for children in your heart if that's His plan for you. 
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  • edited September 2012
    Yes that was addressed. I'm just still having an internal struggle with my desire to have children. I will accept them if they come. Also, as I stated before I can actually envision myself as a mother. I can see it! Yes that is a way different that I use to be where I could never imagine!! Ha : I think I am scared : I think I am scared of giving so much. I am still selfish. But I also realize now you can't be married and selfish. This also effects how you feel about children. I just pray I get better clarity. My fiance said he prayed for me. I felt bad because he does want children and he said he would accept it if I decided not to give birth. He said that in the past. But I just think eventually that would break us apart and I also feel like I would be depriving him of something which isn't nice to do. I will keep praying on this.
  • Believe me, like Tea said, you will never be 100% ready to be a mother. You will get a positve HPT, and freak out, even if you were really hoping for that BFP. You will spend pregnancy periodically thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" You will be in labor and feel as inadequate as ever. You will be up in the middle of the night with a LO and really question your choices. At the same time, you get to experience this amazing feeling of LIFE growing inside of you. You look down at a beautiful, perfect, creature that God somehow let you help create. You love more than you ever knew was possible.

    It is scary. I totally get it. It's okay to not feel 100% prepared right now. It's okay to not feel 100% prepared ever. It is not okay to be forever and ever and ever totally against children that you don't have a just reason to avoid. It sounds like your heart is softening and that you're moving toward the right place. I would really just pray and ask God for the guidance you need.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:74e377a7-4d89-42b4-a87c-d57f4007480c">Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yes that was addressed. I'm just still having an internal struggle with my desire to have children. I will accept them if they come. Also, as I stated before I can actually envision myself as a mother. I can see it! Yes that is a way different that I use to be where I could never imagine!! Ha : I think I am scared : I think I am scared of giving so much. I am still selfish. But I also realize now you can't be married and selfish. This also effects how you feel about children. I just pray I get better clarity. My fiance said he prayed for me. I felt bad because he does want children and he said he would accept it if I decided not to give birth. He said that in the past. But I just think eventually that would break us apart and I also feel like I would be depriving him of something which isn't nice to do. I will keep praying on this.
    Posted by afrenchprincess[/QUOTE]

    <div>That's a huge reason why children are so important to marriage, and earlier is usually better. Children move you out of selfishness, they teach you how to give completely of yourself. </div>
  • It's such a tough topic because you have to give so much of yourself to create life. But, this is what God intended marriage for. It's very purpose is procreation. So, we are expected to try to procreate. If we only plan to use NFP to avoid, then we aren't entering into a valid marriage because we aren't open to children. Continue to pray about it and discern why it is you feel you do not want children. If it isn't for a dire reason as stated above (financial, health, etc) you shouldn't be avoiding (even using NFP to avoid).

    Like others have said - it doesn't happen overnight. The feeling of being ready for children is likely never truly going to be there. There is so much self-sacrifice required. But often, when we sacrifice, we are heavily rewarded for it.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:211c6927-eaad-4899-94cf-8223011ef828">Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means? : That's a huge reason why children are so important to marriage, and earlier is usually better. Children move you out of selfishness, they teach you how to give completely of yourself. 
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]
    Yes! They definitely will move me out of that! Whoo! I get what you are saying sometimes I just feel like going "balls to the wall" when it comes to children because I tend to over think, stress and fret about it. Of course being financially ready to support them and not being irresponsible. But just doing it! Because I can definitely talk myself out of it!!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:84b9ed5f-a473-4f06-ae3b-0b7c220b17a1">Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's such a tough topic because you have to give so much of yourself to create life. But, this is what God intended marriage for. It's very purpose is procreation. So, we are expected to try to procreate. If we only plan to use NFP to avoid, then we aren't entering into a valid marriage because we aren't open to children. Continue to pray about it and discern why it is you feel you do not want children. If it isn't for a dire reason as stated above (financial, health, etc) you shouldn't be avoiding (even using NFP to avoid). Like others have said - it doesn't happen overnight. The feeling of being ready for children is likely never truly going to be there. There is so much self-sacrifice required. But often, when we sacrifice, we are heavily rewarded for it.
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]
    Yes lots of self sacrifice :-)
  • so could your marriage be invalid if you are on BC at the time of marriage but switch to NFP soon after, but then use NFP to avoid? 
  • the use of BC itself is not necessarily what makes a marriage invalid. It's use can be evidence that there could be lack of evidence of what marriage is about, not only in regard to being open to children but full self-gift. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:aac9c906-5173-4809-82da-35b77af93cb6">Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re:Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means? : Yes! They definitely will move me out of that! Whoo! I get what you are saying sometimes I just feel like going "balls to the wall" when it comes to children because I tend to over think, stress and fret about it. Of course being financially ready to support them and not being irresponsible. But just doing it! Because I can definitely talk myself out of it!!
    Posted by afrenchprincess[/QUOTE]

    I guess the question to ask is, are you *unwilling* to have children or are you just scared/worried about having them? Do you say "Never!" or just "not yet" to having kids? I agree with others that it sounds like you are either open to children or on the path towards it :) Biblio hit the nail on the head with the fears associated with being pregnant and being a parent.

    As a little nudge in the right direction for you, one of my favorite statements about kids (paraphrased because I can't remember it exactly), "Yes, having kids wears you out, makes you old and takes away your youth. But guess what. The same thing happens if you *don't* have kids. And at least with the kids, you have a reminder of how good you used to look ;)" Kids are probably the best investment you can make! This may sound depressing but I really don't mean it that way, but I want to have someone who will visit me when I am old. :)
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  • I don't have a ton to add because this has been a great discussion already but I just thought it might be pertinent to say that there is a difference between our desires and our will. Our desires will VERY often be for selfish things, our own pleasure, etc. However, we are able to exercise our will contrary to our desires.

    To me it sounds like even though you don't DESIRE children, you are WILLING to have them. As far as I am aware the will is the more important part here. That's a lot of what goes on with the various sacrifices that marriage & parenthood bring. I just about never desire to pick up DH's dirty clothes off the floor (or whatever) but am willing to do it out of love. That's where I think most of us start off with the whole self-sacrifice-in-marriage-and-family-life thing. Once we become holier we start to like it. :)
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  • I don't think your feelings are unusual, either.  My mother never really wanted kids, but my sister and I are so incredibly close to us and she says all the time that she's so happy she "gave in" to my dad.  We never felt unloved or like she wasn't a good mom.  Now it's just something we laugh about -- "Can you believe you almost never had us?  What would life be like?"
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_understanding-of-what-being-open-to-children-in-marriage-means?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:46617816-328c-45c7-9790-1d0111b8cf6cPost:eeabaffb-9e34-4751-a95e-6577c9482050">Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Understanding of what being open to children in marriage means? : Thanks for the response. I will be using NFP but I will be using it to prevent pregnancy. Not necessarily trying to use it to have children. Not at this time and I am very unsure about when if ever I will be using it to help conceive. If I am using NFP does that mean I am open to children? Or do I have to have the desire to want children as well?
    Posted by afrenchprincess[/QUOTE]

    <div>I'm pretty sure using NFP as a contraceptive is wrong according to the catholic faith. You are to us it for spacing children and in serious situations to postpone pregnancy. It sounds like to me you are starting to be open to having them but still want to avoid pregnancy indefinitely which I think isn't allowed. </div>
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  • I agree with Riss and Agape, with your current state of mind it is wrong and one of the purposes of marriage is to have a family. If you are unable to do so physically then that's God's decision and that's ok, it happens as someone else posted. I think you need to continue to pray for God's guidance on this as well as talk to a priest because I'm concerned later on if your husbands wants an annulment the church will grant it and say it's invalid due to you not wanting childrens. Answering your question of it your marriage will be valid or not my FI says "The church assumes a marriage is valid until it is questioned and isn't questioned until someone applies for an annulment." He has a masters in Catechesis and Evangelization.

    I don't know you or your post's when you joined the board but it sounds to me like you have come a long way and you may be open to them at some point in time as you said you can now see yourself as a Mom. You also stated you would accept them lovingly which is a HUGE deal! Taqlk with a priest and your FH, which I'm sure you have. Best of luck!
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