True love cannot be contained; it always gives life in some form, bursting forth from the couple with irrepressible urgency. For most couples, this life-giving impulse will result in the biological birth of a child. For others, it will be expressed in a shared effort to generously give of their time and talents to others.
Love gives Life
When we love someone deeply, we want more of that person in the world and we yearn to see our love made flesh in a child. A child is an irrefutable demonstration that our love is real and permanent. He or she is a public proclamation that we are ‘one flesh’ – for indeed we are – quite literally – one flesh in our offspring. Our child is the manifestation of our lovemaking and the fusion of our genetic biology.
Although we sometimes doubt ourselves, we rarely doubt the other’s ability to be a good father or a good mother. Our love for each other enables us to see the beauty and strength in the other, even if we don’t see it or believe it in ourselves.
Thus, we give each other the gift of maternity or paternity as an act of trust and belief in our spouse’s goodness.
No matter how much we desire to be a mother or a father, it can only happen if our spouse says “Yes” to us. A wife’s maternity is dependant on her husband for fulfillment, just as a husband’s paternity is dependent on hers. It’s a mutual gift, one exclusive to, and dependent on the intimate nature of the marriage relationship.
Most people have an innate desire to do the right thing, especially when we are in love. We want to please God our creator but when it comes to when, or how many children to have, we can be unsure of God’s will for us.
In deciding how many children to have it is best to be neither selfish nor careless. For God desires us to be generous with our love, as well as conscious and intentional in how we use the power of procreation.
The Church has far too much awe for the creation of human life to ever dictate how many children a couple should have. The Church only asks that we invite God into our discernment and remain open to life in the process of regulating births.
If we share responsibility for our children as husband and wife and stay attentive to God’s involvement in all aspects of our lives, there will be no fear of pregnancy.
Furthermore, if we understand that intercourse is the body language that speaks our wedding vows, we will be constantly reminded that we give our whole self, including our fertility, to the other. To actively sterilize our lovemaking through the use of contraception, changes its intrinsic meaning and negates the total gift of self.
Trusting each other
Birth control is primarily a trust issue; trusting each other and trusting God.
- A wife will find it difficult to trust that her husband will be as involved and invested in the children as she must be, if he is uninvolved with her emotionally.
- A husband may find it difficult to trust in his ability to provide for their family or in God’s direct involvement in the family’s financial well-being.
- Both can question whether they have the emotional resources to care for a child.
Trust is a journey that begins with the couple. It grows with emotional intimacy and each demonstration of responsible and trustworthy behaviour.
The more we trust the other to be there for us, the more we will trust God to be involved in our love for each other and our willingness to give life. If we pray for the grace ‘to desire children as much as our Heavenly Father desires them for us’, and we do desire to have children, we will always know that our children were first desired by God and we will be able to trust that God will be there to love them and care for them their whole life long.
Children help us fall more in love with each other because children extend us and draw out our virtue, making us more attractive to each other, more grateful and more trusting. The other’s generosity or tenderness toward a son or daughter can inspire awe in us and draw us to them all the more.
While society would have women believe that they become less attractive during pregnancy, but no man is ever more in love with his wife than when she is carrying his child.
- Fertility – an Introduction: here
- Natural Fertility methods: here
- Avoiding Pregnancy – Confidently: here
- Achieving Pregnancy – Naturally: here
- Intentional Intercourse: here
- A Vision for Life and Love: here
- The Language of Love: here
- Natural Method Effectiveness: here
- Learning Natural Fertility – Links: here
With grateful thanks to Ron & Kathy Feher who contributed to this article.