A Family with Just Two – A Look at Marriage and Infertility
Mr. Tim Snyder, Christian Life Resources Director of Media Services
There are numerous reasons why a married couple may be a family of just two. Either one or both may be unable or unlikely to have children for physiological reasons. Or a couple’s reproductive capabilities may appear normal and yet the blessing of offspring is withheld. A husband and wife may make a conscious decision not to have children. Regarding this last reason, let us be cautious and not judge the heart which is God’s alone to judge.
There can be valid reasons for deciding not to have children. Health issues may exist which would put the wife at risk during pregnancy. Or a situation arises that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for one or both of the partners to function as parents.
Whatever the reason, the absence of children in a marriage can be difficult and challenging. There’s an emotional sense of emptiness accompanying the physical emptiness in the home. Heartache and sorrow may dull with the passage of time but never fully disappear. What we regard as the natural progression following marriage is absent and, even if we call a childless couple a family, they seem incomplete.
A couple may not appear to be bothered by their childless existence, but the heartache may be there. the husband and wife may feel like outsiders when their family and friends have been blessed with what they themselves do have not. Parenthood becomes an exclusive club and they feel excluded. Everyone else is occupied with raising children, and conversations always seem to steer toward the kids. There’s not much a childless couple can contribute to such discussions. Social activities often revolve around the children, and they feel like the proverbial “fifth wheel” (a reminder to those with children to be sensitive those without children). It’s one thing to say, “This is God’s will.” It’s another thing to be at peace with that knowledge. Sorrow is only compounded as they contemplate the prospect of lackluster golden years without children to live out the hopes and dreams that marked the beginning of their marriage, and no grandchildren to brighten life’s sunset.
Even as a couple comes to grips with childlessness, they still feel the accompanying sadness. As with every trial in life, God’s promises and His comfort are absolutely essential to coping. God established marriage which is a family. It is not incomplete – it is a family in every sense of the word. That became reality with the wedding vow made before God. These words from Genesis chapter two remind us of the beautiful bond that husband and wife share:
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23,24)
Childless couples were called to be saints when God, through faith, brought them into His family. Now they serve God by reflecting His love in their love for each other. The God-pleasing way in which they care for each other serves to strengthen their family of two.
Love is patient and forbearing,
Clothed in Christ’s humility,
Gentle, selfless, kind, and caring,
Reaching out in charity.
(Christian Worship 490:2)
Great comfort comes from knowing that the Heavenly Father controls all things in our lives and the assurance that everything will ultimately work to our benefit.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
A childless couple can trust that God has a plan for them, which includes opportunities for them to be a blessing to others. A family of two is in a unique position to serve. Although childless, God may have plans to use them in youth-related ministry. Perhaps their gifts lie in areas such as elder care or assisting those with special needs. Pray that the Lord would use them and know that He will.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
God has their eternal good in mind, and their ultimate comfort is found in their true golden years. Not the final years of this life, but the golden eternity God has in store for them.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
The family of two is a valid, complete family. God may plan to increase their family by adding biological or adopted children. He may, in loving wisdom, decide that two is best after all. Whatever the future holds, they must trust the Heavenly Father who does all things well. The family of two, like all families, faces challenges and hurdles, but none are insurmountable because Christ is their Head.
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)