My future husband resents this idea, as he feels it is a way of letting outside drama infect our marriage. He definitely wants children but doesn’t want to start worrying about it yet, since he thinks infertility has corroded my sisters’ marriages.

I don’t know how to compromise with him on this, since it seems time is of the essence here. Any suggestions?

— Compromising on a Timeline

Compromising on a Timeline: He “resents this idea”? He thinks you’re “letting outside drama infect our marriage”?

He “doesn’t want to start worrying about it yet”?

I’m just going to reprint your whole letter in scare quotes until I meet my word count.

For someone worried about marital corrosion, your guy seems strangely bent on doing the one thing with the highest percentage chance of corroding your new marriage.

If you feel strongly about bearing children, then you need to be clear with him that forcing an embargo on talking about and trying for pregnancy could have life-changing consequences. And if this time two years from now finds you pushing 36 and failing to conceive, then your marriage will be generating enough white-hot resentment to read by on a moonless night.

He can want what he wants, of course. People who have witnessed fertility struggles up close can be forgiven for wanting no part of that emotional slog.

But he doesn’t get to live in a little reality-proof bubble of his own creation. You are in possession of medical information about two sisters that might be relevant to you. You are also almost 34. These three data points aren’t about feelings or drama or marital corrosion, they’re about biology — and even if yours isn’t a problem right now, it’s not getting better while you wait.

Of course, there are other things in life than having children, and there are other ways of having children that don’t involve your fertility, and there are other valid family planning strategies besides Mayday, mayday, commence conception maneuvers. If your fiance is a-okay with taking your lives together at an unhurried pace and either having or not having children, however it all works out, then he’s entitled to that approach — as long has he’s honest about that with you, of course, so you can decide whether to go through with the wedding on those terms.

But I get no sense of his having such a realistic, well-thought-out worldview here; what I see instead is someone who has witnessed things get messy for other couples and who has decided to put his fingers in his ears and go NAH NAH NAH NAH as if that will keep messes away.

Maybe you already know this about him, and embrace it as part of the man you’ve chosen to go through life with. Maybe you’re even okay with postponing children, possibly until your fertility window closes, assuming it’s even still open. (In fact, if there’s even the remotest chance that you can bring a little que-sera-sera to your life, then you’ll probably be happier for it.)

But if children are at the center of what you hope your life to be, then, I agree with you that compromise isn’t how this is going to go. You can’t compromise between a reasonable concern and an insistence on being obtuse.

So make your case plainly, and with sympathy: “I understand why you’re spooked by this. I would be, too — but I know time is a luxury I don’t have.” Then explain to him that your body has deadlines whether you like them or not, and neither of you knows if you’re missing them while you wait. Then ask him to join you at an appointment with an OB/GYN to discuss your options and replace drama with facts.

If he refuses to make even that accommodation, then please see this for what it is: a resistance to reasonable conversation about a difficult topic. An attitude like that — on more than the occasional sensitive subject — could bring more trouble to your marriage than even the heartbreak of infertility ever could. Life brings what it brings; you want a partnership that helps absorbs any impact, not one that amplifies it.



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