Monday, May 24, 2010

Serious question.

For real now.

If you are married to someone and you have no children, either by choice or for some reason you can't control, how do you go about feeling like a family?

I really hope this isn't rude or offensive. I honestly don't mean it that way. I'm genuinely curious about how people feel about this.

If you want to answer and don't want me to post your answer, just say the word and I won't. I still want to know how you feel.

14 comments:

queenrandom said...

I dunno, I just do, I suppose just like people who do have kids together. It's hard to explain, but, we're the family we make together. Plus we have furbabies :P

Rachel said...

Jared and I have been married form 6 years, and we have no children, and we have no plans to have any for awhile. I read your post to my husband, and he said, "family is who your love belongs to."

Boriqua said...

Even though I'm pregnant now with our first (and likely only) kid, when it was just me and my husband, I never felt that we weren't a family. We always had our parents or siblings around, as well as our closest friends, so we were always surrounded by people we love and who love us back. Once our nephews were born, it just made our sense of family even stronger.

Ms. Marsha said...

Stephanie,
Mitch and I are 42, have been married for 16 years, and it was always our choice not to have children. I never wanted them. I do not get the desire of some women to have kids at all cost and I do not get women who put their kids above their marriage. I have seen so many people just lose each other once their kids start growing up and I just don't get how you do that to one another.

Families. They are defined in many different ways. It doesn't really occur to me to think about "feeling like a family" because, really, what does that feel like? Even in a traditional family (mom, dad, kids, dog or cat) there are different versions. My husband and I come from very different families.

I have always gone through life believing that there is a family you have through birth (or whatever) and there is the family you chose for yourself. My real "family" is made up mostly of my friends in addition to actual relatives, and my relatives actually make up less of my life than most people might think.

When I think of family, I think of Mitch. That's it. He is the only one I am ultimately responsible to. I know it must be hard for you to imagine, you've been a mom most of your adult life! I personally can't imagine living in the dynamic of kids, carpool, soccer games and Chuck E. Cheese. Kill me now.

It is just a different life, that's all. There's no thinking or feeling to it.

Roxanne said...

I believe that our "chosen" family is whomever we love and want to share our lives with. That may just be a husband and wife. It may be a gay couple with or without children. It may be a couple with a dog "child". I think there are so many versions of families out there today that it is really hard to say that the traditional husband, wife, kids combo is the only true example of a family.

Stephanie Snowe said...

These are really beautiful answers. Thank you all for sharing. And thank you for everyone who shared and asked me not to post your answers.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Stephanie, your post made me think about the 10 years my husband and I were married before having our first child (3 years TTC). Feeling like family had to do for me with being so intimately interconnected in each other's lives - financially, shared memories, shared interests, shared life goals, shared bed. Knowing I HAD to deal with his parents like it or not because it was part of the package.

I also thought about my sister, who is in a situation more like yours - she has a child from a previous marriage and last year had a second child with her second husband (lucky bitch has never had reproductive issues). She admitted to me in private that she did feel some sense of obligation - originating entirely from within herself - to bear him a child in order to cement their bond. I don't think my BIL felt this way, but she did. Just putting that out there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what other people have said, that love makes a family. I had my first child in February and have been married for almost 2 years, but I've been with my husband for 6 years and felt that the two of us were a family before we were married.

Since we had the baby, though, we've been getting cards and packages addressed to "The B Family" -- like they didn't consider us to be a family until she was born. It's really weird to me, that people think that way.

Anonymous said...

I am 25. I feel too young to have kids, I am getting married in April of next year. I feel 100% like a family with just my fiance, and 2 dogs. It's just our little world...that's my family.

Meghan Deaver said...

What an interesting question, Stephanie! I've always wanted to be a mother and my husband always wanted to be a father, but we decided it was in our best interest to spend some time just the two of us together before we added kids to the mix. Now the hubby and I had been dating since I was 16, so waiting only a year after marriage to expand our family didn't seem like it was too short of a time (and due to possible health complications, my docs advised me to try to get preggo ASAP).

All that said, it was REALLY irritating to have people constantly asking us when we "were going to start a family". First, it's none of your business unless I bring it up. Second, my husband IS my family. Children are most definitely a blessing and we are lucky to be welcoming one into our lives this fall, but we didn't need children in our marriage to be a "family".

Furthermore, my definition of "family" has expanded beyond the people who are related to me. My friends are my family. My in-laws and other people related to me by marriage are family. So I don't think I've ever felt like I didn't have, or wasn't part of, a family. Families are all about sharing love with people :)

ChloƩ said...

Mmmm, good question. I'm not married to my boyfriend of 9 years, and we don't have kids yet (trying to get preggo, though, but it's not getting as well as we'd like to!), so people are often wondering why and when we'll get back to normal (they don't phrase it exactly that way, I'm just translating their general idea!)

I don't feel like we're a "family", and I don't think it will change when we have kids. To me, my family is a huge tribe made of my relatives (parents, brother, grandparents, tons of uncle, aunts and cousins), and DBF's relatives, but also of my friends and his friends. To me, family is all the people that I love and that love me, that keep me sane, that are part of who I am. I mix my blood-family and my chosen one without considering how we are related. My best friend is like a sister to me, even better actually since we CHOSE each other!

Priscilla said...

BH and I will never have children. The parts I need have been removed but I'm too old now anyway. We're a family. A real family. His kids have families of their own and now there are grandchildren. I've always wanted to be a grammy and now I am. Two of my kids live with us and BH loves them dearly. It's not quite the same as raising them, but he is a respected and loved father figure to them.

Oh and we're not married either.

None of that matters to my heart.

CottonSocks said...

I don't think family is tied to a parent/child or blood relation.

I think choice is involved. I chose my spouse and we were a family before Gabriel came along and we're still a family now that he's dead.

I think it's about who you give your love to, I guess. I mean the active sense of family - your family by nature/blood could still be your family, but not necessarily in an active way.

Bah, I can't explain it well. Good question.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

Well, obviously we do now have a child, but we had been married for six years before she came along. So I think for us, what made us feel like a family was having our little traditions, our rituals, our lazy Sundays on the couch watching TV together, inside jokes. The things that you share make you a family.