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Author Topic: Orthodox Marriage & People Who Don't Want Children?  (Read 1307 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: July 20, 2012, 09:42:51 PM »

Just out of curiousity, does the Orthodox Church grant marriage to couples who do not want to have any children? Are they still allowed to engage in sexual relations with each other using contraceptives, or are they forbidden from using contraceptives and expected to not engage in sex at all unless they are willing to have children?

The reason I ask is because the other day--for some reason--my mother asked me if I ever want to have children when I become a man and get married. To her disappointment, I answered no, since children drive me off the wall. Being the oldest sibling is already hard enough to me; I cannot imagine how difficult and miserable it must be being a parent.

Anyhow, this got me thinking, hypothetically in the future if I ever decide to marry a woman and we do not plan on having any children, would the Orthodox Church still marry us? If so, what would be expected of us and how would the beforehand mentioned questions affect us? Could we still have sex and use contraceptives, would we be expected to never have it until we want children or would marriage be forbidden to us altogether?
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 09:46:17 PM »

The Orthodox Church is not the bedroom police.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 09:46:35 PM »

Ask your priest.
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 10:09:57 PM »

All I can say is if you don't have children, you'll be missing out on a very important part of life.

At one time I didn't have children.
Now I do have children.

They are wonderful, a blessing, and life changing. 

Everybody who has children understands, and those who don't I don't believe can argue.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 10:14:37 PM »

Everybody who has children understands, and those who don't I don't believe can argue.

Well I practically have to raise children because my parents rely on me to take care of my younger siblings all of the time and I do not understand. Life to me seems like it would be much easier without children.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 10:19:54 PM »

Everybody who has children understands, and those who don't I don't believe can argue.

Well I practically have to raise children because my parents rely on me to take care of my younger siblings all of the time and I do not understand. Life to me seems like it would be much easier without children.

As Dr. Phil would say, you were born with a job, to take care of your future siblings, resulting in resentment and a desire to not have children as revenge.

But we are human and accidents with birth control do happen (resulting in conception of children) and you should talk to your Priest about your feelings towards children.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 10:21:34 PM »

I never wanted children until I had them.  I couldn’t be in the same room, or building if I could help it, with a kid.  I never even held a baby until I had my first.  Now, I love them.  You may change your mind, but as suggested, talk to your priest.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 10:26:39 PM »

I never wanted children until I had them.  I couldn’t be in the same room, or building if I could help it, with a kid.  I never even held a baby until I had my first.  Now, I love them.  You may change your mind, but as suggested, talk to your priest.

I liked my younger siblings well, and wasn't sure about children at all.

Then I had them.  I love them so much.  Life would not be the same without them.  They are absolutely wonderful.
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 10:34:12 PM »

JamesR,
Personally, I have always wanted to be a father, even from a young age. I was excited to get married and now that I have two wonderful, amazing, but trying and challenging handfuls, I am more and more blessed. Marriage is a martyrdom, over and over and over. Now, as a parent, I can understand why someone would not want to get married, but it is a tad out of the ordinary to desire marriage, but seek to intentionally frustrate one of the greatest fruits of the blessed union which God joins together. Children are a blessing for many reasons, but one of the hardest lessons one learns as a parent is the blessing and Grace God grants us because of the "burden"/"frustration"/"trials" from raising children. Raising your own flesh and blood, one who looks to you, mimics you, depends on you, seeks your love, approval, comfort, guidance...There is so much to say, so much to share on this subject. I honestly would say that perhaps you might consider the touch of immaturity that within the idea of being married, but not having children. In this way, I agree with what has been said that you should speak with your priest. Also, try and consider the endless possibilities other than avoiding children. Being married, there are bills, friends, jobs, Church, social life, personal hobbies, crafts, growing in love and patience with one's spouse. There is hardly time to implement a "controlling reproductive regimen" into your new life that won't cause significant spiritual damage. If you have an honest and sincere medical condition or something along these lines (or your spouse), then oikonimia would certainly apply, as long as you are doing so with the guidance of your spiritual father, but even then, you don't become immune to the spiritual damage that birth control causes.
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 10:35:11 PM »

Just out of curiousity, does the Orthodox Church grant marriage to couples who do not want to have any children? Are they still allowed to engage in sexual relations with each other using contraceptives, or are they forbidden from using contraceptives and expected to not engage in sex at all unless they are willing to have children?

The reason I ask is because the other day--for some reason--my mother asked me if I ever want to have children when I become a man and get married. To her disappointment, I answered no, since children drive me off the wall. Being the oldest sibling is already hard enough to me; I cannot imagine how difficult and miserable it must be being a parent.

Anyhow, this got me thinking, hypothetically in the future if I ever decide to marry a woman and we do not plan on having any children, would the Orthodox Church still marry us? If so, what would be expected of us and how would the beforehand mentioned questions affect us? Could we still have sex and use contraceptives, would we be expected to never have it until we want children or would marriage be forbidden to us altogether?
In another thread about "bucket lists" you want to lose your virginity. Seems to me that you've already decided to marry a woman  Wink.

About having or not having kids - come on, JamesR, you're still a kid yourself. Use these years to act like one. No rush.
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 10:36:51 PM »

Quote
I liked my younger siblings well, and wasn't sure about children at all.

Then I had them.  I love them so much.  Life would not be the same without them.  They are absolutely wonderful.

I echo this so much. Marriage changed my life, but both of my boys completely changed my life and continue to change my life everyday. So very wonderful. I thank God! What else can be said...really, i don't know that I can really say anything else.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 10:37:08 PM by LakaYaRabb » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 11:38:21 PM »

Just out of curiousity, does the Orthodox Church grant marriage to couples who do not want to have any children? Are they still allowed to engage in sexual relations with each other using contraceptives, or are they forbidden from using contraceptives and expected to not engage in sex at all unless they are willing to have children?

The reason I ask is because the other day--for some reason--my mother asked me if I ever want to have children when I become a man and get married. To her disappointment, I answered no, since children drive me off the wall. Being the oldest sibling is already hard enough to me; I cannot imagine how difficult and miserable it must be being a parent.

Anyhow, this got me thinking, hypothetically in the future if I ever decide to marry a woman and we do not plan on having any children, would the Orthodox Church still marry us? If so, what would be expected of us and how would the beforehand mentioned questions affect us? Could we still have sex and use contraceptives, would we be expected to never have it until we want children or would marriage be forbidden to us altogether?

Arent we supposed to be fruitful. As Orthodox Christians, we have a duty to bear children and raise them in the holy faith. If you are blessed with this gift, why dont you take advantage of it and have kids. We shouldnt want to live the Bachelor lifestyle, but rather we should aim to live a more God-centered, family-centered life.

Though there are varied opinions in the church, I would think that most would agree that using contraceptives for the sole purposes of avoiding children or selfish lusts is wrong. Personally, I think Natural Family Planning is better but that contraceptives should be avoided.

(It is often said that the dynamics of Natural Family Planning (similar to the fasts of the Church) serve as a kind of catechesis for marital sexuality, emphasizing the need for self-control and honoring God-given fertility while at the same time recognizing the need for intimacy and allowing for a responsible family planning.) -Orthodox Wiki's article on Contraception
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 01:21:38 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 01:23:56 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.
Ask the girls who want to be on "16 and Pregnant"
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2012, 01:37:04 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.

I think if I asked each of my classmates if they want kids someday quite a few would say yes.
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2012, 01:54:27 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.

I am certain that there is a long list of odd things sixteen year olds want...perhaps people that age are interested in that sort of thing.

Of course, wanting to have kids and actually pursuing/having kids because you are in an active situation seeking to have them are two completely different wants and realities.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2012, 01:56:24 AM »

Besides, JamesR is already an elder... Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2012, 02:21:45 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.

Tell that to my mom. She got pregnant with me at 15 and had me at 16. However, as to whether she really wanted me, I do not know. She was a good mother though Cheesy
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2012, 02:54:51 AM »

Read the text of the Orthodox marriage service.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2012, 02:58:25 AM »

The Orthodox Church is not the bedroom police.


So what is it the "police" of? I mean, if the Church has no say so in our family life, then why does it have any say so in any other aspect of our lives? Either the Church informs, shapes, and influences every aspect of our lives, or else it has no bearing on our lives at all.



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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2012, 05:20:12 AM »

If you were 16 and wanted children that would be something odd.

I think if I asked each of my classmates if they want kids someday quite a few would say yes.

There is a huge difference between someday and seriously considering having children.  Once someone is in their late 20s, married, etc. I'm guessing there is about 99% chance opinions will change re: offspring. 
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2012, 12:40:56 PM »

"Could we still have sex and use contraceptives, would we be expected to never have it until we want children or would marriage be forbidden to us altogether?"

The likely scenario would be: You will be married in Church and, until you decide to have children, you will not be allowed to live within 1,000 miles of each other so that you can not have sex with each other. In order to ensure that you do not have sex outside the marriage, you will be administered chemicals that will completely take away your desire for sex. What do you think?
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2012, 01:58:28 PM »

Read the text of the Orthodox marriage service.

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« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2012, 02:03:08 PM »

The Orthodox marriage service is filled with references to the children of the couple and children's children. There has always been an explicit link between marriage and procreation.  I recall a priest once told me that he would not marry a couple if they were dead set against having children.
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« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2012, 02:25:42 PM »

If the Orthodox faith permitted a couple to be married with no intent of ever having children, then they would have a much weaker argument against same-sex marriage, that is for sure.
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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2012, 02:29:41 PM »

If the Orthodox faith permitted a couple to be married with no intent of ever having children, then they would have a much weaker argument against same-sex marriage, that is for sure.
Maybe if we were Roman Catholics. Most Orthodox Priests would marry a couple with a sterility issue.
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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2012, 04:09:14 PM »

Didn't saint Paul answer this question? As for contraception thats between you and your priest.
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2012, 05:28:40 PM »

Everybody who has children understands, and those who don't I don't believe can argue.

Well I practically have to raise children because my parents rely on me to take care of my younger siblings all of the time and I do not understand. Life to me seems like it would be much easier without children.

It would be much easier without children, but to refuse the possibility would be selfish. It's one thing if you cannot have children, it is a cross. But to refuse the possibility would be wrong. It's true, we're not the bedroom police. But a couple seeking to marry should be open to all of what marriage offers.
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2012, 06:26:55 PM »

Father & I once had a conversation regarding this. Any contraceptive options are not allowed except the menstrual cycle method…
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« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2012, 07:05:28 PM »

Father & I once had a conversation regarding this. Any contraceptive options are not allowed except the menstrual cycle method…


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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2012, 08:08:03 PM »

Maybe if we were Roman Catholics. Most Orthodox Priests would marry a couple with a sterility issue.
There is a difference between being unable to have children and intentinally trying not to have children because you don't want them.
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« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2012, 09:50:17 PM »

I've heard Orthodox priests comment that they could not, in good faith, marry a couple that intended to never have children. Besides, isn't about 1/3 of the wedding service about how many babies the couple's going to have? lol.

Maybe if we were Roman Catholics. Most Orthodox Priests would marry a couple with a sterility issue.
There is a difference between being unable to have children and intentinally trying not to have children because you don't want them.

Intent. Infertility isn't usually a choice. It isn't your fault you can't have children. But, to willfully reject the idea of having children when you're perfectly capable is a choice that is made or not. Essentially, he latter is voluntary and the former is not.
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« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2012, 10:03:28 PM »

Just out of curiosity, would it then be wrong for someone who is not infertile to marry a person who is? I never really had these kinds of conversations with my priest when I was RC, but I dimly remember something in RC teaching about such a marriage not being allowed, because it is essentially the same as marrying without the intention of having children (since you know in advance you won't be having any, since your partner is unable).

I always wonder about how the decision to adopt might effect these matters, since I have some friends (non-Orthodox) who recently got married who have decided to adopt at the earliest (financial) possibility, and I have a really hard time thinking of that decision as selfish or somehow wrong just because the child would not be the result of their physical union. I like the idea of adoption. Maybe because my father and his brother were both adopted (and his brother and sister-in-law adopted two children in turn). I don't know. I'd like to have children some day soon (~ next 10 years), and it would be good to be able to consider adoption, too.
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2012, 10:08:42 PM »

I've heard Orthodox priests comment that they could not, in good faith, marry a couple that intended to never have children.

This is my priest's policy. He understands that some couples need to wait for a period of time to have children for financial reasons or whatever (though he discourages this lack of faith in God's providence, and would prefer they put off the marriage if they cannot bear the responsibility), but in the course of their marriage counseling, if any couple told him they had no intention of having children, he would not marry them.

Obviously that is just the rule. As a pastor he can bend the rules for individual circumstances (infertility might be one; I never asked).
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« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2012, 11:21:36 PM »

It would be neat to see a policy encouraging infertile couples to adopt.
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« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2012, 11:38:00 PM »

When I met my husband 19 years ago I was 15. We never wanted to have children. We wed when I was 18. At the time we still didn't want to have children. We thought about getting my husband "fixed" because we were positive we didn't want to have kids. I gave birth to our oldest child at 23 Cheesy

The couples I know where they decided to surgically prevent pregnancy before having kids regretted it. They spent thousands of dollars to have the surgeries reversed and still didn't end up having children. Just don't do anything permanent Smiley
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