I've recently graduated from college, become gainfully employed, and just got paid for the first time. Everything for my future seems to be coming together, and I'm thankful. There's even a girl I've known my whole life whom everyone (including both our parents) expects me to start dating soon. She has a heart for the Lord, shares my desires for a family, is strikingly beautiful, and even likes me!
There's only one problem. I remember her undergoing a traumatic illness with a parasite years ago that may have rendered her unable to have children. There is no medical evidence: merely speculation. It's just that her body-type and medical history are textbook examples of infertile women. I know it would be completely unfair for me to hold such a thing against her in considering a relationship, but I also know couples who struggle with infertility only to later struggle with adoption. On the other hand, our God is a God of miracles. He is the God of Abraham and Sarah. He is capable.
It seems that stepping into a relationship that could head for marriage with her would be a step of faith since I very much want to be a father of my own children. Right now, there have been no commitments made on either side, so there's not much emotional attachment at all yet. Are these thoughts from the enemy? Are they unreasonable and cruel? What do you think?
So, to you, this girl is perfect in every way ... except one. That one thing isn't her character, her values, her commitment to Christ, her interest in you, (I assume) your interest in her, or the "chemistry" between the two of you. So far, that's more than a vast number of singles can say about their potential for a relationship. You've cleared huge hurdles in the pursuit of marriage.
I don't want to minimize your concern. I think you've asked an important question and one that has significant implications for how we foundationally view life and specifically, marriage.
"I know couples who struggle with infertility only later to struggle with adoption ... it seems that stepping into a relationship that could head for marriage with her would be a step of faith...."
You're absolutely right. Infertility is a struggle. Adoption can be a struggle. But all couples struggle. Couples struggle with many, many things. They sometimes struggle over when to get pregnant; they sometimes struggle with getting pregnant; they sometimes struggle staying pregnant; they sometimes struggle delivering their baby; and they all struggle rearing the baby. If there is anything couples do, they struggle. And if there is anything stepping into a relationship is, especially marriage, it is a step of faith — not faith that all will go smoothly, but faith in a God who has a perfect and good plan for you.
I have to tell you that the level of struggle in life came as a bit of a surprise to me as I got older. When I was 20, and my world was smaller, my awareness of struggle, both experientially and by observation, was extremely limited. As I got older and my world expanded, I began to realize that there was much more struggle in life than I had ever known.
But I've learned something else as I've gotten older and my world has expanded. Life is full of more and deeper and richer joys than I had ever known in my 20's. And the wild thing is this: Many, if not most, of the joys in my life have been discovered by seeking — and finding — God in the struggles. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't go looking for struggle. "Each day has enough trouble of its own." But I've learned that worrying about the struggles that lie ahead (see part "a" of the previous scripture) is wasted time. I know it is wasted time because nothing — nothing — makes it through God's hand to me without a) His permission, and b) His glory and my eternal good in mind.
I know you have a desire for biological children — most of us do. But as thousands of people know, no matter whom you marry, that is one guarantee that does not exist. None of us — not one — is guaranteed a biological child.
I say that to remind you that whether or not you marry this girl, you still have no guaranteed of biological children. You might think the odds go down, but you really don't have any idea. Given that you don't have any conclusive evidence about this girl's fertility, the possibility exists that your odds will actually go down by marrying someone else. It's not like you're going to ask them to take a fertility test. For that matter, you could be infertile; the only difference is that you don't have any history that would help determine one way or the other.
All this to point out one very important feature of creation: God has made it abundantly clear that He is sovereign over all of it, including the womb. So as much as you think you're the one who would be making the decision about your biological legacy, you're not.
So here are my points. Struggles are a part of life, and all relationships, and in them God reveals Himself if we will seek Him. If you don't pursue this girl, you might — might — avoid one struggle, maybe two (in terms of infertility and/or adoption), and you will pass up on who sounds like a perfect match for you. Conceiving and/or adopting and rearing children will involve some struggle, maybe a lot, among thousands of struggles in your relationship. And God will be in every one of them. If for some reason you can't have biological children, you have the assurance that God has a perfect plan for you, and it includes exactly that, and it is good.
I've known many couples who've struggled with pregnancy. My wife and I are one of those couples (we miscarried twice before carrying two babies to term). I've not known any who wish they had chosen a different spouse so as to have avoided that struggle.
If you've sought God on this, and you believe He's leading you in this direction, you need not worry about what lies ahead. He's already there waiting for you.
Copyright 2003 John Thomas. All rights reserved.