Think Wisely About Birth Control
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2002 29 Jul
Most American couples strive to have two children because that's what the culture prescribes. But that may not be God's ideal family size for them. Many couples try hard to avoid conception until they decide they're ready for children, and then complain if they can't conceive on demand. But God wants men and women to seek His will with attitudes of humility, reverence, and gratitude.
Here are some ways you can think wisely about birth control:
- Realize that your family size is a calling from God. Earnestly listen for God's voice rather than caving into cultural pressure. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give both you and your spouse clarity and peace about God's will, and the grace to be truly to open to whatever it is. Seek to reach a mutual decision based on prayer, Scripture reading, and thorough reasoning.
- Avoid two unhealthy extremes - either refusing to accept God's gift of a child if He wants to give you one or demanding that God give you a child when it's not His will for you. Respect God's wisdom and trust Him.
- Pursue love when you make your decisions about birth control. Examine your motivations and consider whether each choice you make reflects true love, rather than selfishness. If you don't want to have a child (or any more children), is it because doing so would be inconvenient, or do you have serious reasons to avoid conception (such as medical issues)? If you do want a child (or another child), is it because God is calling both you and your spouse to do so, or is it for a selfish reason (such as to keep up with people you know who have more children, to get someone to help take care of you when you're old, or to have an excuse to quit your job and stay home)?
- If God gives you children (through either birth or adoption), make them a priority in your life so you can fully invest yourself in them. If God doesn't give you children, look for other ways to be fruitful in your life, investing your love in other people who are needy, such as friends' children or elderly people. Know that there is nothing more important you can be doing than investing your time and energy into loving relationships with others.
- Respect the beauty and holiness of sex in marriage. Love your spouse sacrificially and appreciate his or her dignity. Don't exploit your spouse by seeking pleasure only without being open to children or using your spouse's body to produce children without truly expressing love. Also seriously consider whether to choose a birth control option that alters your spouse's body or something such as natural family planning, which involves simply abstaining from sex during the wife's fertile times.
- Never discard human life that has already been conceived. Respect the sanctity of life and trust God to design the child or children He wants you to have. Accept His will when it comes to your baby's gender and traits.
Adapted from Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception, copyright 2002 by Sam and Bethany Torode. Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.eerdmans.com, 1-800-253-7521.
Sam and Bethany Torode are freelance writers and graphic designers who live in rural Wisconsin with their son, Gideon. Their essays have appeared in many publications.
How did you and your spouse decide on your family size, or, if you're still deciding, what factors are important to you in the decision process? Why do you think so many people choose to have two children in our culture, rather than more or less? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.