Thursday, May 10, 2012

Conversation with a Reluctant Husband

Although I wrote a series on reluctant husbands, I’d like to speak with you right now, right here, if you are one.

ANTHONY:   OK, so why are you so reluctant to adopt?

RH:  I don’t know, really.  I guess I’ve been working so hard just to “protect” the family that I have now.  What I mean by that is that I’m trying to preserve time with my family.  And that’s already a challenge with my work schedule.  How can I possibly fit one more in?

ANTHONY:   What do you mean?

RH:  I feel it’s not fair if we bring another child into our home because I feel like I’m lacking as a dad already, not giving enough quality time to the children I already have.

ANTHONY:  That’s a fair statement.  But I can tell you from personal experience that whether you have one child or ten, you never feel like you’re giving each one ample attention.  That may not be a bad thing.  It keeps us dads on our toes.  Besides, God somehow makes it all work out anyway.  And how great it would be if you show your children, by example, the heart of God lived out—His heart of adoption!  Every day you show your other children how the Father loves each of us adopted believers.

RH:  That’s all good in principle.  But I know me.  My stress level is at its threshold with the kids we have now. 

ANTHONY:  Then stress is the issue that must be addressed first.  If we see our children as a source of stress and not blessing, as the Word depicts them, then we are not living with the peace of Christ in our hearts.  And our children will always remember their dad as a nice guy, but an uptight dude.

RH:  But the source of stress isn’t always the kids.  It’s the finances that help pay for the kids. 

ANTHONY:  Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse?  If you are open to the Lord merely asking you to adopt, don’t you think He’ll take care of the finances?  If God asks us to do something, don’t you think He’ll pay for it?

RH:  That sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky, doesn’t it?

ANTHONY:  It does only if you are the god of your own finances.  In all that we do, we trust in the Lord, don’t we?  Why is our financial future any different?

RH:  OK, but I really have to admit something.  Even though we have the money, I’d really like to grow old with no kids in the house.  Children with special needs, well, many of them may end up staying at home for the rest of our lives.


RH:  And when am I going to have my time?  My time to finally spend with my wife.  My time to finally travel and see the world.  My time to just sit and relax and do nothing, if I want.

ANTHONY:  I understand.  But if you’re like me, then this passage in Luke shakes you up:
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.   And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
~Luke 12:16-21

RH:  Ouch.

ANTHONY:  I know.  Me too.


  1. Very well said. God shows us over and over how He takes care of us but we still fear and worry about Him providing the next time. Our current adoption has been so much more difficult but I believe God is using this to trust in Him and not ourselves. Thanks for this encouraging and challenging post. Just what I needed to hear.

    1. That's so true, Craig. We're all a bunch of thick-headed sheep, aren't we? Yet He loves us through and through.

      And as for difficult times in your adoption, we have a saying in our family: "If something is really challenging, then God must trust us even with this." And on some things, God must REALLY trust us a lot!

      Great comment. Thanks for writing.

  2. I wish my RH would read this....

    1. Just ask him, Beach Mama. :)

    2. Me too Beach Mama! This is a great post Anthony, it really cuts to the core of things....I can honestly say that my husband is not a believer, I mean he "believes", but he is not filled with the Spirit, there is no fruit. I read what you're saying and think, "How can any guy be a RH?!" But then it dawns on me that unless one knows Christ and chooses to follow Him, rather than just say they "believe" in Him are two totally different things. So hard to be stuck in this place (longing to adopt, knowing it's what God would have me do) Praying for God to move mountains and stir something in RW's heart!

    3. You're doing the right thing by praying, LWinner. Thanks for writing!

  3. Wowsers...this one cut straight to the core. I am not a RH...I am a RW (reluctant wife). We have been home about 6 months with our daughter from China and I have a lot on my plate with 4 little ones at home. BUT, a few weeks ago God spoke to my hubby and I and are not have a son in China waiting for you. I have struggled so much with this decision...but, we prayed for an answer and God answered me immediately. So, each time I want to run out the back door with this adoption I have to face the prayer that I prayed and was answered. Reading this post and your wife's blog continues to spur me on to the finish line. This post has made me really reevaluate why I am so reluctant to go down this path again. Good stuff. Thanks.

    1. This is awesome! Thank you for writing.

  4. Wow, an RW! Those are rare. But I know they're out there.

    Well, after reading your comment, let me tell you. You can no longer consider yourself an RW. You are officially a FORMER RW--one who can encourage all of the RW's and RH's out there.

    Thank you for putting the kingdom any cost!

    1. are RIGHT! I am a former RW! That feels good to say...or type. :) I still can't figure out why I can be so stubborn when God has always been there for me. He's always provided, He's always showed up in time ( His time, not We are so incredibly blessed. He has never forsaken me or my family...and yet I still struggle with living a life where I always, without question, just say YES God! I hate how I struggle. I mean...when will I realize that in His will is ALWAYS the best place to be? I sure hope its soon! Blessings to you and your very beautiful family.

  5. I am a different type of reluctant husband. I am reluctant to do adoption #2, which my wife is interested in, and here's why:

    Since we adopted, my wife has been married to our 2 year old son, not me.

    We had marriage problems before but adoption only exacerbated them. We used to take weekends away and that was really helpful for me, but she doesn't do that anymore because she won't leave our son (understandably). He sleeps in our bed between us.

    We haven't had sex in six months. She's willing to have sex but only if I ask, and only if I set up an air mattress in the next room (because the kid sleeps in our bed). She won't make any effort on her own and when we make love it feels like she's just putting up with me to "meet my needs." She has told me she's going to get him out of our bed, but she also told me the same thing about one of our natural born kids and she never did. I had to "wean" him from mom and dad's bed myself.

    Before we adopted, she would accuse me of not being interested enough, not being involved enough in the adoption. She wanted me to read all her adoption blogs and be as engaged with all their dramas as she was, and I just could not do that. Neither emotionally nor time-wise. I was absolutely supportive, and I was not disinterested. I was an RH for maybe a year or so but no time within the last 2 years could anyone reasonably accuse me of being RH.

    I just couldn't be as emotionally involved as she was. I have a very demanding career and a lot of people relying on me in many ways.

    A few months after we adopted, there was an argument: I asked her, "Does the fact that I paid for the adoption, supported you throughout and took our whole family on a 3 week trip to Europe for us to all do the adoption together count as me loving you?"

    "No. Because I had to do everything [meaning: all the paperwork] myself."

    The irony is, she is a GREAT mom. Terrific. Superb. In fact she's maybe one step away from the legendary supermom adoption bloggers that are well known in this community. She'd certainly give all of them a run for their money. We have a somewhat large family with several natural born kids. And she does all kinds of other great things in the church and community.

    But I get the scraps.

    We could adopt another kid. It would be GREAT for that kid, it would change his or her life forever. I love our adopted son like crazy and I know I'd love the next kid just as much. But I fear I'd be left with a dried out husk of a marriage.

    When Jesus said "And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life" was he talking about trading your marriage for adopted kids?

    We don't argue in front of the kids. We don't fight in any obvious ways. We just have a very cold relationship. How can this not affect our kids? How can they not pick this up?

    One last thing: Our marriage problems are rooted in past family of origin issues that she is very slowly working through. None of these problems are directly because of our adoption. But they have exacerbated everything, and strained me to the breaking point.


    A very sad husband, who is reluctant to do this again.

    1. Hey, RH, please write to me and give me your email address. This is far too important and complex to address publicly here.

      Thank you, and thank you for writing!



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