Please stop making your life so hard

How do I get over the disappointment that my husband doesn’t want a child? I don’t want to sabotage our marriage by pushing the issue, but I am still poisoning the marriage with my constant disappointment. I am trying to stay positive, but it’s really hard. He has two kids from a previous marriage, and I have one myself, but having one together is just something that I really wanted to share with him.

In Buddhism, wanting what you don’t have is one of the four main causes of suffering. So as long as you continue to believe that you should have a child with your husband, you prolong your unhappiness. The saddest thing, of course, is your inability to see that the children you have now (his two and your one) are children that you have together. Unfortunately, your mind is fixated on one vision of the future and unable to calculate reality: yours plus mine equals ours. But if you put your energy into loving what you have (a husband and three children) you wouldn’t be focused on what you think is missing in your life (a baby). And, if you’re not obsessing about what is missing, nothing will be amiss. (Ooooh! That’s so Zen!)

Of course, there may be an ulterior motive for your desire to get pregnant. Some people have babies in a desperate attempt to bind their spouse to a faltering marriage. But anyone who really loved her spouse or who cared about children would not engage in that kind of manipulation. Other people cherish the planning, preparation and attention that accompanies pregnancy. They forget the sacrifices required to care for an infant. Lack of sleep and no time for self-care are the most obvious, but there can also be less energy and affection available for your marriage. Many new fathers report feeling left out and lonely. Perhaps your husband has had this experience and does not wish to repeat it.

My final suggestion: Please stop making your life so hard. Don’t have tantrums just because your husband is not willing to succumb to your demands. You’re just teaching your children how to misbehave. And, if your desire for a baby persists, volunteer at a center that serves teen moms. Hopefully, that will help to expand your understanding of your real family. (Pssst: it’s all of us.)

I have been dating this guy for a year now and all of my friends hate him! I enjoy hanging with my girlfriends but I have to choose who I hang out with (either my girlfriends or my boyfriend) because we can’t hang out together. There is a strain on my friendships and relationship! What should I do?

Imagine that you’re taking a sip of truth serum. Then ask yourself the questions you are avoiding: Do your girlfriends see something about this guy that you don’t want to admit to yourself? Or are your girlfriends jealous that you have a man? Then again, is the problem too many discordant personalities? If it’s the latter, you must learn to get along with your guy and your gal pals not getting along. Just keep separate play dates. But if you need to face the music about this guy, do it. Otherwise, your stress will exceed your joy, and that’s no way to live.

Meditation of the Week

In the e-letter <i>International Living</i>, Paul Terhorst writes that his Argentine friends suggested he celebrate his failures: “You’re really celebrating the effort, what you attempted to do to complete a task. Whether you succeed or not often depends on bureaucrats and other idiots, sometimes on the gods. So, just celebrate the effort to move forward,” they told him. Wow! How would that perspective change your life?