A Question for My Fellow Travelers

11.02.2012, 3:45 PM

When you were looking/do look for a person to commit to for better or worse, for richer or poorer, until death do you part – did you/do you clearly think about your choice as a decision to pick a father or mother?

A young woman that my wife interviewed for the Love and Marriage in Middle America project told her that,“Even though at the time I really hadn’t picked him [her now husband] as a father, he just kind of became the father. Now looking at things, he would be the type of person I’d pick to father my kids.”

It got me to thinking back to my courting years, and the degree to which that question was clearly on my mind.

It’s all kind of fuzzy, but I think I mostly thought about it as choosing a spouse with whom I would enjoy the rest of my days. I remember when I learned that Amber was looking forward to be a mother, and how much of a positive impression that made on me (that she wanted to raise a family was something important for me).

But mostly, I think, what was on the forefront of my mind was Amber as she appeared to me in 2008, how beautiful she was, her character, and how much I hoped to marry her. I don’t think I was clearly thinking about my decision as “picking a mother” for any future children that should come. Or if I did, I never articulated those words to myself.


9 Responses to “A Question for My Fellow Travelers”

  1. Diane M says:

    I was looking for someone to share my life, not a co-parent. I knew that he wanted children someday (in the far future) and that was important to me. (If he hadn’t, I don’t think I would have stayed with him.)

    Finding a good, trustworthy man who shared my values was very important to me. I think that led me to find a good future parent.

  2. annajcook says:

    Like Diane, I was looking for someone with whom I could build a life worth living. For me, that could have come in many shapes – not only a shape that included parenting. My wife is a person who has long known that she does not want nor is well-suited to parenting (I disagree a bit with her raw ability to parent, but as she doesn’t WANT to the disagreement is immaterial). So I had to make the decision for myself, in our courtship, whether parenting was a deal-breaker for me. It wasn’t. But I suppose you could say it was something that I thought about in relation to my future spouse.

  3. Roger says:

    Parenting was not an issue in the courtship of my partner and me. We were physically attracted to each other, but also felt an intellectual and emotional connection that neither of us had had with anyone else. We shared the same values and both of us sought to live lives of integrity and honesty. That was the basis of our courtship as we came to like and then love each other as complementary soul mates.

    At the time, parenthood never really came up; it seemed beyond our grasp. That being said, my partner would make a great father. I think the time has passed for us, but if we were a decade younger we would probably be part of the gay baby boom, probably through adoption.

  4. Well I think that’s wonderful. Honestly.

  5. thank you annajcook…I’m sure others have already gathered such stories, but I’d love to read and hear more about how gay and lesbian couples make the decision or not to have or raise children…the raw human stories, not the tidied up versions that are presented in academic journals.

  6. Was still in the mode of my post below (where I thought I was reading) when I commented on roger and annajcook’s comments. Anyway, the sentiment holds.

  7. annajcook says:

    You are welcome, Elizabeth. Back in the summer of 2011 I wrote an extended post at my blog reflecting on my evolution from assuming I would be a parent to my current expectation that my wife and I will likely never be full-time caregivers to dependent children. While it doesn’t directly address the question of choosing one’s partner based on the vision you have of family life or parenting, it does grapple with the ways my notions on the subject have shifted as I’ve grown from childhood to adulthood.

  8. My late partner and I were together for over 30 years which kind of dates us. We were the perfect yin/yang combination. I was studious and reserved. He never shut up. I was a reader, he was astonishingly street smart. I hate to admit this but my partner was an employee (although I did not hire him). It was really a lapse of judgment on my part which gives you some idea of the strong attraction. I would have been an adequate parent. My partner would have been an incredible parent. However, it wasn’t a relationship consideration.

    A couple of decades later, particularly with the potential to marry, we probably would have wanted children – probably through adoption. Surrogacy carries too many risks for everyone involved but I don’t think that we would have ruled it out.

  9. David Lapp says:

    Thank you for the responses, everyone.

    David, I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    I second what Elizabeth says in that I would be interested in reading the raw human stories of how gay couples decide whether or not to become parents.