Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Share concerns about husband's health, parenthood with him
Lil' help?: I can't tell if I'm being a control freak. My husband wants a baby, I want a baby. But his father died quite young, from heart disease. My husband is overweight, and while he doesn't have signs of heart disease yet, that may be more of a matter of not having a checkup recently. I know he could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but given that our kid would have an overweight dad with a family history of overweight men dropping dead at 40, I don't think it's responsible to have a kid.
I haven't told my husband this, because frankly, I think it's mean. I love him and would be happy to just be with him regardless of his body or health. I just want to be responsible if we decide to have a kid.
Carolyn: So you'll assume the risk of losing him for yourself, but you don't feel right assuming that risk for your kid. That seems fair to me, not control-freakish.
Not that this will be easy for you to say, and not that saying it even perfectly will prevent your husband from feeling really wounded. However, he's the one who lost his dad quite young, so I could argue he's in a better position to speak for the child-to-be than you are.
Instead of opening with your conclusions ("I don't want us to have a baby unless you get fit"), open with your concern — even acknowledging that you probably think about his dire family history less than he does. People have a way of being acutely aware of any mortality trends in the family.
So, see what your husband thinks, and see what he's willing to do — starting with a checkup, at least, I hope.
Don't let future in-laws pressure you into big wedding, big debt
Va.: I'm getting married in a few months. I'm a big proponent of the simple wedding — justice of the peace at city hall and a celebratory dinner for family and friends. My wife's father has insisted we have a big wedding. My wife said she could go either way and did not push back. I told her how I feel and also said we don't have money for a lavish wedding. Her father said he'd take care of everything.
Now that the bills are coming due, her father is asking us to pay for most of the wedding — more than $30,000 — saying we should just use credit cards if we can't afford it now. I told my wife we need to go back to the simple wedding — but her parents are furious. They've threatened not to attend if it's not up to their standards.
This seems crazy and I can't get my wife to talk with them. I absolutely will not put thousands on a credit card for a wedding I don't even want. Should we just have the simple wedding and let my in-laws stew in their own bile?
Carolyn: Sure, if your "wife" agrees to it. (Been to city hall already?)
If she doesn't, then your only play is to say, no, you won't charge the big wedding, you're very sorry. It'll save you thousands and, more important, show you whether your beloved is ready to stand apart from her domineering parents. Priceless information, that.