How to decide where to live and where to raise children?

Married for 6 years, together for about 10. Both of us are expats and long to return to our respective home countries. This yearning has grown over the years, and more recently so has my desire to start a family (not getting any younger!). My husband worries that having a child will in a way 'trap' him because I want to move nearer to my family to raise the child, which he has no desire to do. I also have no desire to move to his home country so I can understand.

We'd both be willing to stay where we are a bit longer as a compromise, but the question of where to live will continue to come up. How do we resolve this? Are we bound to separate? The marriage is loving and solid in every other regard, and we care for each other deeply. Thank you.
Asked by Coco


There is going to be an entire conversation that needs to be had here, but for the sake of this question, I think it is essential to recognize what a marriage is. No matter the spiritual, governmental, or companionship aspect, what you choose to do in marriage is secondary to the marriage. You, as an individual, might want something as much as he, but never let it compromise the marriage. For this, I prefer the Biblical definition of marriage, which is a union of two people into one. One leaves their mother and father and joins their partner. That view of marriage may help put things in perspective enough to eliminate some options. 

No answer will solve all you want to solve or predict the best future. Honestly, you might be close to family, but then where does that leave him? If he is the "odd" man out, then what does that do to the marriage? One way to determine the best decision for your guys is to decide what you want the most together. Not where you want to live or what jobs, but what values you want to impose on a future child. If your husband feels like having a kid would get him "stuck" moving where you want, there needs to be a very real conversation because that is a pretty significant deal. 

You say you are solid. I believe it. However, what is solid? Is it solid to get along? Is it solid going with the flow? The fact that you have been together longer than most marriages last would assume you have had to work through some pretty difficult things. However, now you look to move, and it seems there is a rift. It is interesting if this rift has been here the entire time, and you are just now noticing it. This is why I say it is time for a candid conversation that could result in hurt feelings.

Maybe the feelings are hurt because we have expectations about how things "should" go or what our partner "should" do. Perhaps we hold these beliefs deep down and don't bring them up, but secretly get angry when they don't line up. Maybe this is why we are now having this conversation after so many years and there are these issues. We are humans; we avoid pain. But let us at least acknowledge there is pain instead of saying things are going great. 

So, have the conversation. Make sure you get really uncomfortable and talk about the parts of you that don't agree versus what you do agree with. Please identify what you as a couple wants out of your marriage, out of life, out of raising a child. Let there be disagreement. Let there be upset feelings if need be. Argue and get down to what matters. I don't want to play nice and resent you later. I didn't articulate what I felt because I expected you to know. No, say and do the honest things, even if it means writing it down and having him read it.

Do these things, and if you decide to go to therapy to navigate this you will at least know where to start. Good luck.