The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a homemaker in my 30s. My husband insists he doesn’t want to have a second child. I’m not happy about this.
I gave birth to our first child after undergoing three years of infertility treatment. I want to have another one for the sake of this child, because I myself am happy I have a sibling.
However, my husband is considering buying a condominium because our current apartment is so small. He insists that he wants to get a luxury condo. He probably wants to make himself look good. He doesn’t want a second child because it will mean higher educational and other childcare costs, which would force him to lower the grade of his target condo.
I would give up on having another child if we were financially strapped or I was too old to have any chance of another birth. But we still have the possibility of doing this. I don’t want to miss this chance.
I’m certain I will bear a grudge against him for the rest of my life — rather than feeling happy — if I listen to his request and the three of us live in a luxury condo, even if it’s very spacious and attractively designed.
M, Okayama Prefecture
Dear Ms. M:
Having a child and buying a house — both are important issues for married life. I hope you thoroughly discuss this with your husband to find a constructive solution. To do so, you should have some tactics on how to talk about it.
Specifically speaking, you should start with letting one of you just speak while the other just listens without making any objections. Next, switch your roles after taking a break. Repeating the process will help you realize feelings that you hadn’t realized the other person had. You’ll also be able to find out what’s wrong with your way of expressing your opinions.
You believe your husband puts more priority on buying a luxury condo than having a second child because he hopes to live an extravagant life. However, he may want to buy a nice house to lay a solid foundation for his family’s life, while at the same time thinking highly of the education of your child, with whom you and your husband were blessed after making great efforts.
In any case, I suggest you listen to what he is thinking a little more, because he is the one who will pay for your child’s education, housing loans and other financial burdens as the breadwinner.
You should make him understand how much you want a second child. At the same time, you should understand you can’t change him as long as you assume you are absolutely right. I therefore recommend you imagine his position and feelings as much as possible, rather than trying to make yourself understood. This is difficult, but this approach will help you and your husband better understand each other.
Masami Ohinata, professor