Faith Relationships

Snip and Clip

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It’s probably one of the most awkward procedures a guy can have. A vasectomy. Lying on the table, exposed through a surgical drape. The doctor injects an anesthetic, waits for the area to numb, and with a surgical instrument in hand, he makes a tiny incision. Your two vas deferens are pulled out and snipped. Once the incision is sealed up, you are free to get dressed and leave. With two cuts, you are now a sterilized man. The procreation phase of your life is over. The next few days are filled with rest, soft and loose sweats, and no heavy lifting. Often, the doctor recommends a bag of ice or frozen peas on the groin to reduce swelling. With the remote in one hand and the cell phone in the other, a guy’s brain goes mush fairly quickly.

“Mommy, is daddy ok? Is he sick?”

Those little eyes you helped conceive are wondering why daddy isn’t on the floor wrestling with him.

It’s odd in a way that a young guy goes through his God-given sexual development sometime in his teen years, falls in love, gets married, and conceives children with his wife only to get to a season in their marriage where the question comes up if its time to stop having kids.

Sometimes, the husband and wife agree that it’s time to stop procreating. Sometimes, the conversation goes like this.

“Look, I know we love our kids, but it’s probably time to talk about when to stop having more.”

The conversation has been had and now the question is how to do we go about this. There are three ways to stop procreating. They include:

  1. Abstinence- no more sex until she hits menopause. That frankly could be 10-20 years.
  2. Planned intercourse with appropriate protection, knowing the probability of another pregnancy is still there.
  3. Vasectomy- a medical procedure that sterilizes the man.

Many couples who follow Jesus have had this conversation.

“How can we keep having sex if we are done having kids?”

Go back in history to 1823 when the first vasectomy procedure on a male dog was recorded. By World War 2, vasectomies had become fairly common among men. Today, around 500,000 men annually in the USA have a vasectomy with the average age is 35.

Such snip and clip procedures change how you view sex. No more procreation. Rather intimacy and oneness through pleasure. This can be difficult to make the adjustment, especially if you’re a guy who likes a quiver full of children running around the house. 

There is a Pro-creation Theology 

that every Jesus-following couple needs to work through. From Adam and Eve, we are told to be ‘fruitful and multiply’.  Where you stand on that command influences your sexual options. This post is in no-way promoting vasectomies, but it is offering light on the subject that many couples hem and haw around.  It is very important that as a married couple you come to an agreement on what pro-creation looks like for your family. How can you obey the Lord in having kids and yet deal with the reality that unless you are Abraham and Sarah, you will stop having kids in your middle adult years.

In having your last kid, it’s important that you two are on the same page. Resentment and animosity have no place in marriage when it comes to kids. If you had more kids than one of you wanted, then even if you never say a word to your youngest child, they will pick up on the vibes that they might have not been wanted. This damages a young child’s desire for delight and validation.

To Snip and Clip or Not

This is a question every married man needs to address at some point in his life. Perhaps you are in your early 20s, married, and just starting to have kids. Or, you are pushing 30 and have a quiver full already. Maybe you’re in that 35-40-year-old range, and given the spacing of your kids in age, it might be time to stop having children or have another.

Personally, we had two children; a boy and a girl, about three-half years apart. Given we were married in our late 20s (I was almost 30), having a third child would have put my wife closer to 40. It was not an easy conversation had in one evening. Our process of deciding what to do took over a year. I was the hold-out, and with all honesty, it impacted our intimacy and oneness during that time.  The day eventually came when I had the vasectomy procedure done.

Realistically

When you get married and have kids, there will be a time when the discussion about when to stop having more kids must come up. Perhaps, a difficult pregnancy could accelerate the discussion. Other factors come in to play as well, but bottom-line, as a couple, seek the Lord’s direction. It’s an awkward conversation to have with others, but perhaps there is an older wise couple who can give you godly advice.  Whatever you decide, be one in your decision and do it in a way that honors the Lord and agrees with your shared theology on pro-creation.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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