I have been married for a year and people continue tell me that I need to have children, because it is something we are supposed to do right after we are married. I’m not sure I am ready for that. Has any Prophet or General Authority said anything on this subject?
The General Authorities have spoken with unanimity on the subject that bearing children is the purpose for and the highest calling in the marriage relationship. Young couples are encouraged not to delay having their families. It comes down to a matter of priority in most cases–there may be serious consequences if we count our future posterity of less importance than such things as economic well being, social acceptance, appearance, etc. Let me quote a few passages from several of the General Authorities of our time, beginning with President Kimball:
Young women should plan and prepare for marriage and the bearing and rearing of children. It is your divine right and the avenue to the greatest and most supreme happiness” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.295).
Childbearing should not be delayed for convenience. After marriage young wives should be occupied in bearing and rearing children. I know of no scriptures or authorities which authorize young wives to delay their families or to go to work to put their husbands through college. Young married couples can make their way and reach their educational heights, if they are determined.
Supreme happiness in marriage is governed considerably by a primary factor–that of the bearing and rearing of children. Too many young people set their minds, determining they will not marry or have children until they are more secure, until the military service period is over; until the college degree is secured; until the occupation is more well-defined; until the debts are paid; or until it is more convenient. They have forgotten that the first commandment is to ‘be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.’ (Genesis 1:28.) And so brides continue their employment and husbands encourage it, and contraceptives are used to prevent conception. Relatives and friends and even mothers sometimes encourage birth control for their young newlyweds. But the excuses are many, mostly weak. The wife is not robust; the family budget will not feed extra mouths; or the expense of the doctor, hospital, and other incidentals is too great; it will disturb social life; it would prevent two salaries; and so abnormal living prevents the birth of children. The Church cannot approve nor condone the measures which so greatly limit the family (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.328).
The family is a divine institution established by our Heavenly Father. It is basic to civilization and particularly to Christian civilization. The establishment of a home is not only a privilege, but marriage and the bearing, rearing, and proper training of children is a duty of the highest order (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.496).
Teach the young of both sexes in the responsibilities and ideals of marriage so that they may realize that marriage involves obligation, and is not an arrangement to be terminated at pleasure. Teach them that pure love between the sexes is one of the noblest things on earth, and the bearing and rearing of children the highest of all human duties. In this regard it is the duty of parents to set an example in the home that children may see and absorb, as it were, the sacredness of family life and the responsibility associated therewith (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1945, p.144).
Just as parental homes are important, so are the new homes which young people establish when they marry. Every normal healthy person should marry. Marriage opens the way for the most satisfying living. It offers love, companionship, emotional security, protection, understanding, social pleasures, and the most glorious of all privileges–the bearing and rearing of children (Belle S. Spafford, BYU Speeches, November 8, 1961, p.4).