Two questions that I have heard many times in the past years are:
How long have you been married?
How many children do you have?
If people would just ask IF I was married and not HOW LONG I had been married the conversation that followed probably wouldn’t be as awkward as it tends to be.
The responses range from the too polite change of subject in Canada, to the giddy surprise in Korea, to the utter shock and dismay in Sudan. Of course, there are exceptions.
Last week I was teaching at an Agricultural College that is filled with male students. When the students found out I had no children after being married for many years I got some finger-wagging, some laughing, and some disapproving head shakes. But one man said, “Oh, you are still enjoying your love.”
“Excuse me?” I said, not sure where that comment could go.
He explained himself, “Before children come a couple can enjoy their love.”
“And after the children?” I asked.
He shook his head sadly.
I asked how long Sudanese couples can enjoy their love before children.
He answered confidently, “5 months, then you must get pregnant”
Now, I don’t agree that after people have children they can’t enjoy their love. But from now when people ask the follow-up question “WHY?!” I’ll just reply that Joel and I are still enjoying our love. It just seems simpler that way.