My husband and I met on eHarmony. Which means before we could even be introduced to the virtual best-photos-we’ve-ever-taken versions of each other, we each had to answer hundreds of what-if questions about ourselves. Questions like, “What if your partner made less money than you?” “What if your partner’s mother didn’t like you?” “What if your partner became penniless, homeless, armless and legless?”
Once the eHarmony algorithm determined that we were a good match, before we met face-to-face, we had to pass each other’s tests with questions like “how many kids do you want?” and “What’s your idea of the perfect weekend?”
Finally, we met, dated, fell in love, and decided to get married.
But that meant we still had one more rigorous question-and-answer course to pass: The Catholic Marriage preparation course. Over several months, we found ourselves having to answer questions ranging from “Who will balance the checkbook?” to “What is God’s will for you as a couple” and “What does fertile cervical mucus feel like?” No joke.
So by the time we were married, My husband and I had spent two years of our lives answering every imaginable intimate question about ourselves and our future.
Not once, in all of this self-reflective nonstop question and answering did we ever have to answer this question:
What if you can’t have kids?
It’s an unspoken question. Because it’s always just assumed that you fall in love, you get married, you get busy and you have kids. At least, if you both want them.
But what if? What if you can’t? What if despite trying and trying and trying, it’s just not in the cards for you? What do you do? How far do you go? What if your partner doesn’t want to go to the same lengths?
Not once did we have to face that question. Not once did we even think about that question. Like every one else, we just assumed…
Fortunately for us, his answer and my answer are the same. We’re going to be parents no matter what. No matter if we have to go through years of this. No matter if we can’t have a biological child. No matter if we have to adopt a child. Or buy a child. Or steal a child.*
I don’t recall a specific conversation where “No matter what” was decided. It’s just a mindset we both share. Maybe that eHarmony algorithm truly did its thing when it matched us. Maybe our years of answering questions somehow prepared us for the most important one we’ve ever faced. Maybe it’s just pure blind coincidence that we share the same attitude about it.
No matter what, we’re lucky. I guess really I should say we’re unlucky but lucky. Because we know other unlucky couples who are also unlucky enough to have mismatching answers to that unspoken question.
And I can’t help but wonder how many couples out there have never been forced to find out that they wouldn’t have the same answer to that unspoken question.
Maybe the unspoken question needs to be spoken more.
*We will not engage in any criminal acts. Most likely.