I am a forty-eight-year-old single man with no children. Two years ago I met a woman who is now fifty years old…. We love each other and want to get married, and she is willing to come and live in my country.

The only problem is that I’m afraid she can’t have children at her age, and my dream is to have a child. I don’t want to disappoint her, as she is very excited about making a life with me. She currently lives alone, doesn’t have children, and doesn’t want to have any. This puts me in the difficult position of having to decide if I want to stay with her or break up with her and find a younger woman who can give me at least one child. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

Before agreeing to get engaged, every couple should be in agreement with regard to four critical subjects. We believe that you can find the answer to your question as you consider the four.

The first is the subject of finances. What are the current debts and financial commitments to family members (such as their parents, or children from previous relationships), and where will the money come from to pay off those commitments after marriage? How will the couple’s money be earned, and by whom? What will the priorities be for spending money? What percentage of the couple’s income will be spent on housing, travel, and personal expenses such as clothing? How will decisions be made regarding major expenditures? What percentage of income will be saved for emergencies and for retirement?

The second critical subject is in regard to extended family relationships. Do either the prospective husband or wife have extended family members who are expected to live with them as a couple? How often will the couple expect to visit with each of their parents?

The third critical subject is children. Is there agreement on how many children to have and when? Who will care for the children in the years before they start school?

Lastly, but most importantly, does the couple have a similar relationship with God? Do they agree on which church to attend and how often? Do they share the commitment to base their life together on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the principles in the Bible?

If any of these questions lead to substantial disagreement, then the couple is not ready to be engaged or married. These subjects are frequently the reasons for extreme unhappiness and even divorce. It is much easier to get over the breakup of a serious relationship than it is to recover from a divorce.

You obviously have a substantial disagreement with your girlfriend regarding children. That is enough reason to break up the relationship. Because she lives in a different country, we expect that there would also be other disagreements if you were to talk about those subjects. Tell her the truth, and break off communication completely. To continue the relationship would be cruel and dishonest.

You may or may not find a younger woman with whom you can agree regarding all the important questions that we have mentioned. So in the meantime, we suggest that you pursue the adoption of one or more children who desperately want a father. In most countries, even though you are single, you would qualify to adopt a schoolage child.

We wish you the best,