Years ago, there was an anachronism coined, DINKS. It stood for married couples that had Duel Income, No Kids. As the result of my search on the Internet came up with little related to the term, other than finance-related websites, I assume the term has gone mostly out of style. Much of the reason may be because many couples in the US are opting to remain unmarried and so their incomes aren’t considered to be combined. Regardless, there are some couples where both work and have no children, whether that’s for the long-term, or for a (usually) preplanned length of time. This way they get to do things that they may want to do before having the added responsibilities and expenses of children.

From a relationship standpoint, I encourage couples to preplan time together before having children. The reason that I encourage this is that I have seen couples that have children immediately following marriage struggle much more. Let me share my own story and perspective.

I’ve been married three times. The first time was when I had just turned 18 and my wife had just turned 16. Yes. WOW! I can hardly believe it myself as I write this. You’re probably asking, “Why so young?!!” The answer lies in the way we were both brought up. She and I were both raised in strongly religious households where you were only permitted to date when you were ready for marriage. Now, people that young don’t even know the questions of life to ask, let alone know the answers. But, because of the religious beliefs and the Bible’s counsel at 1 Corinthians 7:9, which says “But, if they cannot have self-control, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (King James Version)

How many 18 and 16-year-olds are going to say that they can control their passion? So, we got married. Because we were so young, neither of us really knew what a marriage should be like, other than the models our parents had shown us. Her mother had been divorced at least once, maybe twice, and had 6 children. I lived in a home where both parents lived out the insecurities they still had since childhood. Add to that, the home was religiously divided, and that made for a model not good for following into my own marriage. Thankfully, we had no children. That marriage lasted about 18 months and she ended up cheating on me with a co-worker of hers. Both of us being young and angry, it was a messy breakup, to say the least.

With 20/20 hindsight, it could have worked out. “How?” You might ask. Had we fully realized that we needed to be a Transitional Generation, we could have used the following exercise to free ourselves from the models that our parents gave us and created a new and better model by observing more stable families and following their models. Here’s the exercise to free oneself, or a couple, that have discovered that a relationship, especially marriage, can be better than what they grew up with. Obviously, if one set of parents has set a great model, then it doesn’t need to have the exercise applied to them:

Start by closing your eyes and visualizing the worst scenario you saw the parents in. Make it small and in a black-and-white movie. Run the movie from just before the event happened through to the other side where the event has ended. Do this very quickly. In 5-10 seconds. Stop the movie at this point; put it on a 20-foot-tall movie screen, in full color and start running it backward. Put a clown’s nose on each of the people in the movie; add clown shoes, and circus music. Now, make the people say what they said at the time, but backwards…and in Daffy Duck’s or Donald Duck’s voice! Then, stop the movie once you’re back at the point just before the bad scenario started. Do this 3-5 times over. On the last time, instead of ending the full-color picture at the beginning of the terrible event, let it fade off into black-and-white, and then into white nothingness with no more sound.

When you’ve done this, you’ll discover that your feelings about the event and the people have changed. Where you may have carried along in your mind and emotions the affects the event and the people before, you’ll now realize that those thoughts and feeling have come up for the last time as they fade away forever. You are now free to create the marriage relationship according to the model of YOUR choosing, rather than what had been passed on to you. This exercise can be applied to more than just the one scenario, so feel free to use it wherever you, as a person or couple, need to start with a clean slate.

Author's Bio: 

DR. Lewellen has counseled hundreds of families and individuals on how to create a happy family life. Much of his counsel is experiential, where he has passed along his wealth of knowledge. With his Doctorate of Divinity, he also is able to incorporate religious tenets to help those that have strong religious beliefs. Please feel free to contact Dr. Lewellen at on the Contact Page or directly at