"My husband and I have been married for six years, and I desperately want to have a child, but he does not," says Tonya, 35. When she married Keith, they agreed they wouldn't have children, but recently Tonya's desires have changed. "Motherhood is always on my mind."
"One of the things that attracted me to Tonya was the fact that she didn't want to have kids," says Keith, who has two teenagers from a previous marriage. "I thought the issue was done ... I have a low tolerance for children. It's the one thing that I just don't want to do."
Eight months ago, Tonya hesitantly broke the news to her spouse. "I was afraid to tell him because I was afraid he would leave me," she remembers. "Nine times out of 10 when we discuss having a child, it ends up in a fight."
Keith recalls, "The very first time she said anything, I said, â€˜We have got some serious problems.'" He had a vasectomy 15 years ago when he made the decision not to have any more kids. "I worry about having a child now, because I'm 48. I don't want to be 70 years old and having a teenager."
Tonya realizes she is asking a lot of Keith, but her yearning has not subsided. "I've had daydreams about how easy it would be to get pregnant by someone through an affair. I see other men as potential sperm donors," she admits. "We have beaten this horse to death, and we have not been able to resolve it."
Keith and Tonya worry about the future of their marriage. "One side of me says, â€˜Have another child to make Tonya happy,' but the other side of me says, â€˜You're going to make yourself miserable,'" Keith laments. "I'm afraid it's going to tear us apart and we will end up in divorce."
"Having a baby is supposed to be a joyful thing that brings two people together, not tears them apart," Tonya says as tears well in her eyes. "I will resent Keith if I don't have a child, and it will be the end of our marriage."
Dr. Phil asks Tonya what led to her change of heart.
"How do y'all get along aside from this?" Dr. Phil asks.
"We have a wonderful relationship," Keith says.
"That's part of the problem," Dr. Phil points out. "You don't want to jeopardize that."
"That's absolutely the truth," Keith says. "The worst thing that I can see happening to me in the future is I lose my wife."
"This is a deep longing and yearning on your part, right?" Dr. Phil asks Tonya.
"Yes," she says, noting that when she first started having the thoughts, she thought they would dissipate. "I hoped it would go away because I was afraid to tell Keith and I was
"Do you feel that you would resent her if she got pregnant?" Dr. Phil asks Keith.
"On one hand, I would resent the fact that it's not what I wanted, but in my mind I say, â€˜I love her, and I should be able to do this for her, and I just can't.' That's what hurts me," he says. "I'm willing to do it because I love her, but in my mind, it's just not something I want."
Dr. Phil tells the couple that the first step in negotiating is to figure out each of their positions. He shares that he and Robin agreed that they were going to have one child, so after their oldest son, Jay, was born, Dr. Phil had a
"I said, â€˜I've got to assess my position,'" Dr. Phil recalls. "I said, â€˜On a scale of one to 10 where is she on wanting a baby, and on a scale of one to 10 where am I on not wanting a baby?'" He points out that, much like Tonya, Robin's desire to have another child had reached the level of 10. "I kind of did the math and said, â€˜This is huge
"Yes," she says.
"Where are you on a one to 10?" Dr. Phil asks Keith.
"Between a seven and a 10," he says. "I love her so much, Dr. Phil, and I'm not going to have this ruin us. I'm not going to let it happen."
"You opened my eyes to something. I hadn't heard it put quite that way, when you said you can make this something that will make her happy. Yes, I knew it would make her happy, but it was just the way that you put it. That really hit home for me," Keith says, on the verge of tears. "So, I'm going to look into some options and check into a few things."