Every marriage has disagreements. What happens when that disagreement happens to be whether to have another child? We’re expecting our 16th child, so obviously we don’t disagree on that one — today. But there was a time we did. Here’s how we walked through that time.
This conflict between husband and wife is common. A comment last week reminded us of our convictions when we were in our 20’s (and more fertile than today). Here’s the comment, and our response follows…
So what do you do when one spouse has the conviction of not wanting anymore children and the wife has the conviction that God should be in control? This is where my husband and I are at and it is heart breaking for both of us. We don’t believe in hormonal birth control (the pill) but we don’t agree to allowing God to control our fertility. I’m sure this is a common problem in marriages.
Unity in marriage is crucially important, and we’d argue more important than having another child. If husband and wife disagree on this, keep praying for unity in the decision. If agreement can’t be found, then we advise you to wait on this one. Don’t bring a child into the world thinking the spouse will come around.
We felt the exact same thing early in our marriage. In fact, we’d go back and forth. At one point, Chris was strong in his faith, confident that God would take care of us no matter what, adamant about bringing another child into our family. A couple kids later, he was shaking in his knees, doubtful, hesitant — and I was the one who was pulling the weight in faith.
We never were on the Pill, but we did try Natural Family Planning for a while. Those silly balloons were used at times (we talk about birth control in our new book Love Another Child — you’ll love that part). When pregnancy did happen, we let it happen. There may have been doubt and frustration that our attempt to avoid pregnancy didn’t work, but it wasn’t as if we were crushed by another child coming. We simply took the news.
Today we look back on that time and think, “Boy, we really robbed ourselves of joy.” We could have been free birds, young and jubilant, hoping for the wonderful lives that would spring from our love. Those children eventually came, but why we groveled in the doubt and trepidation is so foreign to us today. Really, we can look at a human being — quite a few of our children — and literally think, “We nearly kept them from our life.” So glad our efforts didn’t succeed.
That’s a big reason why we write this blog. We’re reaching out to young couples and saying, “Go ahead, open your hearts to God’s plan for your family. Love another child.” The blessings are great and far worth it.