When Couples Disagree Over Having Another Child

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.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • T. Gates

    Thanks so much for this post. My husband and I are dealing with this right now. We have four children, and I would love more while he doesn’t. Of course, if we had more I don’t think it would “crush” him, so please pray for us that God’s Will be done!

    • Kristen

      I just have to comment on the picture above you posted. What it must be like to be sitting next to your grandson who his holding your newborn son! Amazing! Then I noticed next to Wendy her big tall glass of (empty) water with a straw and then a coffee cup next to that. I love it and that feels so familiar. After having a baby, a mama is so thirsty and yet, needs that coffee!
      We too have 4 children. I am longing for more and we are praying about that as well. My husband is coming around and states we need to just trust the Lord more on that one. Yes, He will provide. But it is trusting on the Lord’s provision of strength, patience, more love, and stamina that makes it harder to proceed with bringing more children in the world. It is a battle with the heart and mind that the Lord needs to transform. Blessings to the Jeubs!

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing about your journey. I’m 30, expecting my second child, and my husband and I haven’t talked too much about what comes next. I think my body’s going to need a break after two back-to-back pregnancies, but I hope God blesses us with more children someday.

  • Crystal

    Thanks for answering a big questions I have had…does it ever get easier to trust God, and have you all ever had doubts? We have 5 and are leaving our family size up to the Lord…and I ask my husband if we are being foolish or not in my moments of weakness…we are both working together to trust God. We truly believe that He knows what we can handle and afford, and if He doesn’t think we can handle more kids, it is up to him to open or shut my womb. Too many times we measure our “blessedness” by material posessions…rather than seeing that children are the number 1 way God chooses to bless.
    Thanks for you wonderful example….we are so blessed by your experience and wisdom!

  • Amy

    My husband and I started our marriage out on the “pill”. OUR plan was to have two children and stop. So we had our boy and our girl and figured we were finished! We went off the pill due to moral issues and started using NFP. Well, apparently I’m not too good with Natural Family Planning (*grin*) and we had 2 surprises! It wasn’t until we suffered a miscarriage that we realized (duh!) that God is in charge of our family size. After trusting Him to bless us, or not, with more babies we got pregnant with our latest baby, who is now 2 1/2 months old. It is so hard to trust God when our doubts arise. Will we have enough space? Enough money? Enough energy to homeschool them all and still be sane? :-) It’s families like yours that encourage us to keep trusting the Lord. Thank you!

  • Sheri Lorenz

    We have had quite a journey with child-bearing. I was 35 when I had my first child. We waited about a year before we started “trying” to have a baby after we got married. We had Ben and then when he was 21 months had our first well-planned second son. Twenty-four months later we had our third some-what planned third son. Jonathan had some health issues and my very “responsible” husband did what a responsible man does when there are a lot of demands on mom and the family. Thus ending our hopes of anymore children. After all I was 39 when we had our third…..

    I was not in favor, but continued to pray. Shortly after our baby turned four, all of our children began asking about another baby. We were reading a missionary story about caring for children that had no family, when my then seven year old Ben, was shocked that there were children with no families. His response: Why don’t we just give those children our family?!

    God is amazing….within eighteen months, we were giving our family to a precious baby girl from the foster-care system! We are waiting on our next baby and can hardly wait! (even though I am too old to have babies!)


  • Michelle

    I had that same problem with my husband – we had four children, and he was So Sure we should have stopped at two. He got a vasectomy, without my consent and over my objections. That was symptom, not cause, of our eventual divorce. (he also became abusive) 6 weeks after the divorce was final, he remarried, and lo! he had his vasectomy reversed and they had a child. I confess I have a very hard time finding any grace toward that child, though I know that an innocent baby cannot be held responsible for the offenses caused by his parent.

  • Nate

    We’ve been in exactly the same position. I was convinced it was time to stop, and my wife wanted more children. It caused us both great anguish not being in unity. It took probably a year for my feelings to change, but I committed to not making an permanent decisions unless we were both convinced we needed to stop having children. Well that never happened, and we’re thankful. We are now unified in the desire to let God be in control. We know it will come with its share of challenges, but it joy will reign. Thanks for this post. We are thankful we can turn here for encouragement!

  • Sara

    After a mutual decision at the time because of finances and hard pregnancies my husband did the responsible thing after #3…#3 is turning 3 in a week and now my heart aches to have another one…we are more financially stable now and my body has probably recovered from having back to back babies 3x…just not sure if we should just sit back and pray for a miracle or be proactive in getting a reversal or checking into adoption. Not sure I could handle fost-adopt as I would not be able to handle giving back a baby if I had to. Just unsure where to go from here- my husband is not completely convinced yet we should have another one- obviously something we need to talk in greater depth. Guess I will pray!

  • Cathy

    I think wives should be a helper to their husband, as instructed in the Bible. If Husband wants another child, Wife should help him with that goal. If she doesn’t want another child, she must die to herself and do God’s will anyway (help husband, the reason for her creation). If Husband’s faith is lacking, Wife should pray for him but not make the decision for him. The HUSBAND is head of the family and accountable to God for the the choices he makes for his family. All the wife has to do is OBEY :-) I agree unity in marriage is important, but it’s not always possible. That’s why there is a Head. We must place a higher priority on obedience to God’s word because we are here to accomplish HIS agenda, not our own.

  • sonya

    one question i have, it seems that alot of quiverfull families don’t talk about special needs….
    see, we have 5 children all boys #4 is severly disabled. he has multiple medical issues and ends up in the hospital frequently. because of this our family focus has had to be on him alot…we recently had baby #5 and now our attention is being devidided between 5 kids. it’s hard because our special needs child keeps us up alot more than the baby. i’m up maybe once a night with the baby and about 4-5 times with our 2 year old. he’s a challange. he’s tube fed and he used to have a wonderful disposition but now lately he’s crabby and screaming almost 24/7.
    my problem is while we want to have more kids we wonder if it’s even a thing we can manage…how can we keep bringing more kids into our lives and still adequetly take care of our special needs child? what if we have another one like him?

    it’s easy to be quiverfull minded when your kids are healthy.

    but right now we are very much struggling with the thought of having more or not. on the one hand it breaks my heart to think if we never had more, on the other we are terrified of having more.

  • Pingback: A Look Ahead at 2011 «