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Wifey Wednesday: What if You Disagree on Big Things?

You get married with dreams of having four kids and staying at home with them. You assume he wants the same thing.

And then you a few years pass and he says two is more than enough, anything is else is too expensive, and by the way you better get at least a part-time job to help pay for all this.

Or you decide on two, have them in your early twenties, and then you hit 32 and really want another one. But he's happy to have the baby years over with. What do you do?

Maybe it's not about kids. Maybe it's about moving. He gets a job offer on the other side of the country, and you don't want to uproot the kids and take them away from grandparents.

What do you do when you have a really difficult decision to make and compromise isn't really an option? How do you compromise on whether or not to have kids? And how do you compromise on whether or not to move? No middle ground is readily apparent. You either do or you don't. So which is it?

For many of my friends children was never an option because they believe in letting God plan their families. One of our friends had their thirteenth and fourteenth children two weeks ago (they had twins). I have others with eight or nine.

But most of us aren't like that. We don't necessarily want big families, and we do use birth control.

I know that speaking from the other end of it I wish that I had left more of my childbearing up to God. After I had Katie at 27 I thought I never wanted any other kids. We planned to adopt. And I'll tell that story another time. But I wish that we had had more before it was too late.

I really don't have any easy answers for these types of issues. I know that in the case of children, it would be easier in a way without birth control! Then we wouldn't have fights about these sort of things! But because we do, we won't always agree.

I also have two friends who followed their husbands when they had job offers far away. They were not enthused. For the first few years they hated it. But they've adjusted, and I think they're quite happy now.

The key thing I believe is that when you do make a decision that your husband wants, you have to do it wholeheartedly. You can't reserve the right to be angry later. We have to give up the bitterness, otherwise we're not really deciding in his favour. We're just acquiescing, and that never works. It's horrible for your marriage.

So, to sum up, I just don't know. These issues are really hard. But I'd love to know what you think! Leave some comments, and tell us how you settled these difficult things. Have you ever gone through something really hard like this? And how did you settle it? Maybe we can help each other through some of these hard times.

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At 6:07 AM , Blogger Terry, Ornament of His Grace said…

It's been a long time since we disagreed on anything major. But early on we reached a stalemate on how many kids. We had 3 in the space of a year: One daughter,then twin daughters 11 months and 23 days later! I was finished. He wanted more, but since I was the one who had to carry them , he honored my wishes. Fast forward 10 years, and I had a complete change of heart and we've had 2 more since 2006. My example is not a good one. I basically rebelled and he let me.

My advice today would be to honor God's word and follow the leadership of one's husband trusting that He will honor our obedience and work things out for our good.


At 7:59 AM , Anonymous missy said…

i totally agree with your thoughts, but it is so terribly hard to follow whole heartedly when you aren't convinced that your Christian husband is praying about the matter and seeking God's will for your family. I could go along with anything with a positive attitude and a good spirit if i knew he was diligently seeking God on the matter.


At 10:19 AM , Blogger Jess said…

Ideally, we as wives give wise counsel, based on the Word of God... and then our husbands make the final decision. And as the head, they take responsibility for it. It doesn't mean we have to agree. It doesn't mean we have to like it. But he's the head and the buck stops with him. Yes, we give wise counsel. But I don't see "compromise" anywhere in the marital sections of the Bible.

Submission is for those times when you DON'T agree, right? Otherwise, it's not submission. It's compromise. Submission's not easy, particularly at those times where our hearts ache. But it's God's plan. We pray. And we give wise counsel when appropriate or asked for. And then we submit to the leadership of our imperfect husband.


At 12:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

My dh and I are so lock-step on so many things. And that's good, because in real life everyone else thinks we are crazy! :)

My SIL married a man her family didn't approve of. Had two daughters, and oh-so-badly wanted more - her husband said no. For some reason, she credits our eldest son to changing his mind?? I have no idea why. :) She now has an 8yo & 7yo daughters and a 5mo son. I'm glad it worked out for them!

On the other hand, she's worked frantically hard all of her dd's lives to pay off the house. It's paid off, and she was so torn up about leaving her son in daycare... but she did.

It really broke my heart to watch her struggle. I know this isn't what she ever envisioned for her life! I pray for her a lot . . . it must be so challenging!

Honestly, I made sure we covered a lot of this before marrying dh. I said I wanted at least 4 children, he said "Yeah, at least 4, I really like kids." That shocked me, and I was excited that if *I* decided *I* wanted more *I* would probably be able to weedle another one out of him! (a terrific additude, yes? lol)

And homeschooling. It was very important that he agree to that. They are *huge* things. I was in a "relationship" for 2.5mo with a guy and made a lot of assumptions - never again would I do that. The subject might be hard to bring up, but I wanted it all out on the table!

At the same time, even as I "felt out" his thoughts and ideas, I was the one who was scared to death and insisted on going on birth control.

Learning to follow my husband, and in that way also learning to trust God, has been a life-changing experience. It hasn't always been easy, but it is blessed! It is very lovely not to worry about "trying" or "preventing", and to trust that God knows the future better than I do. Planning for unknowns turns me into a basket-case; life would probably never be 'perfect' enough for me to ever deem it a good time to start a family!

soon to be Mom of three under 3yo


At 12:33 PM , Blogger Mrs. Amy Brigham said…

I agree with much of what you have said, Sheila, and think this is a very good question, but not one I can necessarily relate to as nearly all the major issues we have faced were not ones we could discuss or choose anyway. You cannot really compromise or make decisions when it comes to pregnancy losses, multiple sclerosis, and cross country military moves & short notice deployments. Instead you just roll with the punches and learn to change your plans and adjust to new normals. Or you sulk, let these unfortunate happenings completely ruin your life & shatter your faith, and make your family miserable in the process. I'm very much a a glass half full Pollyanna type though, so the second scenario isn't really an option for me. ;o)

I can't help but wonder if the focus ought to less on what we want or what would be ideal and more about cultivating joyful hearts that can be happy no matter what life throws out way because there is much in life where we don't have a choice or any control whatsoever. Even those situations we can make decisions on don't always go as we plan, we are imperfect creatures who make mistakes after all. As you said, we can't reserve the right to be angry later. The Bible does not have kind words about a nagging wife and who on earth wants to be around a person who cannot pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and get on with life--even when tragedy or disappointment set in?


At 2:55 PM , Blogger Mrs. Anna T said…

"You get married with dreams of having four kids and staying at home with them. You assume he wants the same thing."

Maybe this doesn't give a real answer to the central question of this post, but... you assume he wants the same thing? Don't assume. Talk about all the important issues prior to marriage! Like someone recently said to me, "you can't always be on the same page, but at least make sure you're in the same book."


At 9:48 PM , Blogger Stephanie said…

It's amazing I ran across this blog tonight (for the first time!) immediately after posting on my blog about a difficult "big thing" my husband and I just have passed through. My advice: PRAY LIKE CRAZY!

Also, don't make little things into big things, so that when a big thing comes around, he will be more likely to listen when you want to sit down and talk about it. Then he will know you are really serious and be more likely to respect your opinion. When you have an opinion about EVERYTHING, it can be hard for your husband to filter the very important from the not-so-important.

Regarding Missy's comment: I know what you mean! But that's why we need to pray. We need to pray for our husbands, that they will hear from the Lord clearly. God hears our prayers and will answer them. God is the One whom we need to trust - if we trust Him, we can entrust our husbands into His Hands and know that the right decisions will be made.


At 12:00 AM , Anonymous Barbara H. said…

I'm here from a link at Terri's. All of the commenters have had really good points. Besides "amening" them, I just wanted to add that two verses that help me a lot in this area are Proverbs 21:1: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." ( and if that is true of a king, how much more of a husband?) and Psalm 37:23-24: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." As we pray, we trust the Lord's leadership. If he makes a mistake, we show the same graciousness we would hope that he would show to us when we make a mistake.

Easier said than done, of course. :-)


At 6:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I found my way here from Terry's site. :)

This is a good post!! There's so much to look at from a Biblical perspective!

All in the same hand, we are to always obey God's Word. If anyone asks us to disobey it, we are to obey God not man. So, for instance, moving. It's not a sin to move to another city, state, country. Obey your husband and do it with joy in your heart that your husband is trying to make a good life for your family!
However, if your husband asked you to lie for him, that's clearly a sin. God *doesn't* honor a choice to sin.

I think God gives us answers to all of life. I believe He calls wives to obey their husbands in everything IN THE LORD. If it goes against God, it's against God, period. This is not boxing God up into our own personal ideals, but obeying the ideals He Himself gave us.

VERY cool discussion!


At 8:18 PM , Blogger BarbaraLee said…

I know this is late but I couldn't help give my $.02.
I have asked God for my answers and He tells me through my hubby.
Example: I was had a strong urge to have a tubal reversal. Dh wasn't. Not knowing if this what I was suppose do I asked God that if I was to do this dh was to approve of it. After a year of praying, research & planning God answered my prayer. Dh gave me a baby comforter set for Christmas.
There have been other situtions that would be to long to type. But this is what I have done. I couldn't be happier w/these answers.


At 5:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

wow, wow and wow. I know I am late to the discussion here but I have to chime in because this is sooo topical to my own personal struggle right now. Before we got married my husband said he wanted children, but a couple of years in when I started talking about it he told me he no longer wanted to have them. So I did do the right thing, we did the premarital counseling and the checklists, but his answer was "sometimes people just change."

God has been so good in guiding me to love, respect, honor, and submit to my husband over the years and as a result we have a good marriage. I have always felt the Lord telling me, when I get upset and cry out to him about this, "Seek first My Kingdom, and all other things which I deem good for you will be added."

That has taken me into 6 years of marriage, but recently the struggle has deepend as i struggle with whether we are actually sinning in using birth control and not being open to children, so I am struggling with knowing if i am disobeying God in honoring my husband. Just recently we were about to make love and I couldn't becuase I was so torn up about the contraception I had just put in place. I feel so alone in this because i don't know any women who's Christian husbands are so resolute on this issue,and it's simply off the table for discussion with my DH- he is a wonderful, loving, understanding man and will discuss anything but this topic.

I could just let go and trust if I could be sure I wasn't sinning in preventing pregnancy, but because there is such a difference in opinion amongst Christians, and the bible is not 100% clear, I remain in confusion.

thanks so much for the discussion, though, just reading others' thoughts is so helpful.


At 9:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

My husband and I have been married over 16 years now. We have 4 kids, and homeschooled all of them until this year, our oldest (8th grade) began attending the local public school.

I wish, I wish, I wish I had trusted the LORD more in previous years, and not resisted my husband on many decisions! It would appear to many young moms and wives that we 'did everything right' because of the 4 kids, homeschool thing...but only in the past 3 years would I say my husband and I have become close, and good friends.

I really think that Proverbs 16:23-25 is excellent advice for a wife, struggling with submission. SO many things seem 'right' but the truth is God tells us to submit cheerfully, speak sweetly, DO NOT WORRY! Even though our opinion may seem RIGHT, the end could be death!



At 11:51 AM , Blogger Civilla said…

Very interesting post. I am "older", 55, and such things were not thought about when I was in my 20's and 30's. I had two children when I was in my mid-30's, after we had been married for 17 years. We had medical problems that were finally fixed, and we were able to have our 2 boys, who are grown, now.
We were not told to stop using birth control, from pastors in church. It was just assumed that you would limit your family. This idea of having very large families is new to me. People in the baby-boom years of the 50's and early 60's had large families, but they didn't have the "pill" or reliable birth control. I don't really know what to think. I am still glad I only had 2 children.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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