My wife and me disagree about how many kids to have. How can we resolve this conflict?

My wife and I understand this kind of conflict between how many kids you have, because when we had our first child, we waited a long time to get her. We were married eight years, and when she finally arrived, I didn’t think life could get better, and I so enjoyed being a dad to that little girl. 

And we had her for about three years, and we couldn’t conceive more, but my wife sure wanted more children, but I thought, “Boy, I don’t know whether it can get any better than this.” And we had a similar discussion, I said, “What if we only have one?” She said, “But I just really feel that we were meant to have more kids.” In fact, she believed that she wanted to have four kids. And I thought, too, about, “Well, that’s going to change our life.” Well, we have four kids. It changed our life radically. 

Let’s just flip the cards straight up, and let’s be honest with ourselves. I think the most difficult thing in the world for anybody to do is to be married to somebody. I think the second-most difficult thing to do is to raise children. 

But the most rewarding thing you that could do is be married to somebody long-term, and to raise kids. 

So, yes, there’s a downside to it, but there’s a great upside, and life changes radically between one and four children. 

Just using football as an analogy, when you have one child, you can double-team one kid. When you get two kids, that’s man-to-man defense. That’s tougher. Three kids, that’s a zone defense. Sometimes, they flood your zone. When we had three kids, Darcy would be running errands on Saturday, and the kids would be over there huddled up, whispering something, looking at me—something about “fresh meat,” and you know they’re going to gang on you. And then four kids, that’s a pretty bad defense. Just back up, get them a short one, don’t let them get behind you for the bomb. 

So, you’re just containing. And yes, you are tired a lot. 

But see, you have a chance to change the world with each child. You have a chance to give the future an extraordinary gift with each child. And the more you pour your love and your kindness and your generosity into that child’s heart, you can touch hundreds of thousands of lives through their single life. 

But it’s different. It’s busy. It’s crazy. 

And they become teenagers, and sometimes you just want to come into their bed at night as they are falling asleep, and put your hands on their little head and say, “Demon! Come out!” or something. I mean, “What is wrong with you, kid?” Because, yeah, it’s tough. But it is worth it. It really is. 

Our first child, we had this little girl. We had so many pictures of her. Second child, you have hardly any pictures. First child had a wardrobe that would just fill the closet. Second one, third one, you know, hand-me-downs. And we weren’t gender-specific by then. “Just wear it.” 

First one, they drop their pacifier, we would take and boil the pacifier. By the fourth, you know, call the dogs, they fetch it. 

Life changes. You’ll get used to it. Don’t buy into that lie out there that you can’t afford it. You know what? Life will help you afford whatever amount of kids you get. You and your wife need to talk this thing out. You are both maybe a little right on this. You are both maybe a little wrong. 

Accept what you have, and be grateful for it, but don’t be afraid to have more, because life is making up its mind at home, and it would be great if you took your kids and helped put an extraordinary life into their heart, and sent them out to the future to make a huge difference.