One of the most important questions married couples wrestle with is, "How many kids should we have?"

It's a questions with limitless ramifications, and it's one that should be given thoughtful consideration. Some families are content with one (or none), but others have so many kids they end up with their own reality shows. What's best for YOUR family?

Unfortunately, I don't have a "Magic Formula" which can instantly tell you the number of kids you should have, but I believe if you and your spouse will consider the following principles and questions, your number will come into clearer focus.

First off, I want to address some factors NOT to consider

when determining how many children to have...

1. How many kids your friends are having

I see a lot of couples create their "life plan" based on what their friends and doing and this is almost always a mistake. When you try to time when you have children and determine how many children to have to keep up with your peer group, you're giving away far too much control to your friends. A generation from now, you probably won't be close to many (or any) of your current peer group.

2. Ideal vacations

I know this might sound silly, but early on, I thought I wanted one or two kids, because I thought it would make for a convenient experience at Disneyworld and other vacation spots. Yes, I was going to give Mickey Mouse a deciding vote in my family legacy! Thankfully, I changed my criteria.

3. Your current financial situation

You obviously need to have a financial plan to have a family, but I've know plenty of large families with low incomes who find resourceful ways to make it work, and I've known small families with huge incomes who still manage to live with constant financial stress. Regardless of your family's size, you can find a resourceful way to make it work.

Now, these are the questions I think you and your spouse SHOULD discuss:

1. What do we want our family to look like 30 years from now?

Children are a generational decision, but we tend to be pretty short-sighted when determining how many to have. Instead of just thinking about the difficult early years, think about what you want Thanksgiving to look like when you're Great Grandparents.

2. Does either of us want one more?

This might be a controversial thought, but I believe you should give the deciding vote to whichever spouse wants more kids. I've never heard a couple say, "I wish we wouldn't have had that last kid!" But I've heard plenty say, "I wish we would have had one more."Ultimately, you and your spouse need to talk through this and try to come to a unified decision.

3. Have we prayed about this?

If you're a person of faith, I encourage you to pray specifically for wisdom on this issue. I can't think of more important issue to pray about!

This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.

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