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This study investigates the consequences of spousal emotional nucleation for couples’ fertility behavior. The article integrates existing theories relating the shift toward couple-centered marital relationships to fertility limitation. I expand on the fertility literature’s common focus on spousal communication to include other dimensions of spousal emotional nucleation. This complex concept is often posited in the fertility literature but not often measured. Using unique nine year long monthly panel data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study, I test the effects of spouses’ decreased attachment to parents and increased conjugal bond on fertility limitation. Empirical analyses demonstrate that these dimensions both directly increase contraceptive use. Spousal communication about family planning retains strong effects even when considered within the broader framework of emotional nucleation, demonstrating its important independent role in the transition to use of contraception. These results should motivate greater research attention to the influence of marital relationship dynamics on fertility behavior.
Country of focus: Nepal.