While my husband and I were sitting close to each other, we were barely communicating with one another. It wasn’t because we were in a fight or didn’t want to talk. We were grabbing lunch after church at one of our favorite local restaurants. The diner was busy enough, but our conversation as a family was even livelier! With four kids around the table, there was a lot of chatter going on! I was trying to tell my husband something and found myself stopping about every four words. I finally gave up.
If you’ve been married with kids for any length of time, then you know how hard it is to finish a conversation, hold a thought, or maintain order without turning into “Sargent No Fun”.
For all the joy that kids bring into a marriage, they can also cause a whiplash effect for a husband and a wife. Today and tomorrow, my husband and I will be addressing the topic of parenting together. Because as you probably already know, sometimes our parenting preferences and objectives are at odds with our other half!
There is a verse in the Bible that gives a common cause for most arguments and disagreements we may find ourselves in with our spouse.
James 4:1 says,
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle with you?”
This simple verse reminds us that we all have desires, but even more important to understand, we have fallen desires. By fallen, I mean desires that have (and often do) come under the influence of our sinfulness.
Our sinful desires often lead to selfish disagreements.
As a wife and mom, my own desires and expectations can be at odds with my husband. Likewise, my husband can have competing desires that are outside of what God wants.
Our sin not only separates us from God, it can also separate us from one another.
I am convinced that many conflicts in marriage, especially surrounding parenting, could easily be resolved with some humility and honesty. Our hope is that today and tomorrow, we can hit on some of the common causes of conflict in marriage when it comes to parenting.
To get started, I’ve included three attitudes or actions towards your husband that every wife/mom should be careful of. They are certainly not the only ones, but they are important ones.
1. Don’t exclude your husband from being a father – We all get into our routines and way of doing things. We have a certain way we like things to operate and if we are being honest our hubby can be a disruption to our routine. Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t insert himself into our domain! When your hubby is around it is important to let him have the freedom to be the father. Give him space to parent with you.
2. Don’t punish your husband for being a provider – I know the days can be long for us moms. If your husband is gone all day and you are with the kids don’t resent him for working hard to provide for your family. Remember your time is precious with your children and many times he wishes he could be home with you.
3. Don’t clock out when he gets home – We’ve probably all done it. Whether you work outside the home or inside the home, you’ve likely done the “handoff.” The “handoff” is a simple transaction full of parental meaning! It says, “I’m done with my part. Now it’s your turn!” It is definitely okay to take a breather at times but we need to be careful not to check out once our husband is home. He has likely had a long day just like we have.
As we read in James 4:1, there is a battle going on within us. By God’s grace, parenting can be something we do with our spouse. We weren’t meant to do it alone.
Be sure you check out my hubby’s post tomorrow as he explores parenting from a guy’s perspective!