What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4:1
Though my husband and I were sitting close to each other, we were barely communicating. 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 and catching up to do.
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 Sergeant 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– especially when it comes to parenting. As you probably already know, sometimes our parenting preferences and objectives are at odds with our other half!
We can have different parenting styles, preferences, and expectations than our spouse. If we’re not careful, parenting can pull us apart. That’s why I love the reminder in James 4:1. It gives us a simple yet profound reason for why we have conflict. Most often it comes down to what I want versus what my husband wants.
“What causes fight and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
This short 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. This is true in every relationship—even in the parenting relationship.
As a wife and mom, my own desires and expectations can be at odds with my husband’s. 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 each other.
Are you and your spouse on the same page? Do you have conflict over parenting? I’m convinced that so many conflicts in marriage, especially surrounding parenting, could easily be resolved with open conversation. Want to get beyond the conflict? Start communicating with your spouse today, but do it with humility and grace.
- How would you describe your relationship with your spouse when it comes to parenting?
- Where do you and your spouse most often agree? Disagree?
- If you could change one or two things about how you and your spouse parent together, what would that be?
Father, thank You for the gift of our children. Help my spouse and me to parent together. Give us honesty, clarity, and humility with each other. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This devotion is a sample from Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments For Moms To Meet With Jesus. For more encouragement pre-order your copy today.