Did you marry your opposite? Most couples find that they did. When it comes to parenting we often come at things from two different vantage points. Even though we may agree on a purpose and share a philosophy of parenting, our personalities and histories can cause us to lean either towards being more strict or lenient.
Are you the more easy going parent who wants to give your children a chance to express opinions and emotions? Perhaps you appeal to your husband to lighten up on the limits and back off the immediate reaction to wrongdoing. Or, maybe you are like me. You know your mind and you believe in the power of consequences. In that case, you may desire for your husband to step it up and give more concrete intervention when your children get out of line.
The Resident Expert
My husband and I have discussed parenting parameters and methods over the years and landed on what fits for us. I have devoted time to studying parenting approaches. I even co-authored a book on the subject. My increased knowledge did us no favors. You might wonder why that could be so. The trouble was, the more I learned, the greater my sense of expertise became. I started to feel my way had to be right. My husband’s way needed improvement. We wives can feel that way whether we have an MA in Family Therapy or not.
Our family entered the rougher seas of parenting with our strong-willed teen son a few years ago. This transition caused us to have to up our parenting A-game. My husband continued his reserved style while I took a more directive approach. He’s more likely to ride out the waves while I’m grabbing at tiller and oar to get us back on course.
A Deeper Solution
To resolve this difference, we assumed landing on one unified approach would help solve our parenting issues and result in more compliance and harmony in our children. You may think the same thing: “If we can just agree on what to do when the kids act up, we’ll be golden.”
It’s just not true.
While concurring on a parenting approach and style helps, families need a deeper solution. I’m talking about a foundation of respect and love. When one member of a marriage (or both) starts to think they do things in a more efficient, better or “right” way than the other, the marriage falls off kilter. For my husband and me, I subtly began to diminish the value of his contribution as a father.
What happens next?
Fuel for Disobedience
Children are like little detectives. Do you remember watching your parents as a child? No one had to tell you if they were in a fight or madly in love with one another. You knew. The connected bond of respect and love between your parents made you feel all was well in the world. When things were strained, disrespectful or unloving, your world didn’t feel as safe. When children sense the absence of honor between their parents, they start to act out.
Don’t get me wrong, children will misbehave regardless of family dynamics. In families where the parents aren’t bonded through respect and love, increased disobedience can be a cry for help and a reaction to instability in the marriage.
The Blame Game
Thankfully, in our home, this hasn’t been the dominant trend. Still, we have experienced the erosion of respect enough at certain times to cause difficulties. Any blaming – even unspoken accusing thoughts – can undermine the stability in a marriage.
When we think, “If only he would …” or “I wish he wouldn’t …” we are believing our spouse should be different. A lie starts to take root in our hearts and we swallow it as though it were true: “My husband is the problem.” A disastrous pattern of resentment begins to form. Where there should be love, unity, and submission, distance and conflict start to emerge.
Believe it or not, so many parenting problems would be resolved through this one simple (not easy) step of committing to weed out any spirit of blaming and replace it with love and respect. When parents are united and children see care and honor between them, the family becomes a secure place.
We don’t even have to employ the same parenting style.
Completing One Another
I’m learning now that God put me and my husband together for a reason. My more boundary oriented, directive style of parenting is needed. My husband’s compassionate and patient style is also a blessing. Did you hear that? We are like the perfect sweet and salty popcorn. The two flavors compliment and complete one another.
Instead of asking my husband to become more like me, I’m learning to thank God for the goodness his wisdom and forbearance give to our family. I can look at him as the gift he is to me and our boys instead of falsely believing he is an impediment to the well-being of our children.
It turns out the best antidote to parenting problems comes from cultivating love and honor in your marriage. The best marriages aren’t the perfect ones. Good parenting flows from couples who weather the storms and hang on long enough to learn how to love and honor well.
How are you doing parenting as a team? I’d love to hear from you.
If you want to join other moms committed to loving intentionally while making room for what matters most, let me know by signing up for my PattyHScott.com letters.
If you sign up today, I’ll send you my free “Love and Honor” inspiration bookmark. You can use it to remind yourself of your commitment to bless your husband and nurture your marriage daily. I’ll also send you an invitation to the Intentional Motherhood Community.
If this post blessed you, and you are struggling with your marriage right now (we all go through those harder seasons!), you might want to read my post: What in the World Can You Count on When You Can’t Count on Your Husband?
Do you know a friend who needs this encouragement? Share this post with her. Better yet, send her this post and then call her up to pray together over your marriages – that they would be characterized by love and honor.
Ouch, Patty! Those were my toes you stepped on. Thank you for not only being vulnerable in sharing your struggles but also for sharing such words of wisdom. This has definitely convicted me about some changes I need to make. Great post!
Dawn! It’s painful truth, isn’t it? I’m so grateful you were touched (not so much for the “ouch,” but for the impact). Our therapist says, “Marriage is the hardest thing in the world.” I often think, “well, not really,” or, “no, it’s not the HARDEST.” Really, though, because it is the only relationship we have for life and the one reflecting the oneness of Jesus and His church, we face attack from outside and inside at regular intervals. I’m so glad you let me know you read this. We can help one another along as we grow in love and honor. I will be sending the finished “Love and Honor” bookmark as a blessing to all my subscribers, so you’ll get one shortly.
Thank you Patty! I really enjoyed this. Have a blessed week. : )
Thanks, Teresa! You are a sweet encourager to me.
There are such beautiful and hard truths in here. I so loved the reminders especially about honoring his parenting style. Thx for blessing me!
I adore you, Christine, and to know this blessed you warms my heart. Let’s remind one another of these hard truths. They are keys to so much goodness.
Erin Smith says
Great insight to look for this as a possible problem behind behavioral issues. Thanks for this encouragement to not let lies take root. Blessings!
Thanks, Erin! I’m so glad you echoed the importance of not letting lies take root. Sometimes we forget. I have been more aware lately of something a wise woman said once in a bible study I attended. She was talking about the part of the Bible where we are encouraged to focus on what is True, Noble, Lovely, etc. She said the first thing she did when her thoughts went off track was to ask herself, “Is this true?” She would stop herself and check out if she was sure what she was thinking was actually fact. I think, as women, that is great protection for us, because our emotions can really get us going sometimes. I’m so glad you came to PattyHScott.com and shared here.