Marriage is messy enough without kids… but when you throw kids in this mix, it can get downright dirty. You are two different people with two different life experiences coming together to raise little sinners. You have different approaches… and that’s ok. Of course, major parenting approaches should be talked about so you can be on the same page… but the details… the how to get from point a to point b with a child will not always look the same. When you give your child a bath and put them to bed might look drastically different than when your husband does. When you go out for the night, your husband might feed your children ice cream sundaes for dinner… and you know what… that’s ok!
Your marriage is your most important relationship after your relationship with the Lord. It is your priority even over your children. To become the leader that God created him to be, your husband needs to know that you (the person that knows him best) believes in him. As hard as it can be sometimes, you need to encourage him unconditionally when he falters, messes up, or gets hit by circumstances.
How this plays out in parenting… when communicating with your husband, chose
– is it more important that your husband knows you unswervingly believe in him
– is it more important to exercise your right to voice your opinion
Certainly, as wives, we have a right and responsibility to share something that needs to be said… but we also need to be sensitive to timing and circumstances.
Let me give you an example…
A friend of mine put a picture on Instagram a few months back. She had gone out for an evening. When she came home, she found her toddler son wearing pjs that were two sizes too big, in his crib with their big dog. Was it the way she would have put him to bed? no… probably not. Was her son safe? Cared for? Protected? Sleeping well? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Was her husband’s process different than her’s? Absolutely… and they both got the desired result… son sleeping in his bed.
She could have gone off on her husband and told him how foolish he was and berated him for not finding the appropriate pajamas or getting the dog out of the bed. But she chose to laugh and realize that dads just do things differently. And that’s okay!
I would encourage wives to think before you speak. One of a man’s most painful feelings comes from when he tries to do something and then gets the sense that he’s inadequate- that his wife has examined him and found him wanting.
Another friend of mine installed a light fixture in their new home. He was pleased with the result and called his wife in the room to check it out. Immediately she commented on the dust on the floor and a tiny wire that was showing. He was crushed. He had worked hard to put a light fixture in that she wanted and the first thing she did was criticize. Yes… cleaning up needed to happen, but that could have waited until she oooed and ahhed a bit at his work.
If you see your husband doing something odd (or what you think might be foolish or bad choice), be careful to blurt out “why…” He probably has a good reason and your “why” could be perceived as criticism. Wait and see what happens. Trust his process and if you still are concerned, find a good time, not in front of the children to talk about it. Try to understand him and let him understand you.