Monday, December 19, 2011

Marriage Means Parenting as a Team

"Sometimes I have to get onto my husband. He just acts like one of the kids," I'm sure I blinked as I listened to the mom across from me. She went on to tell me how her husband just gets too rough playing with the kids, and she has to calm them all down. For once, I was speechless. I waited for her to qualify her statement, but she went on to tell me how she has to step in and tell them (including the man that is the full-time provider for their family) to take a break from playing for awhile so they don't tear up the house.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on her. Have you ever considered how many children's books portray the mother as the great dispenser of wisdom that keeps the whole family in check? The dad always gets "carried away", and the mother has to draw the family back to sensibility. In the Christian versions, she also corrects her husband spiritually.

While I definitely think my role as "help" to my husband includes keeping him accountable to some extent, what is the real motive for stepping in and correcting his parenting? Do I think I can do it better? That's called pride. Does it have to be done my way? That's stubbornness. Am I afraid of relinquishing control? That's rebellion. In case you haven't read your Bible in a while, let me remind you that those are characteristics that God hates.

I am not talking to those who may be married to an abusive dad or husband right now. I'm talking to those of us who are married to the man that loves our children just as much as we do. We trust him to check the locks at night and take care of anyone that tries to break in and harm us. We trust him to earn part or all of our income and pay the bills. We trust him to fix our car or the hole in the ceiling. Why can we not trust him to parent the children we brought into the world together?

When I step in and intervene when my husband is correcting a child, I am saying to my child, "Your dad isn't competent to handle this. Let me take care of it." When I tell my husband to stop playing with the kids, I'm telling my kids, "The health of my lamp is more important than your spending time with your father." When I lecture him on a spiritual issue, I am taking the role of the Holy Spirit in his life and of the spiritual head of our home.

I've seen the kids of these type of mothers. They either have no respect for their father because their mother never did or they have no respect for their mother because she controlled them to the point of ruining their relationship with their dad. I don't want either outcome for my family.

Parenting is hard, and both my husband and I will make lots of mistakes.That's why it's something that has to be accomplished as a team. We can't afford for either one of us to sit on the bench. When we do it His way, the Coach smiles, and our chances of winning in this parenting game are much higher.

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