When I daydreamed about being married to my Prince Charming, our happily ever after didn’t include disagreements. Who fantasizes about arguing over silly things? If you’d asked me back then what might cause an angry word between “my whole world” and me, I would’ve guessed money. It made sense that finances should take top arguing- honors. Imagine my surprise years later, when children became our biggest point of contention.
“Joanne, you let the kids eat too much sugar.”
“Why is she with her friends when her bedroom looks like that?”
“What is our daughter wearing!?”
“What do you mean he seems like a nice boy? There are no nice sixteen- year- old boys when it comes to dating our daughters, Joanne. Period.”
Raising a teenager seemed to raise the bar when it came to disagreements between my husband and I. There wasn’t a rule he gave the kids I didn’t argue with him about. You have to understand something about my Prince Charming here, as a former police officer and now full-time attorney, the law comes naturally to him. He’s most comfortable living with lots of rules. I, on the other hand, find the law when it came to our children, full of black and white and according to him, “too much grace”.
“Sure, you can have another cookie.”
“Staying out an hour later shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Why didn’t you finish the dishes? Well, try not to let it happen again.”
“Dad, you’re like the Old testament and Mom’s like the New Testament.” The kids would say. Truth and Grace that was us. So, how does truth and grace get along? For quite a while, we didn’t. At least not the way we were doing it. Someone who sees things through the prism of law and truth, finds grace a weakness, and grace finds law and truth hurtful and harsh.
But, then I remembered how Jesus is our perfect example of both grace and truth. He was who I turned to when I wanted to throttle my husband over his unbending rules. It was Jesus who my husband began turning to when he thought I was a spineless mothering jellyfish.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
I thought I’d share a few truth-filled lessons I learned from many of our late night debates:
- Truth :: Don’t put your kids before your husband. The cardinal rule of a blessed marriage. My husband didn’t need continual resistance from me when it came to his parenting style. In the end, will it really matter if my son had an hour later curfew or not? God created marriage before children, my home should reflect that.
- Truth :: Debate behind closed doors. Don’t let little ones see you disagree. When it comes to parenting, your marriage must be a united front. To the best of our ability, we keep our discussions in the privacy of our bedroom, out of the vicinity of little eyes and ears. Children are smart. They’re looking for a weak link!
- Truth :: Emotion loses every time. Most men don’t understand emotions. Play fair. Tears aren’t the best way to get a point across to my husband. Men are usually more logical. Have your pros and cons about a subject ready to go. He will be impressed when you pin him to the mat with calm words, and more ready to listen the next time you make an appeal for your children.
- Truth :: Your husband understands teenage boys. If you have daughters this one is important. Remember, your husband understands if your daughter is dressing conservatively enough or not. He knows just how young men think. You don’t. It’s wise to concede when he believes she’s dressed like a target instead of a treasure.
- Truth :: Withdrawal is for wimps. Don’t give your husband the cold shoulder. Withdrawing with words or from physical touch is passive aggressive. No curfew, prom date, or sugar cookie is worth the havoc withdrawing wreaks in a marriage.
[Tweet “A beautiful way to create a marriage that is God-honoring. . .working as a grace + truth team when it comes to raising our children.”]
Once I was on board with a few truths, Paul was more willing to see our children through grace-colored glasses. Undeserved favor is one of the ways the Lord wooed us to Him. What better way to show our children grace, than to give them some when they least expected it. And, what a beautiful way to create a marriage that is God-honoring – by working as a grace and truth team when it comes to raising our children.
What ways have you learned to share grace in your marriage especially when it comes to parenting?