This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I am Emily, here with my sister-in-law, Laura, and its Valentine’s Day when this show is coming out. We felt like with Valentine’s Day, we wanted to do a show that has to do with marriage and husbands because that's usually what's on our mind on Valentine’s Day. [laughter]
Laura: That's right; we get asked a lot of questions about marriage. I mean, marriage in the little years is hard, so these shows are fun to do. But know we’re in the midst of all of this with you guys, trying to figure it out.
I was reading a book on parenting the other day, and there were so many wonderful ideas inside. They were very practical ideas and some heart issue ideas as well. But by the time I got to chapter three or four I just started feeling really anxious about how much I wasn’t doing. Quite honestly, I started thinking about how much my husband wasn’t doing, and immediately I felt like, “We need to talk and to get on the same page. We need to get unified on this stuff, and we don’t have any time left to shape our children’s character. The time is going by way too fast.”
It was just funny because that wasn’t the author’s intention at all. But it goes to show just how intentional parenting can quickly start to feel very overwhelming. There can just be lots of issues that come up between those things. But the great thing is that God has called us, as two parents together, to share the load, and do all of this together.
Emily: Yes. One thing that my husband and I – I don’t want to say struggle with, but - just live with the reality of is that we have really different strengths and personalities. Of the two of us, I am kind of the more teacher type [laughs] for lack of a better way to say it. I am the one who's more likely to come up with a reading plan, or to help our kids study and learn catechisms and talk to them about church history, or explain the word “doctrine.” So I am more naturally bent towards that, and I think that's the cool, right way to do it.
But my husband is really a lot more practical, and he is really good about teaching them obedience to God’s Word in everyday situations. He talks to them about practical, spiritual things in the midst of what they're doing and how they're serving.
Again, sometimes I can feel like we’re not unified because it looks so different. When in reality, I am very thankful that there isn’t two of me because our children would be little Pharisees spouting off doctrinal statements, but maybe not living it as well and/or the other way. It’s just a beautiful picture of unity – how we both bring our strengths to the table, and hopefully, help our children learn what it means to follow Christ in different ways.
Laura: Some of you, when saw the title of the show might not have wanted to listen because you're frustrated in this area, or maybe your husband doesn’t seem to be as interested in intentional parenting as you. Or maybe you're not married, or you have a husband who is not a believer. Maybe you do have a husband who you feel is doing a really good job at this point to do his best to lead your family.
Primarily today, we want to make a quick caveat that we are addressing those of you who have a believing husband who does want to be involved in being an intentional parent. But we do hope that there will be application for every mom who listens on this show. Even as you think about the way that you are unified within the body of Christ, and whoever your community is, that it takes a whole village to help raise your children in the Lord, whether you're married or not.
Emily: That’s a beautiful truth that you just pointed out Laura; that we have unity in the body of Christ too, in terms of our mission to bring up children in the Lord. Whether that is thinking about it in that context, or thinking about it in the context of marriage - which is what we’re going to be talking through - the gospel definitely applies.
As we look at creation, we see that God designed husband and wife: Adam and Eve, to be in unity in terms of their mission. That the first time that a union is mentioned is in Genesis 2: 24, when he talks about a man leaving his mother and father and being united to his wife, becoming one flesh. That is a thing that we see right off the bat in creation that is good - for Adam and Eve to be together, on mission for the same purpose.
Laura: Right. As moms and dads, our calling is the same as any other believer’s. Our calling is to know God, follow his will for our lives, live to glorify him, and help others - aka our children - to do the same.
We know as parents, we are charged to intentionally teach our children about God. Like in Deuteronomy 6, where it talks about how everyone should, “Love the Lord your God with all your hearts, soul, and all your mind.” You should teach these words diligently to your children - talk about them when you sit down, walk by the way, lie down, or when you rise – all the time, essentially. There’s not a moment that we are not teaching and investing in our children to teach them in the way of the Lord.
Emily: Although we were created to do that, and that sounds wonderful and amazing, we know that sin wrecks everything, including unity, even in marriage. It’s okay that we have differences between one another; God created us beautiful, with differences. But disunity is really a result of the fall.
Now, when we’re striving to raise godly children alongside each other, all of a sudden there's tension, miscommunication, misunderstanding, wrong assumptions, selfish motives, and it can look really messy. It sometimes looks like two people who are not working together towards the same goal. But two people who are really out of step with each other and are struggling to be on the same page about the end goal of the family.
Laura: Right. But that's where the hope of the gospel comes in. We know that – as Emily said – our marriages (our unity within them), the way that we parent our children is not going to be perfect. But we can be thankful for Christ because he did live a perfect life.
He had perfect character, decision-making skills, communication, actions, goals, and all of those things. He died in place of us so that we could receive this perfect record that he had. He fills every gap of ours, he’s sufficient for every failure that we have, and he sustains every effort we take.
We can place our identity in him, rather than how unified we’re feeling at the moment with our husband, or in the way that we feel like our husband is lacking in intentionality. Or if we feel like we’re judging them for the things that they're doing. We can remember and trust that because of Christ’s death and resurrection, that the pressure is off. We can rest secure in both our efforts and our husband’s because Jesus lived a perfect life in our stead.
Emily: It’s so good that we don’t have to put our hope in our husbands. That is one of the biggest truths I have to remember over and over again - that when our identity is found in Christ, we don’t have to tie ourselves to the rollercoaster of how someone else is doing. Or what they're not doing. We can just love them freely because Christ has loved us.
Then we can be hopeful as we look ahead to a time we are going to be unified with the whole body of Christ, with him forever. We can trust that God is going to be sovereign over how everything plays out until then. We are just called to be faithful, and when we’re imperfect, we’re called to repent and to model the gospel to our children. Then trust God that he is going to do what is in our best interest, do what is for our good for his glory.
That's kind of a little bit of gospel there, in terms of unity with our husband. But there are also practical things that we can do to be unified.
Laura: That's right. We’re going to tick through another list here of some high level, practical pieces. The first one - as is usual with our lists I am starting to realize, and [laughter] which is good - is to pray.
Something that I always appreciated with Jerrad Lopes from Dad Tired - when he was on our show almost a year ago now – he shared a story about his wife who got up at 2 a.m. for a long period of time to pray for him, instead of telling him all of the grievances that she had.
She spent time praying for him in the wee hours of the morning. That is so convicting for me, and was good advice. Especially if your husband is a little bit more checked out, or not interested in these things of growing spiritually in this way. Pray for your husband, and even with your husband - if he is open to that, pray with him for unity, for growth and direction as intentional parents.
Pray for God to guide your family as a whole, and for you to lay down your lives through one another. A good thing to go back to is holding your tongue before we come out with all of our grievances. To first say, “I am going to stop and pray, and not just one time. But I am going to spend a good season in prayer, and coming before the Lord about this issue before I lay it all out in front of my husband. Before I slay him!” [laughter]
Emily: Again, we talk about this a lot on Risen Motherhood, about communication with our husbands, and talking with them about what we’re learning. I know that oftentimes, on long car trips or on extended date nights, we will have conversations that just kind of pop up about our children and how things are going. We can talk through the details of how we are trying to parent intentionally so that our children know what's most important in life.
Then other times, communication can just look like a short check in. Today in the afternoon, I sent my husband a text and said, “Hey, when you get home we need to talk to one of our children about lying because there have been four or five untruths that have been said today and we need to talk about this.”
When he got home, he knew he needed to pull that child aside. Guess what? The conversation he had with that child was different than what I would have said. But the point is we were unified in knowing that, “We want you to represent the truth, son. Dad is going to talk to you about that and we’re going to have a conversation.” So unity can really come through communication.
Laura: That's a huge piece. Even things like, for my husband, he doesn’t have a lot of time to read stuff, so often I will earmark pages in a book and just be like, “Just read page 54.” [laughter] Or, I’ll send him a quick link and I think it’s good because I am out there – my natural personality is I am reading, I am doing a lot of the out-there-looking-at-things. Therefore I can be a kind of a curator of content for my husband, giving him the cliff notes of these pieces so that we are, as we keep saying, unified and on the same page.
Emily: As we’re seeking to communicate, it’s super important to believe the best in each other, and not always assume that our husband has a bad idea. I really do think my husband has good ideas. But it’s just that every time I am like, “Why didn’t I think to ask you this before?” And “I should have believed that you had a great idea about how to handle this.” He does, so it’s just great.
To build upon that, sometimes because our husbands – and I’m making a broad-brush statement here – they’re sometimes a little bit more objective and not as deep in the mommy wars. They're not on Instagram, seeing what everyone else is doing with their children. Sometimes they can help us get out of the muck and mire, and make decisions that are appropriate for our own families. Decisions that aren’t worth worrying so much about what other people think or what other people are doing, and just be really faithful to the gospel. That’s something I am very thankful about my husband helps me do.
Laura: Me too. Another one that has been really helpful for me over the years is when we’re feeling really lost as parents – oftentimes my husband and I will read a book, or we’ll be talking after a parenting conference or whatever – we’ll just be real overwhelmed [laughter] because there's all these really wonderful things that we can implement but we’re not really sure what or how.
Focus on the gospel; this is really the only thing that has true power to change or grow your children into the likeness of Christ. This is one of those pieces that I just fall back on the gospel - if I teach them nothing else, let it be the gospel.
Emily: So good.
Laura: It’s a good safety net, and one of those things that can wash away all of the overwhelming and anxious feelings. Even for my husband, who is not a naturally anxious person at all; he’s the most even-keeled person, but he can feel overwhelmed by all the heavy responsibilities of raising children. So this is a great thing to just go back to each time.
Emily: Another conversation that Laura and I have had in the past that's kind of related to this topic is creating a family vision statement. We have episode 46 on Intentional Motherhood: Communicating Your Family’s Mission.
God gave Adam Eve and unified them together, and then said, “Here’s what I want you to do.” He did that for us as parents, so it’s good for us to come together with our husband and rehearse that. Then understand what that looks like, more specifically for our family as much as we can. That could be another helpful thing if you're feeling like, “Hey, we both want to come together on the same page, but we don’t know how.” That's one potential piece of the puzzle.
Laura: Yes. What's nice about that is that hopefully you're doing that when you're both feeling real collaborative, [laughter] you're on the same page and just really excited. So that in those more tense moments where you're making decisions and maybe things are a little bit heated and a little more stressful in your life, that family mission statement can be very helpful to fall back on. To understand, “This is why we’re saying ‘No,’ and this is why we’re saying, ‘Yes.’”
Emily: To summarize the gospel application here, we are unified in Christ. I always have to remember to put on the hat that’s like, “Yes, my husband is my husband, but he’s also my brother in Christ. We are unified on multiple fronts in our mission in this life, in what we’re both looking and hoping towards.”
But when we remember that we are sinners, we've fallen short and we need a Savior that humbles us and allows us to see that God’s grace has covered our husband’s sin as well. Now we can both go forward, knowing that, of course it’s going to take a lot of correcting – I need a course correct every day – so I shouldn’t be surprised when my husband needs to do that too, and when we need to come together in that.
We have never arrived, but we can be unified. In the process, we can trust that God is in control, and pray desperately that he helps our children love and know him because that's who does it all.
Laura: Ultimately it’s all God. [laughter] On that note, head to our show notes for more resources on this topic. Of course you can also check out our social media platforms where we’ll be talking about topics like this throughout the week. We are at risenmotherhood.com, and @risenmotherhood on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Emily: Happy Valentine’s Day.
Laura: Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope you're doing something fun this week, next week … within the month. Let’s just go for within the month. [laughter] Hopefully you get some special time with your husband. I know for my husband and I, we very rarely actually celebrate on the day of Valentine.
Emily: Maybe watch a whole Netflix show together without falling asleep.
Laura: Or a baby interrupting.
Emily: Happy Valentine’s Day.