Parenting is a challenging, rewarding, and completely humbling journey. It’s no secret to Christian parents that without Jesus, we would have no idea how to parent our children for His glory. I’m so thankful for the wisdom that can only come from the Holy Spirit to help us walk out the great adventure of parenting.
But what if you and your spouse disagree about your approach to parenting? How are you supposed to navigate that? How can you come together and work through your different ideas and remain at peace?
Over the last 18 years of being parents, my husband and I have had our fair share of disagreements. Because we were both raised differently, we had very different core values. Thankfully, over time we’ve figured out some ways to help our values align. We’ve developed a way to listen to God and each other to be the best parents we can be.
Today I am sharing 4 simple steps we’ve learned to take whenever we disagree about how to approach parenting.
4 Tips for Talking About Parenting When You Disagree with Your Spouse
1. Have an Open, Honest Conversation
While this may seem like the most obvious thing to do, many married couples don’t take the time to communicate their differences. It is important that you take the time to hear one another’s hearts about your parenting position before coming to a resolution.
Be open-minded and allow God’s love to lead the conversation. Don’t interrupt. Give your spouse the chance to really share their thoughts before responding. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children (and your spouse) is the gift of actively listening to them.
2. Combine Your Ideas Without Conflict
In our years of counseling couples together, my husband and I have found that many couples find difficulty in merging their ideas. Why? Because they see it as “compromising”. But that isn’t always the case. More often than not, it’s combining your core values in a way that makes sense for your family.
When you look at combining your ideas to strengthen your family, it becomes much less an issue of right and wrong. This perspective is helpful to avoid conflict because while your core values may differ, that doesn’t mean anyone is doing it wrong.
3. Respectfully Agree to Disagree
Anyone who has been married longer than 5 minutes knows that you and your spouse will not always agree. And that is actually a good thing. Working peacefully through disagreements is very healthy for the mind and also strengthens your relationship. It broadens your perspective and opens up new ways of thinking.
One thing that has worked well for us is when we are unable to come to a resolution, we just respectfully agree to disagree. This has proven to be an effective strategy when we have different views on parenting. And while we may not see eye-to-eye all the time, we pray together to ask God for clarity and agreement moving forward.
4. Set Goals + Commit to Meet Regularly
One of the most powerful things in our marriage has been our commitment to meet and talk about all things family. From parenting to marriage to budgeting and everything in between, these meetings serve as the foundation for our marriage and family goals.
These regular meetings occur for us daily, weekly, and monthly. Our daily meetings outline our plans for that day and how they relate to our goals for the week. Our weekly meetings ensure our weekly plan supports our monthly goals. The monthly meetings serve as a time to analyze what is working and what is not, as well as ensure we are supporting our yearly goals.
We also hold annual meetings in December to prayerfully go over our big-picture family goals for the New Year. This has been our tradition together for 21 years and has served our marriage and family well.
When it comes to parenting, you will not always agree with your spouse. And that’s okay. As long as you can learn to prayerfully implement the steps above, you will be on your way to creating the family culture that you both desire. Just remember to stay consistent and walk in love, trusting God to see you through.