How did you work out the conflict in marriage over a parenting or financial or health or other issue?
When you’re on a different page than your spouse…
What are some important biblical principles of parenting?
- For children to prosper there must be oneness in the marriage (Malachi 2:15)
- Teaching our children to love God with all their hearts is our first and foremost
responsibility as parents(Deuteronomy 6:4)
- The prayer of Jesus is for all believers to come to unity (this particularly has application to
believing parents — John 15:23)
- For peace in our family and with our children to occur we must it must be sought and
pursued (it is not going to happen all by itself — 1 Peter 3:8-12)
- We know we will have found the right solution when it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to
both of us (we should not stop working on the matter until we find this agreement — Acts
So how does this apply to parenting issues?
- Spouses should seek harmony in their parenting not necessarily unison (we aren’t always
going to see things exactly alike yet we can always find solutions that work for all of us).
- We need to decide if the parenting issue dividing us fits into the category of:
A: A moral absolute (no question as to what the Bible teaches);
- A faith conviction (a strongly held belief that sincere Christians may legitimately
disagree over in Scripture); or
- A family or cultural preference (something you were taught to do growing up but is not a
clearly taught Scriptural moral or spiritual issue).
- Therefore depending on the nature of the issue:
- If it’s an absolute it requires parental unity (a united front);
- If it’s a non-essential it allows for liberty (freedom to disagree and to work out a mutually acceptable solution);
- If it’s simply a preference we particularly need to practice charity (humbly and lovingly allow for a different outcome than what we might prefer for the sake of peace).
(We need to remember rules without relationships produces rebellion.)
How can we make peace with our spouse on parenting issues?
- Define the issue(s) and separate that issue from the person.
- Decide if you as a parent are leaning more toward trying to uphold a goal or preserve
the relationship (usually one parents leans more one way than the other).
- List all the various possible solution to the problem (don’t critique at this point).
- . Keep co-laboring at it until you find a solution that preserves both your goals and
relationships (a win-win).
- Then support what you both helped to create.
What if your spouse is not a believer and you are (or you are divorced)?
- Follow the steps above of peacemaking to see if you can come to a mutually agreeable solution (it’s better for your children to see you in agreement than division).
- As a believer determine if the issue to you is a biblical absolute, a faith conviction or a personal preference.
- Explain your position on the issue and its importance without judging your partner.
- Even if you disagree find as much agreement as possible between you.
- If it comes down to a matter of a moral absolute you need to be willing to act on your
own even without your partner’s consent.
- If it’s a faith conviction make your case to your spouse, pray that God will change their
heart but realize that ultimately you may not prevail or you may only have your way
when that child is in your custody or care.
If it’s merely a personal preference share your feelings but be willing to let it go.
Finally, ask God to give you His peace if it’s something you cannot change, courage if you can change it, and the discernment to know the difference.
by Bob Moeller
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