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?
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!?”
“Has he been playing video games ALL day?”
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.
Mr. Truth and Mrs. Grace, that was us. So, how do 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.
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
Here Are Five Truths to Add Grace to Your Marriage:
- 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 reeks in a marriage.
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.
For more great advice from Joanne, check out her book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids.
Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids and Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Joanne and her husband, Paul, moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. Joanne joins her mom-friends over coffee every Saturday morning, sign up and grab your favorite cup—she’d love to have you!