The Lost Art of Parenting – Wife, Then Mother

My first thought on the Lost Art of Parenting is this:

I was a wife before I became a mother. I believe that while my children are (cherished) temporary visitors in my home, my husband is there to stay and should be treated as an important, respected part of the family.

Jen’s comment is a helpful addition to this bit. “Your statement that, “I was a wife before I became a mother”, is so true &, for me, a humbling reminder. It is so easy to get wrapped up into putting all of our effort into our children, and it is so incredibly crucial to be careful not to neglect our husbands & marriages.”

Although my young children’s needs may come before my husband’s out of necessity (especially as infants) and should never be neglected, I can’t forget that our goal is to raise adults, not children. And, more importantly, my aim is to get those adults safely out of my house and on their own. My husband, however, will be a part of my daily life forever! It is unlikely that you will find truly happy parents when the husband-wife relationship is not doing so well!

It is so easy to get wrapped up in taking care of our children! While I only have one child, I am very aware of this reality. Some cases differ, but for the most part, we are mothers, in a way, because of our husbands (that’s not to neglect God’s vital role, of course!). Where would my son be without Ryan? He plays a huge part – not just in creating our child with me, but in rearing him alongside me as well! Children need to know that their parents have a secure and happy marriage. It contributes to their confidence. What good will it do anyone to neglect my marriage?

Loving our husbands is also a biblical mandate –  Titus 2 says, in verse 4, that we are to be trained to love our husbands, and in verse 5, it says we must be subject to them, all to ensure that the Word of God will not be maligned. That’s a big deal!

There are several posts at Mom and Us that address, in the context of Titus 2, how to love our husbands well. I strongly recommend reading all three posts!

What do you think? Do you have anything to add? How have you learned to love your husband while still juggling your motherly duties? Do share!

For the original post, see: The Lost Art of Parenting – Let’s Talk

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “The Lost Art of Parenting – Wife, Then Mother

  1. I think I’m going to love this series because it is a passion of mine also!

    One of the things I try to do to honor my husband is honor him in front of others whether he is there or not. That includes in front of our children. I try to never speak down to him or about him. If we are at the dinner table, I talk about how hard Daddy worked today and how thankful we are for his allowing us (the kids and me ) to stay at home. If he is gone, I still talk to the kids about how wonderful Daddy is and how we can’t wait until he will get home to be with us. I think it is valuable for children to see that their mother truly honors, respects, and loves their father.

    I also NEVER join in the popular husband bashing among women-folk! I remember back a few years when I was working (before I was married), and the ladies used to compare husband stories and basically put them down. It was a competition to see who had the sloppiest husband, the laziest husband, etc. Supposedly it was all in good fun because all these women were in stable marriages, but I vowed then never to join these types of converstations once I was married!

  2. Lindsey

    As a working wife/mother it’s SO hard not to neglect John. I remember (prior to having children) that I would always tell the people I worked for to PLEASE go on dates and I would baby sit ‘after hours’ in order for them to keep their relationship up. And I did that for my friends as well. And now that I have my own child (on the brink of numero dos joining us) we realized we can count on ONE HAND how many dates we’ve been on since Eli was born 14 months ago! How crazy is that?!?!

    I do ALWAYS talk about John to Eli though! We wait on the front steps to our house for John to get home from work and we say “YAY! Dada’s home!” And Eli claps, says “YAY!!!!” and dives at him! I love that! It makes John feel so awesome too! John feels honored when I encourage him. Words of affirmation. So I try to do that in front of Eli. Since John has been fixing up the front of our home we always clap for him and say “Good job!” and give high fives when he has finished painting something or put up the ceiling fan on the front porch, etc. I want Eli (and Noah when he comes out) to be proud of who their Dad is and that he is the hardest worker ever! And that he takes care of us! Loves us and plays with the boys! I think it might be one of my most favorite things to watch-John getting on the floor and wrestling with Eli and giggling with him and dancing with him to Bob Marley in the living room while I cook dinner!

    I do think it’s important to have a friend to go to to just be REAL with about what is going on within your marriage. Someone that knows you and your husband that can give sound advice. Sometimes it puts things that seem HUGE in perspective and calms down arguments or whatever it may be. Anyways…this is a great reminder Rissa about not losing the connection with our husbands because of the motherly duties we have 🙂

    (I feel this was a VERY random comment…my brain is a tad overloaded with sugar and sleepiness!!)

  3. First, I gave your blog an award. Here’s the link: http://babyfingers.blogspot.com/2008/08/bloggy-award.html

    I have been thinking a lot lately about this post, especially after reading the Mom and Us posts. I went to a friend’s wedding last summer and part of the ceremony was a discussion on marital roles. He said “Tiffany, what is the one daily multivitamin you can give Jimmy to help your marriage?” The answer was “respect.” When he asked Jimmy the same question about Tiffany, the answer was “love.” This is not the way I am used to thinking. Shouldn’t they give one another both? Also, I am put off by women who claim to be “submissive” to their husbands but in reality they nag them to death and question them constantly. This is probably the exception, but I’ve met several. And what does “submissive” truly mean? That the woman should never question him? Once in a while, both men and women need the checks and balances a spouse can provide (for example, when the father is about to lose his temper with the child, the mother needs to step in and take over, and vice versa). It’s not that I feel I am above serving my family by cooking and cleaning. Ideally I would do all that and Jordan would come home from work to a clean house, happy baby and dinner on the table. I am just not that good yet, but I’m working on it. My husband certainly serves us by working hard at his job, as well as working in the yard and doing many other things. In the church I grew up in, women are leaders as well as men. I feel it would be a disservice not to allow this, but that seems to be a part of the model in which women are submissive to their husbands. Hmm. It’s complicated.

  4. Interesting thoughts. You know, I think there is a fine line to be drawn here. I’m not sure that it IS a mother’s place to step in and take over even if the father is about to lose his temper. Of course, if we are talking an abusive situation, that’s different, but in general, it is up to a father to run his family and he must answer to God for his actions. The wife, whether she agrees or not, should respect him.

    As far as women being leaders in the church, this is something I personally feel very strongly against although I know many people disagree with me. I am always reminded of the scripture where Paul tells the women to be silent in public and I can’t reconcile that with a women pastor or church leader.

    Thanks, Rissa, for this opportunity to share and respectfully disagree. 🙂

  5. Katie Riddle

    Great thoughts and ideas, ladies. This is a sensitive subject, and I appreciate everyone’s vulnerability so we can sharpen each other’s iron. I will now try and do the same.

    I totally agree, Rissa, about remembering that our children are temporarily living in our house, and husbands are forever. It is really easy for me to let my life be consumed with my children and neglect relationship with my husband, especially when we’re hitting some, shall we say, relational bumps in the road.

    It totally makes a positive impact on the home atmosphere when Mom and Dad (husband and wife) are in a healthy place with each other. My parents were really great at being sensitive with us when they fought and would always go to their room and close the door to argue quietly, but even when they did that and we could hear next to nothing, my brother and I would still freak out until they would come out and tell us everything was OK. My husband and I are trying out our own “fighting methods.” We’d like our kids to learn how to argue in a healthy way and we try to be examples of that when the topic is appropriate for little ears. We’re still um, perfecting our skills. 🙂

    Also, as wives, fighting for a healthy relationship with our husbands is crucial especially when we’re going through hard times. Last year, for example, was the hardest year of my life, and honestly there were times I wanted to fling my wedding ring at my husband (mostly for dramatic effect, not that I actually wanted to end it). Yikes. Not the best way to foster a loving relationship with him. We (my husband and I) realized how incredibly critical it is to fight for our marriage, even while we’re fighting with each other, and that’s the hardest thing ever!

    I agree that finding a friend or two who are like-minded in how they conduct themselves as wives is huge. Sometimes I just need another perspective from a trusted woman because I’m too close to the situation.

    I also agree that the biggest gift I could give my husband is respect. He told me so himself. It’s probably different for different men, though. Oh man, respect is sooooo difficult for me to give when we’re arguing! It’s a huge re-training of my brain to realize I’m not trying to “win” an argument and pull out every weapon I can against him, but I’m trying to resolve the argument as peacefully and respectfully as I can on my part, to admit it when I’m wrong, and to apologize.

    Lastly, I’ve been trying to figure out what submission looks like, too. Last year, I thought it meant to do whatever my husband says and thoughtlessly follow his lead because he was head of the house. That was me pendulum swinging on the opposite extreme where I previously was. I used to speak my mind (sometimes disrespectfully) and if I thought he was wrong, he was on his own, I would not join him in his mistakes (I can hear the gasps as you read this). 🙂 I think where I am now is hopefully somewhere closer to the middle. I realize God has given me a mind, and if I think I find a missing puzzle piece, I try and respectfully talk about it with him so we can figure out things together. I want to be used in an ezer conegdo (from “Captivating,” which has great insight on women in submission, BTW) sort of way, where I am his “help meet” (helper), and sometimes helping is sharing my perspective, but submitting to him nonetheless. We found ourselves in a huge binds last year and looking back, if I had only lovingly, respectfully shared my thoughts and concerns, we might have been able to circumvent lots of hardship, because I wasn’t playing my whole roll. I am learning I can be respectful AS I share my thoughts and concerns, and if what I’m sharing isn’t pertinent, then I submit to Jeremy’s (my husband’s) decision as the church submits to Christ. Husbands do have to answer to God, and that’s gotta be a sobering thing for them.

    Thanks again, ladies! This is great. I love connecting with women who are after the same things in life as I am!

  6. So definitely true. This was something that, in the beginning of my adventure in motherhood, I lost sight of, and, along with a combination of other things between the two of us, caused our marriage to enter a very dark “dimension”.

    I love the word help meet, as the bible uses in pointing to Eve, (I think). We aren’t to be mindless drones, but rather meet him where he’s at and be a HELP to him. Where he makes a living outside of the home, we make a living inside of the home. We can bounce our ideas, desires, and struggles off of each other for discussion, thought, and direction. Our input matters… but, ultimately, he is the Head of our home, and leading us as a family is his duty.

    A little off topic (just slightly though…).. I would like to recommend a book to you called When Couples Pray Together by David and Jan Stoop. Even if you’re already praying together- GET THIS BOOK… it’s SO wonderful in revealing how WONDERFUL praying together (out loud) as a couple is, and how it creates a spiritual intimacy between the two of you unmatched by any other “method”.

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