Handling Different Standards Between Spouses:4 Moms

What do you do when your husband and you have different ideas and standards for your family and/or children?moms of many manage

In our family, this situation is handled simply with using the pattern laid out in Scripture of Mark being the head of the home and me being his helpmeet.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. ~Eph.5:22-24

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”~Gen. 2:18

There are two aspects of this.

 The first is that when push comes to shove in making a decision, Mark has the final say (and also the final responsibility). When he makes that decision, it’s my responsibility to make that decision as sucessful as it possibly can be. Even if I think it’s the wrong decision.

The other aspect is that I was created to help Mark, that means that it’s important that I respectfully provide my insight. As we all know, women often have a different perspective than men do and that perspective provides balance. We were specifically created to be the perfect balance for our husband. If, in the name of being submissive, I don’t offer my perspective, then my husband isn’t able to benefit from the balance or the ‘help meet’ that God provided for him.

For a simple example of how this works itself out, I lookout of our second story window and outside, up above me, in a tree top is Colby (6). This worries me a bit, but I call Mark in and show him how high Colby is in our tree. I will often say something like, “This worries me a bit, but if you’re ‘ok’ with it, I’m ‘ok’ with it.” Mark then makes the final decision. (I’m not saying that I can’t make this decision myself, but I often check with Mark specifically on matters of boys being ‘brave’ because I don’t want to raise five scaredy boys.)

These principles apply to preferences (like how high your children climb a tree), but they also apply to principles. God has sovereignly placed your husband as head of your home and unless he is requiring you or your children to sin, God has given him the authority to lead your family.

I’ve seen some amazing examples/contrasts of wives who submit vs. wives who don’t on important topics like homeschooling, family planning and child discipline.

In one family they did all the ‘right’ things that the wife was convicted of, but the husband didn’t want/prefer. The other family continued doing the ‘wrong’ things despite the wife’s conviction because that was the preferrence of the husband. The long term of these two families is a striking contrast. The family that followed the husband’s leadership and continued to send the children to government schools family plan and allow their children to run a bit wild ended up being the family with a beautiful long term outcome with children who are commited to following the Lord and raising godly families of their own. The family that followed the wife’s convictions to homeschool, biblically disciple their children and have as many children as God would bless them with all against the husband’s preferences has continued to struggle with many family difficulties.

 The beautiful thing about this is that God will use the leadership of the husband to bring honor and glory to His name because this is His (not man’s) design. Even when a husband makes a ‘wrong’ decision we can be certain that God will use it for our good.

For I know that all things work together for good to them that love God. ~Rom. 8:28

Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read about how they handle it when spouses have different standards.:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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14 Responses to Handling Different Standards Between Spouses:4 Moms
  1. Kristin
    September 13, 2012 | 11:24 am

    Thank you so much for this timely post! My husband and I do not agree concerning letting the Lord plan our family. He is 10 years my senior, and just can’t understand why God would want an “old man” bringing children into the world. I am 29 and we are thrilled to be expecting our 5th child, but, in his words, “We have to put a stop to this at some point.” This has troubled me beyond words, as I do not agree. Thank you for reminding me that he IS my head and that I should look to him even if I don’t agree. I will still continue to pray and to politely express my opinions, but not force them on him. Do you have any other advice for me? Thanks so much!


    Rachel Reply:

    Hi Kristin. Please tell your hubby that my sister in law, who is 37, just had her 6th baby in under 8 years with her husband who is 65. Seriously. 😉

    (Also, please see my comment below for my serious comment on this. You’re not alone.)


    Lucy Reply:

    Kristin, I have been in your shoes, and would be there now except for the time I have spent in prayer, giving the situation to God. He very clearly told me after 2 kids (when DH and I were not seeing 3 the same way) that my life would be completely full parenting just those two, guiding them and full filling their lives into adulthood. When I saw that, and realized I wasn’t ever going to be sitting around in the evenings sipping wine going ‘if only I had had another kid I wouldn’t be so bored now’, I got it. My prayers began to change to finding contentment with where the Lord had me (so hard for us Christians sometimes) and still letting God know that I was open to wherever he led DH.

    It wasn’t long after my attitude changed that DH decided 3 would be ok 🙂 Now we are kind of at the same place with 4, except that I have peace, no matter what happens. I would only encourage you Kristin, to search for the peace of the Lord with your life where it is TODAY. As the Isrealites learned over and over again, grumbling is a sin. Inward peace will express itself outwardly, and if you can show your complete trust in the Lord, hubby may see it too.


  2. Rachel
    September 13, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    I was actually going to ask the same thing as Kristin. My husband is very sure that we are “done” with our 3. I don’t feel that way, and I feel the conviction to let God do as He will in our family. I am only 30 (and he’s 32), so we have a long time ahead of us to be “done” before we can’t have any more. I just don’t feel that this is the way God intended marriage to be. I can’t see any positive in poisoning our bodies with chemicals, destroying the one-flesh aspect of it, or harming/breaking our bodies which are clearly working just as He intended.

    In my opinion, there is a lot more going on in our situation than whether or not we have more children. My husband attacks me personally saying that I just make choices with my emotions while he is the logical one, which is (he says) why I want more kids and he doesn’t. Also, it is his opinion (he has told me this on a couple different occasions) that it is entirely my fault that we have a bad intimate life because I won’t “do something” to prevent conception. I was on the pill very early in our marriage, at his insistence, which I now regret terribly. I had a diaphragm most recently, but I was very uncomfortable with it because of a few different factors (forcing poisonous chemicals into my body and financially supporting companies whose main focus is on preventing/harming babies being the main ones) and it caused me pain so I stopped using it. He now uses protection, but he doesn’t like that because it doesn’t feel good.

    In fairness to him, I have changed my views on this during the time we’ve been married. I have always wanted a large family (8 was always my magic number, even long before I was in my child-bearing phase), but the idea of letting God plan our family has only been on my radar for the last 5-6 years or so. It’s just really hard for me that God has revealed this to me but not to my husband. I feel like I have done a lot of praying, reading the bible, and seeking out Godly council (including you, Kimberly! 🙂 ) and I feel that this is the right decision. My husband, on the other hand, refuses to search the Bible, pray about it together, seek Godly council, etc. He just “knows” that we’re done and I’m crazy for thinking otherwise. His reasons for not wanting more children seem selfish to me. I’m not where to go from here. Of course, I cry out to God daily about this, but I’m not sure how to act toward him on a day to day basis when there is such a huge wedge between us and something that affects our marriage relationship in such huge ways.

    I’m sorry. I know I’m rambling. I guess I’m looking for some advice. This is the biggest sticking point in our marriage right now and it has been for several years.

    Thanks for tackling this, Kimberly! I do have to say, after all this, my husband is a wonderful husband and father and provider for us, and I’m so thankful that he lets me homeschool our children. It wasn’t his idea, but once we talked about it for a while and then actually started doing it, he has come around and now he loves it.


  3. Lucy
    September 13, 2012 | 1:08 pm

    @Rachel – see my comment above to Kristin, and I would also add to me the chemical abortificants (which the pill is) are not an option even if my husband wanted it (my DH does not). You may want to research ‘Natural Family Planning’, which is very big in Catholic circles. It relies on understanding your body and tracking your monthly cycles very closely.


    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks for your encouragement, Lucy. 🙂 I love how you learned to be content. I am (or try to be…) content with my 3 precious children. I see them as beautiful blessings, and I pour into them every day. If we didn’t have any more children, I admit, that would be hard for me. But, I would want it to be because God decided that was best for our family, and not because my DH is trying to over-power God. And then I would lean on Him to bring me to a place of peace and contentment.

    I realized the evil of the pill, and I went off it and told my husband I wouldn’t ever use it again. I’ve been studying NFP for a few years now, and we use that in addition to him using protection most of the time. To me, that is workable. He is taking responsibility for something that is important to him, preventing conception, and doing something about it. I just don’t like him placing the blame on me and/or trying to force me to do something that I’m not OK with morally or physically. To me, this is a heart issue, like most things. There is a big difference between “I have prayed about this and this is how I feel God is leading our family for this moment” and “I don’t care what you say or feel, and nothing (including God) will ever change my mind,” even if both avenues lead to us not having any more children.

    I’m sorry if I sound cynical. Truly. I don’t mean to come across as only negative. This just hits a raw nerve with me right now. As an aside, I’m pretty sure I got pregnant last cycle and miscarried last week, but I didn’t take a test bc I was scared to find out for sure and have to tell DH. I struggled for several days with whether or not to even tell him of my suspicions, and I finally decided he had a right to know that he probably had a child he wouldn’t get to meet (again… 🙁 ). He got really upset, and that strengthened his resolve to “do something” to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    I’d really appreciate prayer from any one willing. I am so broken-hearted right now.


    ashley rahar Reply:

    Hi Rachel,
    You sound like me! Only my hubby is still 100% not allowing me to homeschool. 🙁
    I agree with Lucy that this may be a test of God for you. I’m doing Lysa Teurkeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk In Faith” and I think you’d enjoy it and learn from it…I certainly am pertaining to my hubby. As for your intimate life…I don’t have any advice on how your hubby won’t blame you. I also refuse any chemical BC and hubby hates condems for the same reason as yours. We use only the “pull-out” method and that has always been ‘successful’ (according to whom you ask) in preventing pregnancy. I would be thrilled to have 20 children, but my hubby is the more ‘logical one’ he says as well. Good luck and keep praying, but spend some time praying for YOU!


  4. Lucy
    September 13, 2012 | 1:56 pm

    Rachel, be assured I will pray for you. I know what you’re feeling. But only God can give you contentment, and Rachel, as long as you are holding resentment toward your husband, God cannot heal your hurt and restore you or your relationship. Look at the strain between you and your husband, and when you do, remember God speaks more about relationships more than numbers of children. Maybe your husband is wrong in his desire, but that is between him and God. As long as you are open to God’s leading in this matter, God can give you peace.

    I am not convinced that the desire we women feel sometimes for babies is always of God, outside of God’s design for our bodies, anymore than I am convinced infertility or hyperfertility is directly of God. It can be, but like all our other biological process, it is generally influenced by our environment and choices from the food we eat to the living conditions our grandparents endured (and more).

    Rachel, you can’t manipulate God, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if He is using this season of your life to get you to trust Him First! Without bringing any “ifs” to the table.

    Rachel, I have tears in my eyes while I write this, b/c I know the desire and I know how quickly and seriously it can degrade a relationship. Give your desire to God.


  5. Dawn
    September 13, 2012 | 4:26 pm

    Thank you Kimberly for this amazing understanding that you not only live out but articulate beautifully for all of us. I have heard the extreme submission side of this but never seen it balanced so beautifully. Thank you!

    On the God led family size issue, we have been in the same place it sounds many of you are. My husband had two sweet girls when we married. When we first began speaking about our family size I said I wanted two children. He said we have them. We also did the birth control pill ignorantly. He did agree to let me have two pregnancies (one to learn and the other to enjoy ~~~ so I thought). I struggled with being the 1st in our circles to marry and the last to have a child. In June of 2003, God gave us the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. We went back on the pill and then concurrent with Hurricane Katrina decided it was time for the next miracle. (We “planned” these two babies.) Soon after the birth of our son, God began putting the thoughts of letting Him handle our family size into my heart and mind. We did natural family planning and were blessed with another baby girl in the fall of 2009. Previous to God intervening we had both planned for my DH to have the permanent procedure after our son was born. All was well with baby number 5, though my side of the family was beginning to raise eyebrows. My husband was more than ready to be done by this time but respected and loved me enough to not force me to be done before I was ready. He was deeply concerned that I would resent him for forcing me to stop having children before I was ready. In 2011 when we found out that baby #6 was indeed on the way we were both taken by storm and had a very hard time accepting it. I struggled much like my DH with this child, felt overwhelmed and wondered how on earth all of this was going to work despite the fact that I had not been ready to make #5 our last. In the winter of 2011 I prayed very specifically (not the first time of course) and heard God speak to me. He told me that my DH had given me at least two babies that he had never planned to have and that I needed to give him a similar gift by allowing him to have the permanent procedure. I had peace that my Father had spoken and all would be well. At the same time I wasn’t convinced that I was ready to let go. The surgery happened in my 4th month of pregnancy (a challenge to me but it worked out well in the end). Our 6th baby, another amazing little girl was born in Oct. 2011. Just this summer (2012) I have felt complete peace that this is our perfect family size. I can now look at our brand new nephew and enjoy him in the moment without yearning for another baby. Miracles still happen! Praise God that he is sovereign!

    I hope this helps some of you struggling with this area.


  6. abba12
    September 13, 2012 | 5:37 pm

    Thank you for showing there’s a difference between submission and ‘silent doormat’. People just don’t seem to see that, they assume I have no say in anything when, quite often, because of my more hands-on role with our daughter, my husband will actually defer to my recommendation because it’s an area I know more about than him. There is only three times I can think of in our three years of marriage where the need to submit to his decision has actually happened, and all were regarding practical theology (baptism, tithe and church membership specifics, we come from two completely opposite ends of the church spectrum!). Even then, on the baptism note, within a month of me agreeing to drop it and accept his decision as final, he actually changed his mind to my way of thinking.

    How can I be a helpmeet without helping him by being a source of counsel. How can a silent woman who never voices an opinion be considered helpful? Submitting does not make me opinion-less, not even close.

    So thanks for saying as much publicly! You and all the 4 moms, none of you have said some of the dangerous false doctrine I have heard about submission.


  7. jayme @ No Regrets Living
    September 13, 2012 | 10:47 pm

    My husband and I haven’t had much conflict or differing opinions in our 2-year marriage, but things are pretty simple in our lives right now. We only have 1 child (almost 5 months old!), my husband is pretty laid back and we got married later-in-life (early 30s), so alot of stuff was already settled.

    We like to use the 1-10 scale when making decisions. He, too, has final say, but when I say “I’m like a 7 for structuring our finances this way”, it means I’m pretty passionate about that decision. But if I’m just a 1 on the scale from 1-10, then it means that I don’t really care much. It’s not like the higher number “wins”, but it helps us to know how deeply the other cares about the topic at hand and it helps him make a decision.

    Commenters — thanks for the examples on family size. Since we were married at late ages, it isn’t likely that we’ll have a dozen kids, but we’d both be okay with it if that happened. One of the things that my husband did care about though was waiting a year before trying to have children. I was okay with that, at first, but not after a couple of months. Why delay when you want children? But my husband still wanted to wait the year. So we waited. And I prayed for him to change his mind. But we still waited the year. I was fortunate in that I knew that we’d only wait a year — this time would end, but it was hard to wait. I don’t regret it though.


  8. shannon
    September 14, 2012 | 11:34 pm

    My husband new when we married that I wanted kids, but I was and am willing to limit our blessings to husbands comfort level. I am at a point though when I am no longer willing to use chemicals to achieve this.

    Since we have only girls my husband tends to defer to me on things except disciple, yes I discipline when he is not around, and don’t put it all on him, but he is much more strict than I am, so I defer to his judgement.

    I also expressed a strong opinion on public schooling and my husband was fine with private school as long as I could budget for it, but homeschooling took more convincing, he let me pick the curriculum, but had some specific requirements I needed to meet in what I picked out. He totally holds me accountable and I need that and so do our kids.
    I think some of our decisions. and who makes them would be different if we had boys.


  9. Michele
    September 17, 2012 | 9:09 pm

    I love this post, Kimberly! Thank you for the reminder that following our husband’s is what the Lord desires! Oh, the blessings it can bring!


  10. Kate
    September 18, 2012 | 1:36 am

    I am LDS and when we are sealed in the temple we covenant to follow to the counsel of our husband as he follows the counsel of the Lord. Some might say that this means when he is not being righteous enough for the wife that she does not have to follow his advice/decisions, but I think that like the other women who have posted comments here, the best solution to that problem is to pray and keep contention out of your marriage. Eventually you will find peace with your husband’s guidance or his heart will soften. I can think of a time in my marriage where I was done having children. My ob told me it was not in my best interest to have anymore and I was totally fine with the three we had. My husband expressed that he thought we should be willing to have all of the children that the Lord would bless us with, but that it being my body it was, in the end, my decision. For awhile I spiritually and verbally fought that counsel from my husband and the Lord, picking fights and being defensive about him pushing me. For his part he continued to gently remind me that he felt the Lord moving us one direction but that it was my choice to follow, but he truthfully did not bully me. I think it was a case of the hit bird fluttering. Eventually through much prayer and repentance, I came to understand the divinity of motherhood and the blessing that it is to bring His children into this world. We are now expecting our seventh; our oldest will be nine, and our youngest will be eleven months when #7 arrives via c-section, the second for me this year! In closing I would just like to say that contention in a marriage is like allowing Satan to have his say in things. We would better serve our children by loving and supporting their fathers, and when we disagree with them letting the Lord guide us through each trial.


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