I am grateful every day for a husband with the same goals, similar motivation, identical work ethic, consistent parenting methods, and deep faith. I know this isn’t always the case—and it obviously isn’t impossible to keep motivated in this parenting endeavor as a single parent. There are people everywhere doing it. And I believe that God gives the grace for each situation when it is needed; thus, I can’t imagine doing what single parents do, but then I’m not in that scenario either.
If you are a married Christian parent with a spouse who also wants to do the hard work of Christian parenting, regardless of the difficulties you face, you are very blessed indeed. There are a couple of specific areas in marriage that have helped us to keep motivated:
1. Be one in your marriage, as well as in your parenting. Ray and I are seldom unmotivated or discouraged at the same time. Thank the Lord! We need each other desperately in order to keep the momentum to finish this parenting race with our last three “little boys”! We will discuss Christian marriage more thoroughly this fall and especially next year in honor of our thirtieth wedding anniversary. In the area of motivation, though, just knowing that someone is there with you, embracing the same goals and methodology, is a huge motivator. Talk about every aspect of parenting all the time. When one is down, the other can motivate and encourage. And vice versa.
2. Do not view the husband as the breadwinner and the wife as the child raiser. We are both parents—and we are in this thing together. One of the major downfalls of so much teaching on husband and wife roles in the conservative church, to us, has been the whole idea that the husband is the “head” and the “breadwinner” and the wife is the “subordinate” and the “child raiser.” Yes, the Bible does teach that a man is to be the head of the home—but why? He is to be the head of the home to serve and love his family as Christ loved the church—not to be the boss. With the emphasis on the head and breadwinning aspects of marriage, the husband is often thought of us above parenting—or too busy making a living to parent. If a wife is a homemaker, her job is homemaking. However, parenting is not part of the job description of the homemaker. Parenting is part of the job description of the parents, plural. I am so grateful that we were taught about the servant-leadership required of the husband to truly “love as Christ loved the church.” Ray has always considered us co-parents, and, yes, even co-homeschoolers. Teaching, training, talking, disciplining…these are both the husband’s and wife’s responsibilities when they have children—and should not be relegated to the wife alone. It is difficult for a mother to stay motivated in her parenting endeavor if she feels that she is doing it alone. Husbands, if you want to help your wife stay motivated in her parenting, co-parent with her.
More motivating tips tomorrow. I wish I could just reach into every reader’s heart and give you each a huge dose of motivation—along with perseverance, long-term visualization, hope, joy, love, patience—all the things I have felt so needy for in my parenting. God bless you all.