Who are the Four Moms of 35+ kids?
Today’s issue is that touchy topic of how to handle it when husband and wife disagree on some of the issues like standards for dress, homeschooling, television, books and movies (not family size, we’ll discuss this elsewhere or when).
Problem is, the ways to handle this are as varied as the unique couples who deal with them. What my husband considers reasonable discussion another husband considers nagging. Some men care more than others about micromanaging. Some women do.
My husband and I are agreed on the big things. We are both believers and that’s how we started our marriage. We never had an argument about homeschooling- I asked, he said yes. He never wanted the kids in school, I never wanted them in school. He didn’t care about the headcovering. We are in general agreement about modesty (he’s stricter than I am in theory, I think I am stricter in practice). We didn’t really agree about the whole hunting and shooting thing, but since I recognize that a lot of my issues with those things are neurotic fears and not rational, I gave in but flinch a lot on the inside where it really counts. We don’t agree on the 16 year old driving, but we do agree that I don’t ride in the car with her when she’s driving- this is for everybody’s sake.
We did have a horrible argument about breast vs bottle one night when a bout of mastitis and a bad latch on a child had me in tears, chewing skin off my knuckles and rocking back and forth in pain trying to get a screaming baby latched on. He said “I’m going to the store to get some formula because I can’t take this anymore,” and I said more than a few choice words about who was taking what and the difference between what he had to put up with and the what the bleeding person with a crater in her anatomy had to put up with. A lot of birth hormones were talking, because I do know it’s harder to see your loved ones suffer than it is to be the sufferer. At least, I know that when somebody isn’t trying to give my infant formula. Fortunately, we lived in the country and a drive into town for formula that I was going to pitch out the window wasn’t really practical.
We do fight about things- mostly stupid things, mostly because I’m stubborn and he’s pigheaded. So I don’t have any advice for you that I wouldn’t feel like a hypocrite giving.
As a general rule, in an ideal world, I believe that the person with the conviction trumps the preference, and the person with the conviction cannot use it to impose more work on the person without the conviction, nor should one embarrass one’s spouse. But in the not so ideal world, that isn’t always practical.
I believe that both people should be able to sit down and discuss their differences clearly and rationally and come to a mutual agreement. But that cannot always happen.
I believe that if your spouse does not agree with you about certain standards and behaviors, that for the most part, you need to be respectful of their concerns and spend a lot of time in quiet prayer. You also need NOT to spend a lot of time in communication with other people who think you are right and the other person is wrong and insist on saying so.