One day I’ll be in awe of my husband, looking at him in adoration as he drives our minivan. The next day, possibly in that very same minivan, I’m thinking about all the ways he could improve as a husband and a father. Maybe I recently listened to a podcast on parenting, and I couldn’t help but think about how much he needed to hear it. Or maybe a friend shared how her husband structures morning quiet times as a family, and now I’m finding my husband’s bedtime readings insufficient.
In turn, I might make a disapproving remark about how there’s some dust on his Bible, or perhaps I’ll follow up his discipline talk with one of my own because I find his wanting. Maybe I’ll say nothing at all as I quietly build a wall between us, brick by brick.
I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in holding up a standard for what an “involved Christian dad” looks like—a standard of my own creation rather than God’s.
In the Old Testament, God lays out part of his plan for parents raising children, and it’s surprisingly uncomplicated. He charges parents to intentionally invest in their children and teach them to love God and his laws. They are to be diligent in this and do it all the time. For us today, that means weaving the gospel into the life we’re already living. It doesn’t tell us that carrying out this command has to include a 20-minute family quiet time with Dad on the guitar, leading the children in worship. It just says to do it, however that looks. Eventhough faithfulness to that end can be hard, we are the ones overcomplicating it.
The beautiful thing about God creating us as parents with unique personalities, strengths, and gifts is that we can live out our differences while still having unity in our marriage relationship. Your husband doesn’t need to invest in your children in the same ways you would—or the same way that Instagram dad you’re following does. In fact, because God made man and woman to display himself uniquely, you’re better parents together than alone, balancing out one another’s strengths and weaknesses as you strive to live out the gospel in your own home.
Here’s some good news: Because Jesus lived a perfect life in our stead, the pressure is off for both husband and wife to execute perfect parenting. Jesus never missed a teaching moment, he never misspoke or made a theological error, he never had impure motives or an impatient attitude, and he never failed the people around him. He lived a perfect life, and because we have union in Christ, we can trust him with what we have to offer as parents of our children. And if you’re both believers, you each have the gift of the Holy Spirit to help you grow in parenting, maturity, and your understanding of God’s design for the family.
Mom, Christ has measured up on your behalf. Now you can stop comparing your husband to the parenting books, the conferences, the bloggers, or the next-door neighbor. Instead, offer your husband the relentless grace and love you’ve received from your shared inheritance with Christ, celebrating the unique ways your husband is gifted. You can be brave enough to risk the areas where your heart is broken and worn thin in marriage, trusting God to draw your family to himself despite human flaws and failures.
The above excerpt is from Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler. You can enter to win a free copy (along with some other great books for you and a new Crock-Pot) in our May giveaway. Go here to enter.