When Parents Disagree
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By Tamara Eaton
Karen was concerned, she appreciated her husband's leading in their home but was worried that his decision to change to a new structured curriculum was going to spell disaster for their homeschool!
She said, "I don't know what to do. I'm the one who spends all the time homeschooling the children and I feel this material wouldn't work as well for their learning styles. Is God's will always revealed through the husband? Should I accept his decisions as God's perfect will automatically?"
God doesn't always reveal His will solely through the husband. Sometimes the wife is the one who is on the right track and the husband is off base. It could be God leading the husband, or he could be choosing this course out of ignorance, convinced it's the best decision for his family. This doesn't mean that the wife shouldn't submit to her husband, but there are often things she can do that are entirely "Biblical" if she disagrees with her husband's desire to use structured, formal curriculum.
Perhaps this situation wouldn't have even developed if the wife had, all along, discussed what she was researching with her husband, along with her observations about their children's learning styles. Or maybe she tried to but he wasn't listening--in that case, she must guard against bitterness or resentment, yielding her emotions to the Lord and maintain a humble, meek, loving, and teachable spirit.
She should first and foremost pray, asking the Lord to clearly reveal His will to both of them, and if she's right about using less formal curriculum, to reveal it to her husband, and if she's wrong, then show her--in other words, help them both to have one mind, His mind in this matter.
Most decisions we make aren't so urgent that we can't take time to pray about them and discuss them together and do further research. There could be several reasons why the husband wanted to go with structured curriculum--perhaps he is only secure in structured curriculum because he doesn't think children learn well using other methods, or possible he's concerned about proving to future colleges that his children had a solid educational foundation. He may know families who have thrived using this curriculum and thinks it's the best! If this is the case, then the wife could (in a right spirit) share with him further highlights from books and articles, or suggest they talk to different families who have used other homeschooling methods.
He may be concerned that his wife will have to work too hard to do another method or isn't suited for coming up with her own plan. Perhaps she has a poor track record in this area and he thinks she needs more accountability and help. Here again, the wife can gently share her heart in this matter, as well as present a proposal of some of the things she thinks would work well for the children--in a non-confrontational manner!
He may feel he has no time to help in homeschooling and thinks a structured curriculum can make up for his noninvolvement-- so his wife isn't forced to totally "go it alone". They should talk this over and see if this plan would really help his wife, and if there is a way he can be involved that isn't as time consuming. A wise husband will also be sensitive to the teaching style of his wife and take that into account, as well.
Just because the husband is the head of the family (and he should be!), doesn't mean that what comes out of his lips is always a revelation of God's Will for the family and the wife should resign herself to "God's answer" without further respectful discussion or prayer.
We believe that God has given Christian husbands and wives to each other to function as a team, in mutual respect and honor, totally sold out and committed to Him, each contributing special gifts and wisdom as they're yielding themselves to Him, and thereby working efficiently and effectively to further not only His will in their lives, but in the kingdom of God!
When You Disagree:
- Don't automatically assume you're right and your spouse is wrong.
- Be humble. Be teachable. Be willing to change.
- Don't rush into a decision.
- Spend time praying together and determining major goals together.
- Share your concerns and thoughts without being defensive.
- Try to be objective and keep things in perspective.
- Don't be critical of your spouse, treat him or her with respect.
- Be willing to compromise!
- Demonstrate a unified front before the children, even if you have yet to reach an agreement.
- Don't view homeschooling as "mom's project." It should be a joint effort by both parents, even if one parent is the primary teacher of academics.
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." --Colossians 3:17-19
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is...Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it..." --Ephesians 5:17-25
"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear... Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." --1 Peter 3:1-7
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to:Christian Homeschool Fellowship, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
Copyright © 2005 Eclectic Homeschool Association