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Ask Arlene: Spiritual Parenting as a Team

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Hi Arlene!

It is important that our children see a healthy relationship between their parents. And I want them to see their Daddy spending time reading his Bible and praying, not just watching tv. He is a God-fearing man and I hope our children see this. How do I encourage my husband without coming across as nagging? I do love him so much and the Daddy he is. Thanks!

Thanks!
Shanda

Dear Shanda,

Men like to feel successful, so it’s important not to communicate the message, “I wish you would step up and be the spiritual leader of the home. You are falling short.” Often times our suggestions come off as judgmental and critical, as if we are more spiritually mature.

I remember one pastor wisely observed that women are quick to get with the spiritual program if you will. Christian books and Bible study guides are largely purchased by women. Spiritual retreats, conferences, and seminars are attended by women. But before we think that women are more spiritual than men, we must consider that women are also more relational than men. We’re wired to talk, read, and ask questions. Men don’t necessarily gravitate to reading a book (like the Bible) and talking about it.

So maybe you can tweak your expectations a bit as you consider how your husband is wired. Yes, it’s definitely good for your kids to catch your husband reading the Bible or praying. But that’s not the only way they are going to see Jesus in him. What would your husband enjoy doing with the kids? Maybe as he’s teaching your son how to ride his bike, he can talk with him about trusting God (as your son trusts those pedals to work!).

Have a talk with your husband. Say something like, “Honey, I’d love to talk about how we can better work as a team to teach our kids about God. Why don’t we both think about that for a few days and then get together and talk about it?”

A few days later, snuggle up on the couch together after the kids have gone to bed (you might have to schedule this time in or else this idyllic scene may not occur). Share ideas together about how you can pass on your faith to your kids. Your husband wants this too. He just might not know what to do, but if you can together think of some concrete pro-active steps, most likely your husband will be all in. Praise him for any idea he contributes. Don’t shoot him down even if you think you have a better idea. Enthusiastically try what he suggests. The more that happens, the more involved he will be in the future.

Arlene

In her monthly column, “Ask Arlene,” author and speaker Arlene Pellicane answers readers’ questions. If you have a question you’d like her to consider for this column, submit a question here.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com.

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Ask Arlene: Spiritual Parenting as a Team

by Arlene Pellicane time to read: 2 min