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Let me take you back. Back to fall 2014. Are you with me?
My husband Chris was serving at a church in the East Bay. It was after the 11:00am service, and 2-year-old Keeley was starting the melting down process. I had taken her to the later service on a regrettable whim.
"Let's take the long, pretty way home," Chris said as we got in the car. I calmly said we should take the freeway home because Keeley was about to implode. He disagreed and said she would be fine. Doing my best to submit to my dear husband, we took the long way home and the entire time I was fighting rage. It was a very pretty, 30-minute drive north through Alamo to Pleasant Hill, with lush green foliage and rolling hills. But I was seeing red.
Why was I so angry? I validated my mental fuming: I spend all day doing my best to be an expert of my daughter, and to know how to meet her needs before she even knows she needs them. How do I submit to Chris when I think the right thing to do is get our daughter home as soon as possible?
We got home and, fighting tears, I asked him if I could be alone for a minute to make a phone call. I called a seasoned mother I know and told her what happened. I needed to hear how right I was. I wanted her to tell me how to get my husband to trust me and my suggestions for our daughter, since we both agreed I would stay home and become an expert of her.
Instead, my friend told me, "Yep, that is almost every weekend of the kids' lives growing up. Learning to submit to my husband, and his knowledge of our kids, was the hardest thing for me to do. He always had the best intentions, but most of the time they were very different from how I would have done things. And you know what? The kids are still alive, and they learned Daddy can do things differently than Mommy, and it's okay." She added that if I tell him how to be a father, it's emasculating, not letting him trust the instincts God has given him as a father, just like He has given us instincts as mothers.
I was totally convicted and still totally angry because this meant I would not get my way! (This is when the self-righteous, perfectionist wife had to swallow her pride and apologize to her well-meaning husband.)
These days I still catch myself telling Chris how to parent, and if there is something really pressing, I calmly tell him why I would choose to do it differently. But I have to keep reminding myself to leave it there, and trust him to make the best decisions he can for our kids.
Did you notice I left out how Keeley actually did on that ride home? That's because it ultimately doesn't matter. What matters more is how I am respecting Chris and showing our kids how to love and respect Daddy, and ultimately respect our Father in heaven.