4 Moms: Handling different standards between you and your husband

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q&A:

Note: Perry is taking a week of vacation, and while I was working on this post we made an offer on a house.  We’re still waiting for a response from the seller, so if it looks like I had a hard time focusing on my post today, you know why!

There is an easy answer to this question: as head of the house, the husband is responsible before God for the standards held within the house.

This means that when we disagree, he gets the final word.  Easy.

How we get to that final word isn’t always quite so easy, though.  Sometimes it is quick and straightforward, and sometimes it’s more of a process.  Having the final word is easy, but standing before God and taking responsibility for that decision is not always easy, so a wise man is motivated to seek and seriously consider good counsel.  Hopefully his wife is high on his list of Good Counsel Providers.

When Perry and I disagree on a matter, we work to understand the matter in light of God’s Word and come to a similar understanding.  If we’re both working together toward honoring God and seeking His will rather than just trying to justify our own opinions, this usually isn’t a difficult thing to do.  Humility helps.  If you happen to be one of those people who always thinks she he is right, you might gum up the works a little until you wrap your head around that humility stuff.

More often than I care to admit, I find that he was right and I was wrong.  Sometimes he admits that it’s the other way around.  Sometimes we just don’t agree, and I have to graciously go along with him even though I still think he’s wrong.  There is a peace in knowing that the end decision is his, and sometimes I later understand that he was right after all.  Sometimes not.  The hierarchy of authority still stands, and I think God blesses us when we work within the structure He ordained.

Would you like some specific examples of how this works and looks in our house?  Clothing standards seem like a good place to start.

If you have been reading our blog for long, you probably know that we wear mostly dresses and skirts, most of the time.  Around the house you might catch us in shorts and a tank top, and pants are more appropriate or modest for certain activities, but skirts and dresses are our normal mode of dress for most occasions.

When it comes to hemlines and the cut of the clothes, we lean heavily on Dad’s opinion.  We have some general standards, but we look to him for overall guidance.  Our goal in dressing is to glorify God: we try to do that by wearing clothes that are attractive and flattering (He made the female body beautiful!) but that do not purposely induce men to thoughts of lust.  To put it more simply: we want to look pretty, not sexy.  Sometimes this is a difficult distinction for girls and women who just want to look attractive.  This is an area where cultural standards can vary wildly and a man’s opinion is invaluable.  This is an area in which I readily defer to his opinion.  If there is any doubt, it’s highly likely that I’m wrong and he’s right.

When it comes to behavioral issues, it’s worth noting that we rarely disagree but Perry often defers to me because I spend more time with the kids than he does.  While he sets the standards, he is very open to my input on how and why the kids act the way they do, interpreting their motives, where we can improve and what should not be an issue, etc.  Again, he makes the final decisions but here he often gives more weight to my opinions than to his own.

How do you deal with differing standards in your house?

See what the other moms say:

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  • September 20 – Large family gift guide
  • September 27 – How you address biblical femeninity and modesty in girls
  • October 4 – Q&A
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  • October 18 – Food preservation
  • October 25 – How do you keep the car clean?
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  1. I find the phrase “Is this a hill I want to die on?” very helpful when nitpicking over details. Of course, hardly anything is ever that important. The phrase is from Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s terrific book: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.

  2. Very good post. Many young couples should see this.

    Kim, I am so sorry about your dog. I had a retriever for 13yrs and she too had cancer. So so sad. But someday I would like to have another because they are just the BEST family pet. I see you are looking to leave the country. I haven’t really shared this on my blog but since the loss of my husband, I too am looking to leave the country. The city may be a better fit at this time in my life. So good luck to you too! And with a new little dumpling you will have your hands full….

  3. We organize our house much like Rachel (above) does. Most of the house management stuff my husband just doesn’t care about and considers my responsibility. And since it’s my responsibility, I can pretty much do whatever I want (within budget, of course – I don’t get to decide that we’re building on a 2nd story.)

    My husband and I haven’t had much conflict or differing opinions in our 2-year marriage, but things are pretty simple in our lives right now. We only have 1 child (almost 5 months old!), my husband is pretty laid back and we got married later-in-life (early 30s), so alot of stuff was already settled.

    We like to use the 1-10 scale when making decisions. He, too, has final say, but when I say “I’m like a 7 for structuring our finances this way”, it means I’m pretty passionate about that decision. But if I’m just a 1 on the scale from 1-10, then it means that I don’t really care much. It’s not like the higher number “wins”, but it helps us to know how deeply the other cares about the topic at hand and it helps him make a decision.

  4. I love you made a distinction between pretty and sexy, and pointed out that women are supposed to be pretty. So often I see those who value modesty over everything, to the detriment of looking pretty and/or wearing clothes that even coordinate. I believe that is whole different form of vanity and sin. Also, from the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like you have done a great job of tutoring your girls in this department. Although my parents really tried, I was (and still am, sometimes,) very much in the dark as to how men see our apparel/bodies until after getting married. Thankfully, I am blessed with a husband who is pretty good at gently explaining how things are perceived.

  5. Kieran Sartor says:

    Well put! Wish I had such a way with words.

  6. A middle aged man is looking at his teenage daughters and deciding whether they are dressed “sexy” or “attractive”? And they are standing before him as he makes this determination?

    That doesn’t seem modest or appropriate to me.

    • Really, Edythe???? That’s a pretty sad way to look at it.

      Kim, thanks for your post!

      • What “middle aged man”are you talking about, Edythe? Oh! The teenaged-daughters’ FATHER.
        Can’t think of a more appropriate Determinator.

        Kim, great question and great answer. Not so smooth in this household to be honest since you are so open so often with us. I’m not sure how to write that last thought more grammatically correct. Anyway….

  7. My husband and I like to compare the roles of husband and wife to those of captain and XO on a ship. As the XO, it’s my job to know all the nitty gritty details and provide the captain with information as he needs it. If I disagree with him, it’s my job to tell him and explain why. It’s also my job to implement many decision. He has the final decision, but he relies on me for input.

    The other part of that is that I am the household manager. That is my domain (he likes to say that I run the house and he just leaves here). Since I have to be responsible for a lot of day-to-day stuff, I have decision making powers on a lot of that. He simply believes that I have a lot of information and understanding in that area that he doesn’t have access to, so his being the decision maker wouldn’t necessarily be useful.

    I suppose the most important example would be disciplining the children. Occasionally he’ll come home and play with the children, only to find that the way the boys want to play is something I’ve been working on training them against all day. In his play with them, my reasoning is not apparent, so I take him aside and explain to him what’s up, and he redirects the play in a better direction. While he definitely has power, as the head of our household, in childrearing decisions, he tends to follow my lead, because I am with the boys all day and he isn’t.

Don't just think it: say it!

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