I consider raising children a great blessing and privilege that is unique to marriage. No other relationship has the deep responsibility of raising and shaping a child together. It often surprises me to hear when couples have very few conversations, if any, regarding how they are going to parent and raise their children.
A friend of mine (and mentor – she is so wise!), Carolyn, sent me the following message shortly after hearing that my wife and I were pregnant…
Being a parent so greatly deepens both joys and sorrows – I think there is nothing that has greater potential for shaping us into having deeper hearts. ~ Carolyn Culbertson
My kids aren’t even 2 years old and I can see how this is already the case – my character is being shaped and my heart is deepening. The fact that I’m married and raising my children alongside my wife gives us the potential to deepen our hearts together! Having conversations about how to parent is one way that we allow our marriages to grow deeper and stronger.
Have you talked with your spouse about raising your children? You don’t have to have kids to begin talking about parenting! In fact, it would probably be good if you at least talked a little about parenting before you even get engaged!
Here are some topics that my wife and I have at least briefly talked about so far, and could maybe be a starting point if you have yet to talk about parenting together (if you have your own, add them in the comments below!):
- What activities do we want our kids to be involved in (sports, music, recreational, etc.)?
- What are we looking forward to about having children?
- When our children are newborns, will either of us stay home, or will we use childcare?
- How old will our daughter be when we’ll allow her ears to be pierced?
- Will we use pacifiers? Why or why not?
- Will we allow our children to____________? Why or why not?
- What was good about how your parents raised you? What would you change?
- How will we discipline our kids? What constitutes what kind of disciplinary action?
- What kind of schooling will our children go through (home, private, public, other) and when?
Since my wife stays at home with our children while I work, she is often the one that is setting boundaries and enforcing ‘rules.’ One of the best things that we do is discuss those boundaries and rules. I will sometimes return home and either allow or disallow my son from something only to find out that my wife has done the opposite of me. We quickly will talk about these things (they are often minor) and come to an agreement. Consistency is key to raising children! We want to make sure that they can trust us in our parenting as a team!
So, have you talked with your spouse about parenting? If so (or even if not), share some topics that we can discuss with our spouses!