The Real Enemy
By Carlos Santiago
Two weeks into our parenting journey, somehow my wife’s way of changing a diaper was right. Mine was wrong.
I had just as much experience as she did, but it didn’t seem to matter. I felt I would never measure up to “Mommy.”
I spitefully questioned whether I should just let her take over diaper duty.
Around that time, I was reminded of James 4:1-11. He says fights are caused because “you desire and do not have” and “you covet and cannot obtain” (verse 2).
James was right.
Our conflict wasn’t about the “right way to change a diaper.”
I desired respect I felt I didn’t have. I coveted the high status bestowed upon mothers. I feared my role as a father would soon be downgraded to financial provider, playmate, and occasional babysitter.
I didn’t want that.
The thing is, neither did she.
My wife wasn’t trying to dominate me or downgrade my role as a father. She simply wanted to share a trick to make both of our lives easier.
By turning parenting into a competition, I stopped assuming the best and started assuming the worst.
Over the years, we’ve had to learn to look beyond our gut reactions and uncover the hidden desires that fuel conflict. When we do, it’s easier to realize my spouse is not the enemy.
We still have very different ways of doing things. We still disagree. But now I assume we’re on the same team.
Together, we fight the problem. Not each other.
The good stuff: God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
Action points: In what ways might you and your spouse be fighting against, rather than for, each other? The next job (or argument) you have to tackle together, consider how it would look if you were fighting for your team.
Visit the FamilyLife® Website