Q: “How do I deal with a husband who watches inappropriate entertainment in front of my children?”
A: God’s concern over the welfare of your children and household is very real. He is aware of the complexities and intricacies of your circumstances. He knows the struggles, your frustration, and the sin involved. Without pausing here first, it can be tempting to become angry, preachy, condemning, and disrespectful . . . all within earshot of or in front of your children. Stop to consider that your Father in heaven is very aware.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Ps. 121:8)
When you feel as if your hands are tied or that you are losing influence over your children, take the time to assess the situation in light of God’s love for you and them. It will not only help you when you are caught off guard, but it will give you peace of mind when you’re losing your patience. You can say to the Lord with the psalmist:
I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. (Ps. 73:23–24)
You recognize that your children are a gift and that you are called to shepherd over their lives and hearts. But that can make for a wearied momma when you feel as if you are doing it alone.
Your husband will be held accountable to God, since he’s also responsible for child training, as seen in Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” As tempting as it may be to run to your husband and show him this verse, and demand that he comply, the desired result is for your husband’s heart to change, not simply for him to adhere to the “rules.”
You do not want to create more stress within your home by attempting to control or making demands. Therefore, instead, set your heart to praying for your husband. Who else knows him as you do, loves him as you do, and desires to see him walk freely and fully in the Lord as you do? Interceding for him will also help guard your heart against bitterness. If your children are old enough, invite them to pray for their father. They don’t need to know all the details, but if they are expressing concern or showing behavior that stems from worry or fear, give them a safe place to share their feelings. Even when you don’t have the answers, point them to Christ. Let them see you be an example of taking all of our concerns to the Lord, as Psalm 50:15 encourages,
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Calmness, gentleness, and love, birthed out of humility and seeking the Lord, are necessary in order to express your concerns to him (Eph. 4:15). You do not want to embarrass or ridicule your husband. Your goal isn’t to put him in his place but to see him built up in Christ.
If there are deep issues such as abuse, anger, or addiction, then most likely there are other areas that are being affected. If this is the case, step out of the fear of being found out and talk to someone who is wise in their faith—a pastor, mentor, woman who is mature in the Lord, etc.—and involve the authorities, if appropriate. If your husband isn’t a believer, then he will likely have patterns of behavior that do not coincide with God’s instructions on raising children. Praying through this and reaching out for godly wisdom and mentoring will help you as you navigate this difficult path.
It is the Holy Spirit who convicts and enables us to change. It is God who woos and draws hearts to Him. You cannot change your husband. But God cares deeply about the condition of your home. He has also given you the responsibility to nurture and protect your children. Pray for wisdom. Pray for a pliable heart in your husband so he would be willing to receive your concerns.
The primary objective of your home is to rear your children in a God-centered way. Realize that there are two parents they are watching. How they see you respond will also be an influence in their lives. As you are faithful to take your concerns to the Lord, you can have a lasting impact.
If your children are very young, you might have to be on your toes a bit more. That doesn’t mean you treat your husband as another child, correcting him in front of them. It does mean you might have to redirect the children if he is preparing to watch something that is not appropriate. This is especially true if your husband is not willing to compromise. If the children are older, you can have conversations with them about their father’s choices without disrespecting or dishonoring him.
God cares. He sees. He is aware of your circumstance. He blessed you with your children, and He will be faithful to help you raise them. Diligently pray for your husband’s heart. Be willing to ask for godly wisdom from older, mature, women of faith. Continue to teach your children His ways, including respecting their father. Even when you confront the issue, maintain a spirit of humility with the motive of restoration rather than condemnation. Your children will grow to learn that they can trust and cast all of their cares upon the Lord by your example.