Parenting with Conflicting Worldviews
Also Available on:
What do you do when parents have worldviews that collide? Is your spouse not a believer and you're trying to teach your child that there is one true worldview? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz explores how to approach this dynamic within your home.
Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.
Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of The Foundation Worldview Podcast, where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the kids God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter, and understand the truth of the biblical worldview.
I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "My husband is not a believer, so there are worldviews colliding. How do I explain to my kids that there is only one true worldview?"
And this is a really important question, and it's actually a question that we receive quite frequently at Foundation Worldview. Where there are parents who are in unequally yoked marriages for a variety of different situations. Sometimes two people get married and one of them becomes a believer after getting married. Other times, two people come together when they're both claiming to be believers and they get married, and then one person walks away from the faith.
Other times a believer and a non-believer get married full well knowing that there are worldview differences. But when you're in love, they don't seem like huge issues until you start to have children, and you realize that they really are very big worldview issues. Especially when you have a desire to have your children raised in the faith.
So I think this is a question that a lot of people who are listening either can relate to from a personal level, or can relate to from just relationally someone that they know in their life who's in this situation.
So in this situation, it's a wife who's a believer, and a husband who is not a believer. And so my encouragement to this wife is that the first thing I would encourage you to do is keep in mind the priority of your marriage.
It's really easy for anyone who becomes a parent to start to place raising their children in a priority level above loving, and honoring, and respecting their spouse. Where biblically, this is not the case. That yes, being a mother or being a father is of the utmost importance. But the relationship of husband and wife trumps the relationship of parent and child.
And one of the reasons for this is the relationship of husband and wife paints a very specific picture of the gospel, that husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church. And wives are called to submit themselves to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.
And so if you're listening to this and you're in this situation where you're married to unbeliever, you may be thinking, yeah, but my spouse, there's no way my spouse and I are painting a picture of the gospel. And you're correct, that together it's really hard to paint a picture of the gospel with someone who is not a believer. However, nowhere in scripture does God call wives to make their husbands love them as Christ has loved the church. And nowhere in scripture does God call husbands to make their wives submit to them in the way that the church submits to Christ.
God gives responsibilities to husbands and he gives responsibilities to wives, and each one needs to fulfill that role, whether or not the other one is. So if this is your case and you are living in an unequally-yoked marriage, you are still painting a picture of the gospel by the way that you relate to your spouse.
So in this case, this wife is painting a picture of the gospel through the way that she respects her husband, and submits to his God-given authority in the home. And so I'm assuming that if this husband is not a Christian, it's not that he's incapable of loving or self-sacrifice. But it's really hard, virtually impossible, for someone who's not a believer to love their wife in the way that Christ has loved the church because they have not yet been reconciled to God.
So my encouragement to you is first and foremost, remember the priority in your marriage. Even if your husband is not actively working to love you, it's still your responsibility to respect him as the leader in your home, and to submit to his authority so long as that authority aligns with what is laid out in scripture.
Obviously, if he is commanding or asking or suggesting that you do something that is unbiblical, you first submit to Christ, not to your spouse. And you obey Christ over anyone else. Also, just make sure that you're honoring your husband as the head of your home even if he is not actively taking on that leadership role. Make sure that you're honoring him in that way.
First Peter three gives very specific advice and commands to wives, and so I'm going to read First Peter three, verses one through six for us.
In this chapter Peter writes, "Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands. So that even if some do not obey the word, they may be one without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see you respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear. But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Which in God's sight is very precious for. This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."
So in this passage, Peter is laying out how wives are supposed to be faithful in their marriage.
They're supposed to be subject to their husbands. And then for the husbands that are not believers, showing them the gospel through the way that you submit to them. And so that's the first and foremost thing to remember here, that God has called you to be faithful to your spouse. Because even if he's not a believer, you've made those vows before the Lord, before your community, to stay faithful to him.
Practically, in your home, make sure that you're speaking positively to and about your husband. Not that you're lying to your children and making up things that he's not, but that you're particularly highlighting the things that he does well. That when your husband does something well that you're praising him, you're thanking him, you're praising him in front of your children.
Because the biggest way that you are going to show your children the truth of the biblical worldview is in the way that you live your life. If you're preaching the biblical worldview to them, if you're directly teaching it to them and then you're not living a life that aligns with scripture, your children are going to see that.
And so the way in which you treat your husband, despite the fact that he's not a believer, that's going to have a huge impact on your children.
Now the question was, how you explain there is only one worldview. Or, sorry, one true worldview. That only one worldview aligns with reality. Well, the first thing you need to do is start off by teaching the objective nature of truth. Because if your kids don't understand the objective nature of truth, that something can't be true for you but not for me, the truth is true for everyone. That truth is objective, it's outside of the control of our emotions, our thoughts and our desires, your kids are never going to understand that there can only be one true worldview.
So if you've never gone through any of the Foundation Worldview Curriculums with your children, highly recommend that you just start off by requesting a sample lesson of Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum. Because in that curriculum, we start off with the concept of truth. And that truth is what is real.
And so you can get a free video lesson from us. It'll take you through an activity that you can do with your kids to help them understand the objective nature of truth.
Then, once they understand the objective nature of truth, then what we want to do is equip them to discern the difference between objective truth claims and subjective preference claims, or emotions. So a great thing to do is to give them examples of sentences that are true or sentences that are false, and have them determine whether those sentences are true or false. And then throw in some emotion claims in there to then discern is this claim true, false, or emotion? Or feeling?
If you have gone through Foundation Early Childhood Worldview Curriculum with your kids, you know we spend the whole first unit just on this concept, and something that we'll do is we'll give out sentences. And we'll say something like, "Puppies are baby dogs." That's a sentence that's true.
Then we'll say a sentence like, "Puppies run on the ceiling." That's not true. And then we'll say another sentence like, "Puppies are fun." That's a feeling. Some people feel like puppies are fun when they're playing with them, other people feel like puppies are not fun when they're chewing on the sofa.
So we need to equip our kids first to understand the objective nature of truth, then to be able to discern objective truth claims from subjective preference or emotion claims.
Then, another helpful thing to do is teach them the law of non-contradiction. That a claim, an objective claim, cannot be true and not true at the same time and in the same way. Okay?
For example, if I claim today is Tuesday, that claim is either true or false. If someone else says that today is not Tuesday, either that claim is true or false. It can't both be Tuesday and not Tuesday at the same time and in the same way.
And so just give your kids tons of examples of claims that are either true or false, and how the opposite claim cannot be true. If I say the sun is shining, and I say the sun is not shining, only one of those claims can be true. Either the sun is shining, or it is not shining. Okay?
Opposite claims cannot be true at the same time in the same way. If you've gone through Foundation Careful Thinking Curriculum, you know we spend a whole lesson on this. We spend a whole unit on the rules for careful thinking, and we cover the law of non-contradiction. That a claim cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same way. Then, that's when we can relate this to worldview issues.
We can say there's some people that believe that Jesus rose from the grave, and then there's some people that believe Jesus did not rise from the grave. Can both of those claims be true? Can Jesus have risen from the grave and not risen from the grave? No. Either Jesus rose from the grave and he's still alive, or He did not rise from the grave and he's still dead.
Some people believe Jesus died by crucifixion. Other people believe that he did not. Jesus died from crucifixion. Jesus did not die from crucifixion. Can both of these claims be true at the same time and in the same way? No, either Jesus died by crucifixion or he did not die by crucifixion. Then you can relate that to your own worldview and say, I believe some things that your dad doesn't believe. And when we believe opposite things, can both of those things be true? No, only one of the claims can be true.
This is not when you berate your husband, or when you're really sneaky and say, "We're going to believe this is true, but we're not going to tell Daddy." No, that's not what you're going to do. That's not honoring to the Lord. But what is honoring to the Lord is to explain to your kids, this is why I believe the claim that Jesus rose from the grave is true. This is why I believe that the Bible is God's word.
So discuss each of these claims, these things that you believe are true, then discuss their opposites. Can both of these things be true? No. Only one of these claims can be true. And then give the evidence of why you believe that that is true. Again, not talking negatively about your spouse, okay? Not being secretive about this. But saying, this is what I believe and why I believe it.
And you know what? It would make me so happy if you believed this too. But you know what? I'm going to love you no matter what you choose. And consistently providing that evidence for why you believe what you believe. And do not discount the importance of prayer. That we are not the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit, praise God, is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, and the Holy Spirit can aliven just, just awaken. I don't even know if aliven is a word. Can awaken the desires of our children's heart, and stir them towards God.
The Holy Spirit can convict of sin, okay? The Holy Spirit, okay, through the Father sending Jesus, sending the Spirit, can reconcile our children to God. And so that is what we want. So do not discount the importance of prayer.
Well, that's a wrap for today. But as always, as we leave this time together, my prayer for you is that God would richly bless you as you continue to faithfully disciple the children He's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.
Related Posts and insights
Discipline Your Child Without Spanking?
Is it okay to discipline children without spanking? To answer this question, Elizabeth Urbanowicz explores the goals in disciplining our children according to what we find in scripture and then discusses the positives and negatives of spanking itself. Plus, she'll talk about why it's important to consider alternate methods of discipline and the individual personality of your child when trying to accomplish the goal of discipline.
Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and the Truth
If we are teaching our children about objective truth, evaluating claims and understanding that the biblical worldview is true, is it harmful or antithetical if we're encouraging belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy?