Out of all the issues on this list, this may be the one that can get the most emotional. Parents care so much about how best to raise their kids that sharing responsibilities in this area can cause big-time conflict. Moms and dads will often argue about how permissive or strict to be, when and how to discipline, how best to protect and challenge their kids, and all kinds of other issues.
Peacekeeping Tip: Realize that you don’t both have to parent in the exact same way. Decide which values and principles are most important and then commit to responding from a united front. But keep in mind that it’s OK if parents approach things differently from time to time. And when you do disagree on how to handle a situation, discuss it out of the children’s sight and then make sure that your kids realize that you are working together as a team. Or, if your kids know that you two disagree on how to handle a matter, discuss it with the children and offer them a model of how two mature adults communicate and negotiate when they don’t agree.
A marriage can bring deep fulfillment and satisfaction to two people when they are willing to work hard at loving and compromising with each other. Even in the best marriages, conflict just comes as part of the package. The more you can address that conflict from a place of respect and openness, the better chance you’ll have of building a relationship that not only lasts, but also gets stronger and deeper through the years.