real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

homeschooling and committment in marriage

If the basis for any family unit is the relationship between the mother and the father, then, on the surface, it looks like homeschoolers are doing great.  While the divorce rate amongst evangelicals is a little higher than 50%, homeschoolers are typically families where there is one man and one woman who are committed to marriage and live out that commitment. However, my concern is that too often we tend to think that because we are homeschoolers, whether we are talking about the relationship between husband and wife or with our children, we are insulated from the problems that the rest of the world or even the rest of the body of Christ experiences. 

This is foolish and naive. I Peter 5:8 reminds us to “be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  And I believe that Satan would love to destroy a homeschooling family more quickly than any other family because of the great potential for a positive impact these families have on the culture.

Dr. Howard Hendricks tells the story of a survey he conducted where 276 men in the full-time ministry confessed to having been unfaithful to their wives.  Overwhelmingly, they admitted to two things that were, in part, responsible for this.  These men confessed that they did not have a regular time of prayer and Bible reading and that they assumed that this could never happen to them because they were being used by God!  I fear that too many homeschoolers also look at their marriages and think that they are secure simply because they are homeschooling families, have a good Bible curriculum,  and are being used by God!

A few years ago I watched a sweet homeschooling family self-destruct.  After many temptations, disappointments, and struggles, including the death of a child, the father left the ministry, the mother left the father for another man, the parents divorced, and the children were placed back into public school. What had been a testimony of goodness and grace became a tragedy and heartbreak for those who watched this unfold.

I have also listened as moms have told me about their struggles with husbands who were addicted to pornography.  I have heard moms tell me of their own temptations to infidelity, depression, and to real bitterness and unforgiveness toward their husbands.  These are struggles that are common to all of us because we live in a fallen world.  Being a homeschooler is no guarantee of a storybook and problem-free marriage.

According to Michael Farris from HSLDA, these stories are not uncommon.  He says that their organization has had to help families in similar situations through the years and he is concerned that many homeschooling mothers and fathers are not taking the necessary steps to avoid the problems he sees.

In the book he wrote with L. Reed Elam entitled A Sacred Foundation, he outlines some of the ways in which couples tend to drift apart and allow unaddressed conflicts that are specific to homeschooling couples to create a chasm between a husband and wife.  Leaving those areas unattended can threaten even the most secure and stable marriages.  We must always be alert to those things that cause a breakdown or a coolness in the relationship between a husband and a wife.  And we must take steps to grow together in oneness, which is, after all, the very purpose of marriage.   To that end, we are going to talk about some of these things in the coming months.  But first we will look at what commitment to our children looks like.

Copyright 2007


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