WT 074: Greg and Karen Stubbs on Parenting, Marriage and Other Lessons From 31 Years Together

We have a special episode of Wire Talk today, Karen’s husband Greg is joining us! Greg and Karen are answering your questions on how they co-parented when they were apart, how they kept their marriage healthy and how they supported each other’s dreams and goals. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did!

Question 1: How did you and Greg co-parent when your schedules didn’t always line up or you were apart for long periods of time?  

Greg: We discussed discipline and issues with the kids even while we were apart. I would offer encouragement and we would decide together on the appropriate discipline or areas of emphasis for each child. Karen rarely said, “Wait until your dad gets home.” She would also “brief” me on any current issues so I wasn’t playing catch up when I got home. I knew she was really working with Kelsey on being respectful, with Taylor on learning to share, etc…

Karen: A lot of communication. I can’t emphasize that enough. When Greg was gone, we were constantly talking on the phone. The conversations were not just me complaining; I would seek his advice and a plan together.

Sit down and talk with your spouse about what he wants and what you want in an area. Make a plan.

Question 2:  Karen, how did you and Greg stay intentional about taking care of your marriage when your kids were little and Greg traveled? My husband travels too, and when he’s home it seems like he just wants to rest, but I am ready to hit the town with him!  

Greg:  I wanted to rest when I got home as well. I wanted to just have a home cooked meal, play with the kids and relax on the couch. We usually wouldn't go anywhere the first night I got home; but, prior to coming home, we would discuss when we could go out or what social events we wanted to attend. Basically, we tried to figure out the plan before I got home to eliminate any expectations that might go unfulfilled. It wasn’t unusual to get a little push back from the kids, but date nights were always a priority for us.

Karen: Greg liked to rest too. At first that made me mad, but then I realized it was legit. It’s also legit that I wanted to go out. So, I learned to allow him some time to rest, then we would go out later. Most of the time though, I had push for what I wanted and not feel guilty about it. Greg didn’t mind, but going out was not first on his list. Give a little, take a little.

Question 3: Karen, did you and Greg ever disagree on parenting styles? If so, how did you work through it. My husband and I are having a hard time getting on the same page with spanking. Both of us are sticking our heels into the ground on our opposite positions.

Greg:  We never really had any big disagreements with parenting style.  If one parent is “in the trenches” on a regular basis with the kids, then I’d say they might have a better understanding of what is and isn’t working. For these parents I’d ask, “What is working?  Are you able to effectively discipline without spanking?  Do each of your kids respond the same to the same type of discipline?”  I would go with the type of discipline that is working.  It is important to have a united front with the kids. Have the discussion behind closed doors and then come to a decision and be united once you step out. Even if the answer is to try one style for 3 months and then if it doesn’t work, try a different style. Bottom line, there isn’t one “style” that fits every child. You must be a student of your child and adapt to their different personalities.

Karen: Greg and I usually agreed on things or we would keep talking until we finally lined up. I will say, Greg gave me a lot of lead way and trusted that I knew best concerning the children because I was with them more. That is important. I would ask your husband why he feels the way he feels and really listen.  There may be a good reason he thinks the way he does.  Then, I would try his way for a while and see if works. Then try your way. In the end, go with what works best. If you can’t come to an agreement, get a mediator. Someone who is impartial can help you come to an agreement.

Question 4: Karen, with Greg traveling when your kids were young, and then you starting the Ministry… how did and do you guys stay supportive of each other’s dreams and goals without growing some resentment along the line? How do you support your spouse’s career passions when they look different than the life you imagined for yourself?

Greg: In hindsight, I was pretty singularly focused on my career when the kids were younger.  It was only later that I really understood the sacrifice and support Karen gave me when I was in the middle of pursuing my dream. If I had it to do all over again, I would be more intentional about acknowledging her support of my dreams and that perhaps her career goals were placed on hold while we raised a family. I don’t think Karen resented being a stay at home mom, but I wasn’t sensitive to the fact that she may also have some career goals that she was choosing to set aside for a season. Simply acknowledging that fact would have opened the discussion about different career dreams we both had and probably would have allowed me to be a better father and husband during that time.

Karen: I didn’t have a dream for BOAW until my children were older. I did feel like I was sacrificing for Greg to accomplish his dreams; but, given our circumstances, my sacrifice was what was needed at the time. It just made sense for our children to have one parent that was stable and always around. Life is about sacrifice. When I did get resentful, I really tried to give that over to the Lord. Only He could take that away. In our new curriculum, The Six Truths of Motherhood, we have a whole lesson on resentment.

Try not to be so “self” focused. Keep in mind if you are the one sacrificing, your day will come.

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God. If you have a question about motherhood we want to hear it.

Resources Mentioned:

Mom Core

The Six Truths of Motherhood

Parenting by the Book by John Rosemond

Thank you, moms. Have a great day!