At church this month we had a lesson on the family’s dynamics based on Ephesians 5 and 6. I loved this study, and though, I am not going to delve too far into it, I wanted to highlight the topic just a little (mostly focusing on parenting).
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
I know that some women may dislike this verse (or more of the word “submit”), but its really not meant as we see it today.
We, as wives, should submit to our husbands like we (men and women) submit to Christ. We trust that each will have our best interest at heart. I know I am not perfect (and that’s why I need God’s grace)…I don’t always submit to my husband. Actually, I hardly think that he could be as selfless as the God calls him to be. But that’s not him, that’s just me talking and thinking in my worldly ways. I really need to focus on trusting my husband and submitting to him. In the same way, however, husbands do not control their wives:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (v25-33)
Husbands are called to love and care for their wives and give up their needs for that of their wives. Be selfless like Christ and lift her up. See that her needs are met. I love that verse, but often forget the part that calls me to submit and trust my husband first. It does all fit. God’s plan is greater than ours, and He knows what is best for our families. He thought all this out ahead of time, and we just need to trust in Him.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
Oh, wouldn’t the world be a much nicer place if ALL children obeyed their parents at ALL times? If you ever figure out a way to get them to do that, please share it with me. It’s a wonderful thought, but the reason I put this on here is mostly because of the parenting dynamics. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” Other versions of this verse in Ephesians and one in Colossians 3:21 read not to “embitter,” “irritate” or “provoke them to anger” or “resentment” by “coming down too hard on them” or they “may lose heart” or “become discouraged.” Instead, “take them by the hand” and “rear them tenderly.”
This does not mean not to discipline them. On the contrary! Disciplining them is a must, but doing so with love and not anger and with (a Godly) purpose is also a must. I come from the school of thought that we, as mothers and fathers, are raising responsible adults and not just raising children. Teach them in everything you do (include them in daily activities that you do), play with them, spend time with them, be mindful of them (this includes not watching or listening to your favorite show lest they hear or see something inappropriate), be involved in every aspect of their lives. This doesn’t mean smother them…it just means nurture, love, direct, and discipline them in love and understanding. Punish them consistently, don’t show preferences between children, don’t be harsh or unjust, try to see their perspective, and be together (mothers and fathers) in your disciplining methods. Raise them so that they can make their own decisions between right and wrong as responsible Christian adults. I LOVE Dr. William Sears and all his book series on Attachment Parenting and disciplining children (he also has a bunch of tools online). If you haven’t read them, then do!
I read a great paragraph online once called the “Effects of Fathers,” talking about dads and their responsibilities as role models for their children. (growing up in a single-parent household, I also think a lot of this could apply to mothers as well, but this particular passage focuses on dads, and rightly so.)
“Young boys learn from their dads how to be a man — how to treat women, how to be lovers, providers, leaders and protectors of homes. A little girl needs the father in her life so she can learn to relate to the opposite sex, to whom she will be married some day.”…If children have violent fathers with uncontrollable tempers, they will more than likely display the same. If children have fathers who are absent physically or psychologically most of the time, they will feel unloved, unwanted, insecure. If children have fathers who demonstrate strength, love, affection, and even tears, they will grow up with healthier emotional development. If children have abusive fathers, they may grow up hating their fathers, their self-esteem may suffer, and they may mourn throughout their lives for that ‘loving’ father they never had. If children grow up under permissive fathers, they will likely grow up to disrespect rules and regulations of all kinds, e.g., the law, government, church, school, or society.”
Those are my 2 cents worth (or maybe 25 cents!). I hope that I was able to make some sort of positive impression and not discourage or put you off in any way. Now go hug your children!