A BIBLICAL LOOK AT HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE!!!
1. Divorce is now an intrinsic (real, basic & built-in) part of society (~50% of marriages end in divorce, etc.). Heb. 13:42. Many more marriages are in trouble! (Is Your Marriage in Trouble?)3. Nearly all marriages have some problems: Different degrees, different reasons, and different times.4. God wants you to succeed in your marriage – Not just endure! (Many Christians have successful marriages! Stop & think of some you know.)5. We must look to God to find out how to succeed in our marriages!6. Some major reasons why marriages succeed.I. BOTH ARE DEEPLY IMPRESSED THAT MARRIAGE IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN – Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Matt. 19:3-6.A. The Home Was Instituted by God to Cradle, Shape & Maintain Civilization.1. Civilization & society came out of marriage & the home – Not the other way around! (cf. Anthropologists deny the word of God here.)2. Those who know & fear God will honor marriage & Him who gave it to us – Heb. 13:4.B. God & His Will are Honored in the Marriage – cf. Mal. 2:14.II. BOTH KNOW & ARE RESOLVED THAT MARRIAGE IS A LIFE-LONG RELATIONSHIP – Matt. 19:6-9; Rom. 7:1-2.A. Overriding Commitment to the Enduring Nature of Marriage is Crucial to its Success. (“cleave”)III. BOTH UNDERSTAND THE UNITY OF MARRIAGE – (Amos 3:3) Gen. 2:23-24; Eph. 5:22-25, 28-29, 33; 1 Pet. 3:5-7.A. Those Who Willingly Accept Their Respective Role & Function in Marriage Will Succeed In Marriage. (Leader & help-meet; Love & submissive)IV. BOTH TRULY LOVE (& BE IN LOVE WITH) EACH OTHER – Tit. 2:3-5; Eph. 5:25, 28, 33 (1 Cor. 13:4-7).A. When Real Love is Practiced Your Marriage Will Succeed.1. “I’m sorry”.2. “I forgive you”.B. Value Your Spouse. (Honor, respect, etc.)V. BOTH MUST PRACTICE SELF-CONTROL – 1 Cor. 7:5.A. Control Your Tongue – Jas. 1:19-20.1. Communicate! (Men!!)2. Listen to each other…Don’t jump to conclusions…Respect each other by the way we speak to & speak about each other.3. You have to earn the right to criticize (Quotation).B. Control Your Temper – Eph. 4:31-32 (kindness) (Jas. 1:20).C. Control Your Thoughts – Matt. 5:27-28; Phil. 4:8.D. Control Your Flesh – 1 Ths. 4:3-4.VI. BOTH PURSUE WISDOM & UNDERSTANDING – Prov. 4:7-8; 1 Pet. 3:7.VII. BOTH WANT TO BE WHAT GOD WANTS THEM TO BE IN EVERY RESPECT – Matt. 22:37-39; 7:21.
1. Certainly room for improvement in most marriages – even yours!2. Your marriage can improve & it can succeed!3. Christ & His church: Our example to succeed in marriage! (Eph. 5:22-33)
“WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT KEEPING OUR MARRIAGES STRONG”
1. Matt. 19:6 – It is sin to put asunder our marriage [“divorce,” depart, separate; derived from the idea of a chasm (chora), an empty expanse, such as the countryside between villages].
2. Heb. 13:4 – Marriage is an honorable institution & is to be honored by all people, including those who are married.
3. Gen. 2:18, 23-24 – God endorses marriage & provides for its success.
4. Question is: Will we obey His will in our marriage so that it can succeed?!
5. Six truths to help keep your marriage strong:
I. CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TECHNIQUE.
1. Common mistake: Thinking things constitute happiness in a marriage, rather than being the right kind of person. 2 Cor. 8:12
-Example: 1 Tim. 6:10.
2. The Character Of Christ (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:10):
-Love – Eph. 5:25; Titus 2:4; Eph. 5:2.
-Humility (not selfish pride) – Phil. 2:3-4.
-Honesty – Eph. 5:25.
(Generates trust, security & commitment between you – Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5).
II. LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.
· Of your partner’s sins – 1 Cor. 13:5-7.
· Of your goodness (“I’ve done…, therefore I deserve…”) – 1 Cor. 13:4.
-Kindly forgiving each other – Eph. 4:32.
-Healing – Eph. 4:31.
III. BEING IN A MARRIAGE CARRIES AN OBLIGATION TO COMMUNICATE.
· Be honest & open with each other. No secrets!
· By listening:
-To each other – Jas. 1:19.
-To instruction – Prov. 19:20.
-To wisdom – Prov. 8:32.
· By talking:
-Plainly – Gal. 4:16; cf. 1 Cor. 14:9.
-Kindly – Jas. 3:9-12; cf. Prov. 14:3; 15:1-2; 20:3; 25:11.
-Often – Prov. 12:25; 15:23.
IV. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE, NOT A FEELING.
· A constant choice – Matt. 18:21-22.
· A choice of the heart – Matt. 18:35.
· A choice of mercy – Matt. 6:14-15.
V. LOVE IS A COMMITMENT, NOT A FEELING.
· It is a decision of will which is carried out by action – Matt. 5:44-45.
-Husbands: As Christ loved the church; as you love yourself – Eph. 5:25, 28-29; 1 Pet. 3:7.
-Wives: As the church loves Christ – Eph. 5:24 (cf. Jno. 14:15); 1 Pet. 3:5-6.
· Must decide to have an overriding commitment to each other which is far deeper than the flesh & emotions.
VI. READING MINDS IS NOT SOMETHING HUMAN BEINGS DO WELL.
· 1 Cor. 2:11 – Therefore…
-Don’t assume…verify! 1 Tim. 6:4 (evil suspicions/surmising).
-Communicate (discuss & resolve – Matt. 5:23-24).
· This is greatly helped when trust is established & maintained in a marriage.
1. Everyone faces challenges in marriage.
2. Those who succeed work at keeping their marriage healthy, happy & in harmony with the will of God!
“Building Blocks to a Stronger Marriage: Communication”
1. Communication is a building block of any successful relationship:
a. God communicates to us all through His Son, Heb 1:1-2; Acts 20:32.
b. Children of God communicate with their Heavenly Father through prayer, Matt 6:9.
c. Parents and children must talk with each other, Eph 6:4.
d. Husbands and wives must communicate effectively to strengthen the tie that binds…
2. So, why do husbands and wives fail to effectively communicate?
I. Reasons husbands and wives do not communicate effectively…
A. They Begin taking Each Other for Granted. (Wasn’t always so)
1. Love does not assume or take for granted; it cherishes and delights in the one it loves, cf. SS 2:3; 3:1-4.
2. World says: “familiarity breeds contempt”; but God says get familiar and stay that way! Gen 2:21-23 (18)
B. They want to Avoid a Confrontation.
1. Past conflict can prevent present communication, Prov 21:9, 19.
2. Can convince ourselves it “won’t do any good”; and, if we react toward each other in negative ways – we are right! (Col 4:6)
3. Break the cycle of conflict, silence and avoidance:
a. With a soft answer, Prov 15:1-2.
b. By stopping the arguing and reconcile, Prov 20:3; Matt 5:23-24.
c. With a real commitment to listen to each other, Jas 1:19.
d. By removing wrath from your heart, Prov 15:18 (29:22).
e. By always thinking the best of each other, 1 Cor 13:5.
C. They are Obsessed with their Own Interests, 1 Cor 13:5.
1. Sin of selfishness (no self-control, 2 Tim 3:3; Gal 5:23) Phil 2:4.
2. How/where we spend our time, money, interest equates to value, devotion, security and trust (Lk 12:15; Matt 16:26).
a. Husband whose first concern is his own satisfaction is not following Christ, Eph 5:25 (1 Tim 5:8).
b. Wife whose first concern is her own pleasure is not following Christ, Eph 5:22, 24 (Prov 31:27).
3. Solution: Concerted effort to be interested in what interests your spouse. Eccl 4:9-12
a. Do things together: Children, recreation, etc.
b. Nurture your shared faith: Worship together, etc.
D. They Feel that they are Being Manipulated.
1. Joke: “Husband is the head, but the wife is the neck that turns the head!” may be funny, but it describes a dysfunctional relationship that is not honoring God’s arrangement for marriage. Eph 5:33
2. Why does a husband feel like he is being manipulated?
a. Maybe because he is; He is silenced into submission (compliance) by a domineering wife, cf. 1 Pet 3:3-6.
b. Maybe because he is not leading firmly, decisively and consistently, cf. 1 Pet 3:6. (Sarah couldn’t obey if Abraham wasn’t leading!)
3. Why does a wife feel like she is being manipulated?
a. Maybe because the husband only shows interest in her when he wants something for himself! 1 Pet 3:7
b. Contributes to resentment, distrust and animosity.
4. Communication is “sharing” – not controlling, cf. Rom 12:10.
E. They Say They are too Busy to take the Time, Eph 5:16.
1. Communication takes a commitment of time, cf. Col 4:5-6.
2. “I have no time” can be an easy excuse for couples to close off their hearts from one another.
3. We have time to watch TV, play video game, ride the bicycle, take a walk, etc. – Time can be made to attend to your relationship by simply talking to and listening to each other.
4. Don’t be a Martha and miss your opportunity, Lk 10:38-42.
F. They Don’t Want to Hurt the Other Person, Prov 27:5-6, 17; 28:23.
1. First, do you want to help your spouse? (Sometimes help hurts)
2. Second, are you willing to accept help from your spouse – even if it exposes your shortcoming, fault or sin?
3. Humble hearts are necessary in order to give correction to and to receive correction from our spouses! Rom 12:16
4. Solution: We must help each other know that we always have their best interest at heart, cf. Eph 5:26-27.
5. Goal: Strengthen each other and help each other go to heaven!
1. A marriage without communication is like a car without fuel; it won’t go very far for very long…it will sputter and die!
2. Rom 12:9-13, 16: Communication will be the natural product of building our marriages upon sincerity and goodness (9), kind affection and honoring preference (10), diligent service (11), joyful hope, patient steadfastness and prayer (12), sympathetic giving and unity (13, 16).
1. Many marriages are in trouble: less than what God wants them to be.
2. 2007: Over half of marriages 25+ years had ended in divorce!
a. The responsibility falls upon both partners, since each have God-given roles as well as God-given blessings when those roles are met.
b. When they are not met, the whirlwind of doubt, discouragement, disillusion and destruction invariably blows against the house that has been built on the sands of selfishness, disregard or worse, the sinful treatment of one’s mate. (Matt 7:26-27).
3. A healthy marriage is active, not stagnant; it is caring, not calloused; it is attentive, not neglectful; it is respectful, not demeaning.
4. A healthy marriage is very important, so we must never let down our guard, Eph 5:33.
I. A HEALTHY MARRIAGE TEACHES AND PRACTICES LOVE, Ezek 16:8.
A. Healthy Marriages Understand and Practice True Love, 1 Cor 13:4-7.
1. Not what the world says about love (1 Jno 2:16).
2. World often bases marriage on emotions, economy and unrealistic expectations.
3. God teaches:
a. A love that respects your mate, Eph 5:28 (Gen 2:23).
b. A love of actions and not mere words, cf. Prov 19:13; 21:9, 19.
-Something usually pushes the wife to point of contentiousness! 1 Pet 3:7; Col 3:19 (Eph 4:31-32)
B. Practicing Love in a Healthy Marriage:
1. Each is looking out for the other’s needs and interests, Phil 2:3-4. Communication is not neglected in a healthy marriage.
2. As Christ practices love for His church; as the church lovingly commits to Christ, Eph 5:24-25.
II. A HEALTHY MARRIAGE CONQUERS LONELINESS, Gen 2:18.
A. Why do Husbands and Wives Drift Apart? Eccl 4:7-12
1. Relationship is taken for granted rather than nurtured, Prov 5:18.
2. Selfishness invades the heart(s) and rules the day.
a. The responsibilities of marriage are put aside in order to pursue “my right to be happy”. (The grass is NOT greener…!)
b. A vow has been made: Too many think that it is “my right to be happy” rather than “it’s my responsibility to keep my vow.”
3. There’s a bug in the carpet (problems are not addressed; they are swept under the rug). Love doesn’t sweep things under the rug. cf. Eph 4:1-3 (5:25-27)
III. A HEALTHY MARRIAGE NURTURES CHILDREN, Eph 6:1-4.
A. A Nurturing Atmosphere Prevails, 1 Cor 7:14. (Training, correction)
1. Nurture knowledge of God and truth, Deut 6:4-9; Psa 78:1-4.
2. Nurture faith, 2 Tim 1:5.
3. Nurture the wisdom of life, cf. Prov 6:20-24.
B. A Role Model for Our Children, cf. Matt 1:19; Lk 1:28; 2:51-52.
IV. A HEALTHY MARRIAGE BUILDS CHARACTER.
A. Character is Developed in Marriage (cf. 2 Pet 1:5-7).
1. Sacrifice and service. Illus. husband wife had a stroke in her late 20’s with two kids (he stuck by her side for more than 50 years). (“for better or worse, sickness and in health”) Marriage is about giving, not taking (cf. Acts 20:35).
2. Empathy. 1 Cor 12:26 (Gen 2:23).
3. Patience. In marriage “until death us do part”.
1. Unhealthy marriages not only damage lives, but also souls, 1 Pet 3:7.
2. Nourish and cherish the mate God has given you, and you will be building a healthy marriage that brings you joy and blesses your family. Eph 5:28-29
1. Marriage is under assault:
a. Five states plus D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.
b. 5.4 million lived together without marriage in 2005 (RayFowler.org).
c. “Unmarried couples made up 12% of U.S. couples in 2010, a 25% increase in 10 years, according to Census data out Thursday.” (“Fewer couples embrace marriage; more live together”, Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, USA Today, 6/2/11).
2. Marriage is also dishonored when we fail to keep the marriage vows we have made.
I. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW WAS BEFORE GOD AND TO YOUR SPOUSE.
A. A Vow to God: Honors and Obeys God’s Arrangement of Marriage, Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6; Heb 13:4.
1. Do not make this vow rashly, Eccl 5:2; Prov 20:25.
2. Keep the vow you make, Eccl 5:4-6. (The folly of “annulment”)
3. Fundamental issues: Accountability to God, integrity before men.
B. A Vow to Each Other: God Approves the Marriage Covenant made between a Man and Woman who have the God-given Right to Enter that Covenant, Prov 2:17; Mal 2:14 (16).
-Vow: “Do you take this woman/man whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded wife/husband?”
1. Lawful marriages: God-approved, Matt 19:6; Rom 7:2.
a. God joins man and woman together, Matt 19:6.
b. God gave marriage to provide a life partner, to populate the earth and to protect against sin, Gen 2:18; 1:28; 1 Cor 7:2.
2. Unlawful marriages exist: God-rejected, Rom 7:3; Mk 6:17-18; cf. Jno 4:16-18.
a. Such marriages (covenants) are not valid (lawful) before God – even though men (courts) approve them.
b. Unlawful marriage is adultery, Mk 10:11-12 (Matt 19:9).
1) Who you marry will affect your standing with God: Be certain it is lawful according to God’s will.
2) Take the marriage vows seriously and live by them.
II. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW CONTAINED FREELY ACCEPTED OBLIGATIONS, Rom 7:2; Eph 5:22-33.
A. Husband. Vow: “Do you promise to love and cherish her in sickness and in health, and to provide for her in prosperity and adversity…”
1. Love her as Christ loved the church, Eph 5:25-27.
a. Christ’s love: Sacrificial – to save the church, Eph 5:23, 25.
b. Husband’s love: Sacrificial – to help wife be pure (saved).
c. Husband who loves sacrificially does not give occasion for his wife to be bitter, resentful or neglectful (sin), cf. 1 Pet 3:7 (1).
2. Cherish her as your own flesh, Eph 5:28-29 (Gen 2:23-24).
a. Place great value on her.
b. Cherish her regardless of the circumstances (sickness, health).
3. Provide for her in good and hard times, 1 Tim 5:8.
4. Lead and provide as a loving head, Eph 5:23, 33.
B. Wife. Vow: “Do you promise to love and honor him in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity…”
1. Love and honor him as the church does Christ, Eph 5:22-24, 33.
a. Submit to husband: “Obey”, Titus 2:5 – Yield to his leadership.
b. Honor him: In words and actions. This validation helps secure him and make his role easier and more willing.
2. Regardless of the circumstances (sickness, health, prosperity, adversity), cf. Ruth 1:16-17.
C. Husband and Wife. Vow: “to be faithful to her/him, and forsaking all others, cleave unto her/him and to her/him alone…”
1. Faithfulness helps secure your marriage for success.
2. Infidelity and deceit of adultery is an assault on the purity of the marriage as well as the trust and honor of your spouse: it is hatred (not love) toward your own flesh! (Eph 5:29)
3. So severe is this violation of the covenant that God allows the innocent one to be released from its binding nature, Matt 19:9.
4. Protect the fidelity of your marriage! Do not put yourself into any situation where you are tempted to yield to sin.
III. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW LASTS A LIFETIME.
A. Marriage is Until Death, not “Until Love Dies/Find Someone Else”.
1. Vow: “…until death you do part?”
2. Marriage is life long, so choose wisely.
3. Marriage is life long, calling for all the attributes of Christ to be seen and practiced toward one another, Col 3:12-15.
1. Marriage is under assault by the world; its blessings and responsibilities must not be abused and neglected by Christians.
2. Strengthen your marriage by remembering and keeping your vows.
3. Thank God for marriage, and thank God for your marriage partner; Both marriage and your mate are great blessings from God, Eccl 9:9.
Do you, ____________, take this woman whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded wife? Do you promise to love and cherish her in sickness and in health, and to provide for her in prosperity and adversity, to be faithful to her, and forsaking all others, cleave unto her and to her alone until death you do part?
Do you, ____________, take this man whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded husband, and pledge to do by him the part of the faithful wife? Do you promise to love and honor him in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, to be faithful to him, and forsaking all others, cleave unto him and to him alone until death you do part?
“HOW TO NURTURE, TRAIN AND ADMONISH YOUR CHILDREN”
1. Parental responsibilities are both physical and spiritual, and have immediate and long term effects, 2 Tim 1:5.
2. The truth “of the Lord” must be used by parents to accomplish their work of bringing up their children, Eph 6:4; cf. 5:17-18.
I. NURTURE: BRING YOUR CHILD TO MATURITY, Eph 6:4.
A. Teach them Respect for Authority, Eph 6:1 (Heb 12:9).
1. Parent must be in charge, not the children, Prov 1:8; 5:1-2.
2. Does not mean you are abusive or disregarding of your child.
3. Does mean they must learn that the world does not revolve around them! cf. Deut 21:18-21; Eli and his sons, 1 Sam 3:13
B. Teach them the Bible, cf. 2 Tim 3:15.
1. By instruction (books, people, Bible stories, etc.): Foundation for faith (Rom 10:14).
2. By your life: They see your love or lack of interest in the Bible.
C. Teach them Love.
1. For God and the Bible. How? cf. Psa 119:97 (meditate on it).
2. For family. Why? Blessings of family, Psa 127:3-5; Prov 17:6.
3. For brethren. Giving ourselves for each other, 1 Jno 3:16-19
4. For neighbors and enemies. This is how God loves, Matt 5:43-48.
5. By instruction in the word of God and by living an example of love before them.
II. TRAINING: A DAY DOTH NOT A MAN MAKE, Eph 6:4; Prov 19:18.
-paideia: “The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment).” (Thayer)
A. Discipline begins with Teaching, Prov 22:6; 1:8-9; 4:1-4, 20-22.
1. Parents must have the commitment to teach their children the ways of righteousness; you are molding souls for life and eternity!
2. Parental discipline in order to teach your child, Deut 6:7-9.
B. Discipline that Rewards Good and Corrects Disobedience, Prov 22:15; cf. Gen 4:7 (Prov 23:13-14).
C. Discipline with Equity (impartiality, fairness, justice, evenhanded), cf. Heb 12:5-7, 10-11.
D. Discipline must Continue with Patience, cf. Col 3:21.
1. God with Israel, cf. Deut 1:30-32 (Heb 3:9-11).
2. Strong-willed child, Prov 13:24; 29:15, 17.
3. Endurance: Every day!
III. ADMONITION: WARN OF DANGERS, cf. Joel 1:2-3.
A. Warn of Dangers that Destroy Character, 1 Cor 15:33-34.
1. Values of the world are not the values Christian must hold, 1 Jno 2:15.
2. Temptations of the flesh, 1 Pet 2:11; Matt 26:41; Rom 13:11-14.
B. Warn of Dangers that Destroy Personal Faith, 1 Pet 5:8-9.
1. Faithless world that resists faithful people, Matt 5:10-12. (Peer pressure)
2. Misplaced priorities, Matt 6:33; 16:26.
3. Materialism, Prov 3:9-10.
4. Intellectualism, Prov 3:5-7 (Rom 1:20-22).
C. The Danger of Refusing to Accept Parental Discipline, Prov 3:11-13.
1. Parents motive is love – to see child succeed and thrive! Prov 3:1-2.
2. Hardship, regret, folly and death in rejecting godly discipline, Prov 4:10-19.
1. Parents have the great work of telling the next generation of God and His wonderful works, Psa 78:4-7.
2. God binds the generations together with a cord of faith and love that brings honor to Him and to those who are nurtured in the training and admonition of the Lord.
CALLING ALL FATHERS!! AMERICA, WHERE ARE ALL THE DADS? WHY ARE THEY ABSENT FROM OUR HOMES? DAD? DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE? DAD, WE USE TO BE A FAMILY; WHAT HAPPEN TO OUR HAPPY HOME? DADDY, PLEASE COME HOME!! I LOVE YOU DADDY!!!
It is interesting that even in our secular culture there exists a day known as Father’s Day. Even unbelievers can see the importance of fatherhood and the influence which fathers can have on their children. This is simply one of those truths which is self-evident (Ephesians 6:1). And yet there are elements in our culture that have attempted to downplay the importance of having a father or the need for a father.
Fathers Are Desperately Needed
“In a study of male prisoners by Dr. David Blankenhorn, he found that the one thing they all had in common was the absence of a father. He also found that while most of the prisoners asked for a card to send to their mothers on Mother’s Day, none of them asked for Father’s Day cards…Not only do children need their fathers…but society needs fathers as well. Neighborhoods without fathers are neighborhoods without men able and willing to confront errant youth, chase threatening gangs, and reproach delinquent fathers…The absence of fathers deprives the community of those little platoons that informally but effectively control boys on the street” (Raising Faithful Kids in a Fast-Paced World, Dr. Paul Faulkner, pp. 116,118).
Men Need Fatherhood
Not only do children need their fathers, fathers need their children. “Judith Wallerstein began her longtime studies on children of divorce thinking that children were strong enough to adjust to their parent’s divorces. But she found out that kids have much tougher adjustment problems than had first been recognized. In her search, she also discovered that children were not the only ones who suffered developmentally. Young divorced fathers, separated from their children, seem to have their development blocked. Some never recover a sense of purpose or direction: they cannot grow up into fully mature men outside the structure of the family. Dr. David Blankenhorn, author of The Good Family Man, says, ‘Children endow a man’s life with a larger meaning. They confer a special blessing on his worldly endeavors, endeavors that might otherwise seem small and unworthy. Children make it possible for a man to believe that he has lived a good and purposeful life’” (Faulkner pp. 117-118).
“To turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous” (Luke 1:17). The quotation here is from Malachi 4:6, and Malachi adds, “and the hearts of the children to their fathers”. As John the Baptist begins his work, his preaching will convict the hearts of young people and adults. It will be his work to turn them to each other in the process. When young people and adults both want to do what is right, they will find that they desperately need one another (Proverbs 17:6). In other words, a home can only be what God wants it to be when sin is renounced by all parties involved. At this point someone might argue that there are fatherless children who have succeeded. But as one writer notes, “They have done so in spite of their loss, not because of it. Besides, we are not looking for the secular “norm” of fathering (how bad of job can we do and still raise good kids), we are looking to be the “best” fathers possible.
God Made Fathers
The above might sound like a very simple statement, but it is a truth that is easily forgotten. It seems that society often assumes that mankind invented marriage, parenting, mothers and fathers (Genesis 2:24). Regardless of man’s attempt to tinker with, remove, abolish or alter the family, man hasn’t been able to come up with anything that works better than dad, mom and the kids. And no one can take the place of Dad, not the mother, not the grandparents, not the school system, certainly not the government, and not even the church. Note, God didn’t command elders, deacons or the preacher to train the children born to Christians, God specifically commanded the fathers of those children (Ephesians 6:4).
Why Dad Exists
The Family Needs Protection: “Manhood must show a moral commitment to defend the society and its core values against all odds”. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
The Family Needs Food/Clothing/Shelter: Genesis 2:15/1 Timothy 5:14/Titus 2:5
The Family Needs Moral Leadership: “Fathers have a very significant impact on their children, especially their sons. One place this influence is evident is church attendance. If both mother and father go to church, 72 percent of the children will go when they’re grown. If only the father goes, that percentage doesn’t drop too much: 55 percent of the children will go to church when they’re grown. But now notice what happens when only the mother goes. If only the mother goes to church, only 15 percent of those children will go when they’re grown. So while the mother has a greater influence on children in some respects, church attendance is one area where the father has the big clout. Just look around in your own church. You’ll see that the younger boys will come to church with their mothers up through about junior high, but somewhere in junior high and high school if Daddy’s not going to church, the boys will drop out, as will many of the girls” (Faulkner pp. 123-124). I just think that many men assume that their wives have more clout and influence when it comes to spiritual things than they do. I am convinced that even a good number of men think that the faithful spiritual example of their wives will more than make up for their failure to be a spiritual leader. But long before the above research, God knew the truth (Ephesians 6:4). “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done” (Psalm 78:3-4). On this point one family noted, “The father must be the moral standard, the moral head of the home—not the mother, not school, not church, not grandparents”. One young man said about his father, “My dad just has a way about him. He can help us keep things straight. Dad had the uncanny way of keeping things in perspective”. To illustrate what he meant, he described his very last high school football game. It was the last game, the last play, and the last quarter. There was time for only one last play, and he had to throw the ball. If the pass was good, he’d be a hero; if the pass was bad, he’d be a goat. He threw the pass and the pass was intercepted. He was the goat and he came home late and hurting. His dad was waiting up for him. “Son I’m sorry the game was lost tonight, but let me ask you a question. You know Brice? (his little nephew). If we could reverse the outcome of the game by cutting off just the very tip of one of Brice’s little bitty fingers, would you be willing to do it?” The son replied, “Oh, no, Dad! I would never do that”. And then the dad said, “I didn’t think you would. So I guess winning the game wouldn’t have been worth even the tip of Brice’s little finger, then, would it?” And the young man said that when his dad said that, he felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
The Family Needs A Model Of Manhood: “Fathers are crucial in making men of their sons and women of their daughters. And contrary to the popular image, it is not the aggressive, macho man but the competent, caring, loving father who does this best” (Faulkner p. 125). By modeling manhood, fathers actually confirm their daughter’s femininity. That is, your daughters will look at you and say, “Oh, that’s what a man is like. So that’s how a man looks, acts, smells, and talks. That’s how a man treats women, that’s what a father is, that’s how a man cares for his family”. In contrast, daughters who have little or poor interaction with their fathers often have a difficult time knowing how to relate to men. “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13; Titus 2:6-8). In like manner, boys need their fathers to teach them how men conduct themselves. “At some point in his life, the boy must become a man; childhood dies. Boys eventually separate from their mothers in search of their maleness. Think of it like a person swinging on a trapeze. The time comes when he must change from one trapeze to another: the boy has to let go of his attachment to Mom and look more to Dad as his role model. If he lets go of childhood and Dad isn’t there for him, what then?….There is compelling evidence that fathers remain very significant figures for men far into their adulthood. Frank Pittman concurs. He believes that many men grow up yearning for better connections with their fathers. That ache reveals itself through their inability to adapt well to society. He says these men dream of a father who will come and teach them how to be men, and just tell them that they’re doing all right.” (Faulkner pp. 128-129).
What Every Family Craves From Dad
Be around: The first thing families crave from Dad is His simple presence. As someone noted, “Kids can’t bond with a moving target”. Fathers who are preoccupied with their jobs, themselves, or their problems are not available to their children. The curse of fatherhood is distance, and good fathers spent their lives trying to overcome it. One study of successful fathers noted that these fathers did not have a lot of discretionary time, the secret of their success was that they submitted what time they did have to their families. Whatever recreational time was available was spent on the family’s choice, not the dad’s. “One problem many fathers have is they think that if they get involved with their kids, their whole evening will be shot. The truth of the matter is, our children’s attention spans are so short that we’re lucky to get in a few good minutes every day. So when your daughter says, ‘Daddy would you do it now? Then jump up and do it now!…because soon she’ll be ready to do something else” (Faulkner p. 132). Someone noted, “Hurried men tend to skim life, skim wife, skim kids”. Some men out there are still rationalizing that they can’t spend any more time with the kids. They’re saying, “When my boy is old enough, then I’ll…” The sad truth is that boys aren’t born being able to fish, play baseball or golf. Furthermore, not all children are boys, and not all boys can play ball, etc…Make sure to interact with your children based on where they are now in their development and according to their abilities and interests, not based on your personal expectations and preferences.
Have the family at heart: Some fathers due to work are required to spend a lot of time out of town. But this absence doesn’t have to have a huge negative effect on the family, provided that when dad is home, he’s home. Families can tell the difference between a father whose heart was with the family and one whose was not. One mother said the she’d seen other fathers who would make an appearance at their children’s game, but they’d talk about business the entire time.