CHILDREN LEARN SUBMISSION TO GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY FROM THE WAY THEIR MOTHERS TREAT THEIR FATHERS
I was shocked. Our children IMMEDIATELY began to be so much more respectful to both of us. It scared me. I finally saw that they imitate my submission to Greg – my words, my tone of voice, my attitude – all of it. That is how they will treat any God-given authority. I am teaching them to either respect and submit to God-given authority or to disrespect and rebel against God-given authority now and in the future by my level of respect and submission to my husband. YIKES!
Eventually, Greg started backing me up, too. Our children obeyed so much more readily! The respect level went up even more. My husband began to correct our children if they were disrespectful to me. It has been THE BEST THING EVER!!! We are truly a team now. We are united. It has drastically impacted our children’s attitudes and behavior. And – my husband slowly began to plug back into the family. Now – he is such a godly leader and loving dad and husband. He had all of that in him all those first 14+ years of our marriage – I just didn’t understand that I was sabotaging him and our marriage.
“BUT I’M RIGHT!”
Sometimes I tended to focus on the little issue at hand. I believed passionately that I was “right” about whatever this particular little decision was. And I inadvertently made the decision more important than the big picture. I focused so much on the outcome and wanting to do what I believed was best – that I didn’t notice how I was sabotaging our marriage, sabotaging our children’s understanding of spiritual authority, and wounding my husband with my unknowing disrespect. (Submission is not about the husband always being “right”)
Many wives today have never seen a wife respect her husband and honor his leadership – even in the church.
Disrespect for husbands, men and fathers is mainstream today. Respect and biblical submission do not come intuitively to women, especially because we have been so poisoned by the worldly culture around us. We are also all daughters of Eve. We want control. We think we know better than our husbands, and, ultimately – we think we know better than God.
WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH MY HUSBAND?
Whenever possible, speak to him respectfully in private. It is wise generally not to contradict him in front of the children unless a child is in extreme danger. As much as possible, bring up your concerns VERY respectfully away from the children.
Then, unless he is sinning against them or actually seriously endangering them – please try to support his decision.
God may inspire my husband to do things that I may not understand at the time. It is important for me to humbly pray for God to give my husband wisdom to lead us all. It will only be when I look back in hindsight in the future that I will see how God’s hand was leading the whole time.
THE MILITARY MODEL (by a Christian male reader)
The Captain/First Officer model speaks well to this. A good First Officer will always voice her opinions, suggestions and advice to the Captain, so long as it is appropriate and there is time. If he acts on them, great. Otherwise, she obeys and carries out his commands. But unless there is a reason not to voice her opinion, a First Officer should generally offer it in a respectful manner. The key is to be respectful.
I should probably point out that most serious discussions should be held away from children if possible, to maintain harmony. That is how the model works best in the military, and should work in marriage. Likewise, the Captain (husband) shouldn’t dress down his First Officer (wife) in front of their children, and she should never disrespect him or his authority in front of the children either.
Oh, and the same rules that apply to children apply to others outside the family/ship, like extended family or friends.
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT GOD IS LIKE PRIMARILY FROM THEIR FATHER
We as wives dramatically shape our children’s perception, understanding and love and respect for their fathers. AND – how children perceive their fathers POWERFULLY impacts their ability to love, respect and trust God. A child’s view of God is formed in the likeness of his dad.
We as women have INCREDIBLE power to either bless our husbands and children or to destroy our husbands, our marriages and our children’s future relationships in marriage, with their teachers, with government and police authorities, with church leaders, with their bosses, and with God.
With this great power comes immense responsibility. I pray we will use our influence wisely!
If there are extreme circumstances – if your husband is actually abusing your children – please seek godly counsel. If your husband is addicted to drugs/alcohol, has an uncontrolled mental health disorder or is physically violent and causes injury to you or your children, please seek godly help ASAP. Extreme situations like this go beyond the scope of my blog.
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas has a beautiful example of a wife handling a situation where her husband was too harsh in a very respectful and powerful way.