Harmony of the home and family are important goals every Christian family should be seeking. Paul’s gave some advice to the Ephesian church, which can rightly be applied to any family. He encouraged them to walk
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph.4:2, 3).
As I’ve observed homeschooling families, I’ve concluded that possessing unity of spirit is one of the critical factors that will determine whether their homeschooling will succeed or fail. This is something that every family member has a responsibility for, beginning with the husband.
Husbands have a unique role, in that while they are members of the family, they are to lead the family as well. This dual role can create a challenge! But it is answered by scripture:
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… He who loves his own wife loves himself (Eph.5:25, 28).
Unity amongst a number of individuals for the sake of the kingdom of God, generally means that someone’s desires today may not be fulfilled. While it is true that husbands are in charge, their authority is always contingent on their responsibility. He has authority so he can serve. Thus the husband should always be prepared to put aside his wishes, if that is necessary in the best interests of the kingdom of God. Every husband may see himself as the king of his home, but only ever in subjection to his far greater King!
For the sake of His Father and the kingdom, Jesus said, “…Not as I will but as You will” (Matt.26:39). Every husband must adopt the same attitude, and do exactly the same.
Some of us have seen the humorous Duck Dynasty U-Tubes in the last year or so. The patriarch of this remarkably blessed Christian family, Phil Robertson has written a book entitled, “I am Second.”
What does he mean? He’s second to Jesus. What he wants, thinks and says in his family or business is irrelevant, unless he’s living in subjection to his King. And that attitude has been a big part of Robertson’s success and prosperity.
No husband or father has any authority autonomously. That would make him a tyrant. Authority is only ever to be held in subjection to the One Who has “all authority.” That requires that every husband must avoid “…thinking more highly of himself than he ought to think…” (Ro.12:3). Put simply, family harmony requires humility, beginning with the husband.
Thus husbands from time to time, have to re-consider their attitude towards their wife. Yes, wives are commanded to be “subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph.5:22), but the preceding verse is challenging: “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
God gave men wives to help them, and I have found out from experience that helping a man sometimes means that his wife says some plain things to him, that are highly unflattering!
Proverbs 15 contains a lot of statements about reproof. It tells us that “…he who regards reproof is prudent” (v.5), that “…he who hates reproof will die” (v.10), that “a scoffer does not love one who reproves him…” (v.12), “he who listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise” (v.31), and “…he who listens to reproof acquires understanding” (v.32).
Could these verses refer to a wife’s comments to her husband?
Nabal would have none of that. When his whole household was threatened with calamity, Nabal’s servant told Abigail Nabal’s wife, of the danger they were all in. He closed his comments with a description of his master:
He is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him… (I Sam.25:17).
Every wife has an opinion concerning a matter. She may be right; she may be wrong, but she has an opinion. Furthermore, husbands are commanded in scripture to “live with your wives in an understanding way… and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life…” (I Pet.3:7). That means always making room for his wife to speak her mind, whether it be complimentary or not.
Nabal’s tendency to ignore or reject unfavourable advice led to his early death (I Sam.25:38). The Christian husband today must learn from this foolish man’s errors, and learn to appreciate advice from his wife or other family members, even if it doesn’t gratify his pride. Taking that advice may save his life.
Is that something you’re ready to do?
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Prov.15:22).