In Ephesians 5 & 6 God sets up His formula for a happy home. The players and their key words are:
Husbands – head; love
Most of us think that the key to a happy home is everyone loving one another. And indeed it is for love comes down from the head of the home. When that love is raining down, just as God extends His love to us even when we are unlovable, then everything else seems to fall into place. Paul goes into great lengths to explain this kind of love. He compares it to the love that Christ has for the church–the bride that he loved and gave Himself for. He did this so that He might set us apart and cleanse us through the Word. Husbands, are you teaching your wife the Word so she will be usable by God? Is your goal that she will be glorious and have no flaw? Paul goes on to explain to husbands that you should love her as much as you love your self–he particularly says as you love your “body.” Now let me tell you, men love themselves–love their bodies. Paul didn’t just say “love your wife,” he drilled down to make sure men understood clearly just how much they were to love their wives. He continues, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church.” Oh, yeah, we women can all agree with that statement. This kind of love enveloping a woman, particularly a woman who agreed to marry you in the first place, will cause her to respect (honor or reverence) you.
I Peter 3:7 says “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” I find it interesting that God didn’t say to dwell with your wife according to understanding, righteousness or wisdom–probably because it would be impossible. But He did say you should know her–EVERYTHING about her. She will translate this as love. And, guys, if you want God to hear your prayers, you need to be loving your wife. What would that look like TO HER? Would you take out the trash, help with the house cleaning, fix dinner, bring her flowers, say kind things to her? Time to get your LOVE on (I Cor. 3:14).
God goes on to tell men that they should not provoke their children but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord–teach them about God’s love. Talk to them of things of God; model God’s love and ways to them.
Now guys, get this right because you are going to give an account for your wife and your family before the Lord.
Wives – submit; reverence
Girls, our part is to submit to and reverence (honor and respect) our husbands. And as much as I’d like to tell you that IF he loves us, THEN we will honor him, the passage starts with us. We are instructed to kick off this whole happy home environment by submitting to our husbands. Would you believe every time God talks about our role to our husbands/families, He starts off by saying we should submit…FIRST! I asked my husband why he thought God said it this way and in this order. He explained, “Carol, when I tell you what I want done and you argue with me, it makes me dig in my heels and I can become unyielding and make decisions based upon exerting my control vs. what is right. This can be dangerous for our family. When you tell me you see my point and will abide by my decision, but you have something you’d like for me to consider as I make my final decision, it helps me maintain my role as leader of our home and allows my spirit to become open to your ideas. Your willingness to follow me allows me to let you be my helper.” Girls, your husband is going to give an account for your family. When he stands before the throne, you want to be beside him as a jewel around his neck that he can show off to His Heavenly Father, not as a thorn in his side he must explain.
Children – Obey; Honor
And children, your role is obedience when you are young. And as you age, your role is to honor them. This means including them in your life, going out of your way to show them that you love them in word and deed. Oh, no doubt you’ve got a laundry list of things they did that you will do better now that you are an adult/spouse/parent. Trust me, your kids will have their own lists as they take on their adult roles, too. It’s time to lay those things down in your relationship to your parents. You are entitled to learn from your parent’s mistakes; indeed they hope you do. They will be aging. They won’t be as cool as you are. They may not know as much as you think you know. Some of their little quirks may irritate you. You’ll be busy and have a thousand things pulling at you. But before the Lord, your role is to honor. . .HONOR. . .your parents. After all, the life you enjoy today is because they sacrificed to raise you and help you take the first steps into adulthood. You’ll find that when your heart is filled with gratitude and honor, your relationship with your parents will flourish. And God promises you a bonus for doing so–your days will be long upon the earth.
I’m not sure what role dogs play in our home except that dog backwards spells god. In early communications, men used stick figures and symbols. The symbol for dog was “ALL HEART.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from this.