family life

Colossians 3:18-21
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

People tend to shy away from any talk of submission or the husband being the leader, but all of that comes from a misunderstanding of what leadership is. Jesus is our ultimate example of leadership and He said that it is not "lording it over people" but seeking to serve rather than be served (Matthew 20:25-28). The husband being the head of the family, doesn't mean telling the wife what to do, putting her down or keeping her in her place. It’s the exact opposite – supporting her, praying for and with her, doing everything possible to help her gifts flourish and to help her get closer to Jesus.

A wife submitting to her husband does not mean that she needs to have his dinner on the table every night, do all the washing up and not say anything if he's spending all his time at the pub, watching football or playing on computer games. It means that she does everything she can to support him, which includes challenging him if necessary. The husband being the head does not mean that he is always right and the wife is always wrong. It doesn’t mean that they are adversaries fighting their own corner and putting the other one down. They are both on the same team!

Similarly with parents and children, the children should respectfully obey their parents as they would to Jesus. Parents should aim to lead the children out of love, with the aim of  bringing the child closer to Jesus.  Loving your spouse and children well is far more important than any work, even in the church. Jesus is our ultimate role model for all relationships and His way of putting the needs of others first is massively counter-cultural.