We’ve all heard the advice that the best gift we can give our kids is a great relationship between us (Dad and Mom). But how? Is there a guide to doing that?
As a matter of fact, there is – Ephesians 5. Here are five how-tos from Paul’s chapter on love and marriage. In other words FIVE in FIVE
*Be a team. (vs. 21-28). Most of the chapter talks about the “team” aspect of the family. No, Paul doesn’t use the word “team,” but he does explain the authority structure. Dad’s the head, but Mom is right there, too. The parents (not the kids) are in charge.
Being a team also means the couples shouldn’t undermine each other. They don’t argue whether or not their 3rd grader can try out for soccer … in front of the 3rd grader. They don’t fight over whether their teen can attend the party … in front of the teen. They have these discussions in private and then present a united front to the teen.
This also means that children shouldn’t be allowed to play you against each other. Even if the child/teen doesn’t like the answer Dad gave him, that doesn’t mean he should be allowed to try again with Mom.
*Be all about love and respect (vs. 33). Parents shouldn’t call each other nasty names, slam doors or threaten each other. Kids do not need to hear things like, “I shouldn’t have married you” or “Why don’t you treat me like Joe treats Elizabeth?”
What kids should hear is “Mom isn’t feeling well today. Let’s help her out. Jenna, please set the table and Colin, please put the rolls in the oven.”
Or, “I thank the Lord for bringing Mom and me together. We love each other very much and are grateful for the three kids He’s given us.”
*Be pure (vs. 3-4). This is a good one in today’s world. Kids hear so much impurity from the culture, they don’t need to hear Mom talking about the “hot guy” on TV she’s crushing on or Dad saying something off-color about a member of the opposite sex. Parents need to respect each other and do everything possible to uphold that respect.
*Be together (vs. 31). A husband is to leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. If Dad and Mom are both working eighty hours a week and spending the rest of their waking hours in front of the TV, computer or on their iPhones, they aren’t joined together. Parents need to take time to go out on dates even if it’s walking on a nearby trail or dinner at a fast food restaurant. They need time to say more to each other than “Could you pick Sammie up from school today?” or “For the 97th time, please fix the leaking faucet.”
Kids need to see their parents in ministry together. This could be teaching a Bible study or inviting a missionary to dinner.
Your children need to understand that you’re each other’s best friend. (Because you are, aren’t you?)
*Be thankful (vs. 20). Children need to hear Dad compliment Mom on her cooking (or vice versa). Children need to hear parents thank each other for working hard and being a good parent.
Seeing parents love each other will help children and teens feel loved and secure themselves. That love and respect for their parents includes respect for what their parents say and what they believe. That security gives them confidence as they face the world.
When parents love and respect each other, home becomes a safe place in the eyes of the kids … and is also a lesson from God’s Word concerning their own future.
A big thank-you to Paul for giving us FIVE in FIVE