Here is the second post in the final two-part series by our guest blogger. You can see the rest of Zachary’s posts here: What Does the Bible Say About Dating?; When Does a Child Become Independent? Part 1 and Part 2, and Whatever Happened to Parenting? Part 1.
Guest Blogger: Zachary Garris
Parenting Husbands and Wives
On top of all this, parents should also provide their children with instruction in life. Kids need wisdom. Assuming they are already getting this from the teaching of Scripture (Proverbs is an excellent book for boys by the way), kids simply need guidance from their parents. Parents should advise their kids in the problems they face, and they should give input regarding important decisions, such as what profession to enter.
But parents should also be giving instruction in one of the most practical areas of life—marriage. In fact, the entire process of raising children should be viewed as parents preparing their children for marriage. The goal should be not only to raise godly men and women, but also godly husbands and wives. A young woman should be taught to aspire to be an “excellent wife” (Prov 31:10-31). And a young man should be taught to desire such a woman as his wife.
But this also means parents should be seeking to marry their children off. For the job of parenting is not complete just because a child turns 18 and graduates high school. This modern American concept of “independence” is completely foreign to the Bible. Instead, men leave their father and mother when they marry (Gen 2:24), and women leave the authority of their father and come under the authority of their husband at marriage (Num 30:1-16; Eph 5:22-24). Therefore parents ought to be seeking wives for their sons and husbands for their daughters.
Children need help in this area. It should not be assumed that an 18 or 20 year-old has all the wisdom needed to choose a good spouse. This doesn’t mean the children have no say in who they marry. But it does mean parents should be involved in the courtship process. Parents should be discussing suitable spouses with their children on a regular basis. This important process of finding a spouse must not be left entirely to children.
In the case of a young man, he should surely have his parents’ approval in his choice of a wife. And in the case of a young woman, her parents should be protecting her through the practice of courtship. It is never a good idea to allow one’s unmarried daughter to spend time alone with a man. This is what we call the abdication of the father’s role as covenant head. Instead, when a godly man is interested in one’s daughter, the father should protect his daughter by being involved in the relationship. The suitor should be invited over to the home to spend time with the family. The father can allow the man to take his daughter on dates as things progress. But in all of this, the father must be guarding his daughter’s purity. His goal should be to present his daughter as a godly virgin to her future husband.
Raising godly husbands and wives is difficult in our culture today because there is so much confusion regarding gender roles. Our culture is in rebellion against God, and it should therefore not surprise us that the culture is also in rebellion against God’s design for men and women. So we must be clear—God intends parents to raise boys to be men and girls to be women. And in order for parents to raise godly husbands and wives, they must embrace and teach the Bible’s teaching on gender roles.
In the case of men, parents should raise their boys to provide financially for their family (1 Tim 5:8). Boys are going to take wives some day, which means they will have covenantal authority over a woman (Eph 5:22-23). They therefore need to be taught to lead well. Fathers must model such behavior as the head of their household, teaching their boys to be hard-workers who provide for their wives and children. But this also means boys must be taught to honor women. This begins with the honoring of their mother (Ex 20:12), which should be modeled by their father honoring his wife.
As for women, parents should raise their daughters to take care of a home. I know this sounds sexist in our day and age, but we need to just drop the feminist mind-set. The Bible says a lot about the role of women, and it makes a whole lot more sense than the culture’s goal of making women to be like men (and men like women). An important text here is Titus 2:4-5, which says that older women are to “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
God designed women to bear and raise children. This is obvious from the fact that it is the woman, not the man, who carries a child to term and then nurses it after birth. But the weaning of a child does not mean the mother’s job is done. God doesn’t want women with children to send them off to day-care for someone else to take care of them. No, God wants parents to take care of their own children. And this means mothers should fulfill their God-given responsibility. This doesn’t mean women cannot ever work outside the home, but it does mean mothers must first take care of their children. And this is often a full-time job in itself.
In taking care of children, a mother actually models to her daughters what a godly woman looks like. But a mother is also able to model other roles of a godly woman. She is to show her daughters what it looks like to submit to her husband (Eph 5:22). And she is also to teach her daughters the tasks required to run a home. This doesn’t mean dad can’t help around the house, but it does mean somebody has to do the tasks necessary to run a home. Somebody has to cook, clean, do laundry, sow, and take the kids to the doctor. And since God designed men to be the main provider for the family, He also designed women to be “working at home” (Titus 2:5). A mother should teach and model these important tasks to her daughters. Feminism has led to many women not being able to cook or sow—but these are important tasks! Motherhood and home-making is a high calling. So, go ahead and teach your daughters what a godly woman looks like.
Parenting has fallen on tough times, as many kids today are raised by the culture instead of their parents. There is no substitute for good parenting. Fathers and mothers should be the main influence upon their children, not the media and government schools. God calls parents to raise their children in the instruction of the Lord, which means that parents must disciple their children (Matt 28:19). Parents will never have a greater role in training another Christian than in the role of parenting their kids. So if you are a parent, make sure you teach your kids the Bible. Show your kids what it looks like to live as those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Fathers, teach your sons what a godly man looks like, how he is to love his wife and provide for his family. And mothers, teach your daughters what a godly woman looks like, how she is to submit to her husband, raise children, and care for the home. By God’s grace, we may just raise children who grow up to be godly husbands and wives.