A dad once said, “My children have been studying their Bibles and have found a biblical reason for always getting ice cream sodas after church on Sundays.” “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” I am optimistic about the future of the family. During the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s the family fell on some very difficult times. However, during the 90’s the family has gained great importance again. People don’t seem to have the “hang-ups” of making a commitment. Living together outside the bonds of marriage isn’t as glamorous. Even among those who seek pre marriage counseling there appears to be a greater commitment on the permanency of marriage. As long as love shall last. Until death do us part.
This change has come about, I think, because of four (4) reasons: The alternative to marriage was even worse. People do not live together well without making a commitment. No relationship can be based on sex and convenience, it must be based on love. Couples are marrying at an older age. People are more settled and mature. They know where they are going and what they want to be. The role of the father in marriage has greatly changed. Teddy Roosevelt once said about his 16 year old daughter, “I can either be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot do both.” Mark Twain’s philosophy: When a kid turns 13, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid shut, and feed him through the knothole. When he turns 16, plug the hole. More fathers today are taking part in child-raising than those of a generation ago. Putting children to bed (62 percent now; 16 percent then) Changing diapers (53 to 6 percent) Attending kids’ sporting events (52 to 37 percent) Reading to children (49 to 14 percent) Bathing children (46 to 24 percent) Feeding children (40 to 12 percent) Helping with homework (30 to 21 percent) Attending parent/teacher conferences (45 to 24 percent) Societies “norms” have changed allowing more of a partnership in marriage. Which automatically makes a stronger marriage and a happier marriage.
The family is what makes us who and what we are as a person! Habits are rooted in our early family experience. A test was given to a group of children for the purpose of discovering traits of selfishness or generosity. Children of the poor were often more egalitarian and less selfish than children of the rich. Children from larger families were definitely more generous than those from smaller families. Sharing had been learned in the intimacy of the family circle.
There are four factors that make a marriage and a family successful.
1) Affectionate caring = “I care about you.” In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. The greatest concern of your earthly life is caring for your family…and gave himself up for her to make her holy….
2) Vulnerable communication = “I trust you.” Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Trust can never be demanded, it must be earned.
3) Joint accomplishment = “I need you.” “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Loneliness is a serious problem and even God saw that from the beginning. It is not good for man to be alone.
4) Mutual giving = “I love you.” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church….However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
A young family invited the new preacher and his wife over for Sunday dinner. The mother of the home was very concerned that it be a perfect affair. She drilled the children days in advance about the proper behavior. Finally, when the day came and the meal was cooked and at exactly the right time, everyone was invited to come into the dining room where the table was set out with a white lace table cloth, and the good china, silverware, centerpiece, candles and everything. They sat down at this formal table and the father had the blessing and when the blessing was over the little nine-year-old daughter reached for her glass of iced tea and knocked it over. The little brother jumped to get out of the way and knocked his over too. There was an awkward moment of silence as everybody kind of looked to the mother realizing how disappointed she was. But before anybody could say anything, the father flipped over his glass of tea and started to laugh. The preacher caught on and flipped over his tea and started to laugh. The preacher’s wife knocked over her glass of tea and started to laugh. And everybody looked to the mother and finally with an expression of resignation she picked up her glass and just dumped it out in the middle of the table and everybody around the table just roared with laughter. And the father looked down at his nine-year-old daughter right beside him and he winked at her. And as she laughed embarrassingly she looked up at her father and winked back but as she did it flicked a tear out of her cheek and it rolled down her face. And she looked up almost worshipfully at a father who loved her enough to be sensitive to save her from one of life’s most embarrassing moments.”