The family is not merely an invention of society, but an institution founded by GOD HIMSELF. The family is GOD'S agency for populating the earth with people who would love GOD and be loved by HIM. It is to be formed exclusively through a loving lifelong marriage covenant between a man and a woman (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18,24). This is in clear contrast to the view of many outside the church that the family is nothing more than an archaic institution that we moderns may dispense with.
What does GOD expect of the husband/father?
The Husband is first and foremost called by GOD to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25, 28-32). The self-giving love of CHRIST for the Church is the model that the husband ought to emulate. Secondly, the husband is called to honor his wife (1 Peter 3:7). Many family problems between spouses and parents and children would be resolved if these two principles alone were practiced. A husband must remember that his wife is a joint heir with him of the grace of GOD. She is an expression of GOD'S favor and grace (Proverbs 18:22). Every Christian husband should view his wife from this perspective of GOD'S extended love towards him.
The husband is to provide leadership as he models the Christian faith (beliefs and way of living) before his family. He is to reflect in his life the character and virtues of the Christian faith. This happens when he lives a life of integrity, faithfulness, and obedience to GOD. The physical, material, emotional and spiritual needs of the family are to be met by the husband and father to the very best of his ability. He is to provide security and protection for his family. There is no biblical justification for not meeting these needs. It is his duty before GOD (1 Timothy 5:8).
Both husband and wife are to lovingly fulfill each other’s sexual needs (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Each should seek to understand the sexual needs of their spouse. The GOD-given gift of intercourse in marriage is much more than a physical act. It brings a deep intimacy and oneness that unites a couple and enriches the marriage. This intimate union in the marriage has a positive and profound impact on the family and is to be shared only with one’s lifelong marriage partner.
The Wife is called by GOD to love, respect, and be faithful to her husband (Ephesians 5:22,23; Titus 2:4,5). As a wife and mother she is to be a role model of godliness and do her best to meet the family’s needs (Titus 2:4,5; 1 Timothy 5:14; Proverbs 31:10-31). The Bible calls her inward character her beauty. She is to model purity and possess a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-7). She is to manage her home, speak with wisdom, and demonstrate prudence (Proverbs 12:4; 31:26,27). She is to assist her husband in nurturing their children. If the father is not a Christian she is to take the full responsibility to rear her children in the ways of the LORD.
Both parents are called by GOD not only to meet the material and physical needs of the family but also to instruct children in the things of God (Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Proverbs 22:6). This will necessitate that parents discipline their children. Appropriate discipline is not abuse, but an authentic expression of love and concern (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15, 17; cf. Hebrews 12:5-11). Yet parents need to be sensitive, not reacting harshly in anger, avoiding expressions of discipline that would mar the spirit of the child (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
Within the family parents should model appropriate masculinity and femininity before their children. Research has shown that in order to develop properly children need both strong male and female role models. In situations where only one parent is living in the home, the church can help model proper male and female roles for children through the ministries of the church.
The Children. Do they have any responsibilities toward their parents? The Scriptures indicate they do. They should obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; Exodus 20:12). Honor is not merely a verbal affirmation of the parent, but a lifelong pattern of living that does not bring distress, embarrassment, or reproach, but rather happiness, pride, and respect for the parent. Throughout the lives of their parents children are under divine obligation to be a loving support system for them (1 Timothy 5:8).
The Christian family ought to be one where all members care for each other. The emphasis of the biblical model for the family is one of reciprocity (mutual sharing, giving, and receiving). This occurs out of love, respect and concern for others from within the family.