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Let Hubby lead...

The success of a marriage depends on many things – communication, intimacy... to name a few. One of these is the defined roles – in other words: Your husband has certain tasks and you have certain tasks and you must support each other in your different roles. When a man and a woman don’t stand together in roles as educators of your children, it can create big problems...
You often hear that the man should be the ‘head’ of the home. What does it mean exactly? What are hubby’s responsibilities? And where do you fit in?

Arnold and Joy Mol write together regarding the topic that makes many scratch their heads...

Arnold writes: There are certain things that God expects from a man. His role is a responsibility and there are many days that I wished I did not have the responsibility... It made me afraid that God kept me responsible for the spiritual well being of my family. If I had a wife who also kept on undermining my authority, it would have been an impossible task.

As spiritual leader of his family a man has 3 roles to fill.
1.    A Spiritual Example
If a man doesn’t know Jesus as his personal Saviour it’s impossible for him to be an effective leader in a spiritual area. How can he lead his family to the Lord if he himself doesn’t know Jesus? This is without a doubt the first requirement.

Joy writes: “The fact that Arnold had a personal relationship with Jesus made it easier for me to accept his headship. But what does a woman do if her husband does not believe in Jesus? God’s instruction regarding a woman’s submission had no exceptions – that’s while he makes the correct decisions. A woman must respect her husband no matter his level of devotion to God. She must, for example, not insist that he goes to church. If he doesn’t want to go, she must still ask him if it’s acceptable that she and the children go. He’s the children’s father and therefore it’s necessary that she still shows him respect. If she doesn’t do that she will not only do harm to her marriage but also cause her children emotional damage.”

It’s not enough that he’s a born again child of God. He must also walk in the ways of the Lord. I have seen it over and over again how children, especially in their teenage years, lose their way because Dad doesn’t walk in the ways of the Lord. Research in America has shown that if Mom and Dad both walk in the ways of the Lord then about 88% of the children also follow the Lord. If only the father has an intimate relationship with the Lord, but not the Mother, then about 70% of the children also become believers. But if only the mother, and not the father, walks with the Lord, the amounts then drop to about 40%. The research shows how very important the father’s spiritual influence is on the children. The children must see how father spends time each morning with the Bible and in prayer. They must see how father obeys God’s word in his everyday life.

A father can therefore not expect his children to follow rules if he doesn’t do it himself, for example (to talk on his cell phone while driving); a father can’t expect his children to be honest if he isn’t truthful on his income tax form.

I admitted to my children one day that I was found guilty of theft. It was a shock to them. I told them how I was on a business trip and I took a telephone guide from the hotel room and then brought it home. I told them that for the next two days I could not have a proper quiet time, because every time God reminded me of the directory. I had to send it back to the hotel with a letter of apology. My children possibly learnt more about honesty from that example than all the sermons I could have given them.

Joy writes: “Arnold is right when he emphasises the importance of a father’s example. When he told us as a family about the telephone guide that he stole, I was very proud of the courage he had to admit it to us. We realised over and over again that when we admitted our mistakes to the children, that they didn’t lose respect for us – on the contrary, it encouraged them that even wonderful parents like us (in their eyes) also makes mistakes, and that it doesn’t mean we have failed. It gave them the freedom to make mistakes too and not to allow it to get them down.”

2.    Prayer
The second thing that a father must do is pray for his children. Not just a quick prayer every now and again, but a serious intervention. I did not pray alone for my children regularly, but Joy and I put Monday’s aside (and often skipped breakfast and lunch) to specifically pray for our children. We still do it today, but it now takes longer because our 9 grandchildren are included.
A famous preacher did an interview with some teenagers who were in prison. They told him: “If we only had a father that prayed for us, we most likely would not have been here.”

Joy writes: “I have precious memories of my own father. I went into his study every now and again to ask him something – and then I’d find him on his knees. I knew his was talking to his heavenly Father about us. Just think how that made me feel! A wonderful feeling of peace came over me. As children we also saw how Arnold often spent time with God, and I am sure that it also gave them the same feeling of peace it gave me.

Our children knew that we prayed for them on Monday’s. Recently our daughter who is married with 3 children, called to ask us to pray for her regarding a need she had. What a privilege to be able to do that, and I thanked the Lord for a man who had the initiative years ago to regularly pray and fast for us.

Our children did not just wait for Monday’s.  If there was a problem, and they had asked us to pray for them, Arnold would leave everything he was busy with and as a family pray we’d for the situation where one of our children happened to find themselves in.”

We not only prayed for them, but also prayed with them when they stood in front of a problem – whether it was an illness, an exam, or conflict with a friend, or a challenging sport event, or whatever.

It’s often said that the man is the priest of the home. It’s true and he fulfils this role as priest by standing in for his family in front of God. The man’s also however the prophet in his home. It’s his responsibility to teach his children the Word of God. And that brings us to the third role.

3.    Education
It’s the father’s responsibility to ensure that his children learn the word of God. He can do it by taking them to church. Naturally he must also go. In our home we never decided to attend Church or Sunday school. We simply went to church twice on a Sunday. It was the same as eating breakfast. You don’t decide if you are going to do it or not – you just do it. When our children were teenagers, and they sometimes complained about going to church so often, we never forced them to go. We left the decision up to them, and even though they sometimes chose not to go, they at least went to church once on a Sunday – and today they are all three actively involved in their respective churches. A father cannot leave all the spiritual education to the church. It’s his primary responsibility.

Joy writes: “Sometimes when the children did not feel like going to church – when they were still small – I was inclined to give in, but I’m glad that I supported Arnold in that going to church was going to be a habit in our family. Today we see the fruits of our decision.

Arnold had good knowledge of the Word of God, and it was therefore not difficult for him to educate our children. We hear however of stories where the woman knows the Word of God better than her husband. In a case like that she must be very careful not to make him feel inadequate in this area, because he will then withdraw even more from his spiritual leadership role. We know a couple where the woman grew up in a Godly home, but not her husband. He only got saved as a student. She often asked him about verses in the Bible, even though she often already knew the answer. She referred all spiritual questions from her children to her husband, and that almost forced him to search for the answers himself. Today he is undoubtedly the spiritual leader in their home. What a wise woman.

It’s important that a woman never jokes about her husband’s Christianity. ‘You call yourself a child of God and this is how you act?’ A reaction like this will only spiritually betray her husband. I remember one day when Arnold shouted at one of our children because he was watching the television while we sang Happy Birthday to him. Our son has acted incorrectly, but I did not think Arnold should have shouted like that. I did not however want to embarrass him in front of the children. “I told the children afterwards that Dad was feeling very bad about what he had done, and I know he had asked God to forgive him, and we must also forgive him’. Arnold also went and asked our son’s forgiveness. He told him that what he had done was rude but that it didn’t warrant being shouted at.”  

In our house the primary opportunity for Bible time was right after dinner. When our children were small, my wife did most of the education. She was very good with this. She told Bible stories, dramatised the stories, taught them songs, held quizzes, etc. I as father always announced that it was Bible time and always attended and actively joined in. As the children got older, I took a more active role by reading passages from the Bible to them and explaining the meanings of the verses.

Joy writes: “When should parents start with Bible time for their children? Because I was a teacher, I was very eager to begin, I had many creative ideas in my head. I suggested to Arnold that we begin, but he didn’t immediately start doing it. Luckily I didn’t push him, and after a few weeks he decided that we were going to every night have Bible time. It’s something that we did every night until they left home. “

Today we are eternally thankful to the Lord that all three our children don’t just know the Lord but also walk with him every day – and they’re busy raising their children in the same way.

•    Arnold and Joy are well known speakers about marriage enrichment, etc and have more than 40 years of marriage experience.