Love Your Husbands & Children
It’s February so I’ve been spending time reflecting on love, specifically, what it means to love my husband and children.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5
Here’s what I know for sure.
- If we need to be trained, the standard must not come naturally.
- Loving our husbands and children is an imperative, a command, an obligation. It’s compulsory!
- That last phrase, “that the word of God may not be reviled”, is an enormous consequence. It leaves me feeling like I have work to do.
A little bit of background
The Greeks had several different words that we would translate to the English word, love. The scripture being studied here focuses on the Greek word, “philios”. It is the love for a friend; someone dearly loved in a personal way. It is experience/action-based love. It’s the same love that Jesus calls us to in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
At first, it struck me as strange that the same word used to describe love for a friend would be used to instruct wives and mothers on how to love their husbands and children. Surely, the love for one’s own husband and children is in a whole other category; at a whole other level. The love for a friend seems a bit general.
I don’t always love what is revealed as I ponder these things, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I have lacked understanding and my actions reflect it. I started to think about the love I show to my friends and the love I show to my husband and children and I noticed a few things.
I handle offenses differently
If I’m honest, I overlook offenses much more easily when it comes to my friends. Oh sure, it’s easy to justify these differences. Living day to day with hurts from a husband is more challenging than the occasional hurt from a friend and I’m responsible to train my children so I need to point out what they are doing wrong.
I’m not suggesting that we don’t communicate with our husbands how their words or actions affect us. And clearly, we should not forsake training our children. I am suggesting that more could be overlooked, grace could flow more freely, and communication and correction should come from a better place; a place bathed in prayer; a place where there is a sincere hope for the relationship to be better; a place of genuine concern over their actions and behaviour.
Instead, our communication and correction often come from anger, fear, insecurity, selfishness, embarrassment, pride, perfectionism, and laziness.
I’ve learned a few things about handling the sin of others.
Handling the sin of another is tricky business. I’ve seen this played out humbly and horribly, and I’m guilty of botching this one with friends and family. My top takeaway when I’ve witnessed this played out well is that the “confronter” comes alongside as a fellow sinner, with humility, and compassion. I imagine they were able to do this because their own sin was not some far-off unfamiliar thing. Sincerely confessing our sins to God and others is a key ingredient to this familiarity. We need to be well acquainted with our own sins and shortcomings if we are going to be able to come alongside our husbands and children in humility, compassion, and hope. There is a way to interact with our sin that keeps us humble, compassionate, and merciful without burying us under guilt and shame. You will need a full understanding of the gospel to do this.
My friends call upon me regularly to pray for them and I do pray. My husband and children don’t. Why?
I pray for my husband and children every day. I’m not sure why they don’t call on me for prayer but I know what I want to do about it. I have a very loyal prayer warrior friend. I don’t know what her system is. Maybe she has a list of names that she loops through, maybe my name is written on some calendar, maybe it’s something that just happens naturally when you are such a devoted prayer warrior, I don’t know, but she sends me a message every few weeks asking how she can be praying for me. There is a well-worn path between her and me when it comes to prayer and she has been the one to clear that path!
My final thoughts:
There is a direct connection between our love for others and our witness for Christ; our love shows that we are his disciples. This is so much bigger than having a good marriage or having children that turn out ok.
May we all seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him to reveal to us how we are falling short in the area of loving our husbands and children. May we display wisdom, restraint, and care as we communicate. And may we all have well-worn paths between us and our husbands and children, where we seek them out, asking them how we can pray for them.
by Adrianne Curwen
Adrianne is a wife to a public-school educator/administrator and a homeschooling Mama to seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 23. She believes that we have a unique opportunity as homeschoolers to design individualized education that suits giftings, interests, and passions. She and her husband have used a blend of registered homeschooling, enrolment with independent DL schools, and participation in public trade school programs to design individualized programs for their children. She is passionate about using as many read-alouds, picture books, novels, and conversations to educate her children but also gets excited by the amazing homeschool-designed curriculum that’s out there. Adrianne is thrilled by her new role as Communication Specialist for Classical Education Books and is grateful to have an opportunity to learn something new. She is grateful, every day, for her saviour, Jesus Christ, and has no greater joy than when she sees her most important missions field walk with Him.