Keys to a Happy and Harmonious Marriage and Family: Colossians 3:12-21
“18) Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19) Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20) Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21) Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Colossians‬ ‭3:18-21‬
Paul looks at the family as the first and foremost place to apply the Christian character virtues found in Colossians 3:12-17. When these qualities are present in a family it quickly becomes a safe, loving, harmonious and peaceful environment. These qualities are what makes the biblical family roles work.
When the husband and father is full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, agape love with a heart ruled by the peace of God… then submission is no problem for the wife and the children are drawn to their dad like nails to a magnet. Disrespect and rebellion come when demands of submission and obedience are made in the absence of godly character.
Over the years of doing marriage coaching, I have asked many wives who were bent on divorce if they would have any trouble submitting to Jesus? The answer is usually the same. I get a perplexed look and then they often respond with something like; “Who would have trouble respecting and submitting to a strong, gentle and loving man like Jesus?” I then look at the husband and say; “You just found the key to a happy marriage, you need to become more like Jesus!”
I then ask the husband who is packed and ready to leave a similar question; “Would you have trouble loving your wife if she was more like Jesus.” His answer is usually the same, “Who would have trouble loving someone like Jesus?” I then say to the wife, “You just found the key to happiness in your marriage, God wants you to become more like Jesus!
I then throw out my marriage motto:“Happiness in marriage is not so much about finding the right person as it is about becoming the right person!” Most people think “If I can just find the right person, he or she will make me happy!” That’s really short sighted, because the root of the problem is most likely in you. Unless you change… the next marriage will most likely be worse than the first.
When you stand back and take a broad look at Colossians 3:18-21, the keys to a happy marriage and family are given in the proceeding verses. (Colossians 3:12-17) Paul is not forcing high handed marriage roles on dysfunctional people and marriages. The broader context is calling everyone in the family to become more like Jesus so the marriage and family roles can work!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ