COUPLES WORKBOOK - Chapter 2
FATHER'S INVISIBLE PRESENCE IN THE HOME
Husbands and wives always bring their past experiences into a marriage. There is no way around this. The relationships that they have had with their fathers are extremely important and do influence the way they react to each other.
There are three basic types of fathers: Mr. Anything Goes, Mr. Total Controller and Mr. Right. A little girl growing up in her father's house learns to relate to men and to authority through her relationship with her dad. If dad is Mr. Anything goes, the daughter learns to manipulate men and constantly tries to "wrap them around her little finger." Her natural rebellion is not subdued. If the father is Mr. Total Controller, the daughter learns to obey outwardly when the dad is around but is rebellious when he is not. He is satisfied as long as she obeys when she is around him. When she grows up and acts undisciplined, dad says, "How could she do this to me? I taught her to do right!"
Now Mr. Right is a Christian dad, or had had a Christian background, who follows Biblical principles of governing a home. He teaches his little girl to obey, not just outwardly but from the heart. He wins the little girl's affections. He knows when to be flexible and affectionate and when to be firm and disciplining. He does not ignore or suppress her temper tantrums and pouting but uses them as object lessons in teaching her to repent and submit to authority. God says that whom He loves, He chastens. He spanks us not just until we become angry or feel sorry for ourselves, but until we repent for our wrongdoing. Mr. Right has learned to do the same with his children. His little girl learns to respect her dad and his authority. She knows he loves her for herself and is not attending to her because she is a nuisance who needs to be tamed so that dad can have peace. This little girl learns first to fear doing wrong because dad is consistent in disciplining her. He establishes outer control in her life until she is able to internalize his discipline and develop her own self-control. She learns not only respect for his authority but love because he truly loves her. He spends time with her. He teaches her to do right, from the heart.
Rachel grew up in Mr. Total Controller's home. Her dad was tough. He had high standards of achievement but did not know how to show affection. He was able to deal with her surface rebellion but not the rebellion which lay underneath. He was busy with his career and left much of the disciplining to his wife. Rachel grew up with outer discipline but not inner control or a subdued will.
Now let's look at a little boy. He is also influenced by the three different types of dads. If he grows up under Mr. Anything Goes, he learns to be taken care of by women. They discipline him, pick up after him, and teach him. He looks to women for leadership. When he grows up, he will marry someone like his mother. He will expect to be taken care of. If he isn't, he will rebel and act tough and independent. If a little boy grows up in Mr. Total Controller's home he will obey dad outwardly to avoid trouble but will act like "the devil" when dad is away. In later life he may choose to act tough and intimidating to others - especially to his family. Or he may take another route and become fearful and repress his rebellion (often even from himself) and be a Mr. Anything Goes.
If a little boy grows up in Mr. Right's home, he will learn to obey dad from the heart. Dad will teach him how to operate in the "chain of command," obeying respectfully those above him and leading lovingly those he is responsible for. He will learn to obey from the heart as dad deals with his temper tantrums and pouting. With God's help, he will learn how to repent and control himself. In short, he will become another Mr. Right. The sins of the fathers are visited on the succeeding generations. Fathers teach their sons their leadership style and the son accepts it or reacts in the opposite direction. Either way he is shaped by the home he grew up in.
In a single parent home, a mother will adopt one of these styles as she struggles to raise her children. However, the son, though influenced by his mother, will usually develop his style in imitation of a male he admires or hates: a peer group leader, a relative, a Sunday school teacher, or a teacher at school.
I grew up in Mr. Anything Goes' home. My mother ran the home, made decisions concerning me, disciplined me, and picked up after me. My natural rebellion was dealt with very little, and I learned to manipulate my parents to get what I wanted. I had little self control, and my self-will was not tamed. I thought to myself: "When I get married I want someone like my mother who will 'keep me straight!'"
I was to learn that, when God gets hold of your life, He is THE MR. RIGHT; and, whatever is broken in your relationship with your dad, He begins to heal. He takes up where dad left off in taming the stubborn self will.
Related Scriptures: DAD'S PRESENCE IN THE HOME:
Exodus 20:5-6: ". . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments" (AB).
"Anything Goes" examples:
I Kings 1-6: ". . . David his father had never in his life displeased him (his son who usurped his throne) by asking, why have you done so? (Never disciplined his son and caused havoc in his kingdom.)
I Samuel 3:13: "On that day I (the Lord) will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I (now) announce to him that I will judge and punish his house forever for the iniquity of which he knew, for his sons were (blaspheming God) bringing curse upon themselves, and he (Eli their father) did not restrain them" (AB).
Proverbs 13:24: "He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son, but he who loves him diligently disciplines and punishes him early . . ."
Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him" (KJV).
Mr. Total Controller's examples:
Ephesians 6:4: "Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger-so not exasperate them to resentment-but rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord" (AB).
Colossians 3:18: ". . . Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them."
Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children. Do not be hard on them or harass them lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. Do not break their spirit" (AB).
Mr. Right's examples:
I Peter 5:2-3: "Tend (nurture, guard, guide) the flock of God that is (your responsibility), not by coercion or constraint but willingly; . . . Not (as arrogant, dictatorial and overbearing persons) domineering over those in your charge, but being examples-patterns and models of Christian living . . ." (AB).
Genesis 18:19: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him" (KJV).
Deuteronomy 6:5-7: (To Moses) "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart . . .And these words, which I am commanding you this day, shall be (first) in your own mind and heart; (then) you shall whet and sharpen them, so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the (minds and) hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up" (AB).
Proverbs 23:22-26: "Hearken to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice, and he who becomes the father of a wise child shall have joy in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe and delight in my ways."
Was my dad "Anything Goes," "Total Controller," or "Mr. Right?" Did dad tame my self-will or am I still acting in rebellion toward authority figures in my life?
Am I still imitating or reacting against my father?
Am I still angry, bitter or fearful of my dad or have I forgiven him?
Ephesians 5: 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 5: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.