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Principles and Practices of Biblical Parenting

– Raising Godly Children –

Paul and Linda Bucknell

One Great Team: Dad & Mom #2

Great Teammates | Biblical Teaching on Marriage Oneness
Barriers to Marital Oneness | Importance of Oneness on Children
Three Models to Practice Oneness | Summary & Questions

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Three Opportunities to Model Marital Oneness


Three Modeling Opportunities to Practice Marital Oneness, part 5 of 6 of 'One Great Team', shows three practical ways to work out marital oneness in the marriage which then in turn brings harmony to the marriage and security to the children. This is a section from Principles & Practices of Biblical Parenting.

Instead of competitive living, God has designed husbands and wives to live in a complimentary fashion.

When we assert that good parenting is only through good marriages, it is because of the role modeling that goes on.4  Below are three ways healthy husband-wife relationships are so vital to raising good and happy children.

A couple has plenty of opportunities to express this oneness to their children. Sometimes a husband or wife has a 'bad' day. The husband or wife becomes selfish, moody and thinking about his or her own wants and needs. Is there anything we can do during these times? Yes there is!!

We should be acutely aware of the temptation to become our partner's accuser. The word 'Satan' actually means accuser. Once we have given into accusations, we are no longer supporting and helping our mate but destroying him or her.

"And the ... serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth,... for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:9-12).

Instead of turning against our spouses, we need to determinedly stand for them. We must live by faith in the fact of oneness rather than giving into the spirit of division. This doesn't mean that we can't mention our concern for our partner or the pain that we are suffering because of them. That would be dishonest. The problem is that we often use prideful and selfish words that lead to arguments. Arguments compound the evil by adding maligning words.

"To malign noone, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men" (Titus 3:2).

Listen to the difference between these two statements.

"Are you up to that (problem) again? ! I knew you were not being honest with me!!"

"I know you are going through this (problem) again. If you would like to talk to me about it, please let me know. I really care for you."

One approach fosters good communication; the other shuts it off. We need to remind ourselves often of our heart commitment to oneness. That way we can stay supportive and keep all our words and actions affirming our oneness.

Pause for Reflection:

Do you and your spouse act as one or two? How well do you do when your spouse loses focus and becomes inward and selfish?

Some of us have learned to quickly accuse people without knowing it. We more than likely have learned to accuse and be judgmental of our spouses from our very own parents. This includes the words we say, the intensity of voice, shouting, facial expressions and even actions like hitting.

Children will pick up this divisive spirit from us. After all, if we show them that when one person is doing something wrong and we reject or shout at them, then they will do the same thing to others and even to you.

Pause for Reflection:

During your last argument, did you say any words against your partner? If you have, did you apologize and find forgiveness to restore what ground was lost?

(2) Opportunities for the husband to love

The child learns how to love through his parents' interaction with each other, especially in the way that his father cares for his mother. A close, warm, loving relationship expressed through Mom's tender touch enables the child to know of the nature of love and gentleness. This love stems from a special relationship.

"But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, ... you had become very dear to us" (1 Thessalonians 2:7,8).

The husband's constant show of love toward his wife, however, is the place where the child can see the real strength and power of love in a world of sin and selfishness. This love flows from a commitment to each other rather than through feelings.

This commitment to oneness shines when things get rough just like rocks get clean when tumbled with other rocks. God commands the husband to love his wife even when she is unlovely and unwelcoming. The husband's own model is Christ who died for a people who deserted Him when He needed help the most.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).

The wife needs extra encouragement and tenderness because her emotions get wrapped up in her thinking and through the extra changes her body goes through in life. Peter says it this way.

"You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

Husbands, be aware that your commitment to your wives is going to be severely tested in some cases. You need God's faithfulness: being kind even when they are not being nice to you.

Book this is based on: Principles and Practices of Biblical ParentingAs a husband I have found a little exercise to greatly help me. I tell the Lord and my wife that I love her no matter what. I affirm in my heart that I am here for her–even through the down days. After this I take practical steps to love her and to keep on loving. By God's grace I don't get irritated with her.

I speak graciously. I am kind. Deep in my heart, I have resolved to love my wife no matter how terrible the storm might get. My heart is at perfect peace when I do this. I deny the temptation to treat us as two. I live by the facts–we are one. My wife has always been grateful for this!

The husband should never underestimate how important his wife is to him. She is his valuable teammate. He needs her both as companion as well as helper in carry out his duties. His thrill of devotion to her is preserved by this concept that she is his invaluable asset. If lost, he just wouldn't be the same. He needs to keep her as a good team member.

We see this thought graphically portrayed in scripture. Adam is presented in a perfect world with everything going for him. God even said that everything He made was ' good.' No flaws. But in order not to be ' alone,' God created a helpmeet for him.

"Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18).

When the child sees this kind of love demonstrated in the home by his father, he is equipped with the faith necessary to love others in the world. Children's security is built on the devotion of the father to the mother and the mother to the father. They grow up knowing that they can love others that are not nice or pleasant.

When he is older, he will see how to go out of his way to help his wife. He will go out of his way to help a brother or sister, and later a neighbor or stranger.

I remember seeing our church elder's love for his wife. He was greatly gifted and will be remembered for his giftedness. His compassion and care for his discouraged and depressed wife, however, became a beautiful example for the church on how to prioritize the need of the wife even though he had many church and work responsibilities. I can imagine how his daughters will naturally look for a man with love like that when they are old enough to marry.

Jesus patiently treated and cared for those around them despite their many problems. Husbands have the privilege of training this love into their children.

Pause for Reflection:

How steady and constant is Dad's love for his wife? Would you be happy for your daughter to marry a man with this kind of love? How can a father grow in his love for his wife?

(3) Opportunities for the wife to submit

Parents teach their children to obey them, but the spirit of obedience is largely learned through watching how the mother subjects or yields herself to her husband. Does she do what her husband says or suggests with pleasure or does she have a resentful spirit? The scriptures specially command the wife to submit to her husband.

"Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18).Order is wife submit to Husband which submits to the Lord.

The Greek word used here for 'subject' means to yield to or put oneself under control of. The wife is to subject her preferences to what her husband wants. This is not easy to do! The husband can be quite selfish at times.

God has made both male and female in His image. They both are of value. In order to establish the oneness, however, the Lord appointed the man as a leader. The wife serves as his helpmate. Although many question the advantages of this yielding, Jesus clearly displayed how to humble himself in order to serve a greater good. Jesus gave up His preferences so that He could serve His Father (see Philippians 2:4-11). Jesus regularly sought His Father's will rather than His own.

"I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do" (John 17:4).

When the wife like Jesus humbles herself, she is ready to help the family wherever needed. Unfortunately we do see many abuses on both sides, but when the husband is loving and the wife following her husband's lead, we see them operating as one wonderful team.5

What does the child see from how his Mom responds to his Dad? The child observes from his mom's good example that obedience is proper and good. They know that Mom is tired but still goes on and prepares a nice meal without grumbling.

The child learns how to live for the preference of others through a faithful Mom. Mom, no doubt, has her own ideas about things, but knows how to trust God with these things. The child sees how God is able to work out all these circumstances that Mom has trusted to the Lord. She is at peace. She is, after all, not after her own will but God's. She believes God will hear her prayer and in time carry these things to fulfillment.

Any child who has seen this kind of faith in his or her Mom will be able to work with anyone. They have learned that they can sacrifice their own preferences for the sake of others. That is okay. That is the way Jesus carried out His Father's will.

Moms have their challenges of course, but by denying her own desires, she displays oneness. Complaining, fussing, or stubbornly refusing to subject herself to her husband models disunity. Poor attitudes quickly descend into the heart of our children and can be seen in a slowness to obey when it interferes with their activities. They also show up in a complaining and whining spirit.

Pause for Reflection:

How much respect does Mom show to her husband? Does she complain when serving him? If the husband does something she disagrees with, how does she respond?

In each case the husband and wife is asked to make a sacrifice of their own preference in order to get done what God wants. They are not after their own will but God's. They work as a team. They are, after all, a team.

Children learn many things through their parents. We have focused on the most important things that will ready them for real life. We realize that without Jesus Christ, many of these sacrifices are impossible. But as the parents keep growing to be more like Jesus, the hope is that their children will see enough of Christ that they would desire to know and serve Him.


The church is composed of 'one' body much like a husband and wife are one in marriage. The unity principles are the same. Note the apostle's comments in Philippians 2:2.

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (NASB)

Do make my joy complete--live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you. (Philips Translation)
Same mind
Unity of thought
Same love
Equally devoted to the other's good.
United in spirit
Souls that beat together, in tune with Christ and others. (RWP)
One purpose
Common goals and drive

God has established marital oneness: the two have become one. The parents' expression of oneness accomplishes two significant things as far as the child is concerned.

=> Next: Parenting Principles & Study Questions

4 'Caught and Taught' : The Problem and the Solution has identified three general areas of modeling influence: positional, relational, and responsibility.

5 Children are confused when there is a reversal of roles between the husband and wife. It has been observed that parental role confusion is linked up with homosexual tendencies in children.