The good father: fight the good fight (3)...

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You can't live in this world one sinner married to another without fighting.

Not bickering, but fighting. Bickering doesn't rise above the personal, but a good fight is principled. (Or should be.)

We bicker over who's pulling the blankets off the other. We fight over how (or whether) to stop our Little Empress from manipulating her playmates and younger brothers.

Your dear wife doesn't think the Little Empress is manipulative, nor does she think it's worth the pain to deal with it. Time will pass, the Little Empress will get older, and if it still needs dealing with, we can address it then. But as you let your wife have her way, you say to yourself that you know where your Little Empress got it from.

What's wrong with you! Say "no" to your wife and spank your precious daughter, already.

If you need help to stiffen your resolve, stop and think about how...

your daughter's manipulation will harm her husband and children in years to come.

Maybe you've forgotten that you're the Dad and your dear wife isn't the only helpmate in the home? You're to help your wife, also. This is why God made you her husband. You are responsible to God for the sanctification of your children and your wife.

So plant your feet, maybe cross your arms, look at your wife, and quietly (or loudly, whichever works better) say to her in a way that indicates this is her authority (which is to say her husband) speaking, "You and I will no longer tolerate our Little Empress manipulating her playmates and younger brothers. It will stop."

Sure, I'm picking a relatively clear matter which parents who were really godly would never fight about. Sure, you and your wife don't believe in fighting. You just let your most-excellent wife set the standards for you and and her kiddos, and you always try to do your best to anticipate what she needs or wants from you as she leads your home.

If marriage is the melding together of two incompatible forces, man and woman, it's only natural you and your wife's incompatibility will be most intense at the point of the discipline of your sons and daughters. Other than God and your wife, there's no one you love more than your children, so of course you will fight over the best way to discipline their sin.

"But," you respond,"fighting is sin! I shouldn't fight with my wife at all. If our Little Empress has sinned, what good does it do to fight with my wife over how to respond to it?"

So that must mean your wife's natural inclinations in dealing with the sins of your children are all perfect. She believes in spanking, for instance, and you are blessed to come home to an orderly and respectful home each day because she has spent the day admonishing, rebuking, and spanking the children?

"Well, she doesn't spank them every day. But sometimes."

I suppose you aren't needed as a father because your children's mother is unfailingly wise and zealous for the honor of God and she never wearies or grows faint in her work of motherhood?

We all know that's a bunch of bunk. Were it so, children raised by single mothers would do just fine. But they don't, so at this late date fathers must still have some use.

Get to work on your fathering, then, and start that work by husbanding your dear wife.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!