– Henry Ward Beecher
Children are given the commandment to honor their father and their mother (Ex 20:12), but that would be much harder for children to do if their father doesn’t love their mother. How could they honor someone who isn’t being loving to their own mother? Children take the treatment of their mother very personal, and why shouldn’t they? Imagine trying to like someone who treats your mother in a bad way. How hard would it be for you to love that person? Wouldn’t it make you mad if someone treated your own mother with contempt? That’s why fathers must love their children’s mother because it’s going to be hard for them to honor their father if he does not love their own mother.
Paul instructed Titus to “show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8). Paul also wrote to Timothy to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). If Paul wanted Timothy and Titus to set good examples, then examples must be important on how big of an impression they leave on others. So too is the example of how a father loves the mother of his children. They will see this modeled and more likely try to be the same way to their own children when they have them. Jesus “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21), once again showing just how important being an example is.
Children love to imitate people and sometimes things. When my son was very young, he loved imitating an airplane or a dog. They mimic those things they see and hear. So in the same way, they will pattern their lives after the pattern left by their parents. Like father, like son and like daughter, like mother are very true, so fathers must be careful in how they talk to their children’s mother, how they treat her, how they talk about her when she’s not there, and how they show their love by affection and by serving her. The pattern of a child’s life is set very early in life, and it’s ten times more difficult to unlearn something than it is to learn it in the first place. So fathers, you have a great responsibility to your children because the most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
There is such a huge impact on what children see and hear. So fathers, you have a great responsibility to be loving your children, nurturing them, and training them but also in how you are treating their mother because your words will be drowned out by your actions, and the children can’t hear what you’re saying because what you’re doing is all they see.