1, 2. What does Jehovah want for families?
JEHOVAH GOD performed the first marriage. The Bible tells us that he made the first woman and “brought her to the man.” Adam was so happy that he said: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” (Genesis 2:22, 23) This tells us that Jehovah wants married people to be happy.
2 Sadly, many people have never experienced a happy family life. However, the Bible contains many principles that will help all members of the family to make their family life successful and to enjoy being together.—Luke 11:28.
WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM HUSBANDS
3, 4. (a) How should a husband treat his wife? (b) Why is it important for a husband and wife to forgive each other?
3 The Bible says that a good husband should treat his wife with love and respect. Please read Ephesians 5:25-29. A husband will always treat his wife in a loving way. He will also protect her, look after her, and do nothing that would harm her.
4 But what should a husband do when his wife makes mistakes? Husbands are told: “Keep on loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them.” (Colossians 3:19) Husbands, remember that you too make mistakes. And if you want God to forgive you, you must forgive your wife. (Matthew 6:12, 14, 15) When a husband and wife are both willing to forgive, it will help them to have a happy marriage.
5. Why should a husband honor his wife?
5 Jehovah expects a husband to honor his wife. A husband should think carefully about his wife’s needs. This is a very serious matter. If a husband does not treat his wife well, Jehovah may refuse to listen to his prayers. (1 Peter 3:7) What makes people valuable to Jehovah is that they love him. He does not prefer men over women.
6. What does it mean for a husband and wife to be “one flesh”?
6 Jesus explained that a husband and wife “are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matthew 19:6) They are loyal to each other and would never be unfaithful to each other. (Proverbs 5:15-21; Hebrews 13:4) Husbands and wives should unselfishly care for each other’s sexual needs. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5) A husband should remember that “no man ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cherishes it.” So he should love and cherish his wife. More than anything else, a wife wants her husband to be kind and loving to her.—Ephesians 5:29.
WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM WIVES
7. Why does a family need a family head?
7 Every family needs a head, someone to guide the family so that they work well together. The Bible says at 1 Corinthians 11:3: “The head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.”
8. How can a wife show deep respect for her husband?
8 Every husband makes mistakes. But when a wife supports her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him willingly, the whole family benefits. (1 Peter 3:1-6) The Bible says: “The wife should have deep respect for her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) What if a husband does not share his wife’s beliefs? She still needs to have deep respect for him. The Bible says: “You wives, be in subjection to your husbands, so that if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:1, 2) A wife’s good example can help her husband to understand and respect her faith.
9. (a) What should a wife do if she disagrees with her husband? (b) What is the advice for wives at Titus 2:4, 5?
9 What can a wife do when she disagrees with her husband? She should express her opinions in a respectful way. For example, Sarah said something that Abraham did not like, but Jehovah told him: “Listen to her.” (Genesis 21:9-12) Rarely will a Christian husband’s final decision be against what the Bible says, so his wife should support him. (Acts 5:29; Ephesians 5:24) A good wife will take care of the family. (Read Titus 2:4, 5.) When her husband and children see how hard she works for them, they will love and respect her even more.—Proverbs 31:10, 28.
10. What does the Bible say about separation and divorce?
10 Sometimes couples quickly decide to separate or divorce. However, the Bible says that “a wife should not separate from her husband” and that “a husband should not leave his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:10, 11) There are certain extreme circumstances when couples may separate, but this is a serious decision. What about divorce? The Bible shows that the only valid reason for divorce is if a husband or a wife has sex with someone other than his or her mate.—Matthew 19:9.
WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM PARENTS
11. What do children need more than anything else?
11 Parents, spend as much time as possible with your children. Your children need you, and more than anything else, they need you to teach them about Jehovah.—Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
12. What should parents do to protect their children?
12 Satan’s world is becoming more and more wicked, and there are some people who may want to harm our children, even sexually abuse them. Some parents find it difficult to talk about this subject. But parents need to warn their children about such people and teach them how to avoid them. Parents, you must protect your children.*—1 Peter 5:8.
13. How should parents teach their children?
13 Parents have the responsibility to teach their children how to behave. How can you teach your children? Your children need training, but correction should never be cruel or harsh. (Jeremiah 30:11) So never discipline your children when you are angry. You do not want your words to be like “the stabs of a sword” and hurt them. (Proverbs 12:18) Teach your children to understand why they need to be obedient.—Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:9-11; see Endnote 30.
WHAT GOD EXPECTS FROM CHILDREN
14, 15. Why should children be obedient to their parents?
16. (a) How does Satan try to tempt young people to do what is bad? (b) Why is it important to choose friends who love Jehovah?
16 The Devil can use your friends and other young people to tempt you to do what is wrong. He knows that this pressure can be very hard to resist. For example, Jacob’s daughter Dinah had friends who didn’t love Jehovah. This caused a lot of trouble for her and her family. (Genesis 34:1, 2) If your friends do not love Jehovah, they may tempt you to do something that Jehovah hates, which would cause a lot of pain to you, to your family, and to God. (Proverbs 17:21, 25) That is why it is very important that you find friends who love Jehovah.—1 Corinthians 15:33.
YOUR FAMILY CAN BE HAPPY
17. What responsibility does each person in a family have?
17 When the members of a family follow God’s instructions, they avoid trouble and many problems. So if you are a husband, love your wife and treat her with love. If you are a wife, be respectful and submissive to your husband and imitate the example of the wife described at Proverbs 31:10-31. If you are a parent, teach your children to love God. (Proverbs 22:6) If you are a father, guide your family “in a fine manner.” (1 Timothy 3:4, 5; 5:8) And children, obey your parents. (Colossians 3:20) Remember that each person in the family can make mistakes, so be humble and ask one another for forgiveness. Yes, the Bible contains Jehovah’s guidance for every person in the family.
You can find more information on how to protect your children in chapter 32 of the book Learn From the Great Teacher, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A child doesn’t have to obey his parents if they want him to do something that is against God’s law.—Acts 5:29.