Relationships are complex and in them we often encounter the good, the bad and the unexpected. Looking specifically at fatherhood, we see that, though cultural associations and expectations fluctuate, God’s forgiveness and love stand firm.

The Good

“Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.” – Amy Grant

Leave It To Beaver. Father Knows Best. Ozzie & Harriet. My Three Sons. These were popular TV shows back in the day when there were few watch choices. What did they all have in common? Fathers and male role models who were wise and the backbone of the family. The male characters were celebrated for their insights and how they led their families.

This is similar to God’s design for the family. From the beginning, God set the man apart to be the head of the household. Adam was to be the protector and provider. He gave Eve to Adam to be a help mate, a partner, and ultimately set us apart for relationships with one another. In the New Testament, we are reminded continuously to care for and to love one another.

The relationships in those early TV shows are often referred to as being unrealistic and no one really lived a life like the Cleavers, Nelsons, or the Douglas families. If only all conflict could be resolved in a thirty-minute sitcom time frame! Relationship resolutions may not happen that quickly, but there were good skills modeled during the small window of time … respect, kindness, forgiveness, mutual support and most importantly conflict resolution in a healthy manner.

The Bad

“Let’s not forget it’s you and me vs. the problem…Not…you vs. me.” – Steve Maraboli

Then there was a slow morphing of the male becoming a buffoon and almost every episode centered on the bad planning, ignorance, and clumsiness of the male role models we saw on TV. Think Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond, and even The Cosby Show. We went from wise, leadership in relationships to masculinity being a toxic trait and men could not be relied on for the simplest of tasks.

Satan is a crafty one and likes to play games with our heads. He wants us to believe his lies and that we do not need one another. An individual is much more susceptible to his attacks. The wolf seeks to separate a lone sheep from the herd because it is much easier to attack. Healthy relationships can provide a supportive environment and foster strong communal bonds.

Families have experienced dysfunction and problems from day one…lies, deceit, murder, infidelity, idolatry, jealousy, rivalries, and the list goes on and on. God has also given the directive to forgive, repair, and restore broken relationships throughout Scripture. Healthy relationships cannot thrive in an environment of sarcasm, hostility, and unforgiveness.

The Unexpected

“Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” – Albert Camus

While the research is anecdotal and life may be imitating art, the role of fathers, husbands, men has been greatly diminished. Our culture has stressed the importance of relationships and being relational, but men have been minimized and made to feel less important in families. Women can do anything a man can do, including serve as the head of a household both spiritually and relationally.

There have been several studies done that prove the importance of a father to the family, especially the children. Focus On The Family cites a 26-year long study that found the number one factor in developing empathy in children was father involvement.1 Another study on the importance of a father from Pediatric Associates of Franklin points out an affectionate and supportive father impacts the cognitive and social development of a child.

A common misconception is that a father is only important in the life of a male child. The aforementioned study states, “Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating.”2

Throughout Scripture, God makes His plan clear that relationships should be restored and strengthened. This includes relationships between man and woman, husband and wife, neighbors, family, parent and child.

What does a Healthy Relationship look like?

  • Mutual Respect
  • Open communication
  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Enjoy time spent together
  • Supportive

The Good

A relationship based on trust, mutual respect and support. A healthy relationship can make our lives easier, especially during tough times. Relationships are hard and they take commitment, empathy, honesty, and communication. Forgiveness is also a key component.

The Bad

Everyone makes mistakes and the ability to forgive, change behaviors, and move forward leads to the unexpected.

The Unexpected

A relationship that is strong, committed, and based on healthy characteristics. Relationships rooted in God’s Word and according to His plan will not always be easy, but they will be worth the time and effort in the long run. Forgiveness is essential for your love to shine the brightest in the darkest moments.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8



If you or someone you know would benefit from support navigating the complexities of family and life in relationship, refer to or contact us today.

Lutheran Family Service walks with those experiencing difficult times through mental health counseling, marriage counseling, crisis pregnancy counseling, and adoption services.



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