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In laying out Rules for a Christian Households, St. Paul says in:

Colossians 3:18-20 (RSVCE)

Rules for Christian Households

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

What is the Catholic perspective and biblical explanation as to why he does not say?:

18 Wives, love your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, love your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Other Christian perspectives welcome but please state from which perspective.

cf. Ephesians 5:22-33 (RSVCE) - Ephesians 6:1-9 (RSVCE) and 1 Peter 3:1-6 (RSVCE)

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Affable Geek, Narnian, David Stratton Jul 23 at 2:21

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Speculating why God wrote the Bible as he did isn't a fitting type of question for this site. –  curiousdannii Jul 22 at 5:47
    
@curiousdannii Provoking thought. I believe the right direction in approaching this question lies in the corresponding passage in Ephesians. –  FMS Jul 22 at 6:47
    
I think the question has an objective answer, but it is not a strictly Christian answer, but more of a psychology and family interaction answer. If it's not closed, I might get an answer up tomorrow. –  fredsbend Jul 22 at 6:57
    
That the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and Christ has been constituted head is an opinion? –  FMS Jul 23 at 4:12

3 Answers 3

Your question comes from the Bible and the Bible also yields the answer! Love and respect are in relational union throughout the Bible, most notably love in the form of grace and respect in the form of faith. Eternal Life is the offspring of the marriage between grace/faith.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace

So while love initiates in grace, faith’s response is one of submission. St. Paul extends the dynamics of this relational union to wives and husbands, which produce physical life.

Ephesians 5:22-32 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Just as grace is a form of love, respect is a form of faith. Even the high estimation of fear in the Old Testament translates into respect and faith in the New Testament. Paul assigns the husband as the instrument for loves transmission and he assigns faith’s response to the wife. Paul here is not obligated to the modern “peer-partnership” view of marriage. Paul takes time to magnify the marriage relationship as a typical relationship between Christ and the Church. Paul’s perspective is however appropriate today, husbands should extend grace (unmerited love) to their wives and wives should faithfully anticipate (hope for) high and noble aspirations from their husbands.
Love is in relational union with honor and respect, just as grace is in relational union with faith. The Hebrew word “chen” translated as grace is a masculine noun, where the Hebrew word “'emuwanh” translated as faith is a feminine noun. Gender does matter in the Bible, because gender distinctions produce life.

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Interesting to note here that the words "reverence" and "revere", which certainly denote that idea of "respect", come from a Latin word meaning "fear"; and indeed the root of that word in Latin is a cognate of our word "fear". –  Matt Gutting Jul 22 at 17:11
    
@Rick Good approach. Paul here is not obligated to the modern “peer-partnership” view of marriage are you implying that the modern view is correct? –  FMS Jul 22 at 18:46
    
@FMShyanguya, Not personally, but your question seems to assume as much. –  Rick Jul 22 at 19:08
    
We are in agreement. I will answer the question from a different theological perspective. Husbands should extend grace (unmerited love) to their wives: reminds me of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, and Ruth 3:9 (RSVCE). –  FMS Jul 22 at 19:34

This is admittedly speculative, but there is probably no non-speculative answer for this question.

Paul gave each member of the family advice that would best help them.

Perhaps he knew there would be proud wives, unkind husbands, and unruly children.

Of course all the advice is applicable to all the members of the family, but some may be needed more often for some members than others.

God not only gives us counsel, he gives us the counsel we need. After all,

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:32

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Perhaps he knew there would be proud wives, unkind husbands, and unruly children. I like this! I believe there is an answer and it is deep ... –  FMS Jul 22 at 8:29

This answer, cognizant of the modern “peer-partnership” view of marriage, proceeds as follows:

  • God created man male and female, in the image of God1. Man (male and female) images God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

  • The Old contains the New, which in turn reveals the Old.

  • In the Old, God is husband to Israel2, in the New, Christ is the Bridegroom3 of the Church, his [Mystical] Body [cf.Ep 5:23].

  • God is Love4 (the Lover), and Christ, the Beloved5 (in him the world is included as well: For God so loved the world John 3:16 (RSVCE)).

  • [T]he Father loves the Son John 3:35 (RSVCE) and the Son abides in his Father's love by keeping his Father’s commandments cf. John 15:10 (RSVCE).

A biological example: A body that does not respond to the instructions from the head is a paralyzed body.

Once it is understood how God made man, his relationship with Israel, and the way he constituted the Church, a body, his Body, with Christ as head, it is then easy to understand why the Rules for the Christian Household are written that way. The rule for each member is ''how'' each member expresses love within that household. Please see also the section on slaves and masters.


The equality between men and women, between husbands and wives, is a matter for another answer.


This maybe of interest:
My understanding is this is Christian non-Catholic

If you want to love your man the way he can feel loved, your top priority is to ensure that he feels your respect.


1. [cf. Gn 1:27]↩

2. [cf. Is 54:5]↩

3. [cf. Jn 3:28-29]↩

4. [cf. 1 Jn 4:8]↩

5. [cf. Mt 3:17]↩

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