"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Christ-Like Husband?

We sat down as a family to watch The Retrievers, a 2001 movie about a family of four (Mom, Dad, teenaged girl and young boy) who move from Manhattan to a rural California town, and are immediately "adopted" by a golden retriever named Pilot. They discover early on that Pilot is pregnant.  The family decides to do the customary thing by giving away the puppies. 

But that's just the beginning.  You see, Pilot runs away and the little boy chases after him, causing the father to leave work (at his new job) in the middle of the day to search for the pair.  Mom and kids all agree that the pooch was searching for her pups (no one actually asked the dog).

Anyway, the father decides to help the family seek out the puppies one by one and get them back so poor Pilot won't be so sad.  As a result he ends up losing his job, and neither his wife nor either of the children show any sign of remorse whatsoever.

You're probably asking yourself why I'm writing about this on a christian marriage blog.  Well, there are several reasons.My wife and I both had some serious problems with the husband and wife relationship on the screen.

First, the family gave away the puppies to other people.  Granted they weren't all "good" homes, and the process through which they were give was questionable at best, but nonetheless the puppies were given fare and square.  Then they decided to take the doggies back.  Ummmm .... No matter how I try to convince myself otherwise, that is wrong.

Secondly, the wife, along with both children basically shames her husband into dropping everything to help them return the puppies to their mother.

Thirdly, When the father loses his job, there isn't the slightest hint of remorse from anyone, including him.

Where's the leadership??  Where's the submission??  Where's the respect for authority??

Why did this bother us so much?

When you take a close look at this husband and father, you see a man so devoted to his wife and kids that he would do anything to make their lives better.  He strives to bring about a happy life for his bride, and makes difficult sacrifices for her and the children, even losing his job in the process.

On the surface he looks like the very model of a Christian husband.  After all aren't we supposed to love our wives as Christ loved the church, giving His life for her?

Well, yes. BUT ...

Jesus always had the church's best interest in mind as He lived His earthly life.

What was in the best interest of the movie family with all the dogs?

Was it in their best interest to go against their word and take back all the dogs after they had given them to people?  Or to be allowed to shame their father/ husband into calling in sick day after day to look for the dogs? 

Where was I going with this post?  Oh yeah

My wife and I were uncomfortable with the role of the father as it was played out in this movie because he did what he though was right for the wrong reasons.  Did he sacrifice for his family?  Yes, but he did it to keep the peace in his home rather than to fulfill his God-given vision for his marriage and family.

I found myself cringing several times because I, too, am guilty of this all the time.  I would rather have a conflict-free home than stand for what I believe is the direction in which God wants our marriage and our family to go.  I don't stand my ground as a husband and father near enough.  I only stand up for so long, then I sit down and keep my mouth shut.

Does it benefit my marriage?  Is my wife happy with this situation?  What am I teaching my children?

Husbands, if you are feeling a familiar pang of "uh-oh," please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  Many husbands give up on major ideas to keep the peace in their homes.  Keep in mind that it isn't always a bad idea to back down from something (some of my ideas are just plain nuts).  But if you are not speaking up in an area in which you are being led by the Holy Spirit in a different direction from your wife, you have to make you voice heard.  You are doing a serious disservice to her and to your marriage if you continue to hold your tongue.

What to do??

  1. Get in touch with God.  Read your Bible and pray.
  2. Find a godly mentor who will pray with you and help you be the leader in your marriage.'
  3. Read Christian books and blogs about marriage.
  4. Practice what you learn.

With God's help we can become the husband-leaders He wants us to be, and we can have the one-flesh  marriages He designed for us.



  1. I'm seeing this trend as well in many kids movies. You'd think you only need to watch out for the "adult" action-type movies, but, if anything, the ones for children are even more insidious, because they are "cute" and "family oriented" and can cause you to drop your guard, while teaching you absolute garbage in terms of world-view.

    Not to say they are all bad, but it's becoming harder and harder to find a good one.

    1. It is becoming more and more commonplace to see husbands portrayed as idiots. This one struck a chord because I recognized so many traits inside myself. Many times we think we're making sacrifices for our marriages when in fact we're sacrificing God's plan so we can have peace and quiet.

  2. I agree with your assessment of this movie plot line, even though I've not seen the movie. I think there are many movies out there that depict wrong family priorities, but they're so disguised by sweetness and furry cuteness that no one bats an eyes. Thanks for bringing clarity to a husband and father's leadership in the home. It's a truth that isn't often addressed but needs desperately to be said, TB. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Beth.

      Media images of true biblical husbands and fathers are few and far between these days. It seems like an all-out assault on Christian marriage. We need to take back marriage.

  3. I know this thread is old and cold, but... Ugh. That movie demonstrates a problem that goes even deeper than misunderstanding marriage roles. The idea of postmodernism is simply that our feelings are better than thought and truth for perception, or making decisions. So, if something feels like a "nice" thing to do, then it is obviously kind and loving. This is a common way to think in the church. We know that "God is love", and we know I Cor.13, but that is it. The tough things about loving are explained and illustrated in the Old Testament. Jesus said himself, that all the law and the prophets hang on those two laws about loving God and our neighbor. Nevertheless, so many Christians still have the general view that the OT is for te Jews, and all the laws they had to keep (and people they had to kill) to get to heaven. Of course, the Law never got *anyone* into heaven... but it is an excellent descrption of God's character, and of His view of love. As long as we use our feelings and sloppy perception of the truth, we'll only continue to make our families suffer from the results of the foolishness we believe to be so satisfying and nice.