“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NKJV)
There are a lot of societal practices that mirror Christian beliefs because they just make sense. As Christians we tend to baptize those practices and make them Christian standards. As Paul dealt with family relationships where biblical standards seemed to match those of society, he added the Christian twist to each of them by noting that the husband/father/master had obligations in these relationships and not just power. Notice the pattern: wives do this, husbands do that; children do this, fathers do that; slaves do this; masters do that. As Christians begin to influence society and grow more powerful in society, we must never lose sight of the idea behind Paul’s comments here: with great power comes great responsibility. (See what I did there?)
Family relationships are difficult anyway, but they’re even harder when the people in power, the husband/father, remember their powers, but not their responsibilities. Families are not mini-dictatorships to be run with an iron fist; they’re supposed to be communities of love where everyone works together to support each other. If we’re looking out for the best for everyone, that means, going back to vs. 5:21, that we will submit to each other as the need arises. We’ve had the responsibilities of wives, children, and slaves (then) or employees (today) drummed into us for a long time. Paul understood it back then. An important part of building strong families, or strong businesses for that matter, is teaching those in power how be in tune with those they need to be in tune with.
Lord, building strong families is hard work. Help all Your people recognize the need for mutual submission as they strengthen their relationships daily.