Marriage, Family and Parenting: Paul Washer (Transcript)

Full text of Paul Washer’s talk titled ‘Marriage, Family and Parenting’ which was presented at 2021 Fellowship Conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Paul Washer – Founder of HeartCry Missionary Society

Several years ago, I was doing a marriage conference in Russia, and I had to preach, I think, I forget what it was, but it was somewhere around 18 or 21 sermons that week on marriage. And I had gotten into, I don’t know how many sermons, but we were way over halfway. And one of the leaders came up to me and goes, ‘Brother Paul, you have not yet preached on marriage.’

And I said, ‘I know. What have I preached on?’

He said, ‘The fruit of the Spirit.’

So, if I had a man who knew all the principles of marriage, but he’s not filled with the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit, all those principles really aren’t going to matter. If I have a man who is filled with the Holy Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, he’s going to do alright in marriage.

Now, you need both, but nothing takes the place of transformation. As a man, you see, when you talk about authority, you have to be very careful you don’t put authority as a man in the context of Caesar. This is in the context of Christ.

How do I have authority? I have authority to serve. I have authority to make every decision I make for the glory of God, for the benefit of my wife, for the benefit of my children. And what about me? I’m not in the formula.

Authority with regard to an elder. He has authority to serve to the glory of God, for the benefit of God’s people. And he doesn’t fit in the equation.

As the head of my home, I have the right to serve everyone in my home and to go to bed more tired than everyone else in my home. I have authority to work very hard at the mission… come home and know that my day has just begun. I have a wife. I have now three children at home. I had four children at home. One of them just turned five. And she is my shadow.

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You see, men, you don’t really want authority. Authority will send you to an early grave, or at least make you look like you’re already ready for an early grave. Authority will make you tired. Authority makes you a servant. That every decision I make, I’m not in the equation. That’s true authority. What does God command? What will bring Him glory? What is the best thing for my wife? What can I do that she will prosper, that she will grow, that she will become everything she ought to become in Christ? Not molded in my image, but molded in the image of God according to the way God made her. Do you see?

So, authority is not a gorilla-like beating of the chest. It’s not a Caesar-like, everybody serves me. And we have that tendency. We come home, say you’re the breadwinner. You’ve worked very hard. You come home, everyone ought to serve you. No, they don’t. You just keep going.

You just keep going. But if you keep going, they will want to serve you at times.

‘Dad, rest. I got this.’

‘Honey, go out, take your gun, kill something, enjoy yourself.’ Do you see?

What does my wife need? She needs a better husband. Now, not that I want her to replace me anytime soon. She needs a better husband. What’s the biggest problem in our marriage? My wife needs a better husband. What’s the biggest problem in my family? My wife and children need a better husband and father.

You see, when you’re supposedly… If something bad happens at HeartCry, who do they come to? Whose fault is it? Who’s responsible? Me. Something goes bad in the church, who’s responsible? Always the one who assumes some position of authority. And so, men, this is very, very important, especially for men in the ministry.


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I have heard men say that they rightfully have neglected their family in some degree because of ministry. Do you know what those men are doing? They’re accusing God. They’re accusing God. Do you know what they’re saying? They’re violating Romans 12:1-2 that says, the will of God is what? Perfect.

So if you tell me, because of the ministry, I don’t have time for my family, look what you’re saying. You’re saying that the will of God is imperfect because in order to obey the will of God in the ministry, I have to violate the will of God with regard to my wife and my family. That’s blaming God. That’s nothing heroic or sacrificial. That’s blaming God. And that’s demonstrating that your real intention is not to be obedient. Your real intention is to create some sort of name for yourself, some sort of kingdom. Or maybe God just needs your help.

You see, we’re only required to be obedient.

Okay? Now, some of you wives right now, you just want to put a proverbial elbow right into the ribs of your husband and say something like this, why can’t you be like that man?

Here’s the answer I’m going to give you. Look at her and say, that man’s not even like that man. But I do see this as a reality. And I do repent when anything starts becoming like me. And oh, it does. Whenever there are unmet expectations that cause me to be sad. But men, authority is authority to serve. You have been entrusted with God’s daughter. You have been entrusted with children. Do you see?

Now, men, if you worked, let’s say I owned a big company, and 75% of the sales, or let’s say that I owned a big company and you were kind of a new guy in there and you were just useless. Do you know what I would probably say? Look, to my upper management, I’d say, yeah, he’s useless. But he’s young. Let’s invest in him. Let’s have some mercy. Let’s keep him on.

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Now, let’s change the scenario. 75% of all the sales in my company come from you. You’re a hot shot. You’re amazing. But you also happen to be married to my daughter. You’re neglecting her and mistreating you. I’m going to shoot you, hang you in a tree, and let the news spread that no one does something like that to my daughter.

Well, you’re going to lose all the sales. I don’t care, it’s my daughter. Your wife, if she is a believing wife, is far more important to God. He doesn’t need you to manage His company. He doesn’t need your sales. He doesn’t need whatever you think that you’re giving. God is calling us to a life of obedience. A life of obedience. And that is a fearful thing.

When you’ve been married as long as I have, and you’re saying the things I’m saying, and you look back and you see so many times when that was not lived out in your life. But I find out that it’s helpful at least to know this is true, to strive towards it and repent when you see yourself outside of it, and like many men who’ve never even thought about the things I’m saying right now. All we are required to be is obedient.

Now, some of you may be pastors, and you remember when I said yesterday, have you ever gone through the Old and New Testament and wrote out every text that has to do with pastoring so you actually know what your responsibilities are according to God? Most people haven’t.

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