Probably the most basic of all human relationships is that between a man and a woman. Only through it can human life be perpetuated (Gen 1:27-28). Yet this relationship involves more than sexual relations for the sake of producing children. Sex is only one part of a total relationship in which a man and a woman marry and commit themselves to each other for life (Matt 19:5-6). It is within this total marriage relationship, not outside it, that God intends children to be born and grow up. God’s design is for children to be brought up in families where both parents live together and accept their responsibilities. Those responsibilities include providing for their children’s physical and social needs, and teaching them the true values of life (Ps 128:1-3; Prov 1:8; 31:21,27; Col 3:20-21; cf. 1 Kings 1:5-6). In the case of Christian parents, the training of their children will aim to bring them to know God and walk in his ways (Deut 6:5-9; Eph 6:1-4; 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). Christians will learn how to deal properly with their children as they understand more about the way their heavenly Father deals with them (Heb 12:5-11; James 1:16-17; see FATHER). (For fuller details of parental responsibilities see FAMILY.)

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