Introduction: Have you noticed how important “people skills” are to
having a good life? It is easy to tell the people who just radiate
personality, who seem to get along with everyone. Some call the
ability to get along well with others, the ability to say just the
right thing, “emotional intelligence.” When I was growing, up my
brother taught me a great deal about having an attractive personality
and being a good leader. Emotional intelligence is very important
for marriage, and it is important for raising children. The Bible
not only gives us the basic principles for the family, it also has a
great deal to teach us about family emotional intelligence. Let’s
jump right into our study!

  1. The Basics

    1. Read Exodus 20:17. What does it mean to “covet” your
      neighbor’s wife? (To wish that she were yours. Recently,
      I read a survey summary which said that more than half of
      the men surveyed had thought of having sex with their
      neighbor’s wife.)

      1. Would this command also apply to wives? (Yes.)

      2. What is the problem with a little daydreaming? A
        little wishful thinking? (It feeds dissatisfaction
        with your own spouse. Dwelling on such thoughts leads
        to committing adultery – which is prohibited in
        Exodus 20:14.)

      3. Would the command against coveting apply to areas
        other than sex? Would it be wrong for a wife to wish
        that her husband made more money, attended church,
        dressed better, etc., just like her neighbor’s
        husband? ( Exodus 20:17 forbids coveting “anything
        that belongs to your neighbor.” The prohibition is
        very broad.)

    2. Read Exodus 20:12. Why would God want children to honor
      their parents? (Just like the issue of coveting, this is a
      matter of the right attitude. If you honor your parents,
      you will obey them and get along with them.)

    3. If children grow up honoring their parents, will they also
      tend to honor their spouse? (I think there is a link. Sin
      begins in the mind with our attitudes. If we have an
      attitude that our spouse is “second class,” we are on the
      road that leads to adultery. If we have the attitude that
      our parents are idiots, we are far down the road to
      disobedience. Having a positive attitude towards our
      parents before we are married helps us to have a positive
      attitude towards our spouse.)

    4. Read Ephesians 5:28. What destructive attitude does this
      text address? (Selfishness. A husband who covets his
      neighbor’s wife is selfish. A child who wants to do his
      own will instead of following the wisdom of his parents,
      is selfish. Selfishness is behind every sin. Ephesians
      explains there is a sinless way to promote self. The true
      way to promoting self is to love your wife. If you really
      want to promote self, treat your wife as you would treat
      your own body. Whatever you would like to have your wife
      do for you, do that for her. If that does not sound
      familiar read Matthew 7:12 and Romans 13:9.)

  2. Beyond Basics

    1. In college they often have the “beginners” and “advanced”
      courses on a subject. The Ten Commandments cover the
      basics on family relationships. We find in the book of
      Proverbs some advanced and specific discussion about
      enhancing our emotional intelligence in dealing with our

    2. Family fights: Read Proverbs 20:3 and Proverbs 29:11. What
      “good marriage” counsel do we find here about how to avoid
      fights? (A wise spouse/parent seeks to avoid strife if
      possible. Controlling anger shows wisdom.)

      1. Read Proverbs 15:1. In what way can our words
        discourage quarreling?

    3. Money issues: Read Proverbs 17:1 and Proverbs 15:16-17. As
      I understand it, disputes over money are the number one
      cause of divorce. What does the Bible say about the
      importance of money to happiness?

      1. How many family decisions are made based on
        considerations of money?

        1. What about the decision for one spouse to stay
          home and raise the children?

        2. What about the decision of one spouse to work
          longer hours “for the family?”

    4. Depression: Read Proverbs 25:20. What approach is best
      when your spouse is sad?

    5. Godly home: Read Proverbs 14:26. How is fearing the Lord a
      refuge for our children? (When we have the right
      relationship with God, we have a fortress against the
      world. This fortress extends to help protect our

      1. In what way are our children protected? (They learn
        about trust in God. There is a strong theme in the
        Old Testament about God showing kindness to the
        children of those who fear Him. See Deuteronomy 5:9-10.)

    6. Affirmation: Read Proverbs 3:27. Can you remember
      situations in which you should have said something
      positive to your children or your spouse, but you did not?
      What does this text suggest about that?

      1. When I was growing up, I had a close friend whose
        father treated him in an odd way. The father would
        say uncomplimentary things about his son, and then
        turn around and say complimentary things to me. For
        reasons I do not understand, He was withholding from
        his son the “good” which the son deserved.

      2. When it comes to dealing with our spouse, are actions
        more important than words? (Read Proverbs 12:14. The
        Bible suggests that actions and words are equally

      3. Read Proverbs 12:18. How important is it to be
        careful what we say to our spouse?

      4. Read Proverbs 12:25 and Proverbs 16:24. What
        opportunity exists in our words?

        1. What effect can our words have on the health of
          our spouse?

    7. Cheerfulness: Read Proverbs 15:30. In addition to words
      and actions, what other way can we be a blessing to our
      family? (A cheerful look. Having a positive attitude.)

    8. Seeking advice: Sometimes we just do not know what to do
      to handle a family problem. Would it be wise to read
      family advice books or seek counsel from others? Let’s
      look at some texts on this subject:

      1. Read Proverbs 15:22 and Proverbs 13:10. What does
        this suggest about those who do not take advice?

      2. Read Proverbs 14:7 and Proverbs 12:5. From whom
        should we seek advice?

      3. Read Proverbs 25:12. Should we be open to advice that
        we are the source of the family problem?

      4. Read Proverbs 17:9. What word of caution do we find
        in seeking advice about family problems? (Seeking
        advice is not the same as blabbing to everyone you
        know about the failures of your spouse (or children).
        There is a fine line here which we need to keep in

    9. When we see others who have family problems, should we
      offer our unsolicited advice to them? The Bible calls the
      proud and arrogant person by the name “mocker.” (See
      Proverbs 21:24). What does the Bible suggest about giving
      advice to proud and arrogant people? (Read Proverbs 9:7-8.)

    10. Friend, the Bible has important instructions for improving
      your emotional intelligence when dealing with your family.
      Will you determine to follow God’s advice?

  3. Next week: Restoration.