Here are two non-marriage examples I hope are helpful. I think they are examples of what @tbbayly summarized well above: the point is Godly fear and fear of God. Children will begin to learn of God through their parents and learn to demonstrate fear, and into their eventual, Lord willing, roles of husband or wife will display Godly fear in leadership or in submission.
Love and fear combined in fatherhood
A story told by @jacob.mentzel, of him commanding his daughter to come to him out of the street because of an oncoming car. No time to explain. No time to count to three. No time to get to her and pull her to safety himself. (I’m telling my version) No time to be savior, only time to be lord. Only time to yell at her to come quickly. She ran to him, genuinely scared but probably not sure of what, then stood before him afraid, balling. He could then console her, thank her, confirm his love for her, explain the situation to her, hug her. She could have ran from him in fear further into the street, run in rebellion, or stood still in paralyzing fear or dismissal. But, thank God, love and fear combined to bring life-saving obedience.
Fearing God more than man allows a man to discipline his children in public, in front of his wife, or in front of his in-laws. We discipline children as an act of love (Proverbs 13:24). We obey God as an act of love (John 14:15). We also obey God because we fear Him (Matthew 10:28, Acts 5:9). We trust God, we love God; He loves us, first loved us. So fear, like obedience, is appropriately unidirectional and hierarchical, the flip side of authority. Love is mutual but not equal. Avoiding idolatry and pride, our fatherhood should mirror the Fatherhood of God, and our children have Jesus’ model of Sonship. Children should hopefully have their father as an example of both fatherhood and sonship.
Dogs and their masters
A well-trained and -bonded dog presents many examples of obedience based on mutual love and one-way fear. My college roommates tried and usually failed to get my dog to break the rules when I was absent. He wanted to be on the couch but not without his master’s permission; only I could place him on a couch without causing him to shiver in fear. And then there were the times I led this country dog down a five-story, metal fire escape. That was a wide-eyed dog, shaking to the bone but following.
An old woman in my neighborhood keeps the scariest and most athletic dog around. She walks this huge German Shepherd off leash, and there’s no other dog I trust more here despite his intimidation. It doesn’t know me nor obey me much. But a chiding from its master, and he begins to obey me…for a short time, playing with me rather than toying with me. A good parent can do better, effectively having their children obey a baby-sitter all night. A trustworthy parent speaking with authority can delegate that authority, and even their trustworthiness. To obey a baby-sitter is to love her, and is also obedience and love of the parents. To obey and love parents is to obey and love God.
@Krlamb1, I’m glad you connected you children’s various fears. Your nighttime routine demonstrates that they’ve combined fear with trust. I’ll take it one step further. Perhaps they know that even demons and monsters should fear daddy. That would be good. It’s really pointing to God. Brings to mind the Aslan quote,
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
and a song by Ross King, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vIYs1zILgU
These relate to marriage because we have similar comparisons. Wives are to consider Lordship (1 Peter 3:6, Ephesians 5:22) without frightening fear (1 Peter 3:6) nor timidity (2 Timothy 1:7). So we don’t throw out the word fear but understand it as more and different than mere afraidness. If anything, fear of God and fear of husband emboldens and protects a women to live rightly, as @tbbayly and @Fr_Bill pointed out. Woman have as models those who call Jesus Lord, especially Sarah’s calling her husband, but also husband and father submitting to God and church and family and government. Husbands in their headship (as Jesus is Head) are told to love their wives specially as Jesus loves.
Why is it so hard to apply these gulfs of distinction (father & son, man and animal) to man and wife? I had been thinking of writing how adult men and women are more equal than parents to children and men to animals. Adults are brothers and sisters in Christ, commanded to mutual submission, all with equal Christian liberty of conscience. So it’s hard to find the balance. This has to be considered when adding the respective roles of husband and wife to Christian men and women. This doesn’t feel right. The distinctions are plain to see, in person and in scripture, and are beautiful. We only feel bad because we are accused (by Satan and men) of being unequal, lording it over others (1 Peter 5:3) and angering others (Ephesians 6:4). These qualifiers tell men how to lead. They don’t tell men how to be equals. Men are told to lead rightly, carefully, appropriately; but to lead regardless, and to love not like a female human but like the God-Man. Men are called to follow Jesus in more ways than women are. Mainstream complementarians get it wrong by stressing the equality, in league with egalitarianism/feminism/androgyny. Complementarianism is soft egalitarianism, except for some few who do softly believe in Patriarchy. Adam definitely appreciates and needs the sameness he saw in Eve, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, but let’s take it for granted while we still can that humans are to be preferred over beasts (and pets).
Patriarchy, the Bible, celebrates the distinctions of men and women, most gloriously as husbands and wives, raising them to properly high statuses. Let’s have a fairer sex. Here’s a bumper sticker design.