I found this wonderful quote in "What is Hinduism?"
"The family man is the guru of his household. If wants to find out how to be a good guru, he just has to observe his own satguru, that is all he has to do. He will learn though observation.. He must assume full responsibility for his family and guide subtly and wisely with love always flowing. this means that he must accept the responsibility for the conditions in the home and for the spiritual training and unfoldment of his wife and children."
I loved this description. I find that as a married man with two kids (boys aged 4 and 1) with a full time job it is hard to have a practice (Buddhist mediation) primarily designed for monastics. Of course in Buddhism there is a distinction between householder and monk, but especially in zen there is such as a focus on the monastic life. In other forms of Buddhism, the layperson's role is to earn merit, often by donating to the monasteries. Of course as Buddhism has entered the west, the line between householder and monk has blurred. I think this runs a danger of people with families pretending to be monks! My dharma name (Liang Tiao Lujing) means in Chinese "one who follows two paths" and was given to me as a reminder by my teacher that my whole life (family, career, meditation) were not separate paths but only one. The name is a reminder not to divide my life but see everything as part of my meditation.
Anyways, I loved the perspectives of the above quote because it is a great way of viewing the family life as a key opportunity for developing a disciplined path. I do feel that my meditative practice allows me, in my better moments, to be a source of unconditional love for my family and to gently guide them to focus on what is really important and to teach compassion to our children. Meditation helps to me to able to give my wife the freedom and support she needs and to not be attached to my own needs. That is very much part of my practice.