Whether we’re single, married, or raising kids, we all know how important it is for families to be healthy - and the good news is that there are practical ways to keep our family healthy outlined in Ephesians 5:18-33 and Ephesians 6:1-4. Author, counselor, and speaker Gary Chapman laid out 5 signs of a healthy family in his time with us for our series The Way Back - check them out below and think through how you can start applying them to your life.
1. Healthy families have an attitude of service
As it says in Ephesians 5:21-33, no matter what part you play in a family - husband, wife, or children - we are called to have an attitude of service to each other and to people outside of our family. And it’s important to acknowledge this attitude of service and bring it to the forefront of our lives each day. When we encourage one another in serving - whether it’s in our home, at school or at work, or in our communities - we implement the act and attitude of service in our families and for generations to come.
2. Healthy families have intimacy between husband and wife
We’ve heard that intimacy is important in a marriage - but we rarely hear how important all forms of intimacy are between husband and wife for the rest of the family. This doesn’t just mean physical intimacy (although that’s important too!) but also intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual intimacy. This includes sharing your thoughts and desires with one another, talking about your feelings, getting out of the house together, and engaging in sharing spiritual moments together.
3. Healthy families have parents who teach and train
All parents want to bring their children up in a healthy way - but a lot of times parents tend to focus on either teaching their children (telling them how to do something) or training their children (showing them how to do something or making them do something). In the healthiest families, children receive both teaching and training from their parents. This means bringing children up in the teaching and instruction of the Lord, and being willing to tell them what is right as well as also show them how to do right.
4. Healthy families have husbands who are loving leaders
The role of a husband is to love and lead his wife as Jesus loved and lead the Church. This means that a loving husband will lead by viewing his wife as his partner, communicating with her, putting her at the top of his priority list, loving her unconditionally, committing to discovering and meeting her needs, and seeking to model his spiritual and moral values. When a husband loves his wife like Jesus loves the Church, he is leading his family.
5. Healthy families have children who obey and honor their parents
Obedience is a healthy word - it implies respect for authority in general, and builds responsibility and character. This is why teaching obedience to our kids is so important. Parents can teach obedience to their children by modeling it (letting your kids see you respecting authority and following the rules), by wrapping discipline in love, but letting them suffer consequences when they disobey (lovingly addressing that they’ve disobeyed and following through with the discipline), and rewarding them when they are obedient. The importance of obedience leads to honor, and kids are more likely to practice honor when they experience it - so parents should be on the lookout for ways to showcase honor to their children.
It’s never too late to start making healthy decisions for the future of your family. To hear more about practical ways to love and lead your family, watch the sermon 5 Signs of a Healthy Family with Dr. Gary Chapman and the rest of our series The Way Back.