Seven Key Principles for Cultivating Healthy Families

Gold Brush Stroke

“You’re still not done?” My husband’s words met me while trying to finish up book work I had been addressing on and off all day. 

“The kids are home and needed me,” I snapped. “Then there’s laundry and supper and dishes. No, I’m not done!”

A response entirely undeserved.

Yikes! I had forgotten God’s admonition through Paul in Colossians 4:6 to Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

My man had asked the question quite innocently, even sympathetically. In my frustrated, weary, self-righteous state, though, I took his query as “You’re STILL not done?” As in, what is wrong with you? Why are you so slow?

Of course, he meant nothing of the sort. My reaction came far too quickly, with little thought to how it affected my poor guy. 

Why is it so easy to react to family in such an irritated and annoyed manner? Why do we often jump down our spouse’s, children’s or parent’s throats with the slightest provocation?

More importantly, what can we do about it?

family beautiful gift

The Blessing of Family

In a healthy family, conflict exists because we feel safe to give vent to our feelings in ways we never would with others.

I would never have answered a friend or acquaintance in the manner I did my husband. He’s safe. I know he loves me and wants only the best for me. That’s good. But taking my frustrations out on him wasn’t okay.

A healthy family offers an outlet for honest expression. It’s a beautiful gift. Yet it is easily abused and must be managed.

We often spout off without thinking, hurting those we love the most. Like I did to my guy. 

Sometimes hurt and frustrations can build to such a degree, members become estranged or alienated. What a sad situation. (If you find yourself in this situation, please do not give up hope. Continue to love your estranged member, offer him/her grace, and continue to trust our faithful God to do His work in the heart of your loved one.)

A Place for Messy, Imperfect You

Family is designed to be a community where you can be messy, imperfect you. A community where you can receive the support, encouragement and guidance you need to become a better version of you.

This applies to church families too. 

Family is designed to be a community where you can be messy, imperfect you. Share on X

But family certainly isn’t perfect. There are conflicts and misunderstandings and irritations. To expect otherwise is foolish. 

Delivering consistent love and grace requires superhuman, divine help. Something God readily offers to those who love Him. 

Delivering consistent love and grace requires divine help. Something God readily offers to those who love Him. Share on X

To create a vibrant, healthy family that continues to forgive, support, guide and encourage each other, we need to bathe ourselves daily with words of wisdom and truth. We need to surrender our will and allow the Holy Spirit to guard our tongues and guide our actions. 

We need to pause periodically to ask the Lord for His words, His thoughts, His humility.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very humble when I feel slighted or really want something I’m not getting. Yet Christ demonstrated the ultimate humility in laying down His life for us (Philippians 2:8).

I need to tap into that kind of humility. My guess is you do too. 

Without the Lord’s guidance and strength, family is nothing more than a wishful thought. We can’t do this healthy family thing on our own. Our sinful pride is too strong. 

And we don’t have to. In addition to conviction and spiritual guidance through the Holy Spirit, the Lord has offered practical principles in His Word for cultivating a healthy lifestyle, which carry over for optimizing relationships.

Incorporating His principles has lessened my negative emotional outpourings on my poor unsuspecting (okay, maybe not so unsuspecting anymore) family. 

God’s Guidance for Healthy Living and Healthy Families

1. Get the rest you need (Mark 6:31).

2. Stop and think before responding to a statement or question that has irritated you (Psalm 19:14; Colossians 4:6). 

3. Ask for clarification of that aforementioned irritating thing (Proverbs 18:13). 

4. Ask for help if needed, from God and your loved ones (James 4:2; Ecclesiastes 4:9). 

5. Quit reacting based on your expectations, but instead be open to seeing God’s hand in every circumstance (Proverbs 19:21). 

6. Cultivate humility (James 4:6).

7. Extend grace (2 Corinthians 8:7).

The family unit offers a great setting to learn restraint and proper responses. Yet it’s only by the grace of God any of us can have a healthy family.

Learning how to live in close proximity with people who have different personalities interests, and temperaments is no easy task. Families take work. 

But when we tap into God’s grace and extend it to ourselves and to those we love the most, family can become a beautiful gift. 

Healthy families take work. But when we tap into and extend God's grace, family can become a beautiful gift. Share on X

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 

Reflections: What additional principles have you found in God’s word that have helped you cultivate healthy family relationships?

I am thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday and this week’s prompt, “What is family?” I love special linkups. They provide an abundance of great inspiration and encouragement all in one place. Click on the image below or links above to check them out.




By His Grace,


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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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