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I had a conversation with a man in China that shocked me. I told him where I was from, and a little bit about my marriage and family. He asked if my wife was Chinese, and I said no. Then he asked me, “Do you have a girlfriend?”

“A girlfriend?” I asked. “My girlfriend is my wife!”

He laughed, “But why don’t you play with a nice young Chinese girl?”

It shouldn’t have shocked me, knowing that this culture thinks it is normal to play around. But it did bother me because I knew that he had his own family and they were very sweet. I hated to think about how they may have suffered from his ‘playful ways.’ He, like many others in this world, lost sight of the importance of the family.

The Importance of the Family
Christians already know that God places great value upon the family. But whether one believes in God or not, family is wired into the makeup of this world. The world does not function well when its ‘family members’ are not in harmony.

Each nation itself is a larger family unit, and its prosperity or failure depends in part on the harmony of its citizens. The same applies as you break it down further into each state, province, town or neighborhood.

The family at home is the foundation for society at large. If dysfunction and disloyalty is the norm in the living room, it will carry over into the marketplace.

There is a great war on family values these days. Those who are trying to erode them believe that they are liberating us from traditional and stuffy ways. What they are really doing is encouraging self-centered and indulgent living, which ultimately leads to a breakdown in relationships. When it comes down to “me first” it means trouble for everyone, at home or in the culture.

By contrast, the family is a learning ground for becoming selfless and giving. It is a place to learn to care for others, and in doing so character is formed. Parents can shape their children to care for others by caring for them. Spouses should make a priority of blessing each other, without thought for what they will get in return.

The Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive. This is easily proved when put into practice. The more we prefer our spouses and families over ourselves, the greater depth of love begins to affect us. But many people miss this because they don’t understand…

The Root of Most Problems

Selfishness underlies most of our dissatisfaction. We live in a world designed for harmony. Most problems are the result of believing that everything must revolve around you. There is a bigger picture that you can’t see if you are focused solely on yourself.

Babies are selfish. They don’t understand. They will kick and scream until they get what they want, never mind if it inconveniences anybody! That’s okay for a baby, but not for adults. Yet many adults have the same selfishness in them, more refined of course, but as strong as ever. They have to grow up and recognize the truth that Jesus expressed, Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it (Luke 17:33).

Because of selfishness, bitterness often rises up in one’s life. Bitterness and anger can destroy you from the inside out. Even science agrees that many sicknesses and diseases develop from these. Forgiveness is key.

“But I can’t forgive!!!” Yes you can, if you accept that the world isn’t supposed to revolve around you. You don’t want bitterness to kill you. Your lack of forgiveness isn’t hurting the other so much as it is hurting you.

Understanding and practicing these things will lead to great blessings in your life and in your home.

Here are some extra tips. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve seen them work when practiced…


Husbands: love your wives. Jesus Christ has the name exalted above all names because He laid His life down for the world. If we would attain greatness, we must lay down our lives for our wives and children. This means considering their needs before our own. It also means laying aside our preferences and agendas for their sakes.

In other words, the customer is always right (I mean the wife)! True headship in a marriage is laying down your life for the wife as Christ laid down His life for us.

We talk about a wife’s submission duty, but the husband has the greater duty to submit. This doesn’t mean being weak, but actually being stronger. Submission does not mean agreeing with everything, nor does it mean doing what you don’t want to do. It means willingly giving in for the sake of the other’s interest. You will also find that when you begin to give of yourself this way, you as well as her will become happier.

I’m not talking about being hen-pecked though. And certainly there are times when you have to stand your ground. But far more often you can give in. You can lay down your agenda for hers.

“But she doesn’t deserve it!” Maybe, but none of us really deserve any good, seeing how far short we have fallen from God’s standards. Yet He blesses us every day and treats us better than we could ever deserve. Jesus laid down His life “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) and while we were His enemies (5:10). Try Christlike behavior in your home. Give it some time, and see what God can do. Time is key. This is an investment, and change usually doesn’t happen overnight.

Wives: Respect your husbands! Don’t nag and scold. Find a way to make the suggestions sweetly. Encourage your husband, build him up with your words. Look nice for him. Find ways to bless him.

“But he doesn’t deserve it!” You’re probably right, but this too is an investment. It is the height of godliness to bless those who curse you (Matthew 5:44). If you build him up, he may come around to acting up to the part you are giving him. Give it time, and look to God for your soul fulfillment. Hubby won’t know what to make of it. He may eventually follow your example and become motivated to love selflessly. If not, you will still be the better for it, but you will have to work to keep a healthy attitude and reject bitterness. God will bless you. Your kids will see someone cool and strong as well.

Author Biography

Rick Bell
Web site: Rick Bell
Rick is a writer, speaker, teacher, and minister who has lived and served overseas since 1995. In late 2013, he moved back to America, but continues to travel and work with pastors and leaders across the world. His passion is to build others up with the life-changing truths of God’s grace and love.

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