This topic-a healthy Christian family is a suggestion that there are unhealthy Christian families. And when we talk of a healthy Christian family, we mean families where both the husband and wife are both Christians, they know the Lord and serve Him. It is God’s plan for Christian families to be healthy. God designed a healthy family because marriage is instituted by Him. He intended to have a place where children could be raised and nurture in the fear of God. How then come that somehow the Christian family could be unhealthy? How can we have a healthy Christian family? What are the characteristics of a healthy Christian family?

What is a healthy Christian family?

Healthy – To be healthy means to be strong, well, vigorous, or wholesome. It means not to be sick. Therefore a healthy Christian family is a family that is strong, well, vigorous or wholesome. It is a family that is not sick physically or spiritually.

Ten (10) Ways to Detect a Healthy Christian Family

  1. Personal salvation in Christ/Purposeful youthful life
  2. Bible study/Prayers
  3. Family altar
  4. Commitment
  5. Communication
  6. Conflict management
  7. Focus on family strength
  8. Family assessments
  9. Spend quality time together
  10.  Respect Each Other


Special attention would be given to communication because it is the factor on which all others hang. The issue of communication cannot be over emphasized if the family is to be healthy and strong. One of the major causes of conflict between parents and teenager children have been communication breakdown. Husband and wife that allow communication gap would find understanding difficult in the home.

What is Family Communication?

Family communication has been defined by Epstein, Bishop, Ryan, Miller, & Keitner, (1993) as “the way verbal and non-verbal information is exchanged between family members.” They were of the view that communication entails paying attention to what others are thinking and feeling. In other words, it is not enough to talk but to also listen to others in what they are saying.

Types of Communication

Epstein et al. (1993) at http://www.ext,vt.edu/topics/family/index.html

have identified the following four styles of communication

  1. Clear and Direct Communication

Clear and direct communication occur when .

Message is stated plainly and directly.

It is directed to the family member concerned.

E.g. of clear and direct communication is when a disappointed father, about his son failure to complete his chore, states, “Son, I’m disappointed that you forgot to take out the trash today without my having to remind you.”

  1. Clear and Indirect Communication

Here the message is clear but not directed to the one it is intended for. Using the previous example, the father might say, “It’s disappointing when people forget to complete their chores.” In this message the daughter  may not know that her father is referring to her.

  1. Masked and Direct Communication

Masked and direct communication – here, content is not clear but directed to the appropriate family member. The father in our example may say something like, “Son, people just don’t work as hard as they used to.”

  1. Masked and Indirect Communication

Here, both message and the intended recipient are not clear.

Communication in unhealthy family relationship is very masked and indirect.

E.g, when our example father says, “The youth of today are very lazy.”


Effects of good communication

Through communication, family members are able to table their needs, wants, wants and concern for one another. When there is an open forum for communication, family members are able to express their differences, love and admiration for one another. This gives opportunity to settle and resolve some unavoidable grievances that may come up within the family.

Poor and ineffective communication

Poor and ineffective communication is associated with unhealthy family relationship while good and effective communication is an indicator for a healthy and strong family. Unhealthy family use indirect and unclear communication style while a healthy family will use direct and clear communication style. The result of poor communication is “excessive family conflict, ineffective problem solving, lack of intimacy and weak emotional bonding” (http://www.ext,vt.edu/topics/family/index.html).


Where communication is properly addressed, the other points for a healthy family would be addressed adequately. Other times we can address other areas but the aspect of personal salvation is very important. The scripture says if any man/woman is in Christ he/she is a new creation, old things are passed away, all things are become new. That is when a family can be termed a Christian family that is, husband and wife know the Lord as their Lord and Saviour. And this makes the difference in whether or not the family would be healthy.

Adenike Oladeji Rev.(Mrs).