Francis Chan Shares the Secrets to a Happy Marriage and Family

Former megachurch pastor Francis Chan and his wife Lisa have been happily married for over 20 years with 7 children (though “just” 5 when this video was made). Their marriage and family life is for the most part harmonious. Lisa and her daughters even sing and record melodious hymns together.

How is such a blissful, long-lasting marriage and family possible today? 

The couple describes first being crazy in love with the Lord Jesus Christ first, before loving one another and their children.

Secondly, they consider themselves to be on a mission together to know God and make Him known, even when this mission leads them to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous places.

Whereas many parents today try to protect their children from “distasteful” situations, the Chans are following a different beat.  When they feel God calling them to go somewhere, they go. That was true even when Francis Chan felt called to leave his megachurch and head to San Francisco, and start ministry in the Tenderloin district. He ministered by showing God’s love to people there, and took his kids along for the journey – not as bystanders, but as a family mission-team.

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The goal of the Chan parents in all this? Not to protect themselves and their children from the less enjoyable parts of life and the world. But rather, to engage each and every situation with a desire to know God and make Him known, living out their calling as Christians as authentically and attractively as possible. 

In this way, marital and family harmony is a by-product of the Lord and mission-first family goal.

  1. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  2. Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' "
  3. Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
  4. Malachi 2:14-15: “But you say, 'Why does he not?' Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
  5. Isaiah 54:5: “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called."
  6. Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised."
  7. Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
  8. Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
  9. Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her."
  10. Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
  11. Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
  12. Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
  13. Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, ..."
  14. Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."
  15. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
  16. 1 Corinthians 13:2: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
  17. 1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love."
  18. Song of Solomon 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
  19. Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."
  20. Proverbs 3:3-4: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
  21. 1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
  22. Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
  23. 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
  24. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish by have eternal life.”
  25. John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
  26. John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends."
  27. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
  28. Song of Solomon 4:9: “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace."
  29. Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
  30. 1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
  31. Proverbs 31:10: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
  32. Proverbs 12: 10:12 “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
  33. Ruth 1:16-17: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."
  34. Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."
  35. 1 Peter 4:8: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."
  36. Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
  37. Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
  38. Genesis 2:18–25: “Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' ... So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man."
  39. 1 Peter 3:7: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."
  40. 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.”