The Gift of Family - A Review

By Rev. Daniel B. Su, President, China Outreach Ministries

Is a happy and fulfilling marriage life still possible in our fast pace modern life? The answer is yes—but not without re-examining our values and making constructive efforts. 

In her “The Gift of Family” series of postings, Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin aims to share practical lessons learned and to help modern couples and families in their struggle to build healthy marriage and family life. This is a critical challenge for many people as we live under the pressure from the secular culture around us and face demands from careers and parenting. 

It is a delight for me to read Dr. Hamrin’s writing; it is of great value to married couple today. I would most highly recommend it to any couples in any stage of life who desire to build a stronger, healthier marriage. I would greatly encourage couples to read it together, share their thoughts and feelings, and take tangible follow-up actions. That would be the best way to benefit from her writing. Her posts have been translated into Chinese under her Chinese name Li Kerou. Here is the link: 

The author starts her series with the biblical viewpoint of commitment as the solid foundation for a healthy, happy marriage--in sharp contrast to the prevailing secular, me-centered self-fulfillment mindset. From there, she moves on to cover topics such as the joy of marriage, marriage as a gift to be cherished, and how to stay married. She also addresses the challenges arising from different stages in life such as early marriage, raising children, mid-life crisis, the difficult balance of career and family life, empty nest, and dealing with extended family. 

In my five years of pastoral ministry to mostly urban professionals in my church and twenty some years of campus ministry among graduate students and visiting scholars from China, I have seen the real struggles of real people, both American and Chinese, facing real challenges as the author has faced. Such couples will definitely find help and wise counsel in her writings. For Christians, her postings can be used as a valuable tool to reach out to the Chinese. The Chinese in particular will greatly appreciate the wisdom found in the posting because traditional Chinese culture greatly values marriages and families. 

Throughout her writings, Dr. Hamrin shares real life struggles of her own and her friends in the context of academic pursuit, career success, parenting, mid-life challenges, loss of loved ones and transition to retirement years. Readers will find it easy to relate. What’s better, at the end of each posting, Dr. Hamrin also offers practical questions for discussion or actions to take for couples. Readers will find her advice wise, practical and relevant to people today; they will also appreciate her writing style, which is readable and succinct This is especially so for busy professionals who, like the Hamrins, have to joggle multiple demands on them and face competing priorities in life.