Archive | April 2014

Emphasizing Your Husband’s Good Points

fill your head with positive thoughts...Pop quiz: Which would you prefer?

(a) That your husband focus his thoughts on your loveliest, most noble and praiseworthy characteristics?

(b) That he ignore your good points completely and concentrate instead on your most annoying and bothersome flaws?

Then do for him as you’d have him do for you….

  • What attracted you to your husband in the first place?
  • Express verbal admiration for those things.
  • In what areas has he grown and matured since you met?
  • Let him know you’ve noticed and appreciate the progress.
  • What things would you miss most if he were gone?
  • Thank him for everything he does for you and your family.
  • Never take him for granted. Live each day as if it were your last.

Dwelling on the positive isn’t so hard, especially when you consider that even negative behaviors can sometimes stem from positive traits. Trace them back to their source.

Case in point: When we were first married, it often bothered me that my husband would make what I considered frivolous and impulsive purchases (back then, it was sodas and candy at the corner gas station, later it would be new cars and cutting-edge technologies).

But I eventually came to realize that my husband’s spending habits go hand-in-hand with his giving habits: figuratively, since he views money as a tool, not as a treasure to be clutched or loved or horded; but also literally, because he usually gives away to some grateful person in need whatever good-as-new thing he is upgrading or replacing.

That lavish generosity, that willingness to share God’s blessings with those around him, that ability to give cheerfully, hilariously even, is something very good indeed. It is one of the traits I admire and appreciate most about my husband. And now I am reminded of that fact every time he buys something I think he shouldn’t.

It’s okay for us to be different. His strengths are not my strengths, and vice versa. Much of this is by design, as God intends for man and woman to complement one another. Different is not necessarily bad. It is just… different.

Emphasize your husband's good points....So don’t focus on the areas where you are strong, but your husband is weak — areas where, in your opinion, perhaps he doesn’t quite measure up.

That focus will lead only to contempt, bitterness, and resentment, which will deal a deathblow to your love and intimacy, if not to your marriage itself. Think instead on the areas where you are weak but your husband is strong, areas where he complements and completes you.

Is your husband flawed? Certainly. He is a sinner. (In the words of Elizabeth Elliot, “There isn’t anything else to marry!”)

But beyond praying for him, that fact cannot — it must not — be your focus.

So look for the good in your spouse. Search for it as you would search for buried treasure. And keep those traits at the forefront of your mind.

If focusing on the positive has been a struggle for you in the past, pray that God will help you see your husband with new eyes.

Praise and admire your spouse verbally and often. Are you glad God brought him into your life? Tell him so! Would you feel you were missing out without him? Let him know it!

Emphasize his good points in your thoughts and in your speech, and you will see more of the same flourish in his character, his life, and his manner.

25 Ways - Book of the Year Award WinnerThis post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, winner of CSPA’s 2014 “Book of the Year” Award!

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through fine booksellers everywhere.

Kirsten Dunst: She’s Simply Stating the Obvious

Neurological research has demonstrated what any two-year-old could tell you: Men and women are not identical in either nature or function.

Equal? Yes. Identical? No.

Actress Kirsten Dunst made headline news last week for her comments concerning traditional gender roles.

“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued,” she told Harper’s Bazaar UK. “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mum created.”

The interview is published in the magazine’s May issue. As May is also the month most of the world celebrates Mother’s Day, these sweet comments about the choices her own mother made seem altogether fitting and appropriate.

But Dunst didn’t leave it at that. “Sometimes,” she continued, “you need your knight in shining armour. I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s why relationships work.”

That’s the part that really got feminists’ dander up. The most militant of this movement want us to believe that men and women are not only equal, but are also identical — or, at least, they would be if society didn’t keep imposing gender-based expectations upon them.

Anyone who dares suggest that sex-based differences do exist (and to our benefit, even) is ridiculed.

Despite all the so-called progress that has been made toward masking such differences, women have lost far more than they’ve gained in the sexual revolution. In attempting to style ourselves as men, we’ve squandered the power we have as women.

The more women behave like men, the less inclined men are to stick around (or to exhibit the more virtuous of masculine qualities when they do). Instead of being cherished and protected, girls are being used then dumped, in the wake of which they grow lonely, depressed, bitter, and/or angry.

Dunst may not realize it, but her comments underscore some important scientific findings. Cutting edge research has demonstrated that — lo and behold — men and women actually are different. They are different in the way their bodies are built (a fact that seems obvious to any two-year-old, but eludes elitist academicians), in the way their brains process information, and in the way they respond to stress, to name just a few.

Furthermore, relationships do work better, last longer, and provide greater satisfaction when traditional gender roles are embraced. The studies that support such notions are numerous, rigorous, and well-documented. You can read more about them in the following excellent books, all of which I highly recommend.

Four (More) Must-Read Books for Women Who Think:

TAKING SEX DIFFERENCES SERIOUSLYIf you’d like a better appreciation of just how different men and women really are, TAKING SEX DIFFERENCES SERIOUSLY provides a great starting place.

To be totally honest, I didn’t care much for Chapter 3 (in the section aptly named “Men Don’t Get Headaches”). It’s not that I questioned the validity of what is there written; it’s just that I felt a little uncomfortable with so graphic a glimpse at the way (many) men think. The rest of the book, however, is riveting, and the chapters on Fatherless Families, the Sexual Revolution, Day Care, and Title IX Sports are particularly enlightening.

EXCERPT: “There is a certain unworldly quality to the suggestions that a just world would be one in which men and women do all things equally. This understanding would require that parents who are trying to tease out their children’s natural abilities should instead do their part to help achieve a society in which a higher percentage of people do things they are not interested in and not very good at…. In the real world, any society will and should want to encourage people to do worthwhile things that they enjoy and do well. This means that natural inclinations will have policy and normative relevance, although they will not always be conclusive.”

Adam and Eve after the PillMary Eberstadt’s ADAM AND EVE AFTER THE PILL is a tightly written treatise which examines many of the devastating if not unanticipated consequences of the sexual revolution, including the erosion of the nuclear family, the rise in production and consumption of pornography, the disturbing social trends on college campuses across the continent, and society’s shifting ideologies concerning both food and sex.

As bleak as the subject matter may sound, Eberstadt ends every chapter on a hopeful note by presenting evidence, however scant it may be, that the tide is slowly beginning to turn.

EXCERPT: “In the postrevolutionary world, sex is easier had than ever before; but the opposite appears true for romance. This is perhaps the central enigma that modern men and women are up against: romantic want in a time of sexual plenty. Perhaps some of the modern misery of which so many women today so authentically speak is springing not from a sexual desert, but from a sexual flood — a torrent of poisonous imagery, beginning now for many in childhood, that has engulfed women and men, only to beach them eventually somewhere alone and apart, far from the reach of one another.”

The Female BrainLouann Brizendine tackles the topic of THE FEMALE BRAIN with a no-stone-unturned thoroughness one would rightly expect from a medical doctor such as herself. Almost a third of the book’s 279 pages are devoted to endnotes and reference citations. She tackles the topics of love, trust, sex, hormones, mothering, depression, and aging, all from a neurological standpoint that is both scientifically accurate and simultaneously easy to read and understand.

EXCERPT: Most women find biological comfort in one another’s company, and language is the glue that connects one female to another. No surprise, then, that some verbal areas of the brain are larger in women than in men and that women, on average, talk and listen a lot more than men. The numbers vary, but on average girls speak two to three times more words per day than boys. We know that young girls speak earlier and by the age of twenty months have double or triple the number of words in their vocabularies than do boys. Boys eventually catch up in their vocabulary but not in speed. Girls speak faster on average — 250 words per minute versus 125 for typical males…. Even among our primate cousins, there’s a big difference in the vocal communication of males and females. Female rhesus monkeys, for instance, learn to vocalize much earlier than do males and use every one of the seventeen vocal tones of their species all day long, every day, to communicate with one another. Male rhesus monkeys, by contrast, learn only three to six tones, and once they’re adults, they’ll go for days or even weeks without vocalizing at all. Sound familiar?”

The Male BrainDr. Brizendine’s THE MALE BRAIN is a fast and enjoyable read. This book is significantly shorter than its counterpart, THE FEMALE BRAIN — despite the use of a larger font and wider line spacing, it is only 132 pages (excluding appendices and footnotes) as opposed to 187. However, given the fact that a man’s brain apparently remains fixated on one consuming thought from puberty to the golden years and beyond, perhaps the book’s brevity should come as no surprise. Still, Brizendine draws upon numerous scientific studies to paint a fascinating picture of how a boy’s brain develops and changes, beginning in utero and continuing through every stage of his life. She includes chapters on The Boy Brain, The Teen Brain, The Mating Brain, The Daddy Brain, and the Mature Male Brain, with several others interspersed between. It would be a helpful read to anybody who must deal with boys or men on a regular basis.

EXCERPT: “By age five, according to researchers in Germany, boys are using different brain areas than girls to visually rotate an object in their mind’s eyes. The boys mentally rotated the pictures of the objects by using both sides of their brain’s spatial-movement area in the parietal lobe. Girls used only one side to do the task. While that in itself is revealing, what I found most intriguing is that this spatial-movement area in the male brain is locked in the ‘on’ position. That means it’s always working in the background on autopilot. But in the female brain, this parietal area is ‘off,’ waiting in standby mode, and not turned on until it’s needed.

“Curious to find out how this applies practically in the classroom setting, researchers studied students in a grade-school math class to see how girls and boys solved conceptual math problems and how long it took them. The boys solved the problems faster than the girls. But what was most surprising to the researchers was that most of the boys, when asked to explain how they got the answer, gave an explanation without using any words. Instead, they squirmed, twisted, turned, and gestured with their hands and arms to explain how they got the answer. The boys’ body movements WERE their explanations. Words, in this instance, were a hindrance.

“What also got my attention about this study was what the researchers did next with the girls. In the following six weeks of the experiment, they taught the girls to explain their answers with the same muscle movements the boys had made without using words. At the end of the six weeks, once the girls stopped talking and started twisting and turning, they solved the problems as quickly as the boys. The male and female brains have access to the same circuits but, without intervention, use them differently.”

If you think these titles look interesting, you’d probably enjoy the ones recommended in this post, as well: 5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

Let Them Know

This month, we’ll be celebrating the greatest love story ever told. I know Good Friday is still a week away, but I finished the following video a little early and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

For almost eighty years, Disney has been captivating our imaginations with beautifully rendered fairy stories. But as J.R.R. Tolkien explained to C.S. Lewis, the Gospel provides us with an authentic, eye-witness account of a fairy tale that’s true.

The world may not need yet another cover of Frozen’s award-winning “Let it Go,” but it desperately needs the message embedded in this version. Let it’s truth sink into the depths of your heart and resonate within: Christ Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

Let Them Know

I was lost and alone in the darkness of night, (Luke 19:10)
I was blind, but now I see, (John 9:25)
Imprisoned in isolation (Galatians 3:23)
Till my Savior set me free. (Luke 4:18)

Now His love fills me like a swirling sea inside, (John 7:38)
Couldn’t keep it in, even if I tried. (Acts 4:20)

I’ve been forgiven, been set free — (Acts 13:38-39)
I’m not the same girl that I used to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It’s real, I feel His blessings flow (Psalm 21:6)
And my faith grow. (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

Let them know, let them know — (Psalm 109:27)
Can’t hide the fact anymore. (Luke 11:33)
Let them know, let them know (Mark 16:15)
Jesus’ love has opened the door. (Luke 11:9)

His command (Mark 4:39)
Wind and waves obey. (Luke 8:25)
Let the storm rage on — (Psalm 50:3)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Romans 8:38-39)

It’s funny how God’s greatness (Psalm 145:3)
Makes everything seem small, (Psalm 8:3-4)
And the fears that once controlled me (2 Timothy 1:7)
Can’t get to me at all. (Luke 1:74)

It’s time to see what God can do, (1 Samuel 12:16)
In every test He’ll see me through. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
My debt’s been paid, no guilt for me — (Romans 8:1)
I’m free! (Romans 8:2)

Let them know, let them know (Psalm 83:18)
Christ alone has the power to save. (Acts 4:12)
Let them know, Let them know (1 John 4:14)
He has triumphed over the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Here I stand (Ephesians 6:13)
In Christ I’ll stay. (John 15:4)
Let the storm rage on. (Matthew 7:25)

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Left Heaven’s throne room up on high, (2 Corinthians 8:9)
He took on flesh (John 1:14, Philippians 2:6-8)
And came to earth poor sinners for to die. (Mark 10:45)
Though in a tomb they laid Him (Acts 13:29)
Once He’d breathed his last, (Mark 15:37)
By God’s amazing grace, (1 Timothy 1:14-15)
It couldn’t hold Him fast! (Acts 2:24)
Let them know, let them know (Acts 2:32)
Christ arose like the break of dawn. (Luke 24:6)
Let them know, let them know (Romans 10:14)
Satan’s claim on me is gone. (Romans 6:14)

Redeemed I’ll stand (Psalm 107:2)
On the Judgement Day. (Hebrews 9:27, 1 John 4:17)
Let the storm rage on — (Proverbs 10:25)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl {Giveaway}

"What do you believe is your ticket to love?" | book review and giveawayA few weeks ago, I was contacted by Paula Hendricks, the writing and editorial manager at Revive Our Hearts ministries. She wanted to discuss the possibility of turning my book 25 Ways to Communicate Respect into a 30-Day online challenge, to which I enthusiastically agreed.

During the course of our communication, Paula mentioned that she had recently published a book herself: Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl. Would I like a few signed copies to give away on my blog?

I told her sure, send them on. That would be great.

Although I had not heard of her book at the time, my daughters had — were they ever excited when Paula’s package arrived on our doorstep just a few days later! – and they were visibly disappointed when I told them they’d have to wait to read the book until after I had finished it.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl by Paula Hendricks As it happened, they didn’t need to wait long, as I devoured the book (my 12-year-old did, too, once she got her hands on it). Paula has such a transparent and engaging writing style, I felt like I was sitting right across the table from her. I could readily relate to many of the personal anecdotes she shared.

Although it’s been a few years, I was once the same boy-crazy girl she describes: stealing sidelong glances at myself in the mirror, going to desperate lengths to attract a guy’s attention, wondering distractedly whether any of my male classmates might be “the one” (a tendency exacerbated by the fact that I was frequently the only female student in many of the classes I was taking, beginning with wood and metal shop in junior high, right on up through differential equations, abstract algebra, hermeneutics, and New Testament Greek in college).

I might easily have penned Paula’s relationship-in-my-head chapter myself!

Human rejection can be God's divine protection.Paula uses her old journal entries as a starting place, which allows readers a candid but beautiful glimpse of how God has matured the thoughts and desires of her heart through the years as He has taken her “on her journey from neediness to freedom.” She weaves in lots of poignant Scriptures and personal insights to support her points.

The book was written with teen and tween girls girls in mind, but it is packed with wisdom that some twenty-somethings (and their moms!) may have missed… which is why I sent a copy to my twenty-something daughter in dental school and so enjoyed reading it myself.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl would be a great book for any mom to read and discuss with her daughters, as it touches on so many concepts that are vital to our contentment and maturity in Christ. Paula makes it easy to dig deeper by providing questions to ponder (and/or journal about) at the end of every chapter.

And thanks to Paula’s generosity, I have three signed copies of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl to give away this week. (I’m keeping the copy I read and marked up for my own library.) Follow the rafflecopter link below and enter for your chance to win one:

12 Pins that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Since we all know that laughter is the best medicine, and since every April Fool’s prank I’ve ever pulled has backfired, I thought I’d celebrate today by spreading a little sunshine instead of playing tricks. Here are a dozen pins I’ve spotted on Pinterest that have actually made me laugh out loud. I hope you’ll find them funny, too:

1. Indisputable Findings

I was initially excited to think that the little extra weight I’m carrying might benefit me somehow… then I realized this was written in jest. It’s undoubtedly an accurate observation, but a joke all the same.

2. An Honest Mistake

Those expressions are so priceless! I’d be a little afraid of making such a mistake myself if I had two babies at a time to care for. Don’t know how mothers of twins manage!

3. A Tough Decision

It would be in poor taste to play it, 50-point bonus or not. But he could play “veins” or “noise” instead and still get a double letter score out of it.

4. Old Habits Die Hard

I’ve often been tempted to do the same thing.

5. Thanks for Telling Us

Too late to do anything about it now…

6. The Inimitable Bill Cosby

He’s got that right!

7. Beware of Eye Strain

I’m sure this is what I must look like when I try to thread a needle early in the morning. Fortunately, most of my kids sleep through that spectacle.

8. I Love Nerdy Humor

(H2O is water, of course, but H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. Nobody would want to drink that.)

9. She Just Couldn’t Help Herself

Gotta love that granny…

10. What Would We Do without Social Media?

Ha! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I never post pictures of coffee cups… or of anything else, for that matter. (That’s right, I can understand all sorts of esoteric math and chemistry jokes, but I can’t figure out how to upload a single picture to the Instagram account I opened two years ago.)

11. I’m Prone to Unrealistic Expectations, Too

Or maybe it’s just a RECEIPT for the pony, which is quietly grazing in her backyard even now… Surprise!

12. Don’t You Say These Things, Too?

And I had to include this one, because Anita Renfroe does such a brilliant job of putting all the things a mother says in a day into rhyming verse, then setting it to music. This song makes me smile every time I hear it.

If you share my same quirky sense of humor, you will find more funnies on my Life Cracks Me Up Pinterest board, so connect with me there! Hope you have a happy April Fools Day. Don’t take any wooden nickels.