Archive | December 2014

Top 14 Posts for 2014

Loving Life at Home

My husband loves to keep tabs on my blog stats. He tracks the numbers far more faithfully than I do. What follows is a listing of my most-viewed posts of 2014 (one of which was a reblog of something he’d posted over at All Truth is God’s Truth).

These top 14 include articles on marriage, parenting, homemaking, and feminism, with a few free printables thrown in for good measure. Each one solidly grounded in Scripture and designed to help your family thrive as you serve one another in love.

I hope you’ll enjoy this round up, whether you’ve read these posts before or are seeing them for the first time.

14. Housekeeping Matters: 5 Habits that Help

Housekeeping Matters - 5 Habits that Help
Although our families certainly benefit when we keep a tidy home, our faithfulness in this area is ultimately a service to God. God holds us accountable for everything entrusted to our care (including our home), and He expects us to use it in a way that blesses those around us and glorifies Him.

13. Recipe for a Happy Marriage

Recipe for a Happy Marriage
Building a happy marriage is an ongoing process. It’s not something you can power through once, then check off your to-do list. There’s no propping your feet up and saying, “That’s done. Now I can move on to a different project.”

12. A Husband’s Duty: To Love His Wife

A Husband's Duty: To Love His Wife
Not only did my husband write this post, but more importantly, he lives it. Feel free to read it, print it, share it with your spouse, but please don’t wait for your husband to make the first move. Your demonstrating sincere respect for him will make it easier for him to feel genuine love towards you, and vice versa.

11. The #1 Rule for Building a Happy Marriage

#1 Rule for Marriage
Treat your spouse as you wish to be treated. The Golden Rule: that’s the key to crafting a built-to-last, happily-ever-after sort of marriage. It’s a great principle to live by. How can you put this age-old advice into practice, starting today?

10. 7 Reasons to Prioritize Sex in Marriage

7 Reasons to Prioritize Sex in Marriage
This handy chart details just a few of the myriad benefits available to couples who choose not to neglect marital intimacy. I addressed this post to women in the spirit of Titus 2:3-5 (and because women have historically required a little more convincing then men to make this aspect of marriage a priority).

9. What Shall I Wear?

What Shall I Wear?
A woman’s worth is based on infinitely more than what she looks like. But to say that our appearance does not matter most is not to imply that it does not matter at all.

8. 15 Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living

Benefits of Big Family Living
Life as the mother of many has been every bit as blissful as I imagined. Sure, there have been lots of unexpected challenges, but there have also been plenty of unanticipated rewards. This post lists 15 of my favorites.

7. Turn Your Thinking Around

Turn Your Thinking Around
If you’ve bought into society’s low view of marriage, it’s time to rethink your stance. This post will help you do just that!

6. Pray for Your Children from Head to Toe

Pray for Your Children
This is a free printable prayer guide to help you carry your children daily to the Throne of Grace, with lots of Scripture verses to pray over them once you’re there.

5. A Sure-Fire Way to Wipe Out Whining

Wipe Out Whining
We do our children no favors by letting them get away with bad behaviors such as constant whining and complaining. Here are some strategies to help them kick the habit in a hurry.

4. 25 Ways to Raise Capable, Confident Children

25 Ways to Raise Capable, Confident Children
Four of our twelve children are now grown and gone. Of course, we’ve made lots of mistakes (that’s another post for another day), but by the abundant grace of God (and by following the great example that our own parents modeled for us), there are many things we’ve done right — things we want to make sure we continue to do as we train up the remaining eight children still under our care. This post details 25 of them.

3. 5 Must-Read Books for Women Who Think

Must Read Books for Women
Here are five highly-recommended books that give readers a fresh look at feminism. We’ve watched this post climb steadily up the ranks over the past twelve months. It has actually edged “25 Ways to Communicate Respect” out of its long-held #1 position for the month of December, although it’s only #3 for the year.

2. Pray for Your Husband from Head to Toe

Pray for Your Husband from Head to Toe
Another free printable guide — this one will help you cover your husband with prayer from head to toe.

1. 25 Ways to Communicate Respect

25 Ways to Communicate Respect
Not only has this article maintained its status as my all-time most popular post, but it was also turned into a 30-Day Challenge by Revive Our Hearts ministry this year, and the book I wrote by the same title won a 2014 Book of the Year award from Christian Small Press Association. Obviously, communicating respect is something women care about, and this post provides lots of great suggestions for doing so in ways most husbands find meaningful.

So that’s the scoop on my most popular posts of 2014. I hope you’ve enjoyed my walk down memory lane.


New Devotionals for a New Year

Merry Christmas to All…

The Word Became Flesh

I hope you’ve had a joyous Christmas celebration today. Our family will be celebrating a day late, as Doug had to spend Christmas at the hospital this year (on call).

If you are looking to unwind after the busy-ness of the day’s activities, I’d recommend reading a post my husband published on his blog this week: Christmas — A Season for Receiving. You’ll find in it a lot of great discussion questions to toss around with your family this evening.

And if you’re interested in reading an update on what God’s been doing in our family lately, I just finished posting our 2014 Christmas Letter on our family blog. It includes a lot of photos (and a few videos)that will give you a fly-on-the-wall glimpse at life in the Flanders’ home.

In the meantime, let us all rejoice that God loved us and sent His son! Jesus was the first and best Christmas gift of all!

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 25, 2014 7:39 pm, in Uncategorized.

How Does Your Husband Spell RESPECT?

How does your husband spell RESPECT - a 30-Day Challenge for wives
Every man craves respect. I think that deep desire to be well-esteemed by family, friends, and foe alike is hardwired into the Y-chromosome. The vast majority of men value respect even over love.

One of the most powerful things you can do to build up your man and strengthen your marriage is to shower your husband with the respect and admiration he so longs for.

The details may differ from family to family, but the underlining principles remain the same.

Here’s how my husband spells respect. And there’s a good chance yours spells it this way, too:

R = Respond Physically

Of all your husband’s needs, this is the one that only you can legitimately address. If you pour all your energies into being a good wife in every other way, but marginalize or neglect the area of physical intimacy, then you have failed.

God designed this one-flesh union to be uniquely characteristic of marriage. Your husband will never feel completely respected as long as you habitually turn him down or slap him away when he tries to get physically close.

E = Express Sincere Thanks

Be grateful for the many things — big and little — your husband does for you, and thank him every time. Show him that you appreciate him in whatever way speaks most clearly to him.

Don’t take your husband for granted and don’t saddle him with expectations. Expectations lead only to discontent. If your husband preforms well, he’ll get no special acknowledgement or show of gratitude, because he was only doing what you expected. If he doesn’t, you’ll feel slighted and angry, and he won’t know why.

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” – Robert Brault

S = Silence Can Be Golden

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’m not advocating giving your husband a cold shoulder, but neither should you give him a piece of your mind. Sometimes it’s better to just keep your mouth shut.

The ability to hold our tongue is an underutilized skill for many of us. Yet, the Bible tells us we should “not let any unwholesome speech come out of [our] mouths, but only what is good for building others up, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

So next time you are tempted to nag, argue, gripe, or belittle, keep these verses in mind: Proverbs 21:19, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:8

“Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid.” – Harlan Miller

P = Pray with and for Him

Prayer is key to a strong marriage. Don’t wait until your marriage is in trouble to pray. By faithfully bringing your husband to the Throne of Grace — even when things are going well — you can head off a lot of problems before they ever arise.

Don’t just stop at praying for your husband. If he is willing, make it a daily habit to pray with him, as well. Couples who regularly pray together are far less likely to divorce.

E = Emphasize His Good Points

Just as you would rather he dwell on your most praiseworthy attributes than to focus his attention on all your flaws, your husband will also feel better loved and respected when you are expressing admiration instead of fault-finding and nit-picking.

Focus your attention on those traits that first attracted you to your husband. Emphasize his most noble features.

If you will make your default attitude one of warm approval and respect, then on the rare occasion you do need to discuss a concern, your husband will be far more likely to take it to heart.

C = Choose Joy

What does being joyful have to do with communicating respect?

More than you might think!

A smiling, jovial wife announces to the world, “My husband knows how to make me happy!” But a sour, malcontent wife broadcasts the opposite message. A wife who shames her husband “is as rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:24)

Choose to cultivate a happy, joyful attitude, regardless of your circumstances. In fact, the Bible tells us we should rejoice, even in the midst of trials and tribulations, knowing that God uses difficult circumstances to teach us patience, to build our endurance, and to mold us into the character of Christ. (James 1:2-3; Matthew 5:11-12)

T = Take His Advice

Undoubtedly you’ve already noticed that your husband tends to look at things differently than you. His unique perspective, together with the way most men’s brains are wired for problem solving, offers you a unique opportunity to get “outside the box” when looking at problems or challenges.

Listen to your husband. Hear what he is saying to you. Don’t get defensive or discount his opinion, but try to see things from his perspective and honor his wishes. God will greatly bless you when you do.

Need some practice to help this all sink in? Then sign up for my 30-Day Respect Challenge over at Revive Our Hearts. You’ll receive helpful tips and reminders delivered straight to your inbox, every day for a month.

Invest in your marriage. Take the 30-Day Respect Challenge!

Invest in your marriage. Take the 30-Day Respect Challenge!

Give your husband something for Christmas this year he will really appreciate.

Give him RESPECT!

And if you really want to get specific, ask him how he’d like you to spell it.

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