The State of a Union

How grows your marriage? The  State of a UnionWhen my husband and I built our house ten years ago, we planted two ginkgo trees on either side of our front yard. The trees looked identical the day we put them in the ground, but since that time one has flourished and the other has floundered.

The tree on the west side of our house gets plenty of sunshine. It is planted on level ground, not susceptible to erosion. Tall and straight, it has more than quadrupled in size. Its leaves are a deep green, its bark smooth, and its limbs symmetrical. Even when my husband accidentally backed into the tree with his truck and gashed the trunk, it managed to survive.

The tree in the east yard has not fared so well.

It was planted on a slope, where water runs off instead of soaking in. Surrounded by larger trees, it stands in shade most of the day. Gophers keep digging tunnels through its struggling root system. It has served as “base” for far too many games of tag and shows visible signs of wear from our little ones whipping the tree back and forth as if it were a stick horse.

Consequently, the trunk is crooked and spindly. Its uppermost branches were broken off at some point, so the tree is severely stunted — barely eight feet tall, as compared to its 45-ft brother. My husband has been sorely tempted to just chop it down and plant another in its place.

He nearly acted on that impulse several springs ago, but I spotted him just in time with the axe in hand and begged for mercy on behalf of the runt. Doug relented, and I did my best to nurture the scrawny thing back to health (a little staking and strategic pruning worked wonders for its appearance).

It’s important to note that my axe-wielding husband is not responsible for this tree’s present sorry state. He was simply responding to the damage already done by its other enemies — the gophers, erosion, and overly rambunctious children.

If I wanted to fault somebody for the tree’s miserable appearance, I should fault myself for not tending to it more faithfully, for not vigilantly protecting it from its various assailants.

No, Doug isn’t to blame, nor does he have anything against ginkgo trees in general. He has no desire to fell the heartier specimen, and although he considers this particular ginkgo an eyesore, he is perfectly willing to replace it with a new one. The presence of the healthy, robust ginkgo in the west yard — and the knowledge that there are countless others like it — reassures him that it is possible to raise one successfully.

But what if the west tree were just as sickly and stunted as the east? What if every ginkgo tree Doug had ever encountered were uniformly puny and pathetic? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that he might be less willing to take a chance growing one himself? That he might decide to plant something entirely different? At least he wouldn’t be pinning his hopes on something with a high failure rate. Would you buy a tree that had, say, less than a fifty percent chance of surviving?

I think the reason some groups are seeking to “redefine marriage” these days is that so many “traditional marriages” — at least the marriages they’ve personally observed or experienced — seem sickly and unappealing.

Although I disagree with their response, I do not consider these groups the enemy. They didn’t cause the problems; they are merely reacting to them.

The damage was done by a much subtler Adversary. Like the gopher that tunneled under my ginkgo, this Enemy attacked marriage at the root, digging away at its foundation, gradually shifting our focus away from God and onto ourselves.

God’s design for marriage — that we mirror the love of Christ and raise children for His glory — no longer seems to be our primary concern. Finding happiness and personal fulfillment is the new end goal.

As Danielle Crittenden observes in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, “We may pledge to love each other until death do us part — but we blanch at the first hint of sacrifice.”

How many couples have I heard rationalize their divorce by saying “we’re just not happy together anymore”? I’ve lost count.

More likely than not, these men and women had good intentions of making each other happy (or at least of making themselves happy) when they first married, but if happiness is all they sought, it makes sense they’d be ready to throw in the towel when happiness is not forthcoming.

But should they call it quits? Is unhappiness really a sufficient reason to divorce?

Not according to a report released by the Institute for American Values. Their studies found that two-thirds of couples who were unhappy in their marriages, but stuck it out anyway, considered themselves “happily married” just five years later. In fact, “the most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds. Among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of ten who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.”

Even so, many couples don’t persevere long enough to discover this fact. And that’s too bad.
It’s bad for their families, but it’s also bad for society as a whole. Strong and stable families make for a strong and stable nation.

Couples need to understand that happiness springs from commitment. Not the other way around. Allowing something as volatile as happiness to determine whether you stay married or not is a sure way to destroy any chance of building a love that endures.

We must stop treating happiness as if it were a destination we have to trample upon others to reach. In reality, the route to true happiness is through selfless, sacrificial love.

Deep, abiding joy is a disposition that is naturally cultivated as we seek to live for God’s glory. That, after all, is the chief end of man: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It’s the purpose for which we were created in the first place, and we’ll never find lasting, genuine happiness, in marriage or in any other endeavor, so long as we neglect it.

Love Your Husband/ Love YourselfThis post has been adapted from my book, Love Your Husband/Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage. Packed with Bibilcal wisdom, scientific studies, and humorous anecdotes, it is a must-read for any wife serious about improving her marriage.

A Tale of Three Babies

A Tale of Three Babies --  what an amazing story!

(photo used with permission: view source)

Baby #1: Inconvenient

“I’m getting an abortion, and nothing you say is going to talk me out of it.”

That’s what a friend of ours was told by his girlfriend when he accidentally got her pregnant, twenty-some-odd years ago.

Although both were old enough to get married, settle down, and start a family, neither was interested in doing so. There were still so many things they wanted to do, places they wanted to go, sights they wanted to see.

Having a baby at that point in their lives would necessitate tabling many of those other plans. Possibly forever. So they decided terminating the pregnancy would be the easiest and most expedient thing to do.

I think our friend was initially relieved by this choice — it meant he could postpone shouldering any real responsibility for a few more years — but as the date for the procedure drew nigh, he began to have second thoughts.

Hence, his eleventh-hour call to my husband to confess what was about to go down: The abortion was scheduled for 8:00 the following morning. He’d done everything he could to dissuade her, to no avail. She was determined to go through with it.

I don’t know what our friend expected my husband to do with this knowledge. Perhaps he thought he’d just shake his head or wring his hands and commiserate, “Well, at least you tried….”

If so, he was wrong.

“Maybe Jennifer could talk to her,” Doug suggested instead.

The expectant father suddenly seemed a little nervous. Not only did he refuse to give us his girlfriend’s number — he wouldn’t even tell us her name.

But he grossly underestimated Doug’s resourcefulness and resolve… and the concern we both shared for his unborn baby.

We didn’t know the patient’s name, but we knew the name of the clinic and what time she’d be there. So after much prayer through the night, Doug drove me downtown early the next morning and deposited me on the doorstep of that very clinic, our own infant son in my arms.

I explained to the girl at the front desk that I was late on my cycle and had heard their clinic offered free pregnancy tests (true on both counts). Might I get one, please?

She had me fill out some paperwork (I’ve been on Planned Parenthood’s mailing list ever since — a great source for insider information), then grabbed a test kit, led me to a restroom in the very heart of the clinic, and left me to do my business.

Clasping baby to my shoulder, I peed on the strip, washed my hands, then took an intentional wrong turn when exiting the bathroom in an attempt to track down the girl I’d come to see.

I found her sitting in a nearby waiting room next to the father (which is how I recognized her). Sliding into the seat beside her, I tearfully urged her to reconsider. I showed her my sweet little baby and begged her to take pity on her own.

Security showed up in a matter of seconds to escort me from the premises, but not before this pregnant mama had heard my entire spiel. She, and every other patient within earshot….

Baby #2: Inviable

“Your baby’s going to die, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

About the same time Couple #1 was dealing with their crisis pregnancy, some other friends of ours were facing a pregnancy crisis of a different sort.

Having already been married for a couple of years, they were ecstatic to learn a new baby was on the way — their first! But that initial excitement evaporated into thin, sterile air as they sat in their obstetrician’s office after a routine sonogram.

“Your baby has severe pulmonary atresia,” the doctor told them frankly.

Translation? Their baby essentially had no lungs. And as it would be impossible to live without them, they were advised to terminate this pregnancy and try again later. Better luck next time.

But these friends were staunch Catholics, so an abortion was completely out of the question. They believed in the sanctity of life. They loved their baby. And they were determined to carry and care for him as long and as well as they possibly could.

In the meantime, they’d pray for a miracle. And pray, they did. They, and everyone else who knew them.

Even so, every subsequent sonogram — all twenty-three taken over the course of the pregnancy — showed the exact same defect. The prognosis remained bleak. The situation seemed hopeless.

They carried the heavy burden of that knowledge for the full length of the pregnancy. No lungs! The due date was rapidly approaching. Their baby would be born soon, but he’d never draw a single breath….

Baby #3: Inconceivable

“She’s getting an abortion, and I don’t want to hear anymore about it.”

My husband overheard a friend make this statement several years back. The people with whom the man was talking were aghast that he would even consider such a thing. Yet the more they argued against it, the more adamant he became.

Although my husband was in agreement with the vocal majority on this issue, he listened to the conversation from a distance, resisting the urge to jump on the bandwagon or join in the discourse.

Later, when he and his friend were alone, Doug asked gently, “I couldn’t help but overhear what you were saying to the others earlier. What’s going on? It sounds like you’re having a rough time.”

No shock. No judgment. No outrage. Just sincere interest and genuine concern.

The friend immediately dropped his defenses in response.

“It’s my wife,” he sighed, the worry evident in his voice. He explained how life-threatening her first pregnancy had been. How frighteningly close she’d come to dying in the delivery room. How afterwards they had taken drastic measures to ensure she wouldn’t conceive again.

Yet, against all odds, she’d gotten pregnant anyway.

“We’ve always been pro-life,” he confided, his voice raw with emotion, “but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t face the thought of losing her. I need my wife. Our child needs his mother. I don’t know how we’d cope if anything happened to her….”

My husband listened empathetically, admitting that it was a tough call.

There’s such a wide spectrum of reasons why a woman would choose to terminate a pregnancy, Doug noted: “On one hand, we have ectopic pregnancies where the baby is developing inside the fallopian tube and has zero chance of surviving, while mom has almost a 100% chance of dying unless something is done. On the other hand,” he continued, “we have women getting abortions so they won’t have to miss their annual ski trip.”

Clearly, this friend’s situation was much closer to the ectopic end of the spectrum rather than the elective end.

“I can’t tell you what to do,” Doug told him, “but I can pray that God gives you and your wife wisdom as you make that decision yourselves. And that’s exactly what I will do. But first, let me tell you a story about some friends of ours….”

The Rest of the Story

Doug then proceeded to tell him about Baby #2: Our friends were pregnant with their first child. Two dozen sonograms taken throughout each stage of pregnancy indicated the baby had a fatal birth defect that would make it impossible to survive outside the womb. Every specialist the couple saw recommended an abortion, but our friends refused, choosing instead to pray for a miracle.

And do you know what?

A miracle is exactly what they got. The baby was born perfectly healthy, the pride and joy of his parents.

Their physician confirmed this. “I know what I saw,” he told them. “I didn’t misread 24 sonograms. If this baby has healthy lungs, it’s because God answered your prayers.”

The child grew up, graduated from high school, graduated from college (early), and continues to be a smart, handsome, productive member of society.

I wish we had a happy ending to share for Baby #1, but his mama went through with the abortion, despite our earnest pleas to spare the baby. None of us know what might have been had she decided differently.

I still think of her occasionally, though. Did she later come to regret her decision?

I suspect she eventually did, as the majority of post-abortive women do. I pray she is no longer haunted by it, however, but has by now discovered the forgiveness that is found only in Christ.

And Baby #3? Those parents very prayerfully decided to keep that one, too, reasoning if God overruled their best efforts to prevent conception, He must have a very special purpose for that little one’s life.

Mother made it smoothly through both pregnancy and childbirth with no complications, and today the family is healthy, happy, and whole.

So that’s my Tale of Three Babies. Three different couples, three different cities, three different circumstances, but all facing the same decision: Will we end this story before it ever starts? Or will we let it play out, and see what happens?

Tomorrow is “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” It is a day for Americans to remember the 1.2 million babies a year in our country who, like Baby #1, are never given a chance to live happily ever after.

If you are expecting a baby right now and are facing a crisis because of it, help is available. Please don’t let this story end before it ever begins. Choose life for your little one.

Related articles:
Something You Can Easily Do from Home Saved This Baby from Abortion
Oversold Prenatal Tests Spur Some to Choose Abortion
Dear Woman Who’s Getting an Abortion Tomorrow
We Know They are Killing Children

Never Enough Time?

"If you don't have the time to do the things that you ought to do, it means that you've tried to do something God hasn't called you to." - Jennifer Flanders

My husband and I are both list makers by nature, but we approach our lists differently.

I’m all about the details, which is why I’ve been known to start the New Year with as many as seven type-written pages of goals and resolutions.

My husband, on the other hand, tries to boil down his goals into as few words as possible. During his first year of residency, the goal was SURVIVE. Another year, his mantra was READ, WRITE, & RUN.

He informed me a few days ago that his goals for our family this year are going to be DISCIPLINE and JOY — as in, the more disciplined we are about doing what ought to be done, the more joy we’ll experience as a result.

I think he’s onto something.

Left to myself, I tend to set wildly unrealistic goals. I guess I’ve bought into the it’s-better-to-shoot-for-the-stars-and-get-off-the-ground-than-aim-for-a-lamppost-and-stay-where-you-are way of thinking.

The problem is, I sometimes let what should be secondary or tertiary goals take precedence over far more important priorities. Typically, the lesser goals are more easily quantifiable and don’t depend on anybody but myself, so I’m often tempted to work on those even when I know I should be working on something else.

This is especially true when my accomplishing something else depends on someone else who is being uncooperative or resistant or is in some other way thwarting my progress.

But that’s where the discipline and joy come in, which is why Scripture tells us:

  • “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
  • “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

And that sums up my New Year’s resolution this year: I want to tend to the things that matter most, doing my work joyfully and whole-heartedly, and not growing weary, even if I don’t get the results I’m hoping for right away.

I still have a huge list of stuff I’d like to accomplish this year — certainly more than I could ever get done in my own strength. But God has promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19), and that includes giving me the time I need to do the things that matter most to Him.

Of course, when I’m disciplined about doing the things I ought to do, I have less time for doing the things I’d like to do. That much should be obvious.

What isn’t so obvious is the fact that, when I’ve tended to first things first, I’m usually far more productive with the time that’s left over.

Like loaves and fishes, when I give each day to God, when I’m intentional about stewarding it wisely, when I faithfully do what He’s called me to do, there are enough fragments of time left over that I can make a serious dint in my dream-big list of goals, as well.

So that’s my plan for 2015. What’s yours?

25 Ways to Communicate Respect

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!

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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Living with a Thankful Heart

"... never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - JFKWe need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks is something that we are commanded repeatedly in Scripture to do. Obviously, it is important to God for His children to be grateful.

Space won’t permit me to list all the references here, but consider this small sampling of verses:

• “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
• “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
(Colossians 3:17)
• “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ …”
(Ephesians 5:20)
• “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name….”
(1 Chronicles 16:8)
• “Enter His gates with thanksgiving…. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
(Psalm 100:4)

We owe a debt of gratitude to God, but this attitude should also spill over into our relationships with others, as well. Our lives and our conversations should be marked by expressions of thankfulness toward our fellow man.

And that goes double for the members of our own household.

Don’t take your husband for granted. Express genuine appreciation for everything he does for you, whether great or small.

Always say thank you. But don’t stop there. Real gratitude runs much deeper than words. It extends far beyond anything we can verbalize.

Our thankfulness should affect not only how we think, but also how we live and how we treat the people around us.

This post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, winner of the CSPA 2014 “Book of the Year” Award. (affiliate link)

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