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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Making Big Investments in Little Things

President Obama created quite a stir last week with his comments regarding Moms who leave the workplace to stay home and raise children: “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make,” he said resolutely.

Recipe for Success: Making Big Investments in Little Things

His solution to the pesky problem of SAHMs? Taking more and more children out of their homes at younger and younger ages and placing them in tax payer funded preschool, so their moms can get back to climbing the corporate ladder ASAP.

The President pushes this agenda — and pretends it will be best for all parties involved — despite the fact research has shown that the more time kids spend in non-maternal care during their first 4.5 years, the more behavioral problems they develop.

This marginalizing of mothers’ influence reminds me of a friend I had in graduate school who was totally grossed out by the idea of breastfeeding. “Why would you choose to nurse,” she once asked me in all seriousness, “when formula is so readily available?” (She also considered C-sections preferable to vaginal birth).

Infant formulas have made great progress over the past few decades in approximating the nutritional make-up of “nature’s perfect food.” And I’m glad they are available — especially since one of my own children had difficulty latching on and might’ve died without formula supplementation.

But even the formula manufacturers themselves concede that mother’s milk is superior.

I tried to enumerate the benefits of breastfeeding to my squeamish friend, but she remained unpersuaded.

This girl was no dummy. She went on to earn her PhD in Mathematics. Babies and breastfeeding just weren’t a part of her plan for that season of her life, but rather than owning up to that fact, she tried to pretend that my babies would be better off if I’d adopt her choices.

Of course, I didn’t buy her pitch, either.

Instead, I dropped out of graduate school three classes shy of having my Master’s in Math. My first baby was born just a couple of weeks after my final final, and it was more important to me to stay home with him and the others that would soon follow than to earn another diploma to gather dust in my closet.

I know some mothers will choose or need to work outside their home while their children are still young. I get that. And I understand why they’d want high-quality childcare to facilitate this.

That much is obvious.

But let’s not pretend that a publicly-funded institution is a better place for preschool-aged children than a loving home, or that paid workers can do a superior job of nurturing and teaching and loving on little ones than their own mother.

And let’s not assume, Mr. President, that the workforce is best place for a woman at any stage of her life, but especially not when she has young children who need her attention.

Those little ones won’t stay little for long, and the investment a mother makes during their formative years will pay much bigger dividends in the long run than any 401(K) plan an employer could offer.


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My Favorite Marriage and Family Blogs

Want to nourish your marriage? You'll find a healthy dose of encouragement here: My Favorite Marriage & Family Blogs | lovinglifeathome.comIf there’s anything I’ve learned in 27+ years of marriage, it’s that “happily ever after” takes work.

Yes, it’s attainable, but not without liberal helpings of love and focus and commitment and intentionality and grace and forgiveness and discipline.

Marriage is wonderful. I love sharing life with my best friend.

But we are both human, and there is always room for improvement.

The secret for me has been to focus on the areas I need to improve rather than on what I think he needs to change.

One way I invest in my marriage is by reading good books and blogs on the topic of marriage and family.

I love the encouragement I receive from these candid, Christian writers.

I like the fact that reading their stories gives me the opportunity to learn from somebody else’s mistakes rather than repeating them myself.

There are lots of great books and blogs out there to choose from, but here is a list of my personal favorites: Click on each image to visit the blog and learn more about it.

Ashleigh Slater  Better Mom  Club 31 Women  Happy Wives Club  For the Family  Matt Jacobson  Revive Our Hearts  Time Warp Wife  To Love, Honor, and Vacuum  5 Love Languages

Incidentally, all but two of these authors/bloggers have books in the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle (only on sale through November 10, 2014). Among all the other great resources, you’ll find these treasures:

As well as a copy of my own book, which is also included…

Are there any books or blogs on marriage and motherhood you find yourself gravitating toward? Tell me about them in the comment section below so I can check them out, too!


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Don’t Waste the Crust

I’ve never been one of those mothers who carefully pared the crust off the PBJ’s I served my children for lunch.

For well over 20 years now, I’ve been coaxing my kids to eat the crusts of their sandwiches using the following rationale:

  1. It’s wasteful to leave them.

    -and-

  2. That’s where most of the vitamins are.

And for well over 20 years, my children have accepted my mother-wisdom at face value and at least feigned an attempt to cooperate with this imperative.

But not too long ago, a couple of my (young adult) children decided to question the validity of this claim.

The crust is where the vitamins are? they repeated skeptically. “Seriously, Mom, that may be true of apple skins, but bread is bread. The entire loaf comes from a single batch of dough. The nutritional value is no different in the crust than it is in the middle.”

They’re smart kids. They’re also very articulate.

If you’d been sitting at our table that day, you might even have been inclined to agree with them….

But if you did, you would’ve been wrong, as they were. Fortunately, Siri was on my side for the ensuing debate.

I knew I’d read some relevant statistics on bread crust before, so I whipped out my trusty iPhone and within seconds had located this article which summarily proved my point: Cancer-fighting anti-oxidants are eight times more plentiful in the crust than in any other part of the bread.

Don't Waste the Crusts - lovinglifeathome.comSo what if bread crust is tough and chewy or hard to swallow? It’s good for you. It’s rich in dietary fiber and in nutrients that help your body grow healthy and strong.

That’s the reason I keep serving it to my children, and it’s the reason they (mostly) keep eating it.

Unfortunately, we sometimes approach life the way kids approach sandwiches. We prefer the soft and cushy parts. If we could leave those tough parts untouched on our plate — or if we could talk our Heavenly Father into trimming off anything that seems difficult to swallow — we’d do it.

I’m as guilty of this mindset as anyone. I’ve always prayed that God would teach me the lessons I need to learn in the easiest, most gentle way possible.

I’ve secretly hoped that if I stay attuned to His still small voice, God won’t have to shout through the megaphone of pain to get my attention.

"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis

But guess what? The tough trials, the hard challenges, the parts of life that make us lose our appetite — often those are the very things God uses to mature us, to strengthen our faith, and to nourish our relationship with Him.

And trials come no matter how intently we listen for His voice or read our Bibles or follow His promptings. We can avoid suffering unnecessarily by walking close with Him, but we can’t avoid suffering altogether.

Jesus told his followers, “In the world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) – it’s not a question of if, but when, and how will we react when it comes?

Scripture tells us plainly how God expects us to respond. We are to:

  • “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

    -and-

  • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Perfect. Complete. Lacking in nothing.

That’s God’s goal for us.

So next time you find yourself in a tough season of life, don’t let it go to waste. Trust that your Heavenly Father has a purpose in putting that difficulty on your plate and accept it with gratitude, knowing there are things you can get out of the hard parts of life that cannot be found in any other way.

Just dip it in the pure milk of the Word to make it easier to swallow. (1 Peter 2:2)

"Consider it joy..."

A Battle Plan for Marriage

We're at War (and you are, too)WE’RE AT WAR…. That’s what headlines all across the United States boldly proclaimed on the morning of January 17, 1991.

The Masthead was so large, it grabbed my attention the minute I opened the curtains of our little studio apartment.

Wanting to capture this historic moment on film, I bundled my two young children up warm and ushered them across the parking lot to take their picture front of the newsstand.

Rather than the somber faces one might expect from the offspring of an Army Reservist, my little ones broke out grinning from ear to ear as soon as they spotted Mom’s camera, totally oblivious to the tumult that threatened to rock their world.

Doesn’t that typify what happens in other areas of our lives, as well?

When I look back at photographs taken on our wedding day, I can’t help but notice my husband and I were wearing those same naive smiles.

Like most couples, we had no idea that as we walked arm-in-arm down the aisle and out of the church at the close of the ceremony, we were marching into battle. We were oblivious to the fact that there was a war raging on the horizon and that, even as we smiled for the camera, our marriage was under attack.

Marriages are under attack. Here's the battle plan we're using to protect ours.Unfortunately, when the attack is particularly sudden or stealth, it is sometimes difficult to even identify the enemy.

Some couples act as if they’re at war with one another. They mistakenly believe they have married the enemy, but they are dead wrong.

Know this:If you are married, you have an enemy — an enemy that will do everything in his power to destroy your marriage — but that enemy is not your spouse.

Ephesians 6:12 warns us:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

And 1 Peter 5:8 tells us:

“Be alert and of sober mind.Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion. looking for someone to devour”

From the moment your marriage ship was christened, Satan has been plotting to sink it.

He is crafty. He is relentless. He is on the prowl. But we needn’t succumb to his attacks.

We can win this war. But to make that happen, we need God’s grace, we need grit, and we need a good battle plan.

Our Battle PLAN for Marriage:

  • P = Pray

The best place to do battle for your marriage is on your knees. Couples who pray together regularly enjoy less than a 1% chance of divorce.

Marriage was God’s idea in the first place. It only makes sense to enlist His help in preserving yours. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, John 15:7)

  • L = Learn

Maintain a teachable spirit. Study what God’s Word says about marriage and about your responsibilities to your spouse.

Seek counsel from older, happily married couples who have remained committed to one another for several decades or more — what’s their secret?

Read good books about marriage, gleaning as much wisdom as you can and applying what you learn to your own life circumstances. (Proverbs 4:7, Psalm 25:4)

  • A = Anticipate

“Into each life some rain must fall.” Longfellow’s words are true of marriage, as well.

Expect an occasional gale. Prepare for it. And when storms blow in, don’t let them drive you apart. Hunker down and weather the tempest together, confident that the sun is still shining behind the clouds and the skies will eventually clear.

Anticipate also how your actions and reactions, both in good times and bad, will affect your spouse. Choices have consequences, so be careful that the decisions you make, the words that you say, and the things that you do are things that will build up and strengthen your marriage and your spouse rather than tearing them down. (Proverbs 14:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

  • N = Nurture

Just as a gardener must spend time cultivating his beds — weeding, watering, fertilizing and pruning the plants to keep them healthy and fruitful — you must invest time and energy into your marriage if you want it to blossom and bear fruit.

Spend time with your spouse. Work together. Play together. Dream together. Pray together.

Be patient. Be considerate. Be respectful. Love your spouse with the kind of unselfish, sacrificial, committed love Christ has for the church. Do all these things, and your marriage will not only survive, but will thrive — even in the midst of attack. (Mark 10:6-9, Malachi 2:15-16)

So my husband and I are fighting again. We’ve been doing battle for our marriage for 27 years now.

We have no intention of throwing in the towel, because we believe marriage is worth fighting for — and we know God is on our side.

Have you joined in the fray? What has helped strengthen your marriage against the attack? Please share in the comments below. We’re always on the lookout for new and effective strategies.

Messy Beautiful Love {Review and Giveaway}

No marriage is ever beyond God's redeeming grace...Is your marriage struggling? Does it feel one-sided? Do you long for it to be more than it is?

Marriages are under attack as never before. Unfortunately, those attacks sometimes come not from without, but from within.

In Messy Beautiful Love, bestselling author Darlene Schacht discusses just such an attack on her own marriage — one that surely would have torn it apart were it not for God’s redeeming grace.

The biggest marital problems rarely begin big. Seldom are we slammed with something that materializes out of thin air. Our problems usually start out small and grow.

“If I were to pinpoint the one thing that led me to almost destroy my marriage,” Darlene writes candidly, “it would be that I was keeping a record of wrongs…. I took count of [all my husband’s] faults and kept track of each one.”

Do you ever do that? Do you harbor grudges against your husband or nurse resentment toward him in your heart? Be forewarned: doing so will lead you down a path you do not wish to follow.

“I had forgotten what 1 Corinthians says about love,” Darlene continues. “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

"Love is what is left in a relationship when the selfishness is taken out." - Nick Richardson

Love is unselfish. It puts the other’s interests ahead of its own. While love heals wounds, unforgiveness causes them to fester. When we keep a record of wrongs, we do so to our own detriment. When we give root to bitterness, our love gets choked out and our hearts grow cold, hard, and impenetrable.

“The problem here isn’t your husband,” Darlene explains. “It’s that your level of expectation for him is outshining his character. When you measure him against the weight of expectation, you are left with an unbalanced scale.

“Accepting a person for who he or she is doesn’t mean that you excuse sin. I’d never ask or want you to do that. What I am asking you to do is to look past the human frailty of a man to seek his beauty by removing the weight of expectation you hold. I’m asking that you walk in the grace of messy, beautiful love.”

Darlene opens the book with a prayer that her testimony would bring glory and honor to God, and that it does. Hers is a powerful story of hope and redemption that will powerfully impact the life of everyone who reads it.

Messy Beautiful Love

Messy Beautiful Love is a collection of important life-lessons learned — some of them the hard way — that you can take and apply to your own marriage. When you do, you will avoid many of the pitfalls the author points out along the way.

Want to read this book yourself? Darlene’s publisher has graciously offered to give a free paperback copy to one of my readers. Enter to win it here: a Rafflecopter giveaway