Tag Archive | marriage

I Married a Sinner (and So Did He)

Nothing Else to Marry

What follows is an excerpt from my book, Love Your Husband/Love Yourself. I am posting here at the request of a blogging friend from Thankful Homemaker.

The letter quoted at the end of this passage is a personal one that Elisabeth Elliot sent me in response to a letter I mailed to her over a quarter century ago.

That was in the days before the Internet, when handwritten correspondence was still in fashion.

The ink on that correspondence has faded a bit and the stationery yellowed with age, but the advice Mrs. Elliot gave me therein is as timely today as it was then.

It deserves to be shared and taken to heart — for in a world filled with Hollywood chick-flicks and high expectations and Harlequin romances and (even) homeschool courtships, it is easy to lose sight of reality.

That reality is this: Your husband is human. He has flaws (as do you). And forgiveness will be essential if you ever hope to look beyond those flaws and build a happy, successful marriage.

~ Words of Wisdom ~

We know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but there is a difference between philosophically acknowledging your husband’s inherent sin nature, and experientially coming face to face with a particular offense which affects you. This is where the rubber meets the road, where forgiveness becomes more than a theoretical platitude.

I first grappled with this distinction back in 1986, the year I finished college. Doug and I had met two weeks before graduation and become fast friends. We held so many things in common — values, goals, beliefs, even mannerisms — that my own mother told me she would fear we were siblings had I been adopted as Doug was.

We were soon making plans for the future, determined that our life together should be built on trust and transparency. Against the advice of all his friends, Doug was completely candid with me about his past failings, and I am eternally grateful for his honesty.

Although the events he described had occurred in the distant past, his confession was difficult for me to bear; it consumed my thoughts by day and tormented my dreams by night.

Careworn and weary, I finally wrote to Elisabeth Elliot for counsel. With her permission, I close this chapter with her response, dated September 30, 1986.

Dear Jennifer:

How my heart went out to you last night as I read your letter, just received. I understand perfectly how you felt…. Even God, who forgives the sin and casts it into the depths of the sea, does not undo the effect of that sin, nor can you…. The tears, the nightmares, the unbidden imaginary pictures that torment you — how well I empathize with all of that, and pray for your comfort and healing.

First let me say that Doug is to be commended for not allowing himself to deceive you. He must have been in an agony over the decision to tell you, knowing at least a little bit how much it would hurt.

Second, you suffer not alone, but actually and redemptively with Christ (see Colossians 1:24, Philippians 1:29, 1 Peter 4:12-13, and many other passages). This aspect of suffering is a real life-changer. Study it for the rest of your life.

Third, you suffer quite literally because of another’s sin, which is exactly what Christ did. Because He paid the price for yours, you too must be willing to pay the price for Doug’s — the price of sorrow, heartbreak, the sense of irremediable loss…. Forgiveness means absolute relinquishment of all that. It is a laying down of your life. Your dream of the “perfect” man has to go — it is this man God has given you, another sinner (there isn’t anything else to marry!) — it is this gift you receive in thanksgiving, acknowledging the fact that in this fallen, broken world, there is no place where the heart may be perfectly at rest and wholly filled except at the Spring of Living Water. Drink there, dear Jennifer, and be at peace.

Doug’s admission will always be a reminder to you that he needs your sacrificial, self giving love. When you sin against him, as you certainly will, any wife does, you will then know, when you have to ask his forgiveness, that you are two human beings in need of the Amazing Grace that saves WRETCHES!! You are, as Peter wrote, “heirs together of the grace of life.”

So forgive him freely, utterly, joyfully — for that is how Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32). Bring all those awful thoughts and imaginations under the Lordship of Christ (2 Corinthians 10), and receive this man as your God-given husband, promising to honor, which means, among other things, never to bring up again that which has been put under the Blood.

I know a young woman who steadfastly refused to forgive her husband…. She has, in spite of Christian profession, destroyed her marriage, destroyed her own life, and blighted the lives of others. Don’t refuse the grace of God for your own deep needs, nor refuse to Doug the grace He will give you to forgive him.

Lovingly,
Elisabeth Elliot

I’m not sure what I had expected Elisabeth Elliot to say to me, but — twenty-eight years and twelve children later — I am so very grateful that she gave me the advice she did… and that I had sense enough to take it.

If this is an area of struggle in your life, I pray God will give you the grace to take it, too.


Want to read more? You can find Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other fine booksellers. It is also available for Kindle or the Nook.

Love Your Husband/ Love YourselfWhat readers are saying:

“This book is the talk your mom never had the nerve to have with you.”

“I wish I had read it years ago…”

“Don’t miss this one.”

“…a message openly opposed by our culture and sadly sidestepped by the church.”

“…one of the most candid, honest, beautiful books on marriage I have ever read.”

Forever After (Free Printable Subway Art)


Wedding season is upon us: We’ve been invited to three weddings in four weeks, and it’s not even June yet!

What’s more, at least two of those brides are in their early twenties, which gives me hope that the trend toward delaying marriage an extra decade (or forgoing it altogether) may be starting to turn.

That makes me happy.

To celebrate, I decided to create a new piece of subway art.

You can print the design in the original 8×10 size for framing, or if you’re the crafty sort, you may want to print four copies per page, trim, and then mount them on cardstock to make your own wedding cards.

This is what all the brides we know will be getting with their gifts from us this season (along with a copy of my book).
Subway Art Wedding Cards

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.

9 Ways to Defuse a Disagreement

"Abandon a quarrel before it breaks out." | 9 Ways to Defuse a Disagreement (http://lovinglifeathome)My father was one of the friendliest, most gregarious men I’ve ever met. He loved people — but he also loved a spirited debate. Mom always said Dad would argue with a fence post.

My mother was decidedly not fond of fiery discussions. She has always detested conflict of any sort. Dad would often tease Mom, trying to get a rise out of her, but she would not be baited. He might as well have been arguing with that famed fencepost, for all the luck he had in drawing his wife into an argument.

By nature, I tend to take after my father, but by conscious effort, I try to follow my mother’s example.

Scripture says it would be better to live in a desert or in the corner of a roof than in a house with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. (Proverbs 21:19; 25:14) My mother’s willingness to “abandon a quarrel before it breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14) made our home a more pleasant and peaceful place to live — for all of us.

Of course, you may not always see eye-to-eye with your husband. When there are areas of disagreement or concerns that need to be discussed, take care to do so in a calm, cool, collected, and consistently respectful way.

Communicating respect to your husband does not necessitate keeping all your thoughts to yourself. It does not mean going along with his every whim, even when serious reservations exist.

Showing respect is not about suppressing your feelings; it’s really more about the tone with which those feelings are expressed.

A disrespectful tone communicates, “Listen, you idiot, let me set you straight on this matter, because it’s obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Of course, we would (hopefully) never actually say such a thing, but our husbands will sometimes hear these words in our tone, even when we don’t utter them outright.

A respectful tone, by contrast, first hears the other person out. It always gives thoughtful consideration to what is being said, even if the speaker isn’t able to articulate his ideas as easily as you yourself might be able to do so. A respectful tone validates the other person by saying, “I see your point,” before continuing, “but have you considered…?”

Many times, our husbands do things in a different way than we would do them, but that doesn’t mean their way is wrong. Go with the flow for as long as possible, then when an issue arises that you really feel strongly about, you will have stored up some goodwill by not having contradicted the two or three dozen choices he’s made prior to the current one. It is easy for our husbands to grow weary and lose patience when we argue and second-guess each and every decision they make.

As for preventing difficult discussions from escalating into angry arguments, follow these guidelines to keep tempers from flaring:

  1. Practice Attentive Listening
  2. Pay attention to what your spouse is trying to say to you. Hear him out. Don’t just pretend to be listening while you mentally rehearse what you plan to say next.

    “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” – Proverbs 18:13

  3. Demonstrate Genuine Love
  4. If you will focus on all the reasons you love this person instead of on the things that irritate you about him, you will be much less likely to say something you later regret.

    “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” – Proverbs 10:12

  5. Maintain Calm Voices
  6. Don’t allow the pitch to creep up in your conversation. Maintain a gracious, soft-spoken demeanor at all times.

    “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

  7. Use Word Pictures
  8. Well thought-out word pictures and analogies are a great way to communicate a concern without being abrasive and accusatory.

    “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11

  9. Keep Sweet Speech
  10. Let your words be filled with kindness and seasoned with grace; do not resort to name calling or exaggerated accusations.

    “Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” – Proverbs 16:21

  11. Exercise Patient Understanding
  12. Try to see the situation from your spouse’s point of view. Be empathetic. Put yourself in his shoes to better appreciate his perspective.

    “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” – Proverbs 14:29

  13. Remain Cool-Headed
  14. Weigh your words carefully, always and only speaking the truth in love. Don’t be rash.

    “A hot-tempered person stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.” – Proverbs 15:18

  15. Show Sincere Humility
  16. Rid your tone (and your heart) of all pride and condescension, neither of which serve any purpose but to stir up strife and discord.

    “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

  17. Express Earnest Repentance
  18. Show appropriate, unfeigned remorse over any wrongdoing. Apologize for offensive things you have said or done without excusing your actions or casting blame on your spouse.

    “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” – Revelation 3:19

Through her example, my mother taught me that I don’t always have to have the last word; I don’t need to drive home my point; I’m under no obligation to convince others I’m right.

It takes two to argue. Isn’t it liberating to know that? It takes two — and you don’t have to be one of them.


This post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband. For more marriage encouragement, connect with me on Facebook.

A Plea for Perseverance

Your Most Telling Declarations of Love Aren't Made on Valentine's | A Plea for Perseverance from Loving Life at HomeWhen I was in high school I dated a boy who would go all-out for Valentine’s Day: balloon bouquets, long-stemmed red roses, boxes of chocolates, candlelight dinners.

Every day for the week, some grand new token of his affection would be delivered to my doorstep.

But then, Valentine’s would be over, and that would be that.

Two years older and away at college, he would go entire semesters without so much as a phone call or a post card. The stark contrast gave me a little bit of a jaded view toward all things cupid.

In my mind, Valentine’s Day is just window dressing. It’s a public display that may or may not accurately represent what is truly stored up in one’s heart.

Our most telling declarations of love aren’t made on February 14th — they are made in the days and weeks and months that follow.

When my husband brings home heart-shaped candy boxes and fancy flowers this time of year, I know that it’s (at least partially) because he knows the nurses at the hospital are going to quiz him about what he got me.

But when he brings me hot tea when I’m sick? Or starts a load of laundry for me when I’m busy? Or runs my bathwater when I’m tired? Or makes a list at work of things he wants to tell me when he gets home? He’s not doing any of that for show. Nobody will ever ask him about it. He does those things purely because he loves me and takes pleasure in demonstrating that fact in practical, everyday ways.

I love that about him.

Wives can be just as guilty as men of pouring so much thought and energy into a single day that little is left over for later.

If you enjoyed an extra-special evening of romance with your husband on the 14th, terrific. But don’t expect that single interlude to carry him over until next Valentine’s Day — or even until next week.

Sometimes when a wife breaks out the candles, perfume, background music, and lacey negligees, she’s tempted afterward to think, Wow! I really outdid myself tonight! That should tide my husband over for at least a week or two!

Meanwhile, her husband is thinking, Wow! That was great! We need to do that more often. How about tomorrow?

Wives want to serve sporadic samplings of gourmet delicacies, when most husbands would be far more satisfied with a steady diet of meat and potatoes.

So… this is a plea for perseverance. Did you kindle some sparks this weekend? Fan them into a flame, then keep it burning all year long.

Turn Your Thinking Around

Have you bought into society’s low view of marriage? It’s time to turn your thinking around. Read through the following statements from top to bottom, then bottom to top. Which better reflects what you believe? (Personally, I believe this is one instance that backward thinking makes the best sense).

It's Time to Turn Your Thinking Around : Re-examining What We Believe about Marriage | Loving Life at Home

What Society Teaches about Marriage:
(read top to bottom)

Modern day marriages don’t last
That is why
You should only look out for #1
It is foolish to think
You can live happily ever after
By giving your all
To build up your man
Take whatever measures are necessary
To maintain your autonomy
Don’t worry about trying
To give 110%
Always remember instead
That marriage is a 50-50 proposition
Don’t think for a minute
Your husband will respond in kind
If you treat him with respect
That’s a lie
Being a submissive wife makes you a doormat
I don’t believe
Marriage is worth the sacrifice

What Christianity Teaches about Marriage:
(read bottom to top)


“Turn Your Thinking Around: Time to Reconsider What We’ve Been Taught about Marriage”
Copyright Jennifer Flanders, 2014. First published on Loving Life at Home

Pray for Your Husband from Head to Toe

Pray for Your Husband from Head to Toe | free printable from Loving Life at HomeRuth Bell Graham advises wives to “tell your mate the positive, and tell God the negative.” Take your concerns to God. Faithfully lift up your husband in prayer every day, and you will likely notice a transformation not only in him, but in yourself, as well.

Of course, we needn’t wait until there is some problem or disagreement before beginning this practice. A wife can and should routinely intercede on her husband’s behalf. Prayer should be a habit of life, something we do continuously and “without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

There are many different daily, weekly or monthly plans available that can help make praying for your husband more systematic, but one of my favorites is praying for your spouse from head to toe. I heard about this concept several years ago. What follows is my own take on it, plus a free printable version you can use in your personal prayer time.

  • Pray for His Brain:
  • Ask that God would keep it sharp and focused and that his thoughts would not be conformed to this world, but would be transformed and renewed by the power of God. (Romans 12:2)

  • Pray for His Eyes:
  • Ask that he would guard them diligently and would set no worthless thing before them. (Psalm 101:3)

  • Pray for His Ears:
  • Ask that they’d be tuned to hear God’s still, small voice and that your husband would always remain attentive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Isaiah 30:9)

  • Pray for His Mouth:
  • Ask that no unwholesome talk would proceed from it, but only what is good for building others up. Pray that your husband would always and only speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15, 29)

  • Pray for His Heart:
  • Ask that Christ would sit enthroned upon it, that your husband would love God with all his heart and soul and might, that he’d love his neighbor as himself. (Mark 12:30-31) Pray for his heart to remain soft toward you (Proverbs 5:18-19) and to be knitted to the hearts of his children. (Malachi 4:6)

  • Pray for His Arms:
  • Ask that God would strengthen them and make them firm. Pray that your husband would take delight in his labor and that God would bless the work of his hands. (Psalm 90:17, Ecclesiastes 3:22)

  • Pray for His Legs:
  • Ask that God would give him strength and stamina, that your husband might run with endurance the race that is set before him, without growing weary or fainting along the way (Isaiah 40:31; Hebrews 12:1)

  • Pray for His Feet:
  • Ask that they’d be quick to flee from temptation, to turn away from evil, and to faithfully pursue wisdom, righteousness, peace, love, and truth. (2 Timothy 2:22; Psalm 34:14; Proverbs 4:5-7)

So that’s the whole plan. It takes only a few minutes to cover your husband in prayer from head to toe. Can you imagine the benefits you both will reap if you’ll make it a habit to pray this way for your spouse every day?


This post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband. For more marriage encouragement, connect with me on Facebook.

If your husband would like a matching guide to use when praying for you, tell him to check out the one my husband posted on his blog: Praying for Your Wife from Head to Toe. And if either of you would like a similar guide to pray over your children, check out this post: Praying for You Children from Head to Toe.

Girl Power: Don’t Waste It

Don't waste your girl power | a guide for using your feminine fortitude to its full advantageWe hear a lot about female empowerment these days…but how should we define it? What does an empowered woman really look like?

Is she wealthy? Is she world-famous?

Does she radiate prestige? Does she command the respect of her peers? Does she carry political clout?

Is she her own woman? Completely autonomous? Answers to no one?

Is girl power something she wears like a badge? Or wields like a weapon?

Would we even recognize an empowered woman if we met her on the street?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In the past half-century, women have spent so much time focused on fighting for equality and closing the perceived gender gap that much of the very real power unique to our sex has been lost: relinquished, squandered, forgotten, or ignored.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Girls are smart. We have brains. We can think.

And when we notice — as of late so many have — that the proverbial baby has been tossed out with the bathwater, we have sense enough to retrieve it. We can learn from past mistakes — both the mistakes we’ve made individually, as well as the mistakes made by the generations ahead of us — and change course as needed.

The battle for sexual equality has morphed into a full-blown attack on common sense and decency. Regardless what popular pundits of feminism may argue, being equal in worth and value is not the same as being identical in nature and function.

There are (by design) some very real, very wonderful differences between men and women. True power comes not by denying such differences exist, but by embracing those differences with gratitude and grace.

  1. An empowered woman INSPIRES those around her.

    It is no secret that girls typically outperform boys on verbal tests. Women are communicators at heart. We are relational to the core. We are good with words.

    But words can be used to help or to hurt. To encourage or to tear down.

    An empowered woman understands this fact and chooses her words carefully. She is not catty, caustic, or overly critical, nor does she curse like a sailor. That’s merely rudeness masquerading as power.

    A hurricane makes a great show of brute force, but look at the destruction, devastation, and despair that follow in its wake. Gentle spring rains may never make headline news, but they pack a potency we’d do well to emulate — the power to refresh and rejuvenate, to nurture and nourish, to bring life and growth and beauty.

    Words of Encouragement

    It takes sustained strength and directed determination to build up rather than destroy. To teach by example. To encourage. To bring out the best in others. To inspire those around us.

    This is real power. It is a power each one of us possesses. A power that women, with our communicative tend-and-befriend natures, are especially well-suited to employ — if only we’ll purpose to do so.

    “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. An empowered woman INVIGORATES the opposite sex.

    As the mother of eight boys (and a casual observer of their many friends), I cannot help but notice the effect feminine company has on a group of guys. When fellas know that girls are watching, they will run faster, play harder, and push themselves further than they’d ever do without such an audience.

    Beach Volleyball

    That’s because they are hard-wired to want to woo a woman and win her attention and affection.

    When a girl first starts to sense the sway she holds over guys, it can make her feel a little heady. At that moment, she faces a choice: What will she do with this newfound power?

    Some will choose to misuse and abuse it. When that happens, everybody suffers.

    One of the most devastating effects of the sexual revolution is that it has duped girls into believing they can use their sexual power indiscriminately, without diluting its effectiveness or damaging themselves (and others) in the process.

    That is a lie.

    It is a lie that has cheated many women out of the things they most desire in life: good health, lasting love, a stable marriage, a happy home, and bright, beautiful, well-adjusted children.

    An empowered woman doesn’t squander her sexuality. She understands what is at stake. She respects her power — and she respects herself – enough to use it wisely. She guards it. She protects it. She cherishes it.

    She says no to sex before marriage and yes to sex within marriage. When the circumstances are right, she channels all that vivacious energy into one man — her husband. And in doing so, she not only blesses her spouse, but she benefits herself, her family, and society as a whole in myriad and magnificent ways.

    “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
    ― Jane Goodall

  3. An empowered woman INCUBATES new life.

    Bearing children is certainly not the only thing a woman can do, but only a woman can do it. Only a woman can conceive, carry, and give birth to the next generation. This is a power that has been completely denied to men.

    Granted, men are necessary for conception to occur, but it is within the womb of a mother that new life begins, that each tiny human is knitted together. As women, we are given the privilege of participating in this miracle of creation.

    Pregnant woman

    There are many who have fought long and hard to give pregnant women the power to choose death, but the far greater power lies in our ability to choose life.

    An empowered woman values life. She recognizes life for the gift it is, a gift that she willingly passes on to her children, even at great personal sacrifice.

    If you are reading this article now, it is because your mother chose LIFE for you. And if you are pregnant now — even if the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy are less than perfect — you in turn can choose LIFE for your little one.

    This is what my husband’s mother did for him, although her situation at the time was far from ideal. Carrying him to term was not an easy choice (nor was placing him for adoption as soon as he was born), but it was the best and bravest choice she could make, and one for which our entire family is eternally grateful.

    “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” – Deuteronomy 30:19

  4. An empowered woman IMPACTS future generations.

    Of course, giving birth is just the beginning. As one philosopher observed, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before.”

    Motherhood has a way of modifying how a woman thinks, of altering what she values. Things that may once have seemed extremely important will often lose significance once a baby enters the picture — not because the things themselves have changed, but because she has.

    Investing in the future

    An empowered woman is okay with this change. In fact, she embraces it. She recognizes what an incredible but fleeting opportunity a mother has to pour into the lives of her children, to love and hold and spend time with them, to train and teach them.

    True power is not to be found in the boardroom, but in the classroom. Not in the White House, but in your house and mine. When we invest in the lives of our children, we are investing in the future — a future that will be upon us much sooner than we expect, for in the blink of an eye, all our little ones will be grown and gone.

    “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
    – William Ross Wallace

  5. An empowered woman IMPARTS practical wisdom.

    There are many voices in the world today that want to tell us how we should live. What we should do. How we should think.

    When deciding which voice to listen to, it’s always a good idea to first look at the fruit. You shouldn’t plant apple trees if you don’t want to grow apples. And you shouldn’t take advice from bitter, angry, miserable people if you don’t want to be bitter, angry, and miserable yourself.

    an empowered woman imparts wisdom... passes down knowledge

    The Bible paints a compelling portrait of an empowered woman in Proverbs 31: She is smart. She is strong. She’s hard-working and industrious. She is capable, confident, and cool headed.

    Beyond all that, we are told that “she opens her mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness, giving counsel and instruction.” (Proverbs 30:26)

    An empowered woman has a wealth of wisdom and experience to share with others. The counsel she offers is sound, not some half-baked theory or failed rhetoric. It is tested and proven, tried and true. She teaches through example. She lives out her faith day by day, month by month, year by year.

    I’m thankful for the many wonderful mentors God has provided for me over the years – friends who were further down life’s road than I, who took seriously God’s charge for the older women to teach the younger to love their husbands, love their children, and be keepers at home. (Titus 2:3-5) As I transition into the role of an older woman myself now, I hope to clasp, carry, and pass on that baton as smoothly as they have done.

    “It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.”
    – Walter Lippmann

The power to inspire others, to invigorate the opposite sex, to incubate new life, to impact the future, and to impart practical wisdom — this is Girl Power in a nutshell. But “with great power comes great responsibility.” How will you use yours?

The #1 Rule for Building a Happy Marriage

number-one-rule

Jesus spelled out our standard in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:31)

Confucius taught a similar principle: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

As did Buddha: “What is hateful to you, don’t do to others; what is delightful to you, do for others, too.”

And Muhammad: “Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself.”

In fact, every major religion promotes some version of The Golden Rule.

In marriage it boils down to this:

“Treat your spouse the way you wish to be treated.”

  • Would you like for your husband to be patient and understanding? Then extend an extra measure of patience and understanding towards him. (Ephesians 4:2)
  • Do you want him to honor you as a respected colleague? Then be faithful and deliberate in the way you communicate respect to him. (1 Peter 2:17)
  • Do you hope he’ll be quick to forgive and forget when you’ve done something to offend him? Then don’t harbor grudges against him. Give no place to bitterness or resentment in your heart. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Would you like for him to show appreciation for the many things you do to make his life more pleasant? Then always make a point to say thank you to him. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, and don’t take your man for granted. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Do you prefer kind, encouraging words over angry tirades? Then remain positive and upbeat yourself and resist the urge to nag or quarrel. (Proverbs 15:1)
  • Do you want him to prioritize things that are important to you? Then don’t make excuses to avoid what’s important to him. (Philippians 2:3-4)
  • Would you like for him to take notice of you and compliment your appearance? Then show him the same courtesy. Admire him and praise his manliness. Your husband wants to know that you still find him attractive. (Song of Solomon 1:16)

So that’s the key: Treat your spouse as you wish to be treated if you want a built-to-last, happily-ever-after sort of marriage.

The Golden Rule is a great principle to live by. How will you put it into practice, starting today?

HOPE for Hurting Marriages

Hope for Hurting Marriages
I’m over at The Laundry Moms this weekend writing about HOPE for Hurting Marriages.

Marriages are under assault today like never before. Even rock-solid relationships are not immune to attack, whether those attacks come from without or within.

It is possible to safeguard our marriages and to protect our homes and families from the forces that would seek to destroy them. Want to know how?

Read the whole article and find out four things you can do today to fortify your marriage and keep it standing strong.