Tag Archive | respect

Love and Respect – Subway Art Printables

25 Ways to Communicate Respect | free printable Subway Art from http://lovinglifeathome.comI’ve been pondering what to get my husband this year for Valentine’s Day, as it’s only a week away.

In years past, I’ve written him poems, like this or this. And once I stitched him a silk-embroidered bed pillow, which has been broadcasting the same secret message for more than a decade now.

But just as I was starting to feel stumped for ideas, Doug made it super-easy on me.

“Valentine’s is coming up,” he reminded me earlier this week. “I thought it might be good for you to turn our Love and Respect lists into some sort of graphic we could post for the occasion.”

I told him I thought that was a great idea and got right to work on it. The next day, I presented him with two pieces of subway art: the one pictured here on communicating respect and another (which you can find on his blog) on expressing love.

Incidentally, Doug’s been making good progress on the book version of 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife, which should be available sometime this spring. The parts I’ve read so far are terrific! You can expect more detailed posts from him on related topics as he continues to work on that, so you may want to subscribe to his blog if you don’t already follow it.

Meanwhile, if you’ve not yet registered for our Valentine’s Day Romance and Respect Book Bundle Giveaway, you only have a week left to do so. Sign up here for a chance to win a copy of Heidi St. John’s Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance and my 25 Ways to Communicate Respect.

Give Him a Gift More Precious than Gold

"Your reputation is in the hands of others.... You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character."I am something of a legend at the hospital where my husband serves as Chief of Staff. Whenever he introduces me to anybody from work, I always hear the same thing:

“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Flanders. Your husband talks about you all the time. I feel like I’ve known you for years!”

But the me they think they know is not the one who wakes up with morning breath or burns dinner to a crisp or leaves clothes in the washer so long they sour or has to hire a repairman to tell her that the reason the icemaker isn’t working is because somebody turned it off.

Not even close.

My husband’s colleagues are only familiar with the Wonder Woman version of me — the one who runs marathons and writes books and tutors calculus and sings like an angel and never sleeps.

Keep in mind, very few of these people know me except through what my spouse has told them. If he were inclined to focus on the negative instead of on the positive, their perception of me might be radically skewed (and their esteem for him would probably plummet, as well).

So my question is this: How does your husband’s reputation fare among your friends? When you are out with the girls or gabbing with coworkers, do you build him up or run him down?

What you say reflects on you as much as it does him.

The Bible tells us, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4)

Your husband is at your mercy. You know him more intimately than anybody else on the planet. How will you use that knowledge? Will you choose to be a crown or a curse to him?

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Scripture warns us. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:21-22)

Fitting, the juxtaposition of those two verses, don’t you think? Part of what makes a woman a good wife and a crown to her husband is her ability to measure her words, to guard her tongue, to let it be governed by the law of kindness, and to use it to speak words of life:

  • “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)
  • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)
  • “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

Whether or not you appreciate the fact, your husband’s reputation is of paramount importance to him. Guys would rather feel unloved than disrespected. For ages, men even fought duels for the sake of their honor. They would sooner suffer death than have their name besmirched.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Your husband’s good name is your good name, as well (and vice versa), so guard it carefully.Honor him in the way you speak of him to family and friends. Protect his reputation. Don’t let minor irritations or disagreements at home tempt you to badmouth him in public.

Conduct yourself in such a way that others will have no trouble understanding why your husband married you in the first place.

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?

25 Ways to Communicate Respect


Actions speak louder than words. You can say you respect your husband, but he’ll have a hard time believing that unless your behavior backs it up.

What does respectful living look like? Here are 25 ways you can communicate respect to your spouse without uttering a word. If you’ll make it your habit to do these things, the next time you tell your husband how much you respect him, he won’t have to wonder if you really mean it.

  1. Choose Joy
    It’s true: A happy wife makes a happy life. Please don’t use moodiness as an attempt to manipulate your man, but in all things rejoice, because that’s the right thing to do. (1 Thessaonians 5:16; Philippians 4:4)
  2. Honor His Wishes
    Give weight to what your husband thinks is important. Make those things a priority that matter most to him, whether it’s having dinner ready when he gets home from work or keeping the house tidy or limiting computer time. Don’t make him ask twice. (Philippians 2:4)
  3. Give Him Your Undivided Attention
    Yes, I know that women are masters of multi-tasking, but when your husband is speaking to you, make a point to lay other tasks aside, look into his eyes, and listen to what he is saying with the goal of understanding and remembering his words.
  4. Don’t Interrupt
    Have you ever been around a person who won’t let you finish a sentence? That gets old fast. Even if you think you already know what your husband is going to say, allowing him to say it without cutting him off mid-sentence shows both respect and common courtesy.
  5. Emphasize His Good Points
    Sure, he has his faults (as do you), but dwelling on them will only make you (both) miserable. Choose instead to focus on those qualities in your husband that you most admire. (Philippians 4:8)
  6. Pray for Him
    Ruth 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. (Philipians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  7. Don’t Nag
    Your husband is a grown man, so don’t treat him like a two-year-old. Leave room for God to work. You are not the Holy Spirit, so do not try to do His job.
  8. Be Thankful
    Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Don’t take your husband for granted. Be appreciative for everything he does for you, whether big or small. Always say thank you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20)
  9. Smile at Him
    Smiles spread happiness. Smiles have even been shown to create happiness. Smiles are contagious. And a smile makes any woman more beautiful.
  10. Respond Physically
    Did you know that the way you respond (or don’t respond) to your husband’s romantic overtures has a profound effect on his self-confidence? Don’t slap him away when he tries to hug you or make excuses when he’s in the mood. Your enthusiastic cooperation and reciprocation will not only assure him of your love, but will make him feel well-respected, too. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
  11. Eyes Only for Him
    Don’t compare your husband unfavorably to other men, real or imaginary. It is neither fair nor respectful and will only breed trouble and discontent. Avoid watching movies or reading books that might cause you to stumble in this area, as well. (Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 4:23)
  12. Kiss Him Goodbye
    I once read about a study done in Germany which found that men whose wives kissed them goodbye every morning were more successful than those who weren’t kissed. Success and respect often go hand-in-hand, so be sure to send him off right, and don’t forget to greet him with a kiss when he returns home, for good measure. (2 Corinthians 13:12)
  13. Prepare His Favorite Foods
    Although the rest of the family is not overly-fond of spaghetti, my husband loves it, so I try to make it at least two or three times a month as a way to honor him. Next time you’re planning meals, give special consideration to your husband’s preferences. (Proverbs 31:14-15)
  14. Cherish Togetherness
    I love to sit near my husband, whether at home or away. Our church shares potluck dinners every Sunday afternoon, and although the men and women normally sit separately to visit, I like to position myself close enough to my husband that I can listen to the conversation, as I think everything he says is so interesting. At home, I’ll take my book or handwork to whatever room in the house he’s working in, just to be close to him, because I enjoy his company, even when neither of us is talking.
  15. Don’t Complain
    Nobody wants to be around a whiner or complainer. It is grating on the nerves. Remember the serenity prayer: accept the things you can’t change, courageously change the things you can, seek wisdom to know the difference. (Philippians 2:14)
  16. Resist the Urge to Correct
    I know one wife whose spouse can’t tell a story without her stopping him fifteen times to correct inconsequential details: “It wasn’t Monday evening, it was Monday afternoon…. It wasn’t blue, it was turquoise…. He didn’t ride the bus, he took a shuttle.” Please. Please. Please. Don’t ever do that to your husband — or to anyone else, for that matter! (Proverbs 17:28)
  17. Dress to Please Him
    Take care of your appearance. Choose clothes your husband finds flattering, both in public and around the house.
  18. Keep the House Tidy
    To the best of your abilities, try to maintain a clean and orderly home. Seek to make it a haven of rest for your entire family. (Proverbs 31:27)
  19. Be Content
    Do not pressure your husband to keep up with the Jonses. Take satisfaction in the lifestyle he is able to provide for you. (1 Timothy 6:6-10; Hebrews 13:5)
  20. Take His Advice
    Do not dismiss his opinions lightly, especially when you’ve asked for his counsel in the first place. Make every effort to follow your husband’s advice.
  21. Admire Him
    Voiced compliments and heartfelt praise are always welcome, but you should also make it your habit to just look at your husband in a respectful, appreciative way. Think kind thoughts toward him. He’ll be able to see the admiration in your eyes. (Luke 6:45)
  22. Protect His Name
    Honor your husband in the way you speak of him to family and friends. Guard his reputation and do not let minor disagreements at home cause you to speak ill of him in public. Live in such a way that it will be obvious to others why your husband married you in the first place. (Proverbs 12:4; 22:1)
  23. Forgive His Shortcomings
    In the words of Ruth Bell Graham, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Please do not hold grudges against your husband. Do not allow a root of bitterness or resentment find a home in your heart. Forgive your husband freely, as Christ has forgiven you. (Mark 11:25; Matthew 18:21-35)
  24. Don’t Argue
    You are not always right, and you do not always have to have the last word. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” Be willing to accept the blame. It takes two to argue, so “abandon a quarrel before it breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14; 21:19; 25:24)
  25. Follow His Lead
    If you want your husband to lead, you must be willing to follow. Neither a body nor a family can function well with two heads. Learn to defer to your husband’s wishes and let final decisions rest with him. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Proverbs 18:22 tells us, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Do these 25 things consistently, and your husband will never have trouble believing that fact.


25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband is must reading for any wife who wants to build a better marriage.Did you like this post? Then you’ll love my book — nearly 200 pages filled with Biblical wisdom and sensible suggestions for putting these principles into practice.

Did you hate this post? Then my book would make a great gag gift for all your feminist friends, so buy in bulk and have a good laugh on me!


NOTE: After posting the above suggestions for wives, I received many requests for a similar guide for husbands. You can now find just such a list posted on my husband’s blog: 25 Ways to Show Your Wife You Love Her. Read it and let him know what you think (and look for the book version of his article to be released next February, just in time for Valentine’s Day).


UPDATE: Also, for those who have requested printable versions of these articles, you’ll find the list for wives here and the one for husbands here, with an option to print either article in its entirety or as a one-page summary.

Bloom Where You’re Planted


I’ll never forget my first talent show. I was in fifth grade and could hardly wait to take center stage!

I had a nice singing voice, so my parents, teachers, and friends encouraged me to sing a solo for the program. But in my mind, singing was too common, too boring. I wanted to do something unique, something unexpected, something unforgettable.

So rather than stick with singing, which was something I was good at and felt comfortable doing, I chose to do something I had absolutely no talent for and looked like a bull in a china closet even attempting: gymnastics.

I’d taken gymnastics briefly before, just long enough to tumble in the gym’s Spring Recital. I was the girl performing the routine on the sidelines. My coach singled me out to be a “line leader” so that the rest of the class could watch me—me!—and thereby stay together. Although it would be several years before I realized it, this was in reality a shameless ploy for getting the tall clumsy redhead out of the lineup, so her awkward performance wouldn’t mar the effect of an entire class of pixies cartwheeling, somersaulting, and pirouetting in perfect unison.

Long story short, my tumbling routine at the talent show was a miserable failure. I fell into a row of folding chairs and made a terrible racket, so the emcee closed the curtains on me early, before I could break something. Inwardly, I chafed. If only I’d had more time, better lighting, a fancier costume, stronger muscles, a more clever coach… then I could have been the star of the show.

But God had given me neither the talent nor the body for gymnastics. What He had given me was a gift for music and a beautiful voice. If I had been smart, I would have taken that and run with it.

I’ve known many wives who waste a lot of precious time wishing their circumstances were different, wishing their husband was different. “If only he were more loving, more patient, more understanding, more driven, more successful, a stronger spiritual leader…. then I could be happy, then I could be a good wife, then I would obey God, then I would be the perfect Proverbs 31 lady.”

But God didn’t give you some other husband. God didn’t give you some other marriage. He gave you the one you have — and He expects you to run with it. He wants you to bloom where you’re planted. Don’t waste valuable time longing for your husband to be something he’s not. Love him for who he is right now, not who you thought he was when you married him, not who you wish he would become. Dedicate yourself to supporting and encouraging him in any way you can.

God chose you specially. He equipped you with unique talents, gifts, and abilities that perfectly complement your husband. You should be using those gifts to serve, to minister, to encourage, to help him in every way possible.

Want your marriage to bloom with a thriving beauty? Then pour yourself completely into the relationship. Shower your husband with self-sacrificing love. Nurture your marriage with gratitude and respect. The blossoms will soon burst forth in abundance, followed by the most delectable fruit you can imagine. One taste, and you’ll be glad that God planted you right where you are.


The above article was adapted from my book, LOVE YOUR HUSBAND/LOVE YOURSELF: EMBRACING GOD’S PURPOSE FOR PASSION IN MARRIAGE, pp. 273-275.

Frustration is Your Friend

11 Strategies for Facing Frustration with Fortitude and Grace | Loving Life at HomeFrustration is something we all face from time to time.

The question is, how do we respond?

Do life’s trials make us bitter… or better?

Do they cause us to sink or to soar?

It takes wisdom and maturity to swallow disappointment without complaint.

Any two-year-old can throw a tantrum, but if we hope to do more than survive setbacks — if we want to actually grow through them and profit from them — then we must learn healthier ways of handling hardships.

So next time you’re feeling frustrated, consider it an exercise in character-building. Learn to view frustration as a friend, not a foe.

Practice the following responses, and they will soon become second-nature.

11 Ways to Respond to Frustration with Fortitude and Grace:

F – Faith – Trust that God has a purpose and a plan. Look to Him for guidance.

R – Respect – Treat others well. Don’t use frustration as an excuse to be rude or impatient.

U – Understanding – Why did this happen? Have my actions caused or contributed to the problem?

S – Sympathy – Demonstrate compassion for others who’ve been through similar trials.

T – Teachability – What lessons can I learn from this? How do I avoid similar situations in the future?

R – Resourcefulness – Think outside the box. Be flexible. Is there a different approach I might try?

A - Acceptance – Frustrations are just a fact of life. Anticipate and make allowances for them.

T – Tenacity – Hold fast to your convictions. Remain resolved. Don’t give up in the face of frustration.

I – Integrity – Guard your good name. Live above reproach. Never return evil for evil.

O – Opportunity – Where God closes a door, He opens a window. Look for it.

N – Need – We need God’s grace, strength, wisdom, and mercy, and should pray for such continually.

How to Conquer Frustration: 11 Tips for Facing Irritations with Grace | Loving Life at HomeMisguided parents will sometimes cater to a child’s every whim (thereby doing him a great disservice). There’s a name for kids who must always have their way: spoiled brats.

God loves us too much to make the same mistake. Scripture goes so far as to say that we should rejoice when we encounter hardships, big or small, for God uses such trials to mold in us the character of Christ (James 1:2-3).

Someday, when we stand before Him, complete, we may finally recognize frustration for what it truly is: a friend without whom we’d never be the same.

Have you developed a strategy for dealing with frustration? Please share by leaving a comment below, or join me on Facebook and we can discuss it there.