How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home for Good

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home For Good

It all came to light at the kitchen sink.

Starting with a sigh—so natural to me that I never noticed it escaping my lips.

A long, heavy sigh.

I was washing vegetables for the dinner salad. Celery, peppers, and carrots. The typical evening prep.

Feeling behind and burdened by my day.

That’s when my husband walked in the room and asked, “Hey Babe, how was today?” And then, “Why the big sigh?”

He asked and I answered. And it went something like this . . . .

The bickering kids,

the avalanche of housework,

the half-broken appliances (like that dumb dryer!),

the errands that took far longer than they should have,

and

the 3 medical bills that had arrived in the mail.

A long list of complaints, but nothing special. All the usuals.

But right before my eyes, I watched those strong, solid shoulders of the Man I Love . . . drop a little. Hunch over a bit. Heavy with all I’d just dumped on him.

But he’d asked and I’d answered him honestly.

And I believe it’s important to be honest, don’t you?

Except for one thing.

My “honesty” was taking him down. Taking my whole family down really.

I was literally sucking the life out of our home with my complaining. 

I’d developed the very bad habit of grumbling and I’d masked it all under the disguise of “being honest” instead of calling it what it really was.

What I really was.

The Complaining Wife.  

And that’s when I knew that something had to change. I had to stop this negative stream of communication that greeted him most every evening. It was time to trade out my whining discontent and replace it with a thankful spirit. Choose cheerful words rather than negative ones.

I wanted to breathe life back into my home.

Oh, not that it meant I could never be “honest” again because there’s definitely a time and place for that. But I realized that I could save it for another moment. And I was going to make sure that I wasn’t merely “dumping” on him, but truly coming to him for support, help, or a little sympathy. Not complaining for the sake of complaining.

I decided to change my habit. Rather than focusing on all that had gone wrong, I was going to concentrate on all that was good in my day.  Things that were true, lovely, and worthy.

And that goes something like this . . . .

The kids had lots of fun at the park today,

got the pantry cleaned out,

so glad for my washing machine and (partially-working) dryer, 

made it to the grocery store,

and

grateful our girl got medical care when she really needed it. 

Same day – different perspective. Which has made all the difference in the world. 

So this is why I traded my sigh in for a smile and try to speak words of joy instead.

Changed my habit.

Changed my heart.

And how it changed our home for good.

….whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 ~

Maybe you’ve picked up the habit of complaining as well? Try changing this one bad habit and see the good it brings to your husband, yourself, and your home. 

Breathe words of life.

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

7 Verses to Hold On To . . . When You’re Holding On to Your Marriage {& Free Printable}

7 Verses to Hold On to When You're Holding On to Your Marriage

I’m just trying to hold on . . .

And she left it there. But I knew what she meant and my heart went out to her.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of holding on and holding tight.

Remember what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

I was pretty sure I knew what she meant.

She was holding on to her marriage and wasn’t about to give up.

Maybe that’s where you are too. 

Or maybe it’s someone you love who is close to you and struggling to hang in there.

Holding on.

But you are not on your own in this world. God is with you.

Turn to Him and turn to His Word. Hold on to these truths He wrote for you. 

7 Verses to Hold On To . . .

When You’re Holding On to Your Marriage

Wisdom

If you don’t know what to do, or how to handle what’s before you? He promises to give you wisdom, if you ask Him for it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

Comfort

If you’re heart is breaking and you need healing and comfort? Let God’s steadfast love surround you and fill your heart once again. His promise.

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.  ~ Psalm 119:76

Strength

Maybe it seems impossible and you feel like you’re faltering? God will give you the strength to do what He’s called you to do. Let Him work through you and in you.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Help

Do you need some help in this situation? Can’t do it by yourself or on your own? You don’t have to do it alone. He is your mighty God and He will help you.

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

 

7 Verses to Hold On To - Part 1

Peace

If you’re worried and full of anxiety over the matter before you? Come to Him with your requests, remembering to thank Him for even the little things He’s done. He promises to fill you with His peace—the kind that almost doesn’t make sense and yet it’s real.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Courage

If you’re afraid of what’s going to happen or what the future holds? You don’t need to be because that’s only the voice of the Enemy trying to discourage and defeat you. This is a great verse to say right aloud: “For God gave ME a spirit not of fear…!”

….for God gave us {me!} a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Hope

You are never without hope because we serve the God of hope and He is a Redeemer! He is able – more than able – to carry you and your marriage.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

7 Verses to Hold On To - Part 2

FREE PRINTABLES

I hope you find strength and  encouragement in all these verses! They are for you.

Please feel free to print them off and place wherever they will most bless you—in your purse, in your kitchen window, or on your bedroom wall.

You can download and print the verses by clicking the links below:

7 Verses to Hold On to  – Part 1

7 Verses to Hold On to – Part 2

 

Keep holding on to your marriage, my friend.

God is holding on to you.

In His grace,

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*You’re very welcome to share these with friends or family who might need to hear this as well!

**If you’d like prayer- either for yourself, or someone you know and love – you can mention it below in the comments. I’d be glad to lift you up, as well as many other women in this community. And don’t feel like you have to get into the specifics, even a basic “pray for me” works and God knows well what it is that you’re asking. 

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

The Powerful Gift of a Woman With Kind Words

The Powerful Gift of a Woman with Kind Words

I turned 46, and that’s when my boys took me to the Tamarack for the best fish tacos, and Matt bought me the adorable brown felt hat that we are convinced will help me write better because I look so cute and author-ish in it.

And it’s the day my doorbell rang. A friend of 17 years was on the front porch holding a glass jar with one of those cute little chalkboard stickers on it like you see on Pinterest.

On the label it read, 46 Nuggets for Christy.

Hershey’s nuggets that is –each one wrapped in brightly covered scrapbook paper. She’s that kind of special person who thinks long about gifts until she knows just what fits the recipient. (And I always feel sorry for her that I’m the kind of friend who goes shopping 15 minutes before the birthday party and throws the gift into a bag while I’m still parked at Target.)

On each one of those chocolates was wrapped a handwritten note.

She doesn’t know that I sat on the couch, with that jar unopened in my lap, for a long, long time.

It made me uncomfortable and teary.

How could she spend this time on me? I thought.

I’m not worth this kind of gift, I thought.

Finally, my desire for chocolate overcoming my inner turmoil, I unscrewed the lid and gently peeled the paper off of one of the candies.

Jesus loves bloggers, she wrote.

He does? I thought. He does. He does love bloggers. She made me smile, and that is a good birthday gift.

To savor the sweets and the notes, I decided to open only one a day.

I’m glad you’re you, she said the next day.

You’re fun to be around, she said.

Jesus loves girls who don’t like to go outside, she said. (Totally gets me.)

I am shocked at how desperately I need to hear these words. I didn’t even know I was hungry for them. 

She has given me the good news of Jesus through her friendship.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

The Powerful Gift of a Woman with Kind Words

The Powerful Gift of Kind Words

Sometimes we sit with the love of God in front of us, and it feels like that jar of individually wrapped chocolates. We wonder how God could like us, let alone love us. We wonder how he could have time for us or even see who we are. We feel uncomfortable to receive his too-good-to-be-true kindness.

But if this sweet friend’s love is true, I can believe God likes me, too.

So what I’m trying to say is how powerful your words are.

Think of all the encounters you have in a day and how each one can be like a wrapped Hershey’s.

Your toddler wakes up in the morning and crawls into your lap. You smile at her and say, I’m so glad you’re awake. I like being with you.

And in that sacred moment you have preached to her a sermon that she is valuable, and hopefully this will soften her heart to receive the magnificent love of God.

We can speak words that tell our husbands and our children and our friends that we like who they are –right now when they are not perfect, and this is the good news of Jesus in real life.

You can bring this simple gift for your family to savor like chocolates –a little bit every day.

Who in your house needs to hear the words, I like you?

~ Christy Fitzwater

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

The Most Loving Thing I’ve Done For Our Marriage

The Most Loving Thing I've Done For Our Marriage

I’d like to think that there’s been a whole lot of loving done over the years.

I mean, so much can happen over decades of marriage, right? Good times. Hard times. Big sacrifices. Small ones. I’ve loved him through it all.

But what would be the most loving thing?

Would it be that gorgeous September morning when I vowed to love him “until death do us part”? Loving him.

Or maybe when I gave birth to our first child? The pain. The joy. Loving him.

Or maybe the 5th child . . . or the 8th? Loving him.

When I followed him across the country—and then back again? Loving him.

Or perhaps when I wept and prayed over him as I watched his vital signs drop in that cold hospital room. Oh, please God, desperately loving him.

Yes, lots of loving over the years. But the most loving thing? I’ve thought long and hard over this question.

The most loving thing I’ve done as his wife is to seek Christ.

That really would have to be it. Nothing has made a bigger difference in our relationship than my walk with God.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, when I first married him. You see, I was still young and something of a hopeful romantic. We had each other and that was what mostly mattered—him, me, and love. I just knew it was going to be beautiful.

And it has been beautiful.

But there were some things I didn’t anticipate we’d go through together.

I didn’t know then that there would be so many challenges. That we’d walk through grief, frustration, disappointment, and times when I could hardly see straight.

There was so much I didn’t know . . . .

Oh, and not only things about him and our life together, but about myself. I didn’t understand what kind of person I really was. I was determined to be the best wife I could be, but it was more difficult than I’d counted on.

I discovered I was more selfish than I thought. More stubborn. More moody and more self-serving.

I found that my determination to be the “most loving wife” wasn’t enough. I needed Christ. I needed to seek God with all my heart. I needed to let Him work in me and change me. I needed to trust Him with our marriage.

The Most Loving Thing I've Done for Our Marriage

If you want to love your spouse? 

The most loving thing you can do is . . .  

Love your God. Seek Him and devote your life to Him.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 4:29)

Spend time in His Word. Soak it up and listen to what He is saying to you as you read through it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps. 119:105)

Go to Him in prayer. Thanking God and praising Him. Ask Him to do a work in you and in your marriage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6).

Walk in the Spirit. And not your own strength. Be filled with the Spirit of God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)

If you ever find yourself wondering what you can do to love your Beloved better? To improve your marriage?

Then I’d tell you this: spend time with your God. Seek Him. Walk with Him. Love Him.

It’s the most loving thing you can do for your marriage.

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

What Makes Love Hot in a Monogamous Marriage

What Makes Love Hot in a Monogamous Marriage

Since we’re good friends I feel like I can tell you this.

So, yeah, I went out on a hot date last Saturday night.

It all started with a new box of Cheerios and hearing the kids cheer. . . and then discovering we were out of milk.

He looked over at me. And I looked back at him. And we both knew what was coming.

But he asked me all the same, “Hey, Baby, wanna go on a milk-date with me?”

What girl could refuse an invitation like that?

Not this girl.

So we climbed into the car and drove the 20 minutes out to the Kalebaugh Family Farm where we pick up our farm-fresh milk each week-end.  Three gallons in three glass gallon jars.

Talking and laughing. Always holding hands.

Except when he pulls the car over and stops as the sun is setting behind the mountains so that we can . . . take pictures for Instagram (ha! Not what you were expecting, was it? ;) ).

Now maybe you’re thinking this doesn’t sound all that romantic. Possibly a bit dull.

But, baby, I’m telling ya, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Okay, so it’s not likely that anyone will ever write a best-selling novel about us or turn our story into a blockbuster movie.

But if you want to know the honest truth?

The best romances aren’t necessarily as exciting or thrilling (and certainly not fearful) as they make it sound. The best are quietly lived out each day, starting in the morning with a kiss, working and playing, caring for the kids, fixing dinner, and snuggling into each other at the end of the evening.

And it’s hotter than you might think. 

What Makes Love Hot in a Monogamous Marriage

What Makes Love Hot . . . In a Monogamous Marriage

Love is hot when a man and woman commit to staying together.

They’re not gonna give up or run out when the going gets tough. They’ve made a covenant and, by God’s grace, they’re gonna keep it.

And the two shall become one flesh, so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:8-9)

Love is hot when he and she freely offer forgiveness to one another.

Neither are demanding, or even expecting, sinless perfection—but, by the same grace offered them, they’re going to forgive each other.

. . . bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Col. 3:13)

Love is hot when he cherishes her and she respects him.

They’re not vying for their own territory or despising the gift they’ve been given. They show a high regard for one another and consider their love something precious and beautiful.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

Love is hot when he and she lovingly lay down their lives for each other.

Their desire is to bless and give generously – even sacrificially – out of love for the other person.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Love is hot when they’re grateful to grow old together.

Nothing is steamier than an older couple who’ve been walking decades together, holding hands, and stealing a kiss now and then.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

~ I Corinthians 13 ~

Don and Pat Kissing

So if you want a romantic way to celebrate love? Try this:

1.   Begin with a new box of cold cereal. (Old boxes work too, but the new ones are even better.)

2.  Make sure that you are out of milk.

3.  Grab that guy you love and run out to the farm . . . or to the store, if that’s where you go.

4.  Hold hands all the way there.

5.  Don’t forget to stop and take pictures of the sunset.

6.  Kiss alongside the road while you’re at it (okay, you caught us!).

7.  Hold hands all the way home.

8.  Then keep on kissing until you’re old.

Because a romantic moment can be as beautiful as running out of milk when you’ve got a big box of Cheerios.

Especially when it’s just the two of you.

Forever, Only, and Always.

And, baby, if you ask me?

That’s HOT.

In His grace,
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*That last photograph is of Matthew’s parents who’ve been married for over 60 years

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

How to Draw Closer Together…When You’ve Drifted Apart {& Date-Night Giveaway}

Club31women.com_How to Draw Closer Together When You've Drifted Apart

She wasn’t sure how it even happened.

It’s not what either of them had ever intended.

There was a time when she felt close to him, but now . . . somehow . . . they seemed so far away from each other.

I suppose they could blame it on the kids. I mean, it’s a lot of time and work to raise children.

Maybe it was her health issues and all that she’d gone through as of late.

Or maybe it was his job. It seemed to take everything out of him and he was away a lot of the time.

Perhaps it was all the problems with extended family, or the ministry. So much to do and so many people to care for.

In any case, here they both were. Living in the same home. Standing in the same spot. But feeling a cavernous distance between them.

So how do you draw closer together . . . when you’ve drifted so far apart?

7 Ways to Draw Closer Together

1.  Be the one to make the first move.  Don’t wait for him to start the steps forward. Reach across the span and see if you can’t bridge the distance.

2.  Be willing to open up.  Be the one who starts the discussion – just make sure it’s encouraging, building-up talk.  This isn’t the time to address all the things wrong with him, or what you’re unhappy about. Think of at least one small thing you can be thankful for and begin there.

3.   Please don’t give up.  No matter how discouraged you are with where you’re both at. Dig in for the long haul and determine to make it work.

4.   Slowly move together. In the same way you had slowly moved away. Lasting changes are often made incrementally and gently over time.  And before you know it, you’re looking back and seeing how far you’ve both come.

5.   Reach out for help.  Friends, we were not made to walk through this life alone. Call out to a friend, or a godly, older couple at your church that you can ask for help. Get professional counseling, if it’s necessary.  A wise, outside perspective can make all the difference in many cases.

6.   Pray for your marriage.  Ask God to renew your love for each other.  Ask Him to show you any blind spots or barriers that are between you. Pray with faith and pray for change. 

7.   Remember that you love each other.  Because sometimes we lose sight of that, don’t we? We get caught up in the busyness and pressures of daily life, that we forget that we actually like each other. That we used to be crazy-in-love with on another.

And when that happens?

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a little time out and time away to remind each other of those things that drew you together in the first place. And don’t wait for your 25th anniversary or that dream cruise to come about!  Instead, put aside a special time so the two of you can pull away and renew your love for one another.

And with that in mind . . . . . (are you ready for this?) . . . .

We’re offering a chance to win this fabulous Stay-at-Home Date Night Giveaway!

Date Night Giveaway

Stay-At-Home Date-Night Giveaway

Are you ready for an unforgettable date night? I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to offer you one of the best stay-at-home date nights ever!

Alison of Pint-Sized Treasures

Crystal of Crystal & Co.

MaryEllen of ImperfectHomemaker

Becky of YourModernFamily

Melissa of AVirtuousWoman

And together we’ve put this HUGE package of date-night goodies that will arrive on your doorstep just in time for Valentine’s Day!

So what’s included in this amazing date night package?

Here’s the scoop!

Love jewelry? What woman doesn’t! Enjoy this $100 gift certificate to Luxe Design. They offer a fabulous selection of personalized and sentimental jewelry. They have a number of items that would be perfect for wives who wish to wear a tangible reminder of their choice to love their husband.

Jewelry

What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Of course, we only included the very best for our readers — Godiva Truffles!

Godiva Signature Truffles

Are you a Dayspring fan? We are offering some super-fun gifts from them to celebrate your marriage! These will add the perfect pinch of romance and sentimentality to your at-home date with these gifts below:

  • Mr and Mrs. Coupon Book
  • Mr. and Mrs. Love Note Set
  • Love Never Fails Plaque

Mr. and Mrs. Coupon Book

How about some items to help you freshen up for your date? Don’t worry, we thought about that too! The winner will enjoy the following products from a fun place to shop for moms — Zulily.

  • Liz Claiborne Spark Eau de Parfum
  • Adrienne Vittadini Bright Five-Piece Lip Gloss Set
  • City Color Cosmetics Vibrant Palette Makeup Set
  • Raspberry Foaming Milkshake Bubble Bath
    lip gloss

For some awesome, inspirational reading, we are also including hard copies of the following books (look familiar? *wink):

100 Ways to Love Your Husband

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we thought you needed some extra sparkle!

Enjoy some extra shopping by choosing one gift from either of these stores (item will be shipped separately from the winner’s package):

Monarch Jewelry

To finish it all off, enjoy a good scrub and long soak with these natural bath products. Get ready for some pampering with this AMAZING basket of goodies from Bend Soap Company.

  • 3 Lotions
  • 3 Soaps
  • 1 Milk Bath in a bag
  • 2 Travel Size soaps
  • 2 soap dishes
  • 1 Natural Loofah Pouch
  • 1 Foot Scrub Brush
  • $25 Gift certificate

These goodies all come in a reusable stylish antique copper tin. Soaps and lotions are in the following fabulous scents: Oatmeal and Honey, Cranberry Wassail, English Garden, Lemon Verbena, Island Coconut, Sweet Orange, Almond Delight, Eucalyptus Spearmint, and High Desert Rain.

Bend Soap Company makes natural goat milk soaps and lotions on their farm in Bend, Oregon. Made with only the highest quality of ingredients, including farm fresh goat milk, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. The luxurious, handmade products soothe dry skin and offer a nourishing elixir to the skin in place of the common commercial skin care products on the market.

Choose to Love Your Skin … One bar at a time with Bend Soap Company. Visit their website and order online at BendSoap.com

Bend Soap Company Gift Basket

*Enter below for your chance to enter this HUGE Stay-at-home Date Night Package:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway is for U.S. Residents only