When One Small Daily Habit Makes a Big Impact {On Your Lifelong Marriage}

When One Small Daily Habit Makes a Big Impact On Your Lifelong Marriage

It was one of those gray rainy days preceded by another sleepless night with kids that were up –again.  I curled up on my couch with my early morning cup of tea while I read my Bible, prayed, and tried to get myself in a good mood before the household exploded with ten little feet.

As my brain cells began to stir I started to think about my misery and my husband. In my exhausted, early morning mental fog these thoughts tumbled out-

I wonder if he ever thinks about how I feel- how hard life is for me with all these kids.

And that thing I asked him to fix last week, it’s still broken. 

And just once, I wish he’d offer to do the bedtime and homework routine without my asking.

And that suggestion I gave him about something that might help him at the office-he didn’t think it was very good.

I wonder if he appreciates my carpooling the kids all over every day and feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing…and, and…

As I sat in my pity-party, a question entered my mind. “Susan, what if he had said:

“Honey you work so hard; I appreciate how difficult it must be especially because it feels so so mundane to you.

What if he had fixed that broken thing right away.  

What if he had come home one night and said,” I’m taking over dinner and homework; you take a break.”

What if he had said, “By the way that suggestion you gave me for work; I took you advice and it was good.”

Then what?

What I quickly realized was that I would have simply thought of something else that did not please me.

I had fallen into a “picky trap.”  Pick, pick, and pick at the things my husband does or doesn’t do.  Rehearse them in my mind. Add to the list.

I also realized that I had become an “encore wife,” a person for whom nothing is ever enough.

No matter what he did I would think of something else I wanted.  There was no way he could satisfy me.

Picky wives who also want an encore are not very much fun to live with.

And I wanted to be fun.

When One Small Daily Habit Makes a Big Impact {On Your Lifelong Marriage}

The Daily Marriage Vitamin

“Please Lord, change my heart.  Make me grateful instead of critical. Remind me of things to appreciate in my husband.”

I began to say out loud the things I was grateful for in my man.  He gets up early to pray for the kids and me. He is a man of integrity. He is even tempered. He is reliable. He has self- discipline; doing things he doesn’t necessarily like to do.

That morning I discovered what I call the “marriage vitamin.“

Every day I try to thank God for one specific thing I appreciate about my husband. Occasionally, I even tell him.

No he’s not perfect, but neither is his wife.

And yes we still let each other down, ask forgiveness, and start over again.

The thing about marriage is it’s a lifetime of growing together, of iron sharpening iron.

We never will get it just right this side of heaven. Our God is more concerned about what we learn in the process than He is about us getting it all figured out.

Even with 45 years of marriage I still get lazy and fall into the picky trap. I still need that daily marriage vitamin.

Today I find myself praying more and more that I’d lighten up and not make a big deal out of something small. And I continue to pray that we’d laugh more together at the dumb things we do.

Today, after all these years we appreciate more and more that we simply have each other. God is good and He is using us to sharpen one another.  (Proverbs 27:17)

 Blessings,

Susan Alexander Yates

*What’s your daily Marriage Vitamin for today? Share one thing you appreciate about your husband!

Susan Alexander Yates

I’m mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). My husband, John and I have been married almost 45 years. I’ve written 13 books and speak on the subjects of marriage, parenting, and women’s issues.  Some of my books include And Then I Had KidsAnd Then I Had Teenagers; Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest (with friend Barbara Rainey) and Character Matters!: Raising Kids with Values That Last (With John).

I write regularly for the blog: MomLifeToday.com, sponsored by Family Life. I’m a Tarheel. I love Monday night football, ACC basketball, shooting hoops with my grandsons, hiking and riding horseback with my husband, running and talking with girl friends.  My favorite time of the year is June when all my kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.

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

Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion & Your Next Great Adventure

Guide to the Empty NestYou’re done . . . but you’re not finished! And one more thing. You’re not alone. Feeling unsure? Scared? Expectant? Maybe even giddy? Is your nest empty–except for a bundle of mixed emotions? As you grieve what’s behind and daydream about possibilities, you’ll feel young again, ready for new challenges and adventures. Yet you may not know what to pursue or how to discover what’s next. Many women in this season of life wonder: Who am I now? And what should I do? How will my marriage be affected? Does anyone need me? How do I relate to my children? Is it okay to feel sad? Or thrilled? What’s next?

Barbara and Susan can be the friends you need to walk you through these new experiences. They’ll guide you to answers, and together you’ll discover a new purpose and passion for your next life adventure.

Available HERE: Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest

A Small Reminder That We Love Each Other in a Big Way {& Giveaway}

A Small Reminder That We Love Each Other in a Big Way

Maybe it’s different in your home.

But sometimes we cry in ours.

Someone gets their feelings hurt. Or gets mad and annoyed by a sister or a brother. Maybe even a parent.

And we have to work it out.

The reasons vary. Maybe the person was overtired . . . or oversensitive . . .  or overlooked.

Or possibly just plain sinful and selfish.

But suddenly we can all feel it in the air.

Tension.

Grief.

Pain.

So maybe it’s different in your home, but that’s how it goes down in ours.

And we have to remind each ourselves that we like each other.

And we never know how long we have together.

And that we never want to have regrets.

Because we’re family and we love one another.

Grandpa and Grandma Jacobson

A Small Reminder

We’re all feeling this very keenly right now as our days with Matthew’s parents – who have lived with us for over 17 years – are coming to a close.  His dad had a small heart attack on Monday and it’s not the first.  And Mom has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years now.

Each day is precious and every memory is pressed upon our hearts.

So we curled up in my in-law’s tiny television room last Saturday night to watch the Mariner’s baseball game. Something we’ve been doing together ever since we can remember. Eleven of us taking up every square of floor space to cheer on our favorite team.

One set of grandparents.

One set of parents.

Seven kids and one dog.

Dad reported the stats on each player and Mom yelled as loud as the rest of us. With our Avonlea cheering and shouting right along with her sisters and brothers.

None of us – except for maybe Dad – caring anything about the game, but deeply caring about each other. Mindful that this might be the last game we enjoy all together.

And so we want to make the most of every minute.

Loving each other.

Because, believe it or not, we sometimes forget.

We get so wrapped up in our offenses and the way we think it should be . . . that we let those things overshadow what is actually true and how we really feel about each other.

We need to be reminded.

We love each other.

Fervently.

Which is one of the reasons why we now have this new sign hanging up in our kitchen.

A small reminder that we love each other in a big way.

Jacobson Family

A Gift & Giveaway!

A Small Reminder to One Another in a Big Way

Isn’t this lovely?

One of our very talented readers here at Club31Women made this sign for me and you should have heard us all ooh! and aah! when I unwrapped the packaging. We were so blessed by this beautiful gift!

And, in case you recognized it, yes, it is based on the post I shared last last year, 12 Simple Things to Bring Peace Into Your Home.

And now hangs in a prominent place in our kitchen as a cheerful reminder to us all.

But wait . . . . It gets better!

Our kind friend and artist has offered to give one away to the readers here at Club31Women too!

Not only that, but she if offering a 10% discount on all her signs to Club31Women readers! All you have to do is use the coupon code, CLUB31WOMEN, when you check out. How sweet is that??

You can check out more of her charming work here . . . .

 It All Began With Paint

And don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY here . . . . 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheering for you too!

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How A Simple Kindness Can Change Your Marriage

How A Simple Kindness Can Change Your Marriage

So I had this really hard day.

Or, to be more accurate, I had a really hard week.

And I was close to tears by late afternoon.

He asked me what was wrong and I’m sorry to say that I snapped at him.

Was it not obvious? Hello…? You’d only have to take one look at all the pressures I’d been under the last five days.

He stared at me and I felt a bit of guilt for the hurt I saw there. Taking it out on him. Undeserved.

But not feeling guilty enough to apologize.

I was too wrapped up in my own struggles.

I figured it was about to get ugly and, frankly, I had asked for it with my snotty attitude.

Then I saw his countenance visibly change – from offended to compassionate.

He didn’t exactly understand where I was coming from – but then again, he didn’t need to. What mattered was that I was in a bad place.

His eyes softened.

He reached out with a gentle touch.

Asked if I’d like run into town with him. A mini-errand date.

He also announced to the kids that Mommy was turning in early that night.

And then later ran a hot bubble bath for me.

So, yes, I did end up crying that evening, but these were very different tears. They were the tears that come when someone shows kindness to you that you didn’t necessarily deserve.

My husband is the hero in this story. But you know what? I learned something afresh.

I was reminded of the power of offering a simple act of kindness in a relationship.

 

Offering Kindness in Your Marriage

A loving look.

Sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all. Just look at your spouse with loving eyes and communicate that you care and you’ll always be there.

A soft voice.

It’s possible to completely turn around a situation by returning harsh or unjust words with a sweet response. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1).

An encouraging word.

Often our meanest moments come from our own discouragement or feeling of defeat. Those are the times when we could most use a friend (or spouse!) to cheer us up with kind, uplifting words.

A gentle touch.

Reaching for his hand, rubbing his knotted shoulders, a loving kiss – these small gestures can have a powerful effect on the one we love.

A thoughtful act.

Going beyond the ordinary to do something special or meaningful to the other person when they are down, or “in a bad place”.

Like any skill, kindness must be practiced repeatedly and untiringly in order to really master it.

And, like any gift, it is not up to us to judge another person’s talent, but far better if we simply focused on developing our own.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently renewed my commitment to showing kindness to my husband.

Even in those times when he doesn’t necessarily deserve it.

Maybe even especially in those times.

Because kindness is simply changing our marriage.

*What kinds of things do you like to do to express kindness in your marriage? Please share! I’d love to get some ideas from you.

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 Every Daughter Desires to Hear from Her Mom

What Every Daughter Desires to Hear from Her Mom

It’s not easy to define what success in a relationship means because relationship is a very fluid thing.

It moves and breathes.

It changes with time.

But I can tell you that my mother and I have a successful, close relationship. And I’m pretty sure this is one of the main proofs:

I’ll call her until the day she dies.

My mom and I talk as much as we can in our busy lives. When I traveled around Europe, as I prepare to move across the country—it doesn’t matter.  If we can’t talk in person, we use the phone.

You see, my mom is not just a “person” in my life. She is not just the woman who gave me birth, she is the woman who gave me life.

Because of my mom, I know I can fly. She is the first person I want to cry to and the first person who hears my good news.

So, this mother of mine asked me to write about what every daughter desires to hear from her mom.

And this is my answer—for all the women who were perfectly made to be the moms of their precious daughters:

I will listen.

It’s no secret that girls are usually talkers. We have lots to say, and even if we don’t initiate the conversation, it’s very likely we still have lots to say. If your girl is a talker: let her. If she is quiet, give her time and space to open up. Create opportunities for her to tell you the secret things.

I value you.

The power a mother has over self-esteem cannot be measured. It is limitless. Communicating and saying, I value who YOU are as a person, I value your gifts, I value who you were made to be, can change your daughter’s life. It can give strength to her soul. It will give her the strength to fly. Every girl is different. Value her, just for her.

You are my friend.

Your daughter will always have to face enemies. So make sure she knows you are her friend. Be on on her team. You are rooting for her. Include her in your life. Ask her advice. Tell her that you are going to be best friends for life. As she grows older, eventually, this can come true.

And lastly,

I love youno matter what.

Love is transcendental. Love is safety. Love is approval. Give your daughter your love. Tell her. Show her. Approve of her with your looks. If she is different than you, rejoice in her giftings. Don’t try to make her like you.

So there it is.

And mamma, you just hang in there with that little girl. We grow up. But we will always need you.

Really, you have always been the perfect thing we needed.

~ Savoury Jacobson

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).

A Mother’s Guide to Bedtime Prayer for Your Child

Club31Women.com_A Mother's Guide to a Bedtime Prayer

As a child I prayed the same prayer every night.

You might know it, and maybe you prayed this as well.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Then came the creepy part about the 3 little angels around my head.

“Three little angels around my head, one to watch, one to pray, and one to carry my soul away.”

I didn’t give this prayer much thought. I had said it so many times that the words came without them meaning much to me.

Now I have children of my own and every night we tuck them into bed, answer questions, get drinks, give kisses and, we pray with them. This is important because we want our children to know that we love them, that God is in control, and that we are forever dependent on Him for life now and in eternity.

What are some things that we can pray over our children? How can we intercede for them before the throne of grace?

I find Psalm 28 to be a helpful guide in praying for my children.

A Mother’s Guide to Bedtime Prayer

Save your people, and bless your inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever.”
Psalm 28:9

“Save them”

Our children, like us, need the saving grace of our Lord. This should be a prayer they hear us pray for them all the time. That God would give them a heart that beats with love for Him and perseveres in faith.  Additionally our children need continual saving (as do we). They need God to save them from the evil found in the world, in other people, and even from the foolishness that lurks in their own little hearts.

“Bless your inheritance”

Those who belong to Christ are his heirs. I do not know if all my children have placed their trust in Jesus yet. Some kids can very clearly and very early on articulate their faith in Christ, while others take a while for the fruit of their faith to be seen. We pray with anticipation and hope that God will save our children and so we also pray that God would in turn bless them.

We should desire that God bless our children with all the wonderful things spoken of in the Bible. We ask God to bless our children with mercy and an abundance of grace. We ask that God bless them with knowledge and wisdom regarding His Word as well as a love that starts with Himself and flows into the life of other people.

“feed them”

Jesus said that His the bread of life (Jn 6:35) and a well of living water (Jn 7:37). Anyone who comes to Him will find a satisfaction that the world does not posses. I want this for my kids, don’t you? No matter what God has in store for them during their lifetime, I want them to be fully satisfied in Jesus.

I also pray that the Holy Spirit would use the Scriptures to feed their souls. I don’t just want my kids to have a rudimentary knowledge of the Word of God. I want them to KNOW it, and I don’t just mean have a bunch of verses memorized. I pray that through the study of the Scriptures they would get to know the God who has revealed Himself through its pages. I especially want them to know His character and His promises.

“lift them up”

The world says that we are to lift ourselves up and that it is okay to boast about our accomplishments. What we have, who we are, and what we look like are all things that we should use to exalt ourselves, but God tell us the opposite. He has said that He opposes the proud but will lift up the humble.

I want my kids to be humble boys and girls who look to the only One who holds the true position of exaltation.

Sometimes it is easy to just rattle off a shallow bedtime prayer, and believe me, I am guilty of doing this way too often. But  I want my children hear me pray for them in very specific ways, that go beyond “thank you for a good day and help us all sleep well” ( though there are evenings when that is all I have energy for).

I want my children to learn that the Lord is real, that He saves, sanctifies, and satisfies.

In praying with and for my children they begin to get glimpses of this very truth.

Let’s Talk:
What are some of your favorite bed time routines?
In what ways do you want God to work in the life of your children?

Blessings,
Jen

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).

Your S.W.E.E.T. Guide to Marriage Communication

Your S.W.E.E.T Guide to Marriage Communication

I have the wonderful privilege of working alongside my husband, each and every day.

We both sit here with our desks set just right so we can look at each other, share our Paraguayan tea (terere), throw out tidbits of news or input, ask a question, and get into deep discussions.

Marriage is . . . an amazing adventure and a significant challenge. (Lisa Jacobson)

There was one particular day, as we sat at our desks that he laid back in his chair with his feet propped up, and I knew he wanted to discuss something that was on his mind. Being married for almost 14 years, you learn about your spouse and I knew his posture well, this was not going to be a short conversation.

We began talking about a particular issue, yet – instead of guarding my words right from the beginning – I let them roll, one after another.

My words were not supportive, as I pointed out his failures.

My words were not wise. Instead, I compared him to another.

My words did not edify my husband.

My words did not encourage him, but hurt him.

My words did not communicate thankfulness, for this amazing man who God gave me.

And when his words came back in response to mine, they stung me. His words hurt deep. There were words that I never thought I would hear from this husband of mine.

I never imagined that once he leaned back in his chair to talk, it would have ended in a war of words and one hurting the other and vice versa, but that is exactly what happened.

And, of course, here is where I would like to say that we asked for forgiveness when we finished the discussion . . . but we didn’t.

My husband went back to his work on the computer, and I went off to find something to organize or clean. The discussion was over, and it was not going to get any better if we did not part for some time.

Later in the day, we did forgive each other, and once again, we were ready to move forward in our marriage.

Your S.W.E.E.T. Guide to Marriage Communication

There are two things that I want to bring out with this story.

I first want to emphasize that my husband and I struggle like any other husband and wife. We may be missionaries overseas, but we are far from perfect. We daily have to decide to be committed to our relationship, because marriage “… requires that you invest heavily in your relationship.” (L. Jacobson)

Secondly, I see the importance of investing in my speech. Ephesians 4:29 says, 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.

Your  S-W-E-E-T Guide to Marriage Communication

*Are my words supportive?

“Express enthusiasm for his plans and ideas.” (L. Jacobson)

*Are my words wise?

“A wise woman knows when she should wait to speak or never mention it at all.” (L. Jacobson)

*Are my words encouraging?

“Kind words can have such a powerful impact on your marriage.” (L. Jacobson)


*Are my words edifying?

“Speak only those things that EDIFY.” (L. Jacobson)

*Are my words thankful?

“Babe, you’re the champion of my heart. A true winner. And I thank God for you.” (L. Jacobson)

Now, friend, there is nothing magic about what I am sharing.  I know that there will still be wars of words, because life just isn’t that simple. Yet as I grow as a wife who loves her husband, I know that to be sweet with my words is a few ways to say “I love you” and I value our marriage relationship.

Marriage truly is “a life-long journey of learning to love each other” and Lisa Jacobson’s book, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, was a wonderful tool to help me on my journey of loving my man!

*Will you join me in not only applying these 5 S-W-E-E-T guide words as you communicate with your spouse, but also read Lisa’s book and be challenged to love your husband more?

Serving Him wholeheartedly,
Trisha Goddard

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

100 Ways to Love Your Husband

In Paperback: 100 Ways To Love Your Husband

On Kindle: 100 Ways to Love Your Husband

 

**********************

 Now in Spanish

We’re very excited to announce that 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife are now available in Spanish as well!

100 Maneras de Amar a Su Esposo by Lisa Jacobson

In Paperback:  100 Maneras de Amar a Su Esposo

On Kindle:  100 Maneras de Amar a Su Esposo

*This same article can also be found in Spanish: Un Guía Dulce para Comunicarme con mi Esposo.

Trisha GoddardTrisha is a born again believer, created and called to express her faith through love, especially by finding ways to serve her family and women in ministry. Trisha enjoys traveling and reading. She is married to Mike, and they have three children. They live in Paraguay, where they have served in ministry since 2004.

You can read more about Trisha on their website: www.mtgoddard.com .