Love in Action: Listen

We have reached the final Love in Action day devoted to loving our husbands. Don’t quit! Keep performing these loving actions throughout the rest of the challenge as well, even as we move on to loving our children. Don’t let those little cuties bump out your main squeeze.

Love in Action: Listen
Love in Action Day 7

Today’s action may in fact be one of the most important things you can ever do for your marriage and your man.


Turn off your computer. Close your book. Teach the children to not interrupt. Put the cell phone on “Shush.”

Look him in the eyes and truly listen.

Don’t let your mind wander while he’s speaking. Don’t roll your inner eyes and grit your teeth, waiting for him to finish.  Don’t think you know what he’s going to say and finish for him.  Don’t spend your listening time thinking about what you’ll say or about a parallel story.

Respect him.  Whatever he has to say is important enough to him that he wants to share it with you. He cares enough about you to make himself vulnerable by sharing his thoughts.

Give this the importance it deserves.

Then, kick it up a notch. Don’t just listen, but take an active interest in his life. Ask questions. Learn about his passions.  Make them your own.

My husband and I benefit from this first hand.

My man was raised in the United States Air Force and developed a strong interest in airplanes, the crane-your-head-at-the-sound-of-an-engine-and-risk-life-and-limb-to-see-a-plane kind of boyish enthusiasm. He could accurately name a military or civilian plane by catching a mere glimpse on the horizon. It’s impressive, actually.

I was raised on a farm where I lived and breathed horses. I did homework on my horse’s back, shed tears into manes instead of pillows, and spent many a Wisconsin winter night sleeping in the barn to monitor a sick horse friend. I still have that girlish desire to inhale the sweet scent of horses and kiss their soft noses, even though I now tend sick children at night instead of horses.

Love in Action: Listen

Over the years, I spent many afternoons with my husband at the airport watching planes land, and I developed a fairly solid ability to identify several kinds of airplanes on sight.  I even cheered him on as he worked toward his pilot’s license. Not bad for a country girl. He spent enough time listening to the crazy horse talk in this house, that he can identify a fair number of breeds, and even carted the whole family to the Kentucky Horse Park 2000 miles away. Not bad for a city boy.

He doesn’t have a plane, and I don’t have a horse, but we each have the knowledge that the other cares enough to listen, to dream with us, and to share our interests out of love.

Enough about horse-crazy girl meets airplane-nut…emphasis on “crazy” and “nut”!

What’s your story? What does your man love to talk about?

Learn to share his interests.  It will make you both happier.

Remember, keep up the Love in Action throughout the next week as we focus on children. 

Stephen Bautista

For your listening pleasure: Enjoy listening together to two moving Nashville-produced CDs by my talented husband, contemporary Christian musician Stephen Bautista.  Free song downloads are available on his site.

Get your free downloads here. 

This Love in Action is linked up to Walk With Him Wednesdays at A Holy Experience.

Love in Action: The Power of Touch

Love in Action Day 6

Today and for the rest of the Love in Action Challenge, you’re going to have lots of fun.  This one is really easy.

Love in Action: Power of Touch


Make a physical connection with your husband as often as you can.

Love in Action: TouchTouch his shoulder.

Love in Action: TouchKiss his nose.

Love in Action: TouchSmooch him in front of your children. They’ll shout “Eeeewwww!” but they will enjoy the security of knowing Mommy and Daddy love each other.

Love in Action: TouchSit as close together as possible.

Love in Action: TouchRest your head on his shoulder.

Love in Action: TouchHug him whenever you can.

Love in Action: TouchSit on his lap.

Love in Action: TouchKiss him like you mean it, even if he forgot to brush his teeth . . . but don’t forget to brush yours.

Love in Action: TouchDance together to that crazy 90s song you’ve had stuck in your head all week.

Love in Action: TouchRub his feet, his neck, his back.

Love in Action: TouchAnd yes, swat his bottom when you walk past him in the kitchen.

Love in Action: Touch

For some, this physical contact already comes naturally.  Others have grown distant, and this will be more of a challenge. Start small, and don’t expect him to respond over night if touch has become foreign to you.

If you are a mother of little children, you may have touch overload, with little hands tugging and climbing and pinching and making jelly handprints on your only clean shirt all day every day.  (I love those little hands!)  Little ones in your life needing physical contact throughout the day in no way negates your husband’s need for physical contact.  Don’t deprive him.

Have fun with it!  He’s your man.  Claim him with a kiss.

Will this challenge be hard or easy for you?

Top couple photo credit. Bottom couple photo credit.

Love in Action: Thoughtful Service

A great way to show love is to give your time for someone else.  Time is such a precious commodity, that its value cannot be measured.

Love in Action: Thoughtful Service

I have yet to find a reader that doesn’t agree with that sentiment.  Nevertheless, this is the Love in Action post that seems to be the most controversial.

Love in Action Day 5

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves showing your love in a manner that can be as simple or complex as you choose.

Give your time to serve your husband.

What does this mean exactly?

It could mean any number of things.  It depends, actually, on your husband.  Primarily, you want to show with actions that you are thinking of him and that he is a priority in your life. To get your wheels turning, here are a few ideas.

  • Get up and make coffee for your working man before he leaves to go to the office.  I know it may be hard to get up before you need to, but it’s probably hard for him to leave a cozy bed to go to work and support his family some days as well.
  • Make it a priority to maintain some aspect of the home that is important to him, such as a tidy family room or a clean van.
  • Get a handle on his laundry so he always has a full sock drawer, his favorite jeans, an ironed work shirt, a clean bath towel, or whatever he needs.
  • Be sure his favorite relaxing spot is never filled with a pile of unfolded laundry or mail.
  • Pack him a lunch so he doesn’t have to do it himself, and put a sweet note in to show you are thinking of him.
  • Assess your procrastination list and put his needs at the top — fix a button, schedule an appointment, plan a surprise.  Just do it.
  • Look for something on his to-do list that you can take over to give him a break, such as the filing, a trip to the post office, or paying bills.Love in Action: Thoughtful Service
  • Fill his truck with gas and tidy it up.
  • Replace that infernally empty toilet paper roll.

You get the idea.

Whatever you do, do it with love.

No, I am not even remotely implying that you are a hired servant; neither is he your Mr. Moneybags.  In marrying each other, you have each chosen to serve the other in love throughout your lives. Even if you both work, there are simple ways you can show your commitment to him.

I know that this sounds very 1950s Cleaveresque.  But it works!  Love in action works.  Loving service works.  Mutually serving one another works!  Battling over roles, pointing fingers, and whining–they don’t work so well.

Perform your loving service with joy, and with no thought of receiving anything in return (although this may rub off on him).  You may surprise yourself to discover how fun it can be to think of different ways to show your hero how much you truly care.

Don’t forget to keep it going for the rest of the Love in Action weeks, or the rest of your marriage.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech
but with actions and in truth.

~I John 3:18

Share your loving service ideas below!

Linked up to Homemakers Challenge and Weekend Whatever.

Photo credit

Love in Action: Feed Your Man

In the old adage rings an element of truth:

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Have you ever noticed that most men don’t complicate life to the same extent as women.  If their basic needs are fulfilled, they’re generally content.  It is within our power to fulfill those basic needs and make our men happy. That leads to our next loving action.

Love in Action: Feed Your ManLove in Action Day 4

Today and for the rest of the challenge we will concentrate on something that may not be quite as simple as some of our previous actions, but is equally important and a pivotal focus of the simplified life.

Feed your man!

Read that again.  It says “Feed your man!”  It doesn’t say feed yourself and let your man have some or feed the child disguised as your husband.

Feed your man!

What does your man like to eat?  What would he love to see on the table?  What would he love to see in his lunch?  Does he even get a lunch?  What would he love on the breakfast table?  Or is he on his own for breakfast, too?  Does he have to ask permission to eat in his own house?

Love in Action: Feed Your Man

First, feed him. If your man has to go to work and you don’t, then, please, feed him before he leaves.  Pack him a lunch.  Have dinner started when he comes home.  Make it a priority.

Second, feed him something he wants. If your husband is a meat man, give him some meat!  You don’t have to give him meat every day, but don’t totally deprive him.  If your husband likes homemade cookies, have some for him when he comes home once in a while.  If your husband likes Cheesewhiz on his veggies, well, as much as it pains this farm-raised girl to say it, douse those green delights in a gooey mess of fake cheese . . . once in a while.

I know all the arguments against this action, including the “it’s not love if I feed him something that’s not good for him” argument.  Believe me, I’ve used them ALL trying to justify not cheesewhizzing up the veggies. (Yes, cheesewhizzing is a verb.)  Instead of debating the issue, let’s have story time.  Put on your listening ears!

Dick and Jane

I know of a man—we’ll call him Dick—who was diagnosed with diabetes.  His wife—Jane, of course—out of sincere love cooked everything absolutely perfectly to manage his condition.  And this is a good thing . . . to a point.  Like a mother with a nursing child just starting on solids, Jane controlled every bite that went into Dick’s mouth.

Fast forward to his retirement.

Every day Dick would head out for a drive and guy time with friends.  Jane loved that her husband maintained this “him time,” and she fully supported it . . . every day.  Do you know where Dick really went?  He went out for a burger.  He went out to get a little satisfaction that he could not get at home.  In her overly zealous efforts to make him healthy, Jane had made him dissatisfied, and Dick dealt with it through deceit.  Did it kill him?  Well, Dick did eventually die . . . at 96. True story . . . except the names.

Give him something he wants. Give him steak at home, and he won’t go out looking for burgers.  As for me, I will be Cheesewhizzing up some veggies now and then.  Really.

What does your man like to eat that you prefer not to serve?  In other words, what’s your Cheese Whiz?

Helpful tool: Treat your hubby to some good-for-you comfort food and healthy desserts with the following e-cookbooks: Wholesome Comfort and Treat Yourself.  Real food, real good.  Get 25% off these and any other books from Modern Alternative Mama with the code VDAYSALE today only (February 15).

Buy the books here.

Read my reviews here and here.


Love in Action: Dress Up Challenge

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeIf I were a betting gal, and I’m not, I would wager a fair sum of my children’s savings that, before you married your husband, you always tried to look your best when you knew he’d be around.  After several years of marriage, a few children, a dog, and a pile of laundry the size of a Chevy Express van, looking good for your man has most likely been bumped down a few pegs on the priority list.

I’m sure he’d like to see it bumped back up.

Let’s face it. Men are attracted to their wives physically. And that’s a good thing. I mean, seriously, I wouldn’t want my husband to be repulsed by me. But many women think men are shallow for wanting their women to look . . . well, womanly.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeLet’s face another fact. We women are attracted to our men, too. You may like your husband to be clean cut and preppy or, as I prefer mine, looking manly and rugged. You are attracted to your man when he dresses a certain way, showers on occasion, brushes his teeth. You get the picture. Does that make us shallow?

Long, thoughtful pause.

Physical attraction between a husband and wife is a blessing. Now let’s stop talking about it and get down to business.

Love in Action Day 3

Today and for the rest of the Love in Action series, you have a very simple task.

Get dressed!

But there are rules to the dress up challenge.

Don’t act so surprised. You knew there would be.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeFrump is strictly forbidden! And that includes bedtime.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeIf your husband hates it, you may not wear it. You may burn it, bury it, or donate it, but you may not wear it.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeTry not to wear the same thing every day. Shake things up a little.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeDon’t wear his clothes…unless he wants you to.

Do your hair. I don’t care how. Just do something your husband likes. Brush it, braid it, twist it, clip it, spray it purple. Just don’t look like you crawled out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. On second thought, skip the purple.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeDo your face. Does your hero prefer a made-up face or a fresh-faced look?

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeDo what he likes.

Love in Action: Dress Up ChallengeSo often I overhear women discussing the unreasonable requests of their husbands. Almost without fail the discussions end with the woman having chosen to do as she wishes, regardless of her man’s wishes, and the other women cheering her on. Oh, how it breaks my heart! So your husband likes long hair and you want it short. Is your hair that much more important than your man? He doesn’t want you to wear lipstick, so he can kiss you without fretting over face paint. The ogre! He likes you in a skirt, but you’ll only wear jeans. Where does your hero rank?

Dress for him.

And wear that smile.

In a few days, the family will stop asking where you’re going.

What will be the hardest aspect for you about the Love in Action Dress Up Challenge?

Helpful Tool: Throw an apron on over your lovely outfit and whip up a healthy, but tasty treat for your man.  Smart Sweets, the smarter dessert ecookbook, is 35% off through February 15.  Just use the code VDAYYUM at checkout.

Buy Smart Sweets here.

Read my review here.

Love in Action: Dress Up Challenge

Original artwork credit: My daughter Marissa

Photo credit: The Simple Homemaker

Disclosure: The Smart Sweets link is my affiliate link.  I use Smart Sweets and like it.  ‘Nuf said.

Love in Action: Smile

Remember that special smile your husband reserves just for you.  You know the one.  It’s the smile that makes you go weak in the knees.

Oh, that smile.

I’m sure you have a smile that makes him go weak in the knees as well.

Love in Action: Smile

Love in Action Day 2

Your love in action for today is simple, but powerful.


Look your husband in the eyes, connect, and smile.  Oh, and mean it.

It’s easy to get absorbed in the worries of life, the busyness, the tasks, the child with the leaky diaper sharing its burden with your last clean outfit, the three-year-old regifting her fifth consecutive meal to the overweight (but happy) dog.

Sometimes we forget that, as husband and wife, we are in this beautiful mess of an adventure called “life” together.

We can each make it easier for the other with the simple beauty of a smile.

You and your husband have a connection that neither of you shares with any other human being on earth. Savor it.  Reinforce it.  Renew that connection as often as you can.

Cement your togetherness with a smile.

Show your husband you are happy to see him when he wakes up in the morning.  Smile.  Show him you appreciate him when he comes home from work.  Smile.  Show him that he is more important than whatever he is interrupting.  Smile.  Catch his eye when he least expects it and, you guessed it, smile.

Love in Action: Smile

Look him in the eyes and smile the smile that makes him go weak in the knees.

Who knows.  Maybe he’ll smile back.

Oh, you’re going to love how this one makes you feel!

Share your thoughts on today’s Love in Action task!

Fun Tools: Preserve your smiles on a free 8×10 photo canvas from Canvas People.  Upload your favorite week-in-the-knees-smile photo and the Canvas People will send you a free 8×10 canvas (nearly a $50 value) for the price of shipping (our shipping fee was around $15).  Or get $35 off a larger canvas.  Preserve those romantic smiles in style!

Love in Action: Smile


Top photo credit: Troy B. Thompson

Linked to Weekend Whatever.

Love in Action: Stop Criticizing

Why is The Simple Homemaker hosting Love in Action?

Establishing a simple, peaceful home environment involves getting back to the basics: the basics of housekeeping, the basics of feeding your family, the basics of managing your time and money, the basics of family relationships.

Love in Action: Stop Criticizing

When you take away all the trappings and externals of a family–the house, education, careers, outside distractions–you are left with what? Dust bunnies, yes.  But something better.  People!

And those people need love. It’s a very basic human need. Denying it doesn’t change it.

That is why The Simple Homemaker is focusing the Love in Action series on the simplest and greatest thing we can do for our husbands and children: love them.

Love in Action: Stop Criticizing

Love in Action Day 1

Our first goal in showing love in simple ways is the only “thou shalt not” in the list.

Stop criticizing your spouse.

Today and for the rest of the Love in Action series, stop criticizing your husband.

Don’t criticize in any way. That means no nagging, belittling, huffing, eye rolling, “joking,” sarcasm, meaningful sighing, or treating your man, your hero, like a child.

That doesn’t mean you can’t disagree or lovingly discuss a matter, but don’t make it a personal attack.

No matter what!

When you want to criticize, replace it with gratitude.

Whatever the circumstances, find gratitude and kick the negativity in the backside.

And when this “game” is no longer fun, think how belittling, how demeaning, how indescribably unpleasant it is for a man to live with a negative, critical, nagging wife. I wouldn’t wish that on my son, nor on any other mother’s son. Would you?

Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

~Proverbs 21:19

Are you ready to stop criticizing your spouse?  Let’s encourage each other in the comment section below!

Love in Action The Power of a Praying Wife Stop CriticizingHelpful Tool: Instead of criticizing your spouse, pray for him.  Stormy Omartian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife offers a month’s worth of guidance for praying for your husband.  My favorite paraphrase from the book reads something akin to, “Lord, give my husband a new wife…and let it be me.”

There is also The Power of a Praying Husband if the two of you want to read together…but separately.

Read more reviews here.


Original artwork by my daughter Marissa.