What challenges did 2008 bring to family life? This should come as no surprise: economic concerns dominated daily routines. Whatever your background, chances are your household sought ways to trim spending and safeguard your financial futures. But money wasn’t the only thing on your minds. Seeking out -- and sticking with -- God-honoring marriages remains a priority among Crosswalk readers. Here are the ten most-read Family articles of '08:

1. Homemade Gift Ideas Under $10 by Mary Hunt

Abstract: Christmas ’08 was the year of the budget! Here are numerous gift ideas that not only cost very little, but have that personal touch that makes gifts extra special to those on the receiving end no matter the occasion.

Key Quote: “With a chance to stay away from the crowded malls you might just find yourself with extra holiday spirit — and cash, too — to take you into the New Year.”


2. Painless Ways to Save Money by Tawra Kellam

Abstract: Economic woes hit us where it hurts – our pocketbooks. Thankfully, Tawra Kellam, author of Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites, offers surprisingly painless tips that add up to some serious yearly savings.

Key Quote: “By themselves, these efforts may seem small -- but they add up to over $7,000.”


3. The Differences between Men and Women’s Brains by Whitney Hopler

Abstract: Once you understand how differently God has designed male and female brains, you can learn how to use those differences well in your marriage.

Key Quote: “While men’s conversations tend to focus on facts, women’s conversations tend to emphasize the feelings behind the facts. Men solve problems best by thinking about one issue at a time, usually on their own. But women generally need to talk through problems with someone else to process their thoughts.”


4. 8 Characteristics of Mr. or Mrs. Right by Julia Ferwerda

Abstract: Determining the person God wants you to spend the rest of your life with is a critical decision, one that requires putting aside personal desires in order to consider this: What is God trying to tell me about this relationship?

Key Quote: “I believe a great ‘barometer’ of a person’s walk with God is whether he/she tries to entice you into sexual sin or not. If he/she truly loves God and wants to be obediently set apart for Him, there won’t be any excuses, playing with fire, or compromises. This person will honor God above his/her own selfish desires, and because of that he/she will honor and love you enough to protect your body until marriage as well.”

Reader Comment: “I think the article is a blessing, all the above are A MUST and it ends beautifully, that as a reader you are challenged especially if you [are] to be a better person. If I may, also I think that Mr. or Ms. Right's other relationships should be in consideration. In my opinion, I would think of individuals who are good in some given relationship(s) to be good in another. Therefore, if my relationship with my parents, peers, co-workers and church family is dysfunctional, it will take more prayer and fasting for me to be Mr. Right." ~ Kamya


5. The 10 Commandments of Marriage by Bayless Conley