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

Abstract: I want to point us to principles God has given us in a place you might not think was intended for marriage. That place is the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20...

Key Quote: “Good marriages don’t just happen. It is not just because you married the right person and got lucky. Good marriages are built on more than passion. They are built on principle.”

Reader Comment: “Wow, it is amazing to read something you really need to read and it couldn't have come at a better time, our 2nd yr anniversary of marriage. We have a wonderful marriage and this article can only strengthen it. Thank God for the insight he has given you. ~ Gary (glove472000)”

 



6. Beware of Becoming This Type of Man by Dr. John Barnett

Abstract: God's Word goes so far as to even identify what type of person we should avoid, stay away from, never consider as a viable marriage partner, and certainly not become.

Key Quote: “Beware of becoming an Ungodly Person. Proverbs 16:27: An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire. This fellow rarely show hunger for God's Word, or concern for the Spirit of God, or passion for fellowship or worship of God. They have no song from the Lord on their heart, anger and self-centeredness are their habits.”

Reader Comment: “*Gulp* I found these warnings to be equally applicable to women/wives. Thank you for putting it on the line succinctly and boldly for ALL of us who desire to walk in a godly manner, pleasing to the Lord.” ~ Heartie


7. The Warning Signs of Infidelity by Nancy C. Anderson

Abstract: How do you know if your marriage is in danger of falling victim to infidelity? Author Nancy C. Anderson gives some often missed warning signs that may help protect your marriage.

Key Quote: “When you're guarding your marriage, you're not guarding just your spouse, but guarding yourself too. I rationalized my way into a boatload of trouble because I thought, The rules don't apply to me. I've been to Bible College, I'm smart, I have self-control, and I can stop before it gets too far. All lies!”


8. 
Is there More to Sex than Pleasure? by Mindy Meier

Abstract: Do you need to rethink your view of sex? My hope is that you’ll catch a glimpse of God’s wonderful view of sex and that it will capture your heart and transform the way you live.

Key Quote: “Sex pulls us out of our self-absorption to unite us with another human being. Jesus gives an indication of this unity when he says, ‘The two will become one flesh’ (Mark 10:8). Marriage is a laboratory to learn how to love.”

Reader Comment: “This is such a refreshing article. Thank you for communicating that sex for the Christian couple is more than pleasure. In our society, we have become such ‘lovers of pleasure’ that we forget to honor God in everything. This article teaches us to honor God with our sexuality. I pray we all change our hearts back to what God intended.” ~ odieham


9. Marrying Your ‘Soul Mate’: Does Such a Person Exist? By Edward M. Tauber & Jim Smoke

Abstract: Never fully defined in any literature, the term “soul mate” is used by people as if we all clearly understood what is meant...

Key Quote: “If you think there is only one person out there who is the right one for you, you are vulnerable to marry when you think you have found that person. There is much evidence that there are likely many people in the world who would make an acceptable mate for you. The risk of thinking otherwise is that when you believe you have found ‘the one,’ you abandon all sensibility and are driven to marry that person…”

Reader Comment:  “... I believe God gave me the one for me! I think the danger isn't in believ[ing] that only one exists for you, but in how we go about that, what we sacrifice to find that, and if we let it jeopardize our relationship with Christ in order to fulfill that desire.” ~ cinderella092003


10. The Lost Girls by A.J. Kiesling

Abstract: At the singles functions I’ve attended, I can’t help but notice how many attractive women mill around, trying to be sociable, likable, and noticed.  So with so many single men out there, why are so many Christian women growing old alone?

Key Quote: “[Jillian] Straus concludes that it isn’t anyone’s imagination; it is harder to find lasting love in today’s culture, and she identifies seven ‘evil influences’ that have changed us from the inside out: 1) a self-serving ‘what’s-in-it-for-me?’ culture, 2) a multiple choice culture, 3) the effect of divorce, 4) the feminism fallout, 5) a ‘why suffer?’ mentality, 6) the celebrity standard, and 7) delayed marriage.”

Reader Comment: “In response to the Lost Girls article I would first like to say thank you for bringing this sensitive subject to the forefront. Unfortunately I cannot agree with your opinion regarding on-line dating. It is unfortunate that we as Christian women have been programmed to look for Prince Charming to ride up on a white stallion, sweep us off our feet and ride off into the sunset. The reality is people meet each other in various avenues of life. I used to think online dating was ‘unromantic’ and unsafe, but, after being single for most of my adult life I realized that I was limiting myself by a fantasy that is not biblical. Once I became open and receptive to meet ‘the one’ through any avenue that God chooses, I met and married my husband...” ~ adivarev