You've seen Crosswalk's top movie picks for 2007, and we've seen the numbers on the Spiritual Life articles that interested you, our readers, most. Now, let's take a look at what grabbed your attention in a more personal realm - your relationships. Here are some of the most-read Family (and those seeking to start a family!) articles of 2007:

1. Sex and the Christian Marriage by Betsy St. Amant, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Abstract: For your spouse's sake, filter what you pour into your mind – it’ll eventually seep into your heart.

Key quote: "During their most formative years Christian teenagers, especially young girls, are often expected to push the topic of sex aside…Those who remain pure during the trying years of hormone overload get married and suddenly expect to experience everything they’ve seen on TV, read in books, or heard in the locker room at school. And why wouldn’t they? It’s all they know."

Reader comment: "Great article! And I wholeheartedly agree about Christian fiction. It is a wonderful way to illustrate what a beautiful marriage should look like. I grew up reading Janette Oke's books and they truly helped me love and appreciate my husband and my children more. There is so much excellent fiction there now that does NOT contain the graphic sex, violence and language of most novels in the bookstore. I always enjoy Betsy St. Amant's articles. Keep them coming!"

2. Love Your Husband Even When He Drives You Crazy by Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Abstract: Drawing from concepts in Susie Davis’s book Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind (Regal Books, 2007), Hopler summarizes practical ways wives can choose to love their imperfect husbands.

Key Quote: "Get rid of Prince Charming. Forget the mistaken idea that your husband should look like a perfect prince ready to rescue you from all your troubles and meet all your needs. Realize that he is just what God made him to be – a regular guy who’s your companion through life. Let go of your unrealistic expectations. Instead of turning to your husband for your happiness, strength, and security, depend on the only One who can truly provide that – God."

Reader comment: "Thank you Susie for giving practical advice on how to love even when going crazy. God commands us to love...it's not an option, but knowing how is the hard part. I appreciate the practical side because so often people are told to give up the relationship...you just aren't compatible. Truth be known...no couple is ever fully compatible and only by agreeing to work through differences of any size and being committed to that does compatibility grow. It's a process and not an instant answer, as Susie says that you realize it's not easy. So plan on working hard and then love unconditionally using these to do that. If I gave up every time someone failed me...I'd have no friends...and that's where our society continues to misunderstand relationships. Life is hard, so grow up and face the hardness of it, and then work the ‘rough’ soil to grow plants that give seed to fruit that can be tastefully enjoyed. It's worth the effort. “

Article Page Break Here


3. Why Some Evangelicals are Throwing Out Birth Control by Barbara Curtis, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Abstract: Writer Barbara Curtis shares how she and her husband made the decision to forgo artificial birth control and discusses why other Christian families are increasingly choosing a similar path.

Key Quote: "If, as Christians, we are called not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2), shouldn’t we question the worldly assumption that children are burdens rather than blessings? And if we did, wouldn’t it follow that our words would reflect that truth and that families would look different? Shouldn't each Christian couple -- before declaring 'When we're ready, we'll have three' or 'Two's plenty for us!' -- take such weighty matter to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves, who just might have some ideas of His own?"

Reader Comment: "Awesome article! I just loved reading it. It's wonderful to read that there are others like us. Children are not the burdens the world makes them out to be, and I think the church in general needs to be reminded of this. Way to go Barbara!"

Reader Comment: "I find this article pointing to a serious fault and misbehavior on both sides of the birth control debate. Each side should not criticize, demean, or accuse the other side of the choice they make. Both sides are guilty of such. The use of, or the non-use birth control is not a position of orthodoxy, a statement of faith, heresy, or false teaching. I find it offensive to be told either explicitly or implicit that you are not spiritual or walking with God if you disagree with one side or the other, when the decision to have children or not, is personal and part of your relationship to your spouse and Savior."

4. 7 Things I Wish I Had Known in High School by Dave Burchett, Author and Christian Speaker

Abstract: Author and father Dave Burchett shares some hard-won wisdom that will help your teen find Christ in the everyday challenges of high school.

Key Quote: "7. The most important decision I will ever make is who or what I worship. I did figure this one out to some extent in high school. Everyone one worships something or someone."

Reader Comment: “This is such a GREAT article - thank you so so much. I am a 16 y/o girl, with outwardly a ‘perfect’ life and ‘perfect’ family and friends: but inwardly, I struggle so very much with not just my self-worth, but even if my life has any substantial meaning at all. It's a hard thing to live life by faith and not by sight, but it's what God would have me do. This article meant so much to me. I'm going to email it to some friends."

5. Homemade Gift Ideas Under $10 by Mary Hunt, Debt-Proof Living

Abstract: Want to be a better steward of your time, talent, and treasure? 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.

Key Quote: "Family Cookbook: Gather up your family’s best-loved recipes and create a family cookbook. Then make copies of it for family members on your list. There are many software programs available for entering your recipes that even calculate nutritional information based on the ingredients. Add illustrations; scan old family photos of the person who is known for making the recipe to include on a particular page. Add a section for birthdays and addresses, too."

Reader Comment: None available.

6. You Attract to Yourself Relationships That Fit You by Dr. Henry Cloud, Author

Abstract: In The Secret Things of God, author Dr. Henry Cloud offers a positive Christian alternative to the best-selling The Secret. He reveals where Scripture transcends and differs from mainstream thought, as he points out spiritual truths that make life work. Read an excerpt.

Key Quote: "There is a law of attraction in this area of life for sure. Dysfunctional people attract dysfunctional people, and healthy people attract healthy people. It’s uncanny how consistent it is."

Reader Comment: "Solid gold wisdom! Taking ownership of ones problems is maturity. Too many times I have heard people wait on God to fix their problems. When God was waiting on them to change. I heard it expressed if they want to know who you are, they can just look at your friends. This is character chemistry fundamentals. Thank you Dr. Henry Cloud for these great truths."

7. Singles Q&A: How Do You Catch His Attention? by Carolyn McCulley, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Abstract: How does a woman appropriately, biblically, humbly, and submissively go about “cracking the twigs and stirring the leaves”? A friend of mine said that it seems like girls end up “breaking logs and throwing leaves” too vigorously at times.

Key Quote: "Pray Before, During, and After You Crack Twigs: Proverbs 30:19 says that the way of a man with a maiden is amazing and wonderful, something too profound to be easily understood. So if Scripture says this is a mystery, why should we expect that some formula or method in the latest singles self-help book is going to solve it? When you think about it, it is amazing that two sinners can be drawn to each other (at the same time!) and then make a pledge to stick it out for the rest of their lives. Frankly, the longer I observe the mystery of marriage, the more I am in awe of God’s sovereign ability to bring two people together."

Reader Comment: "This was such an excellent article! There are so many articles that talk about waiting and being whole and working on yourself. We are always developing and growing, but there comes a time when you are healed enough to be ready for marriage. There are significantly fewer articles that talk about how a woman can be a Christian, yet be attractive to men. This is one of those articles; and I am glad to find it. What a blessing! Thank you!"

8. The Myth of the Teen Brain: A Q&A with Dr. Epstein by Andrea Longbottom, HSLDA Contributing Writer

Abstract: In his book, Dr. Epstein argues that teens are being shortchanged by the academic institutions and legal systems of American society today, and he explains why and how teens should be given adult rights and responsibilities based on their individual abilities. Does he have a point?

Key Quote: "That is the flip side of rights and privileges: responsibility. You can’t get a right or privilege without getting the responsibility that goes with it. I am not talking about giving young people more freedom—they have too much freedom. This is about rights and responsibilities. It’s a distinction that is subtle but very important."

Reader Comment: “We can testify to the truths in this article first-hand. We raise our children to be self-sufficient as soon as possible. Our oldest daughter graduated high school at 16, scoring exceptionally well on her ACT. She held her first job at 14 and was earning over $200 a week selling newspaper subscriptions (working 12 hours). She trained all in-coming salepersons (most of whom were older than she). At 16, she was an in-demand photographer / salesperson at a photo studio. By 17, she had been offered the assistant manager position there. She had to turn it down because she was leaving for a 3-month 24/7 prayer internship. At 18, she, once again, has been solicited for an assistant manager/manager position where she is presently employed. Being homeschooled she didn't waste her time worrying about peer pressure and frivolous issues. She was able to pursue her interests and giftings. We look forward to seeing God's hand on our four other daughters as they grow and mature in Him.”

9. Fashion and Following the Savior by Carolyn Mahaney, Janelle Bradshaw, and Nicole Whitacre adapted from their blog, GirlTalk

Abstract: Modesty - It’s an old-fashioned word, but for the Christian woman it should never go out of style. Yet, as today’s fashions get sexier with each season, women may feel they are caught between pleasing God and looking good.

Key Quote: "You see, immodest dress is more than simply wearing skimpy clothing. Often, it’s an expression of pride, the opposite of humility. Simply put, immodest clothes are pride on display. In his book Humility: True Greatness , my dad explains that 'The proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive.'"

Reader Comment: “This is an excellent article, and I think that it takes a lot of humility on a woman's part to write it!! As a guy, I long to look at women as people first and sex objects second, and this is not easy for guys even when women are dressed modestly, and particularly difficult when they dress in a suggestive or provocative manner. My experience with Christian women has been that when confronted with the fact that they are dressing in a way that I may perceive to be immodest or even makes me uncomfortable, that I am the one who has the problem. Her insight about immodest dress being a form of pride is right on-and that applies to men who wear clothing that women may find provocative, too!! Men long for intimacy in relationships more than we desire to admit, and immodest clothing makes that difficult. Thanks for the article-God will reward you!!”

10. Joy of the Disciplined Woman Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre, adapted from their blog, GirlTalk

Abstract: Few of us enjoy the thought of increasing discipline in our daily lives. But the benefits of an ordered life far outweigh the costs. Starting this week, we want to consider seven practices to become more efficient in managing our time and organizing our surroundings.

Key quote: "The point is not that really godly women get up at 5:00 a.m.! Nowhere in the Bible will you find such a principle. The point is that there are great benefits to rising early—both for your spiritual life and the good of your family. And there are Scriptures that encourage this practice (Psalm 5:3, Prov. 31:15, Mark 1:35). But 'early' will look different for every woman reading this post!"

Reader Comment: “INCREDIBLE writing and insight! I love to read/hear words of wisdom from godly people that focus on Biblical truths and how to apply them to our real lives in this century! For the writer to point out that certain practices will look different for everyone, and that it does not make one more godly to just apply these principles to life, is SO refreshing!! This writing ministers to me (and to all of the friends to whom I will be sending it) mostly because it is so REAL. We take certain actions that help us to grow in our walks with God and that assist us in taking care of ourselves, which of course increases our ability to care for our families in a way that is pleasing to God. The end result is that our relationship with God becomes more intimate as do our relationships with our families. The focus is on our relationship with God and family and not on ‘the little engine that could’ or perfectionism and self-righteousness. More of these, please!!! God bless you!!”