Monday, June 15, 2009

What happened?

I am so sorry fellow dare takers. Life threw me a few hurdles and regular blogging became impossible. Now that summer is here, things have slowed down a bit.

Did anyone finish the Love Dare? If so please say how things are going.

Does anyone want to pick up where we left off? Let me know what's up! I think it's important to pick up where we left of if anyone needs this, I want to support you. I made it to day 32 and we have had a few misunderstandings, but we always find our way back much more quickly. I find that I let a lot of the non-important stuff go. And it makes things run more smoothly.

So let me know what to do!

And again, sorry for the disappearing act.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 18- Love seeks to understand

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.
—Proverbs 3:13

I purposely saved this one for a weekend since I know we are all busy people. Today's dare focuses on understanding your spouse better. When you first met you probably studied everything about them. Now, you are content to just ask how their day was. Try to learn more about your loved one. What are their dreams? Goals? Ambitions?
Take time this weekend to get to know your spouse all over again. When you talk to each other, make sure you do most of the listening.

Here are some helper questions-
1. What do you enjoy the most about your life right now?
2. What do you enjoy the least?
3. What would be your dream job?
4. What are three things you would like to do in the next year?
5. When was the last time you felt filled with joy?
6. If you had to give away a million dollars, who would you give it to?
7. What would you like your life to look like 5 years from now?
8. What have I done in the past that made you feel loved?

You get the picture. Let me know how it all are awfully quiet lately.

Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you’ve rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 17- Love promotes intimacy

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. —Proverbs 17:9 NIV

Be a trusted partner. Let your spouse know their secrets are safe with you. There are things that are just between you and your spouse. Keep it that way.

I had a really hard time with this when we first got married. He would tell his family, about my struggles with looking for a job, and then he would tell them how much it paid. And for awhile, he would tell them how much he made. I was never comfortable with this. I feel that money should be a private thing between us. We make it by, and have all the rediclous comforts of modern family. That is all anyone needs to know. He never understood why that bothered me so much, but he stopped talking about it to others. That made me feel so much more like a team. We were together in this world.

Like the book says, you can be close to a childhood friend, a parent, sibling, or cousin. But nothing rivals the closeness of marriage. It is the most intimate of all human relations.

"This blessing of marriage is also it's greatest danger. Someone who knows us this intimately can either love us at depths we never even imagined, or can wound us in ways we will never fully recover from. It's both the fire and fear of marriage. If home is not considered a safe place, you will both be tempted to seek it somewhere else. Perhaps you might initiate a relationship that either flirts with adultery or actually enters in."

Your mate should not have to feel they have to be perfect to seek your approval. Brad used to call this "walking on eggshells". He could never read whether I was happy or sad, so he felt he needed to tiptoe around trying not to anger me just to get through the day. We shouldn't have to walk on eggshells around our loved one. We are safe within the bonds of a loving marriage.

The Bible says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear"-(1 John 4:18) Your home should be a place of intimate freedom, much like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Being "naked" and "not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25) should exist in your marriage both emotionally and physically.

Basically you have both dumped "baggage" on each other, and that opens us up to being hurt when people know this much about us. People who know me well understand that I am not a natural hugger, it makes me feel very vulnerable. It's a protective measure. And B knows that even a look from him can make me feel so crazy in love with him that I immediately turn away from his gaze so I don't "fall too deep". Cause then I could get hurt.

But God intends for our marriage to be a safe haven. I can now imagine people saying "think of a happy place", that should be your home with your spouse. Accept these secrets as part of what makes your spouse up.....guard them, don't criticize them for it. We are not all perfect. For everything you find wrong with your spouse, I guarantee you have something else that could stand to be changed. If there is a secret that needs repairing, then be the agent of healing and listen without lecturing.

God loves us in spite of our secrets, and He knows every single one of them. Yet He loves us with a depth we can not fathom. This grace is something to work on with our spouses. Intimacy and trust takes time to foster. So be gentle in your approach to open up your spouses heart if it has been damaged by you in the past.

"But your commitment to reestablishing it can happen or anyone willing to take the dare."

Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 16- Love intercedes

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. —3 John 2

The jist of today's dare is accepting that you can not change your spouse (or anyone really). OUCH! That's a tough pill to swallow.

"Insanity has been defined as trying the same thing over and over, bu expecting different results". Hmmmmm.....sound familiar? I am INSANE for thinking that me nagging B to do XYZ is eventually going to get through his thick skull to the point where he says "Hey I need to do XYZ to make S happy".

Has your nagging been working? It may get your spouse to load the dishwasher or walk the dog just to get you to stop nagging. But it will be done with the wrong intentions, and with bad feelings. When I nag B I make hm feel like he is a bad spouse. Not really protecting my treasure's heart that I? (BTW after Day 15 I have started referring to B as "my treasure", you can all barf now).

So what can we do when things are not working and getting out of hand? I always like to remember that beautiful poem "Footprints" especially the line "It was then that I carried you".
Do you feel like quitting on your marriage at times? I am guilty of that. In fact, I have been married before B...and did quit. But Jesus says to pray rather than quitting (Luke 18:1). The book emphasizes that prayer can bring the calm in the eye of a storm. Do you need a major breakthrough? Prayer can make the difference. Read the last blog post for proof.

From the book:
"God is sovereign. He does things His way. He's not a genie in a lamp that submits to your every wish. But He does love you and desires an intimate relationship with you. This doesn't happen apart from prayer.
Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse's hidden faults? Do you really think it is for endless nagging? No, it is for effective kneeling. One of the most loving thing you can ever do for your spouse is to pray for them. NO ONE knows better how to pray for your mate than you. Turn your complaints into prayers and watch the Master work while you keep your hands clean."

"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" -Matthew 7:7

Begin praying today for your spouse’s heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse’s life and in your marriage.

Exciting thing happening in our house~

How is it going with you?
I am actually several days ahead of the blog on my dares. Last week on Friday I was on Day 16, the dare I will give you in a minute. It asks for you to pray for your spouse and any areas you may need help in. In your marriage, in his heart, in your heart, etc. I prayed for a deeper intimacy and peace in B's heart and mine.

That night after the kids went to bed B asked me if I would like to watch movie. We went to Verizon's on demand site and they had 2 movies we both wanted to see. Fireproof (the movie featuring the Love Dare),and some other movie. I know he really wanted to see the other one, but he chose FP because he knew I wanted to see it. We watched it and I told him that I had been following the Love Dare. The acting in it was pretty bad, but the message was amazing. We sat there after the movie and talked for hours. I told him he was welcome to read my book, but he said he wanted to do the Love Dare on his own. The last three days we have had a peace and contentment in our house and relationship that has never been there. Conflict has been met with understanding. He has been doing housework for me that I would normally nag about. He looks at me different, we talk different. Love is good.

The difference happened when I invited God to be a part of our marriage. Try it, be open to it, and you will experience incredible results. God is love.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 15- Love is honorable

Live with your wives in an understanding way . . . and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. —1 Peter 3:7

Today we are faced with honoring our spouse. Honor is one of those words that never loses it's timeless quality, class, and dignity. To honor someone means to give them respect and high esteem, to treat them as being special and of great worth. You are courteous and polite. You accommodate their wishes if at all possible simply out of respect for who they are.

The book goes on to talk about another word within the scope of honor....holy. We don't often associate holiness as marital trait, but it is essential. To say your mate is holy doesn't mean they are perfect. Holiness means they are set apart for a higher purpose- no longer common or everyday. A person who has become holy to you has a place no one can rival in your heart. This person is to be honored, praised and defended.

From the book:

"When two people marry, each spouse becomes 'holy' to each other by way of 'holy matrimony'. This means no other person in the whole world is supposed to enjoy this level of commitment and endearment from you. Your relationship is like no other. You share physical intimacy with only her, only him. You establish a home together. You bear your children with this person. Your heart, possessions, your life itself is to be wrapped up in the uncommon bond you share with this one person"

Wow, that's pretty deep stuff! When you think of it that way, it's like a special thing just for you that no one in the world can have. Like a treasure God has entrusted to you. Isn't that exciting? I think it's awesome! But what if you don't feel that you are honored by your spouse? The Bible calls us to honor the same regardless. Love dares to say- "Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most. Of all things I'm willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you. With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults-past and present- I still choose to love and honor you". In this atmosphere, love can't help but be are leading your heart to love.

Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.

-For my dare yesterday I realized that B needed some alone time in the house to practice. He is an amazing harpsichordist, yet never actually gets to play very much. If the girls are around they want to be in the room with him so they stand at the gate and cry or try to climb in. At night when they are asleep it is too loud for him to play. I had a chiropractic appt, but took both girls with me, then we went and had a healthy snack at Papa's house, then to the gym. I was exhausted after the 4 hours, but it probably made his day. I was honoring his deep need for a quiet house to himself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 14- Love takes delight

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life.
—Ecclesiastes 9:9

The current theme in this book is that our feelings can't run our lives. We must lead our emotions with decisions and deliberation. If we allow our feelings to determine how strong our marriage relationship is, we're doomed!

The dare today is to lead your heart to delight in your mate. Enjoy your spouse through companionship and conversation! You delighted in your spouse when you first married. Recapture that emotion by leading your heart in that direction. The responsibility is ours to relearn what you love about this one to whom you've promised yourself forever.

Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse. Do something he or she would love to do or a project they’d really like to work on. Just be together.