Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 13- Love fights fair

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. --Mark 3:25

Today's Dare:

Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to "fight" by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

If your spouse participated with you, what was their response? What rules did you write for yourself?

Once again, it took me several days to complete this dare. We should have had the conversation on Friday, but it didn't happen until tonight. I am now a full week behind where I should be, but I am really not worried about rushing through all of this.

Havie and I had a conversation tonight. He was very wary- I guess wondering why I was doing this now. (Especially because he haven't had a fight recently)

I told him that I had come up with a few rules that I thought would be important for us. I asked him to add on or change whatever he thought needed it.

1. We will never mention divorce. It isn't an option for us.
2. We will not bring up old, unrelated issues from the past.
3. We will never fight in front of our children. (For future reference)
4. We will call a "time out" if conflict escalates to a damaging level. (Havie added that we call a time out as soon as a voice is raised or if we feel ourselves getting angry)
5. We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
6. We will never go to bed angry with one another.
7. Failure is not an option. Whatever this takes, we will work it out.

I don't know if I would call this a rule, but we also talked about setting a timer for 5 minutes when we have a discussion. If we haven't resolved the issue by then, we are going to take a 10 minute break. It will give us a chance to clear our heads and return to the discussion hopefully with some clarity. We will repeat the process until we get to a resolution.

I also wrote some rules for myself to follow:

1. I will listen first before speaking.
2. I will deal with my own issues up front.
3. I will speak gently and keep my voice down.
4. I will not bring something up until I've given time to think it through.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 12- Love lets the other win

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. --Philippians 2:4

Today's Dare:

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

What issue did you choose? What did giving in cost you? How will this help you in the future?

Oh, what a day! I read the chapter first thing in the morning and spent all day trying to think of things that Havie and I disagree about. I know that we disagree on things, but most there wasn't anything coming to mind. I even asked him if he could think of anything and he couldn't. I was thinking, Man- I am going to be stuck on this day... ha ha! I don't know why I haven't figured out that God is going to provide what I need!

After our Financial Peace class last night- we talked about our budget and debt snowball on the way home. And that's when I decided to lay out my master plan. I had made a decision earlier in the day that I was going to show my love by being unselfish. Since I am no longer teaching (and not planning to return to it) I will soon be getting a significant return from TRS. We've tossed around many ideas, but I decided that I wanted to use it for some dental work that Havie needs. This is not cosmetic dentistry, he actually really needs some teeth removed, etc.

So, I told him what I wanted and was shocked by his reaction. He said no! He thinks we should continue on our financial peace plan and use the money to pay debts off. I got upset. Here I was trying to be giving and loving and he wasn't going to let me. I got angry at him. And then it hit me. I obviously was expecting some kind of reaction from him that I didn't get which makes my reaction to it selfishness. GAH!

So, I turned to him and told him that I didn't want to fight about it. That I respected his opinion and that I was going to go with his wishes. His jaw dropped to the floor... :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 11- Love Cherishes

**SPOILER ALERT** This blog contains material that may be unsuitable for those who are uncomfortable with sex talk. Trust me, it won't hurt my feelings if you choose to stop reading right here... :)

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. --Ephesians 5:28

Today's Dare:

What need does your spouse have that you could meet today? Can you run an errand? Give a back rub or foot massage? Is there housework you could help with? Choose a gesture that says, "I cherish you" and do it with a smile.

What did you choose to show that you cherish your mate? What did you learn from this experience?

I have struggled the past 24 hours with whether or not I should write this blog. As soon as I read the chapter, I knew exactly what I needed to do to complete the dare. I immediately thought- I do not want to write about it. At the same time, I knew that I really needed to write the blog because it may help others in this situation. I also think it's important for me to be honest with myself in this process. In the end, I really wanted to stay true to this process because it seems to working so far... So, here we go- and besides I am a married woman! I should be able to talk about sex!

The chapter talks about how we often see our spouses as an object we own rather than a part of our own body. They gave an example of how we might replace a car that needed more repair than what it's worth, but if we broke the bones in our hand- we would do whatever it would take to repair it regardless of cost. We are a part of one another. Therefore we should treat them with the same nurture and care that you treat yourself.

So, back on day 5- Havie had to tell me 3 things that I do that irritate him or make him uncomfortable. I left off the 3rd thing from the blog. He told me that our lack of sex makes him irritated and he feels very uncomfortable because I am constantly turning him down. Ouch. It was really hard for me to face, but I knew that it was true.

I want to make something really clear. I never thought that I was "holding out on him" to punish him or anything. My "thinking", if you will, was that I was protecting myself from being taken advantage of because we were constantly having issues. I didn't feel like dropping my guard and letting him in.

Yesterday's lesson hit me hard. When it asked- "has your love in the past been based on your spouse's attributes and behavior?" I immediately thought about the fact that I had been rejecting my husband's attempts to make love with me simply because of his attributes and behavior. I'm not sure I can get any more selfish than that. I felt shame and regret.

My husband has a physical and emotional need when it comes to sex and I haven't been meeting either one of them, so I chose to make love with him to show him how much I cherish him. My eyes are welling now as I tell you that it was different in the most amazing way. I can't explain any of it. All I know is that my heart is open in a way that it elating and scary. I've been protecting myself all of this time, but I'm letting go and letting God.

These past 2 days have been pivotal. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 10- Love is unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. --Romans 5:8

Today's Dare:

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse- something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

Has your love in the past been based on your spouse's attributes and behavior, or on your commitment? How can you continue to show love when it's not returned in a way you hoped for?

Wow... This was one of the most powerful lessons so far for me. The book asks you to think about the reasons you love your spouse. Then is asks "but what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things? Would you still love them? The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

This unconditional love is called Agape. My immediate thought was, I am not God- I am only a human. How can I have this type of love? The book answered my question by stating that this love can does not come from within, it can only come from God. We have to be willing to receive it from Him and share it with our spouse.

So, for today's dare, I decided to make Havie lunch. He normally makes his own lunch and for times sake, he has been eating peanut butter and jelly lately. I made up his favorite chicken salad and packed him lots of goodies. I wrote him a note to go in his lunch (thanks Britt and Tara!) This gave him a few more minutes to sleep.

He was very suspicious. It is so interesting how he responds to this stuff! I am taking it all in stride! For too long, my love for him has been based on his attributes. When I was angry or frustrated with him, it was abundantly clear. I have held it all against him. I thought that I was keeping myself from being taken advantage of when really I was just being incredibly selfish.

It is going to take time to change those automatic responses. For now, I am acting "as if". I hope that the more I practice these lessons, the more they will become my natural response. I am CHOOSING to love him unconditionally. I am hoping that I will lead by example, but even if he never changes anything about himself- I will be able to love him anyway.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 9- Love Makes Good Impressions

Greet one another with a kiss of love. --1 Peter 5:14

Today's Dare:

Think of a specific way you'd like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

When and where did you choose to do your special greeting? How will you change your greeting from this point on?

I thought that today's dare was really interesting. Obviously it was a lot easier than many other days are, but with so much going on- I wasn't focused and it just didn't seem to happen. I don't want to just go through the motions of this love dare. I want to be intentional with each day and try to truly make changes.

Havie and I only have one vehicle because he gave his car to my sister. It works out pretty well for us because I get to work early and have some time to do personal things (like write this blog!) and then he gets off right after I do, so I just swing by and pick him up and go home. We are saving gas money AND it gives us some time together in the car to talk and goof around.

Havie and I are pretty good about greeting each other with a kiss, but it has gotten so routine that it isn't very special anymore. So, I decided that when I picked him up from work, I would wait outside of the Suburban and give him a big hug and kiss and tell him I missed him. For some reason, I hardly ever tell him that I missed him eventhough I do.

He wouldn't let me hug him because he was very dirty, but I grabbed his face instead. He gave me the strangest look. I could tell he was wondering why I did that. And that helped me figure out that I am going to keep him on his toes by finding different ways to greet him everyday. I'm going to mix it up. I think he will love it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 8- Love is not jealous

Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire. --Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV

Today's Dare:

Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list and burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

How hard was it to destroy the list? What are some positive experiences that you can celebrate in the life of your mate? How can you encourage them toward future successes?

The book says that there is legitimate jealousy and illegitimate jealousy. Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else. Illegitimate jealousy is to be jealous "of" someone, and it is rooted in selfishness.

Wow, that word selfish is a biggie in this book. And I understand why... it is our biggest problem as a culture and it the number one reason marriages fail. It's a tough character trait to deal with because you have to question each and every move you make. It makes me act intentionally, which is good, but sometimes exhausting.

I did not have a hard time destroying the list, but I didn't actually burn it. I didn't think I could pull that off without being noticed, and I'm pretty frightened of fire. I decided to shred it instead. It is in tiny pieces. Do you think that was good enough?

I've never really considered myself a jealous person. I'm not saying that I've never had a jealous thought, but that's all it really amounts to in the end- a thought that comes and goes pretty quickly. I especially would say that I'm not jealous of my husband. I consider his successes to be my successes because he is my husband and we are sharing our lives. Any and every success that we achieve is just as much a success for the other.

I told Havie that I am proud of him because he made a New Year's Resolution and has kept it! He decided no more soda's and hasn't had a single one since new year's eve. My husband was addicted... and I'm not kidding. I really didn't think he could do it, but he has and I am really proud. I've never been a huge soda drinker (like he was), but since he isn't having any, neither am I! So, his success is paying off for me too.

Havie is a pretty driven and motivated person when he wants something. I don't really have to encourage him, but I am trying to help him determine what exactly he wants. I just keep telling him that no matter what he chooses, I know he will be great and I will be there to support him!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 7- Love believes the best

Love believes all things, hopes all things. --1 Corinthians 13:7

Today's Dare:

For Today's dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

Which list was easier to make? What did this reveal about your thoughts? What attribute did you thank your spouse for having?

It took me longer to come up with my positive list than my negative list. However, I was pleasantly surprised that my positive list was quite a bit longer than my negative list. I think this reveals that while I have many positive thoughts about my husband, it is the negatives that are more readily available to me. I didn't have to struggle to remember any of them, but it took me some time to think of all the positive attributes.

I thanked Havie for been such a hard worker. He has a very tough job. It is physically demanding and he really hates it at this point. We are working on getting him back in school, but in the mean time he is doing it because he wants to do what is best for us. I told him that I appreciated his unselfishness.

Day 6- Love is not irritable

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. -- Proverbs 16:32

Today's Dare:

Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

Where do you need to add margin to your life? When have you recently overreacted? What was your real motivation behind it? What decisions have you made today?

This chapter boils irritation down to two main issues: stress and selfishness. We have to find ways to alleviate stress in our lives in order to protect our relationships from irritation. I felt some relief when I read this chapter knowing that I had at least done something right in my life and marriage. However, I could certainly add more margin to my life. I think it's going to take the form of truly resting on the Sabbath. If I can be more organized during the week, we can truly have a day of rest.

My current irritation mostly comes from selfishness. In fact, I struggled with this it so much this weekend that I wouldn't let myself move past day 6. (I should be on day 8 today!) I overreacted last night at the grocery store. It was truly my own fault. I insisted on going shopping after Portico last night (about 8pm). We didn't have a list and hadn't really planned any meals. Big no no... I was just worried that if we didn't go last night we would just eat out all week. (Something we are notorious for!) So my own lack of preparation put us in a stressful situation as we tried to stay within our budget (gotta love the envelope system) and plan meals on the fly.

When we got to the register, we were over our budget by 7 bucks. Without consulting me (how dare he!), Havie grabbed the expensive olive oil we had picked up and asked the cashier to take it off. I wanted to intercede and do something else, but I decided that he could make the decision. I didn't want to make him uncomfortable by correcting his decision. That could have been the end of it, but no... I was bubbling inside because my feelings were hurt that he didn't consult me. As soon as we got outside I told him that I would have done it differently. He got upset and we both made our accusations... it wasn't our finest moment. Luckily it wasn't a shouter. We haven't had one since I started this process.

One decision that I've made is to work on a routine. We had a good one going before I quit teaching, but haven't gotten it down since. It will help me add margin and avoid silly situations like Sunday. Secondly, my biggest focus is going to be on watching my irritation. I got an idea from the 2 degree difference forum at

Create your own, “Stop/Think Card!” Find or make a simple 3 X 5 card (lined or unlined is fine). On one side, write the following verse, “I can do all things through Him (Jesus) who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13” Now put that index card in your pocket or purse. Every time you’re tempted to impatience or to say something negative to your spouse, move away and pull out your “Stop/Think” card. Read the verse. Then turn over the card and put one tally mark (like you’re keeping score) on the blank side, then put the card away. Even if you have to pull out the card 15 times during the first day – watch what happens in future days as you begin linking God’s word to your negative emotions!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amazing Grace

Isn't it funny how in the darkest times everything can just fall into place? I am just amazed by His Grace.

I've been getting messages through email, myspace and facebook from you guys about this blog. Many of you have questions, and I am going to try to answer them honestly.

1. As of a couple of weeks ago, my profile read that I have always been spiritual, but not very religious. I have since changed that and some of you want to know why. In my darkest days, I turned to God for help. He asked me for my faith and when I gave it to Him, he saved me from my pain. I have since made the decision to seek Him always, and not just in my darkest times. I don't know if I would call me "religious" all of a sudden because I'm not even sure what that means, but I am learning.

2. I am truly grateful that many of you are reading this blog, and I hope that my experiences will be useful to you in some form or fashion. However, I am writing the blog to be accountable for my progress. I find that this keeps me honest and on track. I can't talk about it with my husband, so I write about it instead.

3. Those of you who know me best- know that I have struggled. I have had some dark times, and I've been very confused. What is happening to me know is lighting up my life in ways I never even imagined were possible. I believe that God is the key to understanding and fulfilling my life's purpose.

I am so excited about the future. I am more optimistic and hopeful than I have ever been before. I know that suffering will be a part of my life again, but I know that I can take my burdens to Him and I will survive.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 5- Love is not rude

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him. --Proverbs 27:14

Today's Dare:

Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.

What things did your spouse point out about you that need your attention? How did you handle hearing it? What do you plan to do to improve these areas?

Oh boy... Friday was a toughie. I read the chapter Thursday night, and the entire time I was thinking- "Havie needs to read this one!" It was written specifically for him! I swear... BUT as it pointed out at the end- "If you're thinking that your spouse- not you- is the one who needs work in this area, you're likely suffering from a bad case of ignorance, with a secondary condition of selfishness." Hah... okay, this book keeps me on my toes! And I love it!

I do not take criticism well. It's not that I think I am perfect- I am well aware of my defects of character. I just don't want anyone else to know because I am worried that they will not love me anymore. It is a major struggle of mine. Eventhough I know this about myself- I still have a hard time.

I convinced myself all day that I was going to listen and say nothing. I was going to rise above it. It was like a mantra. I prayed and prayed. I wanted to show him that I could take it.

So, when I asked him... He outright refused to tell me! Ha ha! I guess that tells you exactly how I usually react. Oh man. I told him that I wanted to show him that I was growing. I asked him to trust me. It took some convincing, but he finally told me.

1. There are things that I could do for myself that I ask him to do for me. He thinks that I should be able to take care of little things without his help.

2. He feels like I give too much detail when I am trying to explain something to him. He doesn't need a 10-page dissertation when a short explanation would suffice.... LOL! This one really hit a nerve for some reason.

3. This one was a little more personal than I care to share in a blog... He had a hard time telling me, but I'm glad he did.

He honestly didn't say anything that I didn't expect to hear, but it was hard. I think I handled it well. I didn't get upset and I didn't say anything. After he finished there was a slightly awkward silence because he was fully expecting me to start talking, but I just changed the subject. I think he was pleasantly surprised.

The first issue is something that I am already working on. I became too reliant on him during the stressful teaching situation and developed some bad habits. I am not asking him to do anything that I can honestly do myself.

The second issue was really easy for me to dismiss in my mind because I want to tell myself that I only have to do that because he questions me if I don't... but I know that completely defeats that purpose of this. I am going to have to be more loving with my responses and give only the information that is necessary and/or wanted.

The third issue is truly something that I need to fix... unfortunately, it is also something that I am just unsure how to correct. It breaks my heart that he is unhappy in this one particular area. It means so much to him. I am just going to pray... and pray some more.

This process is getting much harder for me. It is incredibly emotional and difficult, but I am not giving up. God is showing me what real love is like and I want it now more than ever. He loves me eventhough I am not perfect which is exactly the kind of unconditional love that belongs in a marriage.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 4 - Love is Thoughtful

How precious also are Your thoughts to me... How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. --Psalm 139:17-18

Today's Dare:

Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you can do for them.

What did you learn about yourself or your spouse by doing this today? How could this become a more natural, routine, and genuinely helpful part of your lifestyle?

This chapter was all about actively thinking about your spouse like you did when you were first dating. I will be the first to admit that I have at times purposely not let my thoughts be consumed of my husband because I thought it was more important to me focused on other issues. It's amazing how I can see just how wrong I have been... All the while believing that I was doing the right thing.

Havie and I keep in touch during the day with text messages. There was a point in time (not too long ago) when he was so angry with me that he wouldn't answer my calls or texts. I am so grateful we are past that point. However, I don't think I've ever asked him if there is anything I can do for him. I guess I always thought that I didn't have time to do anything for him. It's not even about time, it's about showing that you care and you are thinking of them.

So, yesterday was cold and wet. Poor Havie works outside all day and it was miserable. When I called him, he actually asked me to bring him hot cocoa. I was pleasantly surprised because I expected him to say no or be weird about it. I was excited because I could actually do what he was asking me to.

He was happy, I was happy... How often does that happen!?! :)

I am absolutely going to continue doing this daily. Even if there is nothing or I don't have much time on my hands. I want him to know that I care.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 3- Love is not Selfish

Be devoted on one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. --Romans 12:10

Today's Dare:

Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today."

What did you choose to give your spouse? What happened when you gave it?

Wow, this was a tough chapter to read. No one wants to admit just how selfish they really are. The book says that selfishness is basically the opposite of love. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. We are selfish from birth and if we aren't careful- we can let our selfishness take over our adult lives.

These words put it all into perspective for me: True love looks for ways to say "yes." Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say "no" to what you want so you can say "yes" to what they need.

The book also says that one ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you do a good thing to deceive or manipulate your partner, you are still being selfish.

Anyway- once I read the part about true love looks for ways to say yes- I knew what I had to get him. Just recently, Havie mentioned that he would like to get some waders (rubber overalls with boots on the end for fishing) so that he can try to catch more fish. I immediately said that we would have to see about our budget. The truth is that they aren't expensive and if I wasn't so used to automatically telling him no- We could put it in the budget!

I got to Academy to buy the waders and I was overwhelmed by the selection. Of course no one would help me, so I ended up calling Havie to ask him what kind he would like. I tried to play it off like I was looking online. I really hate lying and I don't think I'm very good at it. I was sure I had given myself away. After I got back into the truck, I called him and told him the truth.

He didn't really respond, and it frustrated me. Selfishness rearing it's ugly head. I wanted him to be happy and proud of me. I was expecting some kind of reward. It didn't help that when he tried them on, they were not big enough. I was so disgusted with it all. But it occurred to me that I was being tested. I need to experience all of this. I can't turn a blind eye. Life isn't perfect, even when I am trying. There will be hiccups and I need to be strong enough to make it through them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 2- Love is Kind

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. --Ephesians 4:32

Today's Dare:

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

What discoveries about love did you make today? What specifically did you do in this dare? How did you show kindness?

The chapter from the book states that kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is reactive and the other is proactive.

All of that made so much sense to me. I remember when I was studying Speech Communications in college- I took a number of Public Relations courses. We learned that there are two types of PR- proactive and reactive. They each had their place, but the proactive PR is crucial if you expect the reactive PR to work. I remembered thinking at the time that life was really the same way. If you were constantly just reacting to life and not proactively living life, you wouldn't make it anywhere.

One discovery I made today is that when I practice patience and kindness- I get love in return. I can't believe the difference I am seeing in my husband who doesn't even know what I am up to. And, maybe he isn't all that different, but I am. It's hard to say, but what I know for sure is that it feels different- in a very good way.

I struggled all day to come up with my random act of kindness. I looked online for ideas, talked to my boss, and thought for hours while working yesterday. It was supposed to be a little thing that would really mean something to them. I didn't want to choose something that I would also benefit from. My boss asked me "What is something that he is responsible for or that he always does?" He always takes the boys for their walks, so I decided to do that for him today.

We grabbed dinner at Furr's because both of us were not feeling well and didn't want to cook. On the way home, I told him that I would take the boys for a walk so he could go ahead and take his shower and relax. I was afraid he might question me about it, but he didn't. While walking the dogs, I got the idea that I should write a note on the mirror with lipstick. I hurried back to the house, ran up the stairs and tiptoed into the bathroom. I could not find a single lipstick! I guess I carry them all in my purse (which was downstairs)! I grabbed my red lipgloss and wrote I love you on the mirror. Just as I finished the shower turned off and I hauled booty out of there. He was really touched.

I think that I showed kindness because I did a chore for him that he does everyday and I let him know how I feel about him in an unexpected way.

What I really saw is that I have not been showing kindness. I have been really selfish- without even knowing it. I also realized that Havie shows me kindness all the time in lots of little ways that I have totally taken for granted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Love Dare- Day 1

For Valentine's Day, Havie and I rented Fireproof and watched it at home. We really don't like fighting the crowds...

The movie kind of centers around this 40-day "Love Dare" that is a real book.

Even though we are not exactly on the verge of divorce (like the characters in the movie), we have come close. Or at least, I have. I am not exactly proud to admit that. I am also not proud to admit that I have been less than desirable as a wife. It's okay, at least I can see that and I'm doing something about it. My first step was quitting a job that was tearing me apart.

That was a month ago, and I think I imagined that everything would just automatically be better. It really doesn't work that way. We've done a lot of damage that needs to be repaired. I need to repair the damage that I've done to our marriage. (I'm not saying that it is all one sided, but I am trying to take responsibility for my own actions)

So, I picked up The Love Dare at Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon. Every night I am going to read the next day's challenge. Then I will post at the end of each day (or the next morning) to update on my progress. So, here goes!

Day 1- Love is Patient

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. --Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Today's Dare:

The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret.

Did anything happen today to cause anger toward your mate? Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words?

I was never angry, but I did become irritated two different times. I was amazed at how quickly I reacted to my irritation and squashed it. The first time was almost immediately after I woke up. Havie asked me a question and my immediate response was irritation. And then almost as immediately, I remembered the dare. I remembered that the chapter said patience is a choice. And then I felt ashamed. I couldn't believe how quickly that emotion came to me and how unfair it was to Havie. I wondered just how often I had reacted in that manner. And unfortunately I knew it had been too many times. Fortunately, I never said a word to him in that moment, so he had no idea.

The second instance was just a few minutes ago. We were flipping our matress and putting on clean sheets. We were struggling with the fitted sheet. I became irritated again and started to snap- Let me do it. I caught myself quickly, took my breath and then patiently explained what the problem was in a positive manner. The irritation didn't take me by surprise that time because we run into situations like this all the time. What did surprise me is that I remembered so quickly and was able to keep from saying something negative to him. He could tell that I was irritated, but he saw me recover and move on. That would have turned into a blow out in the past.

Is it really this simple? I'm sure that it is and it isn't. He has told me he loves me at least 10 times today. And as I realize this, I am now crying with a strange mixture of gratitude and regret. I'm going to let that negative feeling come and go. In it's place is hope.

I'm Being Followed!

Thanks, Brandy, for becoming my very first follower! Now, if I can just get a few more... :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Third time is the charm, right?

This is my 3rd and hopefully final attempt at beginning a blog. I have faithfully blogged on Myspace for YEARS, but I have not been successful at crossing over into mainstream blogging. I like the idea of an entirely separate place for my blog (especially since I am rarely checking Myspace anymore). So, here we go again! This time I promise to keep on top of the blog and use it for every blog.

So much of my life is a fresh start at the moment, so why not this too?! Speaking of which, I know that many of you have been worried about me, but I want you to know that I am wonderful. I am so happy now and couldn't have made a better decision for myself and my family. Leaving teaching was hard, but it was the right thing to do. Isn't it always that way?

I am absolutely blessed with the opportunity to return to a job that I loved and gives me the opportunity to be a better wife. I feel healthier, happier, and most of all lucky. All it took was a leap of faith. Thank you God!


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