Because of Midweek Date Night

We had one last night.

We went to the Fishhook Grill.

I ate fish. You ate steak. I drank a beer. You had a diet coke.

We went to Target for shoes for our girl. We went to Kroger for Coke Zero and Moose Tracks.

We went home.

It was shortish. It was way sweet. We need to do that way more often.

A meal and a couple stores to wander through is all we need.

Love Dare Day 13: Love Fights Fair

These dares that have collaborative components haven’t been easy for me.

I was supposed to have sat down with you to establish healthy ‘rules of engagement’ for when we have an argument.

I’ve mentioned before that I think maybe we need to have more arguments in general and perhaps bringing that up to you would give a good opportunity to discuss ground rules.

The examples in the book (p. 62-63):

  • We will never mention divorce
  • We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
  • We will not fight in public or in front of our children.
  • We will call a ‘time out’ if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
  • We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
  • We will never go to bed angry with one another.
  • Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.

That’s a heckuva list. But I like it. And I like the premise that strong couples learn to manage conflict in a healthy way, that they learn from disagreements, that they use them to develop more closeness rather than bitterness and anger and disillusionment.

I need to sit down with you and come up with our list.

The second part of the dare was to develop the ‘Me’ boundaries… rules for myself when we get into conflict.

Here’s my list:

  • Listen first and patiently
  • Remove distractions, i.e. shut the phone off, turn off the TV, stop cooking, stop everything and focus.
  • Remove sarcasm: Let my yes be yes and no be no. Don’t be cute, try to be funny or use any kind of verbal irony. Do not be ‘smart’ and thereby possibly inflict hurt.
  • Deal with my stuff first—don’t go barging in if it’s really a me issue.
  • Admit my wrong with NO excuse or explanation: No ‘buts’.
  • Keep voice down. No reason to yell and scream.
  • Walk away if need be.

The fact is that you and I need to learn to communicate more. And the more we do, the more potential there is for conflict. But I think that might make life kinda fun.

Day 14, Love Takes Delight—the Dare is to ‘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.’  Hmmmm… Tonight’s date night! I’ll have to look out for something between today and tomorrow, maybe tonight find something she and I can do together after dinner. We shall see.

Love Dare Day 12, Love Lets the Other Win

Obviously, I always win, so this one totally applies to us. (ahem).

In reality, we probably would do well to have more disagreements. It might be healthy for us to voice differences in opinion. We might both be holding on to quiet opinions about being right or wrong that could be eating away at us.

The dare was to bend my will and/or put your preference first. We had two slight disagreements yeseterday:

  1. Date Night: I was trying to arrange one on Friday, but our babysitter wouldn’t return my email.  You thought we needed to save the money. I was thinking we needed to have a date, but I agreed withy ou.
  2. Side Gig I Have: I’ve been working on a copywriting project, and you put your foot down that I needed to work it after hours, even having meetings with them after hours to not detract from the traction I’m getting at my office. You’re correct. I could easily distract myself with this thing.

So, I bent my will, although there wasn’t a huge bending that was necessary.

That said, this dare reminded me of other little things that I allow to bug me:

  • Dishes being loaded a certain way.
  • Top of dishwasher being loaded a certain way.
  • Bottom of dishwasher being loaded a certain way.
  • Other equally vital items that I get keyed up about.

I know I need to learn when it matters and when it doesn’t. I need to be willing to release some things and not be picky and uptight about things that just plain don’t matter.

It’s important that I discern the things that are important to you and/or us (and me). There might be some hills that I need to defend, but for the most part, I must be willing not to have my way.

Day 13 prep: Love Fights Fair. This one is interesting as I mentioned above that we don’t fight much. But we need to learn to and a good place to start might be by establishing ground rules. I might even need to say: “Honey, we actually need to voice our disagreements. Maybe we’ve been scared to. Perhaps some ground rules and some confidence in where we are in our marriage will help with this.”

Love Dare Days 10-11, Love is Unconditional & Love Cherishes

I had a busy day yesterday and missed the post. I also realized that while the ideas are a little different between days 10 and 11, the actual challenges are roughly the same: Do something unexpected like a chore, errand, etc. (day 10).  Do something that meets a need (lists help w/ housework, foot massage—day 11).

I gave a foot massage on day 10 and cooked dinner last night. Of course, since I’m awesome, those two things aren’t completely unexpected. Actually, the foot rub on the couch for a more extended period was a little different.

Let’s forget about the dares/challenges. Let’s talk ideas.

The question about whether I love you unconditional or cherish you is a lot more involved than foot rubs, clothes folding, and trips to the market.

Unconditional love—Agape Love in church circles—indicates a love that isn’t dependent on friendship and erotic love necessarily. Even if we aren’t feeling particularly affectionate, do I still love and care for you? Even when you’re having ‘unlovable’ moments (that NEVER happens!), do I still treat you kindly and tenderly and with care?

Agape is choice. It’s not even considering ways out.  It’s not dependent on my needs getting met (although I’d argue that a marriage requires that needs be shared and met).

I face everyday knowing that I’ve chosen to love and cherish you….

Love Cherishes

I think that this takes the unconditional thing and gives it personality and tenderness. Not only do I care about you and want the best for you, but I cherish you—your personality, your worth, your mind, your body, your soul. I appreciate and cherish these things.

Cherishing also indicates protection. I protect you and your heart. That should be a priority of mine. It should never leave me.

I ask your forgiveness for those times I’ve not made you feel cherished, and I know that there have been some. I ask you to bear with me as I get better at this.

The writers talk about the idea that the husband and wife are one, ‘that your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye, or your heart.’  If you’re a part of me, then I owe it not only to you but to us and me to treat you kindly and protectively and gently.

Day 12 Prep: “Love Let’s the Other Win”  What? No way! (Jas 3:17) I love a line in this that might not be directly related to winning or not winning an argument: “Give their words full weight.” Meaning: Take your spouse’s words seriously. Listen. Hear. Don’t fast forward to your turn to speak. 

  • The Dare: Willingly bend your will to give in to your spouse in an area of disagreement. Put their preference first.

Question: Do you (reader, not my wife)  have a hard time loving unconditionally? Has divorce always been an option in case needs aren’t met?


Love Dare Day 9, Love Makes Good Impressions

The dare was to greet you in a way that was unexpected—in a good way.

I used Milky Ways. I came in with a bag, had you close your eyes, and popped one in your mouth. I also smiled.

The thing I love about the Love Dare is not that a particular challenge is eath-shatteringly effective. Taken as a whole, they are making me so much more aware of how I treat you and how I need to improve.

I’ve never thought about being more loving with my greetings. Sometimes, I feel like we get in a little ‘whose day was more exhausting’ competition when we greet each other. Consequently, neither of us seem all that happy to see each other.

That’s ridiculous!

You’re my wife—if I was exhausted during the day, now is the time I can feel refreshed by being with you. Same thing: You have no reason to prove to me how difficult or tiring the day might have been. I just want to know you’re happy to see my face.

So, regarding making goood impressions:

  • Always greet with a smile!
  • Always greet with the desire to make you know how much I’m glad to see you.
  • Always give you a kiss and a hug.
  • Always ask you about your day.

Maybe I’ll come up with something better later. I hope by the time you read this (5, 10, 15 years from now?), you’ll feel sweet about my ‘hellos’.

Day 10 Prep:  Love is Unconditional. “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional.” (see the reference vs: Romans 5:8) The challenge: Do something out of the ordinary and unexpected to serve your spouse, i.e. wash the car, clean the kitchen, fold all the laundry, etc.

Love Dare Day 8, Love Isn’t Jealous

You would think this dare has something to do with believing the best and not being jealous of your relationships. It’s more about being jealous of your accomplishments or situation or job duties or anything along those lines.

I can honestly say that I don’t struggle with this one. Every once in a while, you and I have a little passive-aggressive competition on whose job is the hardest: you at home and me at my office. We both know that’s silly and that we’re both important cogs in the wheel of our family.

The dare was to celebrate one of your victories. I’m scared I didn’t do that, although I did cheer you on in general yesterday. You’ve been so good and relaxed in stressful situations—and I was going through it last night. You calmed my edgy butt down nicely. Thank you!

The point, though, is that I should celebrate all of your good fortune and your opportunities and your success. Perhaps celebrating your ability to get your haircut counts?


Love Dare, Day 9—makes good impressions. This is about greeting each other in positive, encouraging, loving ways. I shall go home shortly from my office and greet you. And I’m gonna greet you good!

I’m looking forward to the weekend sweetie—you’re my lovin’ stuff!  

Because You Feed Me

You feed me in a lot of ways, but a couple very important times recently:

  • I came in from the gym and you were standing waiting with a chip with spinach dip on it.
  • The same day, you used our apples from our picking adventure to make: Apple Turnovers
  • And Apple Crisp
  • You also had a delicious black bean, rice, mushroom, cheese quesadilla.
  • We also had chocolate chip blondies in the fridge.

It’s not all junk food, but it’s so sweet when you cook up some delicious snacks! Especially when the kids help.


Love Dare Day 7: Love Believes the Best

Love believes the best”  or “thinks no evil” (1 Cor 13:5) always sounded to me as if love requires sticking our head in the sand and pretending we don’t see anything wrong in the person, place, thing, etc. that we’re trying to love.

The writers of The Love Dare indicate that it might be more of a focus thing.

They describe two metaphorical rooms in our hearts: The Appreciation Room and the Depreciation Room. One has kind words and phrases written all over, describing the good qualities of our spouses. The other room has phrases and words that describe the things that bother or irritate us about our spouse.

The question: In which room do I spend most of my time?

Do I linger in the appreciation room and focus on the gifts present in my wife, plotting how to surprise her with acts of kindness or words of encouragement?

Or Do I prop my feet up in the ‘depreciation’ room and plot my zingers and make my cases and justify any ill feelings or bad habits I allow myself to indulge in?

Believing the best means that I practice focusing on the good stuff. Lord knows I’m toast if my wife focused on the things in my life that bug her. (I’m temporarily suspending the use of second person ‘you’).

Today’s Dare

I was supposed to have written out two lists. One has phrases and words that could be found in the good room. The other has attributes that I might plaster up in th bad room.  They are now hidden away in a secret place, per the instructions on page 34.

The second part of the dare: Pick a positive attribute from the first list and thakn your spouse for having this characteristic.

My pick was her awesome skill at finding fun things for our kids to do. It’s so awesome to get random pics during the day of our kids at a park or a story time or doing a craft. I’m so not good at that stuff (but she does inspire me to pull something out of a hat on a Saturday when she’s gone).

Lesson Learned (back to second person—i.e. ‘you’ as in my wife, who is supposed to be the future audience for this blog):

This dare helps me focus on the things that are such gifts in you. Back to Day 6, I notice when I’m stressed or selfish, that I tend toward the depreciation room because, well, it’s easy to justify laziness out of that room. But that’s uncool. You are so awesome in so many ways. I want to be the person in your life that encourages you in those things.

Day 8 Prep: Love is not jealous. I’m supposed to set fire to the negative list, and focus on being your biggest fan! Celebrate your victory today! Share with you some gladness about a recent success.

Dare Accepted!

Love Dare Day 6, Love Is Not Irritable

Who says it isn’t? We both have our moments and fight over who has more of a right to be irritable on any particular day: You’ve had a rough one with the kids or maybe I’ve struggled at work for one of a bunch of reasons.

Unfortunately, we resort to using each other as punching bags because, well, we can. That’s uncool.

So, with that in mind, I worked on this dare. There wasn’t anything in particular for me to do yesterday, so I just worked on the journaling homework:

Where must I create margin?

  1. End of Day: I need to plan for the end of my work day much earlier.  I can still do some things, but it’s a good idea for me to have everything organized and clean so that when my time to leave hits, I can stand up and get out and not be too late.
  2. Meals: Corollary to the last one is that I’d like to get home for meals. Our kids are at the age when we need to start the family meals.
  3. Screen time: I need to spend less time in front of a computer, phone, or TV. I need to be more available during my off time.
  4. Get to Bed: I need to hit the sack earlier so I have more energy in general.

What are wrong motivations that I need to remove?

  1. Selfishness: I need to do some work here. I get irritable when my time and projects are infringed on. That’s no bueno.
  2. Stress: I need to learn to leave it at the office. Period.

Well, even now, I left no margin at the office to finish this post. I should be at the gym right now working out so I can get home by 7:00 or so. I’ll probably still get home by then, but I won’t get much of a work out in.  By the way, I keep forgetting my Y card. They are going to start looking at me askance. J

Prep for Day 7: Love Believes theBest. I’m going to have to list the things I love about you and the things that I’m not so fond of. This is another one I’m not looking forward to! I’d hate to see your list!

Love Dare Day 5: Love is Not Rude

Well, this one was a difficult one for a couple different reasons.

  1. It’s the first dare that requires interaction (I had to ask you 3 things that annoy/irritate you about me).
  2. It’s not easy to hear things that irritate or annoy someone about myself (especially coming from my spouse).
  3. I don’t think it’s easy for you to verbalize things that annoy or irritate you about me without feeling a little bad about it.

I asked you in a kind of joking manner about on Saturday, but you never responded.

So, I suppose I didn’t satisfy this main project for this dare.

That said, I was super-aware of my comments and tone of voice and the way I spoke to you. I tried really hard to avoid sarcasm—even jokingly.

I tried to catch it quick and reign it in. Hopefully it helped. The thing is that I want you to feel cherished. Sure, bantering is okay, but I don’t want to treat you like one of the boys. You’re not. You’re my wife. You should feel safe with me, and one of the best ways I can do that is through the way I speak to you.

Here’s to my continued quest to avoid rudeness!

Day 6: Love isn’t irritable—awareness of my stress and selfishness. The project: List areas where I need to create margin. Notice wrong motivations: anger, lust, envy, bitterness, etc. Where do these factor into my irritability (if at all)?

This book is starting to meddle! I don’t know if I’m liking it. 🙂 But it’s worth it.