Because You Make Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing screams sweet evening couch time like when you make chicken pot pie.

You did that last night. We had salad, chicken pot pie (maybe a margarita, but I won’t confirm). And a sitcom or three.

It was a wonderful, sweet, happy, fun night.

I loved it. I love you.

Love Dare, Day 4: Love is Thoughtful

The dare for ‘thoughtfulness’ was to make a call at least once with no agenda but to see how you were doing or if there was anything I could do for you.

Surprisingly, this is more difficult than would be expected. I get a little nervous that I’ll catch you in the middle of a stressful moment with the kids or something along those lines. Then I feel guilty that I’m not helping but that I’m working with adults all day and then I probably project that back to you… etc.

Well, those thoughts hearken back to Day 3—selfishness. It’s selfish of me not to call you when you might need to speak to an adult, reasonable person for a couple minutes.

The main thing about thoughtfulness is being mindful of you. It’s important that I learn to learn to listen to both your spoken and unspoken queues.

If I continually get stumped, I need to ask and not get frustrated.

The other point:

Be mindful of upcoming events

Where are opportunities to inject an additional ‘I was thinking of you’  sweetness into a day? Perhaps Columbus Day? (I kid). 

Thoughtfulness, to me, is similar to learning how to be more mindful of the presence of God. It takes some practice. Hopefully by the time you read this blog, you would feel thought of all the time by me!

On the dare to call you with no agenda

I did it. We had a sweet little conversation while you were at Whole Foods. A bit later you sent me a text that I completely misinterpreted that you had Cream of Chicken soup for lunch (you wanted me to pick it up as I had asked if there was something I could do for you, per the dare).  I admit that I thought Cream of Chicken soup by itself was pretty random.

But it seemed like the call set a nice tone between us for the day. I shall practice it!

Day 6 Prep: Love is Not Rude

This dare is a little annoying: Ask your spouse for 3 things that makes her irritated or uncomfortable with you. Do not attack or justify. Just listen.

At least I have a full weekend to do this.  Wish me luck (this request for luck is directed to anybody who might be reading this, not my wife).

Love Dare, Day 3: Love is not selfish

I decided (maybe had it decided for me) that I shouldn’t write the post before I actually do the thing, but after. It might carry more weight.

The dare for yesterday: In addition to avoiding negative comments, buy your spouse something that says you were thinking of her.

I bought Junior Mints and Twizzlers.  I also went to the fabric store to check on the possibility of putting a sewing machine on layaway, but I realize this isn’t 1982. I’m not sure if layaway is an option anywhere anymore outside of K-Mart.

The four bullet points that authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick offer are:

  • Do I truly want what’s best for you?
  • Do I want you to feel loved by me?
  • Do you believe I have your best interests in mind?
  • Do you see me as looking out for myself first?

Well, I feel like I come through these items with flying colors. But if I dig deeper, my answer isn’t so simple.

I feel like I want the best for you, but my actions don’t always have your best in mind. Sometimes, I have my own comfort in mind. Sometimes I have my own agenda. Sometimes I manipulate a situation. Sometimes my acts of kindness have some secret, hidden motive—sometimes it’s an accidental hidden motive.

The point is that I can work on 1 and 2: wanting the best for you (which I honestly feel I do, but I get lazy in my actions) and wanting you to feel loved by me—even BE loved by me.

On points 3 and 4, I can’t know unless I ask you. Do you believe I have your best interests in mind? Do you see me as looking out for me first, then you and then the kids? (We did have a little tiff recently that indicated that you might feel like I’m pretty caught up in my own world and priorities—and I’ve had that as a point to work on since then).

So not being selfish is the goal, buying something for you is the dare. I bought you candy. I wanted to buy a sewing machine.  On the sewing machine, my motive is simply this: To affirm your desire to create and learn a skill that you’ve been wanting to learn for a good long while now.

What I probably need to work on more:

  • Watch how I use my time.
  • Watch how I act at home.
  • Watch to see if I fade into my own little world vs giving myself to you and the kids.

Those are probably more helpful than a gift, although, let’s face it, gifts are awesome.

Today’s challenge: Love is Thoughtful—Contact your spouse sometime during the day with no agenda except to ask how things are going or if there’s anything he/she needs. 

Challenge Accepted. 🙂

Love Dare, Day 2: Love Is Kind

*Note that these posts are typically written from me to my wife, so the ‘you’ referred to would be her, not you, the reader.

Love Is Patient

Yesterday I avoided saying anything negative. What I realized is that I can sometimes treat you like one of the guys, using smart alecky language and comments, joking around. But often that stuff is negative. Having ‘love is patient’ as the theme yesterday with the task of ‘avoiding all negative speech’ was so helpful to me. It caused me to pause, and it also helped me to be more patient with our kids at bed time–an oft trying period!

Love is Kind

The book gives kindness four attributes:

  • Gentleness
  • Helpfulness
  • Willingness
  • Initiative

Kindness isn’t about just being nice and sweet, it’s about action. It’s about my doing things when not told to do them (changing a diaper, getting the dishes done, folding clothes, etc. without your having to ask me for help). It’s also about being gentle and tenderhearted–it’s like the outward working of patience.

Today’s Challenge: Do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness today

This morning I let you sleep in a little later, but I don’t know how unexpected that was–or how intentional it was on my part. I see in my notes in the book that back in 2009, I declared you off duty when I got in for the day, thereby sending you (very happily) to our bedroom for some R&R.

Today, I do not know what I will do. Perhaps a couple baskets of folding laundry? Perhaps I’ll bake a loaf of apple bread just for your mom? A backrub? All of the above?  Hmmmmm…..

One thing is for sure: I need to continue the no negativity thing. You deserve to be built up by me, daily. Regardless of what you experience from your own inner dialogue or from others, you should find safety and encouragement from me.

We’ll see what I end up doing… if you happen to read this, I take suggestions. 🙂

Love Dare, Day 1: Love is Patient

 

Working through this book is so 2009, but it can’t hurt, right? I mean if Kirk Cameron made a movie about it, it will stand the test of time.

So, sweetie, I pause from my usual postings about reasons and moments that remind me how much I love you, to post a mini-journal as I go through The Love Dare. You don’t realize it, but I’ve done the first few days about 10 times, so here’s to finishing well this time!

Love is Patient

These are the first three words of the part of 1 Corinthians 13 that is often quoted at weddings (v 4 and following)–for good reason. The first thing that can go the longer in marriage (and parenthood) is patience. Even this morning,

I struggled with my patience and we’d said 2 words to each other (it was about one of our boys starting to stir and who should go get him before he woke boy #2).

The challenge: Say no unkind word. Say nothing negative. Be patient (and I have a feeling that very seldom are my witty smart aleck comebacks are justified).

My prayer: That I’ll feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit prior to responding or reacting. That I’ll respond in grace to everything. That I’ll love you (my wife) by how I speak to you and how I listen to you today.

Tomorrow: I’ll report back on this and tackle ‘kindness’–patience with initiative, perhaps?