Because You Made Me Work Out

As I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this blog, your days can be long with our three little ones.  Yet yesterday, you made sure that I made my workout although you knew it was going to put me home after all of them were put to bed.

It means a lot to me that (a) you’re concerned about my physical health—see also your ‘portion control encouragement’ and (b) y ou’re concerned about my emotional/mental health—we both know how much better we feel when we sweat some.

You also were acting like a coach. I didn’t want to go back out into the cold, rainy evening, but you put your foot down, told me to change into my workout fashions, and go to the Y.

Thank you. I love you because you want me to be healthy—although maybe it’s just that you want me to be buff?

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Love Dare Day 16: Love Intercedes

Just because I haven’t written in a couple weeks, doesn’t mean that the Love Dare has been far from my brain. As a matter of fact, being stuck on Day 16 (Love Intercedes) isn’t a bad idea.

Prayer isn’t one of my strong suits. Even if I’m consistent with my quiet times, I often edge out prayer by spending too much time reading and journaling the Word. I know that there is prayer involved, but focused intercession is a a learning and discipline goal of mine.

The Dare was to select three things to intercede for you and our marriage about.

My list:

  1. That you would be confident and secure in who God created you to be—You’re loved, specially made.
  2. That you would be bold with the things that God puts on your heart: creatively, spiritually, vocationally.
  3. That we would embody the idea of being a ‘City on a Hill’: A vision I’ve always had of our marriage is that we’d be a source of comfort, rest, encouragement, and safety for others. I’m not sure where we are on this, but I know we need to improve with God’s help. It might even be a good goal for 2012.

So, sweety, these are my specific (yet pretty broad) prayers: Your comfort in who you are, your boldness in taking steps of faith, and our mission as a family of being a city on a hill.

Perhaps God will narrow my focus as I consistently pray for these things.  Maybe I’ll even ask you what you’d like me to pray for you about (besides protection from the nasty tummy bug floating around our house).

Day 17 Prep:  Love Promotes Intimacy. The dare is to “Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to the 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.”

That’s a mouthful! The main goal: Listen and make you feel safe to share ANYTHING. Admittedly, I over-correct sometimes. I’ll work on that.

Love Dare Day 17: Love Promotes Intimacy

The thrust of this day’s dare is the idea that we should be completely free within our marriage to be fully known by each other.  The promoting intimacy piece is to create an atmosphere of encouragement and support so that we can share without fear of being shamed, ridiculed, judged, or otherwise emotionally wounded.

The You Side of Intimacy

I’ll be completely honest: I don’t know if you have any secrets that you are nervous about. If you do, I guess I don’t know them.  You don’t seem to have any horrible skeleton in your closet, some sin or past screw-up that you’ve hidden for fear of what I might think.

For you, I can only promote intimacy by encouraging you to fess up to your current fears and insecurities, to own the things that trouble you so you feel comfortable enough to share them with me.

The Me Side of This

You pretty much know my junk. It sucks being the dude with junk – for that I’m sorry.

Perhaps I can promote more intimacy by being willing to walk you into my past here or there if necessary. I do relate to Day 17 in that ‘Each of us comes into life with an inborn hunger to be known, loved, and accepted.’

I need to allow you to know, love, and accept me, warts and all. That’s on me. I don’t want to dump baggage (it’s really not a bunch of big huge train trunks, but still).

I will continue to intercede and look out for areas where I need to allow you to share freely the things that are difficult for you.  I want to be a safe  place for you to be as open with me as you want to be.

Forgive me where my reactions have made you feel small or fearful of being fully known to me.

Day 18 Prep: Love Seeks to Understand. The dare includes prepping a fancy dinner for the two of us and focus on talking about things that we rarely talk about. Dare accepted. I love cooking and I think you have a hair appointment which should give me a chance to put a nice spread together.

Because you put up with crap…

And puke. Yes, that bane of toddlerhood: stomach bugs. They don’t know that the bucket in front of their faces is for the stuff coming out of their mouths. I never thought about it before I looked at S’s face when he threw up for the first time at an age where he kind of saw it coming. He was like, ‘What in the world was that?’

Well, you, unfortunately, have to be in charge of these things if I’m at work.  And our daughter’s first ‘in public’ cookie-toss at Joann’s fabric wasn’t really fun for you either.

We’ve actually been blessed. Our kids have had remarkably few stomach bugs. Heck, the health insurance premium for you and the kids actually went down this year.

I love you because you deal with it and we both know how much you do NOT love this type of thing. You’re a good mom. The best.

Day 15: Love is Honorable

I’ve been thinking about this for the last week—about what it means to honor you.

I keep forgetting that it’s not all about respect and ‘honoring’ with words and gifts and showers of kisses. The book talks about treating someone with high worth and esteem, to treat the person as ‘set apart for a higher purpose.’

You are set apart for a higher purposes. You are special and unique.

While I know I need to honor you with my words and my actions and even my attitudes, I think the larger truth here is that I need to treat you as holy, set apart as precious, special, unique.

I like this line from the book: “A person who has become holy to you has a place no one can rival in your heart. He or she is sacred to you, a person to be honored, praised, and defended.”

It’s mostly something in the mind, to remember to not treat each other as roommates or co-parenters or TV watchers, but as people who are highly valued, special, held in regard.

Please forgive me where you don’t feel valued by me.

I even did the ‘dare’ on this one which is doing something unusually helpful or showing respect. You were sick yesterday and I cleaned the downstairs of our house and did a few extra loads of laundry. But I didn’t have the best attitude—it’s the attitude piece that I need to work on. I wasn’t mad at you or anything, but I also wasn’t taking pleasure in it.

I pray that I learn to do better and better at making you feel highly valued.

Day 16 Prep—Love Intercedes: Make a list of 3 specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse’s life or in your marriage. I shall have my list by tomorrow, but we’ll see how much of it I’ll be willing to share online.

Because you bought me fashionable threads…

I came home last night and found a new shirt and sweater in a bag next to my closet. Nice selections!

I was just talking about how my wardrobe needed updating. The next day, wa-la: new clothes.

It made me think 2 things:

  • You were thinking about me.
  • You imagined I might look all hot in these clothes.

Both bullet points made me feel good. I felt a little special. You even noticed some shoes: ‘I wish I could have bought you these shoes I saw. You would look so good in them.’

It’s a small thing, but it made me smile. Thanks.

Love Dare Day 14: Love Takes Delight

I originally wrote this post on 10/27/11, but as you can see it’s now 11/4/11, over a week later. Obviously, I’m not being as hardcore about making it through the 40 day Love Dare journey as I could be, but I’m not going to scratch it all and start over.

Today’s dare is to ‘purposefully neglect an activity that you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse….’

Last night, you and I folded the single largest mountain of laundry that we’ve ever had in our house. We had taco salads, drank a margarita, watched a couple sitcoms, and folded clothes until we could barely see each other.

While ‘Love Taking Delight’ doesn’t sound like ‘Love Folds Clothes’, I had a wonderful time! We just talked and folded and made jokes and goofed off. In a strange way, those are some of my favorite nights. You and I are in the same place working together, not stuck in front of two separate screens on separate ends of the couch.

I could have argued for some computer writing time, but I didn’t. Honestly, you might have beat me up (figuratively) if I did. Still, I could have shimmied out. But I love to be with you like that. It was fun.

Day 15, Love is Honorable: I read this last week and earlier this week. The dare is to choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse above your normal routine.   The choices given in the book sound like other things done throughout the process. I get lazy in communication: listening, attitude in my speech, etc. I think focusing on respectful, honorable communication is the best way to go here.