Love Promotes Intimacy – Love Dare Day 17

I did a fairly good treatment of Love Dare Day 17 back a few months ago.

But I’m not sure if I’ve gotten better at promoting true intimacy in our marriage. Sometimes, I’m fearful of having deep conversations. I’m fearful of discussing things in the past–even distant past.

Yet if I want to have a deep, solid, and beautiful marriage with you, I must start giving you my all in this area.  Even if I’m worried how you’ll react. Even if I, personally, don’t want to hear things come up.

It seems sometimes that my goal is stress avoidance vs. intimacy. That’s not a great formula for long term success.

The dare here is to learn how to listen better. I do need to do this. And I need to ask questions and ask how you are–really how you are. Even if you struggle a tad on your side of things with sharing. I need to promote it.

The next dare is to ‘seek to understand’ and the exercise is preparing a dinner and having, for lack of a better term, a ‘first date’. That conversation where you share your goals and dreams and favorite bands.

I’ll do that some time over the holidays. I will probably neglect this blog until the New Year.

I wonder if I can keep this up until our 10th anniversary. That’s another 2 years or so without your knowing about it. Sometimes I wonder if you know about it and just haven’t told me that you do.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Because You Do Dance Battle Build

I can never remember if it’s “Body Battle Build’ or ‘Dance Build your Body’ or any other number of things I accidentally call it.

All I know is that your dance movement to normal ratio has increased considerably.

Getting up from the couch and going to the kitchen–dance moves.

Going from the stove to the sink–dance moves

Going from the bed to the restroom–dance moves.

I feel sometimes that when you dance and stare at me, that I should go into 80s Break-Dancing battle mode and respond with some major popping and locking.

For those who might happen upon this and are unfamiliar, here you go:

And for those who might be curious what an insurance man’s dance moves look like, here you go:

I’m Determined to Make You Smile

And in so doing, make myself smile.

We’ve been a little too immersed in the Connecticut tragedy. It’s like we’re airplane copilots that need to pull up hard, but can’t seem to muster the strength.

The fact is that it feels a little like that game ‘Breakout’ or whatever. Where the ball keeps chipping away at the bricks and then all of the sudden busts through and starts wreaking havoc on the bricks all over the place.

Here, the ball is stressful and sad and confounding situations. The bricks are the general level of comfort that most of us suburban Americans live in.

The movie theater tragedy and then the mall shooter in Oregon and then this thing in Connecticut are bad enough. But pair those types of things with family stress, my dad’s bout with cancer, and financial issues and the little ball busts through the bricks pretty good and runs rampant.

I know, boy do I know, that we have it SO good. What I’m realizing is that our little security with all of our Targets and Wal-Marts and Starbucks and whatnot can’t ultimately shield us. If bad stuff is going to happen, it’s going to happen.

When it does, I’m committed to walking through it with you. And I’m also committed to finding little bits of fun when we can. Being a sourpus won’t help, right?

I love you and tonight, my goal is to make you laugh or help you have a bit of peace.

Because You Called Me Crying…

I won’t pile on to the mass chatter about the situation in Connecticut.

But you called me crying. You called me wanting to take our family into our house and huddle up and do nothing but eat pizza and watch Clifford or Curious George or anything.

I feel like my face is twisted permanently into a near-cry. I don’t know anybody directly affected, but I do know that our daughter is five. And our boys are four.

And sometimes it seems, despite the fact that they can drive us crazy on occasion, they are the few people we run into who are so unabashedly excited about life.

And to see so many of those little hearts lost at the hands of an angry or disturbed or sad or something else person is heart-breaking.

I don’t want to crawl into his brain and figure out why. The thought scares me. And it scares me that this comes on the heels of someone else who was angry or disturbed or sad opening fire at that mall in Oregon.

I pray that we never lose sight of how wonderfully and meticulously we were created. I know this might sound trite, but if we somehow can remember that we were created with purpose and with care, will it help?

I’m clueless, but I know tonight we will eat pizza, popcorn and maybe some M&Ms. I’ll be happy to hear our children complain about not having enough of this or that or arguing over the snow-flake throw blanket or yelling at us because they want us to sit next to them and not the other son or daughter.

I love you and am thankful for your soft heart. I’m thankful that we have another day together. And I’ll be thankful for each one.

Love Intercedes – Love Dare Day 16

The long and short of Love Dare’s Day 16 message is that our efforts to change our spouses are futile.

No amount of  nagging or, as we prefer to call it, ‘helpful’ suggestions will bring change to our spouse.

Selfish Encouragement

Further, more than likely our efforts are selfish and not driven by a heart for our spouse, but a heart for our own personal comfort. I have to pay attention: If I’m trying to ‘get my wife to do something’, then I must immediately turn it around on myself.

For instance, if I wanted you to have a more consistent quiet time and was brow-beating you about it, does my consistency (a) give me the right and (b) even if I am consistent, is my encouragement more for your good or my desire to have this ‘suburban Christian perfect wife’?

Three Fingers Pointing Back

If I’m trying to force you to change, there is something going on in my heart. Even if my heart is generally in the right place regarding you, there typically is something that I need to be very aware of in me.

If a finger is pointing out, then I got three coming back at me and I need to ask God what it is in me that needs work.

The upshot is this: Learning to pray for you is the best possible way for me to encourage the right change (in either of us).

Intercession and Change

That old C.S. Lewis quote (or the quote from the movie Shadowlands) applies here: I don’t pray to change God’s mind. I pray to change me. (I know I butchered it, but I don’t have time to look it up).

If I’m truly praying for you, as I’ve finally remembered to do over the past few days, then all the sudden God starts nailing me on things.

Today, I was praying for you and your current issues with certain folks. And all the sudden God nailed me on this:

Is your heart, sir (me being the ‘sir’), truly focused on your wife here or do you want her to ‘get over it’ so you guys can go back and be all comfy cozy?

It wasn’t an audible voice, but it as a clear conviction. My prayers can be selfish–even if they sound sweet. I switched it up a little bit.

All the sudden the prayer became true prayer. I was at a loss. I just prayed, “God I don’t have the goods to lead my family. I need You. I want our home to be a place where my kids come alive, where my wife comes alive, where I come alive. But I don’t even know where to start.”

So I’ll leave it there. that’s my plea today. I need Jesus to lead and love you. So I’ll pray for you. But I’ll also pray for me.

Side note…

The dare was to pick three things to pray for you and our marriage in three specific areas:

  1. I pray for you to feel the full and total acceptance you have as a daughter of God through Christ.
  2. I pray that our home becomes a City on a Hill– a place of truth and peace for anybody who encounters us.
  3. I pray that you have more and more courage to step out in your gifts and your talents. You are a talented, awesome woman!

Love is Honorable – Love Dare Day 15

First of all, I’d like to state that my project for yesterday – sending an email showing my delight in you, my wife, went well. Here’s your response:

So so sweet. Makes my heart smile and just what I need!  I love u!  

Sent from my iPhone

Today, Love is honorable. It should actually be Love Honors. That seems to be the gist.

My favorite bit from the Love Dare entry for today is this:

To say your mate should be “holy” to you doesn’t mean that he or she is perfect. holiness means they are set apart for a higher purpose–no longer common or everyday but special and unique. 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.

That’s good stuff.

We are set apart for each other. I’m yours. You’re mine. We’re God’s.

Forgive me when I’ve not treated you with the value of something sacred.

Perhaps ‘precious’ is a good term, too. It can sound kind of wimpy, but it still denotes that you are to be cherished. You maintain top status in my heart and mind. Sometimes, my vision and emotions get cloudy, but still, that’s your place. And it’s not just because I choose to put you there. It’s because God placed you there for me.

The dare today is to choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse–something beyond the normal routine. Tonight, I think being fully present and willing to listen to everything is the best thing I can do.

You, my dear, are honorable, and worthy of being honored. Your feelings, your heart, your mind, your body–all of it is to be honored and cherished, even guarded and protected.

Because You’re Hanging Tough

I wrote a few weeks ago that you’re going through it a bit these days. Well, things keep going and I know today has been tough.

I’m praying for you. I’m praying that not only will you be protected emotionally and mentally, but that God will use you during this time.

I pray for myself. I pray that I give you what you need from me right now.

I pray for healing and redemption.

I pray that your increasing strength will be a source of deepening in our marriage.

We float a bit much sometimes. These challenges will grow us.

I’m so cryptic! 🙂

This is what I know: Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. And character producers hope.

Hope DOES NOT disappoint us. If we focus on the Hope, we can push through whatever pain or struggle or stress we might experience.

I know it’s a little pollyanna, but I’m cool with that. I’d rather be pollyanna than try to find rest in worry and stress and fear and frustration.

The selfish part of me is that some of these issues are reminders of things in my past. But my role is not to sit in old stuff, but to be present for you right now.

Why am I writing this right now?!?

Well, I love you. You are a gift. Right now, my heart breaks for you.

Love Takes Delight – Love Dare Day 14

It’s been since November 1st that I wrote about Love Dare’s Day 13.  And I’m not going to go back and read my original Day 14 entry (though you can click that link if you’d like to).

Day 14 Dare

First, I don’t love the dare:

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.

I don’t mind the ‘just be together’, but we normally do things together at night–or at least we watch TV together.  I can do the hanging projects you have for me… the new frame with the kids’ pictures in it and that other thing for your closet. But we have to do it together.

Going off-book

So, sweetie, I will dig into the actual Day 14 text and create my own dare.

First, a synopsis: Day 14 is all about how we can get lazy and focus on picky things instead of taking delight in our spouse. It basically says that we choose to be irritable. We choose to respond in various ways. We lead ourselves into those types of reactions.

Therefore, it’s possible to lead our hearts toward taking delight. It’s possible to make a decision to flirt and have fun and enjoy  our spouse.  In truth, part of the reason for this blog is to give me a way to take delight in who you are. Just like anybody else, I can drift and become lazy. I can get whiny about ways I’d wish you would act or react or ways I wish you’d treat me.

This blog has helped me see the absolutely wonderful things you do day in and day out both for me and our children.

A Delightful Email

We got a boatload of drama going on in the family right now. And I’m not too stupid to realize that while the drama isn’t directly within our immediate family, it stirs up a bunch of crud that affects us.

I’ve been ripped up internally as have you. I’ve been worried about how I should act or not act or what I should say or not say. So I’ve been not doing a great job in taking delight in you.

Here’s what I’ll do:

  1. I will brainstorm the things about you that make me happy and delighted.
  2. I will construct an email.
  3. I will send that email.
  4. I will make sure that email is a little on the silly side, because it seems like this taking delight thing is a call to focus on the joy and fun and sweetness of things.

Here’s my initial list of your awesomeness:

  1. Faithful
  2. Genuine
  3. Humble
  4. Considerate
  5. Beautiful
  6. Great Legs
  7. Beautiful smile
  8. Huge laugh
  9. Wonderful mom
  10. Planner and good at getting stuff done
  11. Puts others before yourself
  12. Pretty
  13. Sweet
  14. Hilarious
  15. Great dance moves
  16. Comfortable
  17. Fun
  18. Thoughtful
  19. Merciful
  20. Creative
  21. Gentle
  22. Patient
  23. Freckly
  24. Talented
  25. Homemaker (as in you truly make our house a home)
  26. Great with decorating
  27. Awesome activity planner for our kids
  28. Fun with crafts for our kids
  29. Appreciator of quality sitcoms
  30. Disciplined with exercise
  31. Did I mention the legs (and the attached tush?)
  32. Encourager

We’ll stop there.

I’m, for some reason, nervous about sending you this email. Maybe I’ll schedule it to hit later. We’ll see. You probably won’t remember it when you finally read this blog.

I love you, ma’am. I take delight in you and promise to lead myself to taking even more delight in you.