Love Seeks to Understand – Love Dare 18 (Pt 2)

I feel like I need to sit on this dare for a while.

Love seeks to understand. There are moments when it seems like I really need to share more than I do, but in the end, I need to create safe space for you to speak your heart and your mind.

Love Seeks to UnderstandI don’t need to be passive sharing my heart with you. Or my fears or stresses or even failings.

But this dare isn’t about my working through that particular issue. This dare is about you. It’s about my understanding and seeking to understand and being a student of you.

And why is that important?  Because you are important. You are precious. You are a gift. You are worth hearing and listening to. You are wise. You have important things to say. Plus I just plain love you. And I’m called to hear you and listen to you.

If husbands love wives like Christ loves the church and He hears our prayers, how much more should I become better at hearing your heart?

I’m scared at what I might hear sometimes, but that’s a ‘me’ problem. 🙂

So… until I have the dinner that is called for in this dare (I’m supposed to cook for you, and I’m sure you won’t remember when this dinner took place because my goal is that you don’t see this blog until 5/14/2015 (our 10 year anniversary).

My goal.. my desire to make good on this dare, as I mostly laid out yesterday:

  1. Ask you questions: Good questions and not just one, but follow up questions. I’m not gonna let you wiggle off the hook. Not that you’re a worm that I’m going fishing with, but you get the picture.
  2. Listen to you: I’m not going to cut you off. I’m not going to go after a distraction.
  3. Pray: See God for better understanding if I don’t get it or if something you says touches something off in me.
  4. NOT solve problems unless you ask me to: I’m going to hold my tongue as long as possible in the solution area. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.

The point of understanding

You’ve suggested before that you, in the past, didn’t think your words or opinion mattered. Your emotions might get cut off. You might not feel totally heard or validated.

I want you to feel the complete opposite with me. Period.

Because It’s Another Year

I’m not sure if we’re another year wiser. But we are embarking on a new year. New years always feel like fresh starts. At least for the first week.

My hopes for us this year:

  1. That I communicate better with you: I struggle with wanting to protect you from my own emotional highs and lows–especially anything that might anger, scare, or otherwise cause you anxiety. I need to realize I’m your husband. We need me to be better at this. If you respond in any of those ways, then I need to suck it up and deal with it. If learning to have better reactions to things is an area where you need to learn, then I’m doing you a disservice by hedging.
  2. That I pour my creativity into you: We fellows can sometimes use our creativity at work and with projects. A lot of times, these things are tangible and easy. My desire is for you to know that I spend my mental and emotional energy on romancing and loving you. You deserve that from me. And I want to give it to you. When I’m doing it, I feel so alive.
  3. That we have fun together without the TVLike a bunch of other Americans, we tend to love the couch and other things with screens. You started our card games right before the new year. I look forward to that. I look forward to figuring out other things to do. This will involve the aforementioned creativity.
  4. That we grow spiritually together: I’ve always wanted to be a better spiritual leader. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I choose not to because I don’t want to be confronted with having to maintain spiritual leadership. Leadership doesn’t start and stop with a quick devotional and prayer time. I need to lead our home in encouraging character–starting with myself. I’m sorry where I’ve been lazy here.
  5. That we get out of debt: This might require some major sacrifices. We might need to make them. We might need to drop cable. We might need to reconsider putting our children in private pre-K. We might need to eat more beans and rice. At the very least, we need to keep track of where the money is going. We need to be content with what we have. As you said in your goals for the year, we don’t need to buy things to make each other feel good (or better).
  6. That we go easy on ourselves in the parenting department:  We both stress here. May we set boundaries, enforce the best we can, do our best not to frustrate our kids unnecessarily.  We also need to be strong for each other when needed. Sometimes, you’re overly frustrated, sometimes I am. We need to be quick to take over.

Mostly, sweetie, I want to get better at giving you what I’m called to as a husband. I take pleasure in that. My prayer is against any complacency in me. I can get lazy. I can get frustrated.

Above all, I want to make you feel like the most precious being alive.  My responsibility isn’t your self-esteem or your psyche. But it is to love you.


Because of Your Post-Haircut Ritual

First, your new haircut looks really good. I believe I threatened you with another pregnancy (which would be a feat given your tubal–I know, TMI).

I especially love the way you play with your hair on days you get your hair cut.

I get home from work and am lost in saying hi to the kids and getting my stuff in the house and getting the lay of the land.

All of the sudden, I notice you’ve been playing with, flipping, and shu-shuing your hair the whole time I’ve been home.

Finally, I take notice. And you smile. And we have a little laugh.

Your hair always looks good, but something about the way you do the little dance of ‘how do you like my hair?’ after my day is fun.

Because You Ask Questions

This might seem obvious, but you asked me two questions yesterday that meant a lot:

  1. Regarding the test for lymphoma my Dad went through yesterday, you asked me how I was doing with all of that. You said, “You haven’t really talked about it, and I want you to know you don’t have to stuff it down. You can have your moments.”
  2. You also asked about whether I was still involved in a certain morning ritual I have–one that is very important to me personally and spiritually (I know that’s sufficiently vague to almost sound wierd, but you and I know what I’m talking about).

One area you and I struggle with sometimes: Sharing and asking tough questions.

I’m glad you asked. I’m glad we talked. I’m glad I was able to cry a little with you. Your mom is having knee surgery. My dad is having back issues and this potential other issue.  Our parents are getting older. You had a difficult time feeling good about helping our daughter with her. One conversation led to the other.

Anyway… thanks for sweet conversation. I know that should go with marriage, but it doesn’t always.

I love you.

Because You Are a Mystery

Sometimes I don’t know what to do with a situation that, honestly, wasn’t fun (at all) but still reminds me of what it means to love you.

Sunday morning, you let me sleep in a little bit. I came downstairs and discovered you hadn’t fed breakfast to the kiddos. I said some smart aleck comment or otherwise was ‘ungentle’ in my handling of the situation.

It hit a nerve with you. We’ll leave that there.

The problem was that I wasn’t sure exactly what nerve I hit. Honestly, as of this writing (3 days later), I’m still not sure what nerve I hit.

What the situation brought up in me is that I wanted to figure it out. And if I want to understand you better, then I know I need to do better at getting to know you during the times when we’re not in mini-crisis mode. I need to seek to understand you.

I love you because you are a mystery. I’ll never finish getting to know you. I’ll never finish getting better at being your husband and friend. I’m excited that these little hiccups reveal that I got work to do.

I know that sounds strange, but it’s actually exciting. You’re a mystery. I’m working on it. It’s fun.

Love Dare Day 18: Love Seeks to Understand

The dare for this day was to prepare a special dinner at home for just the two of us. The focus should be go get to know you better. This sounds strange since we’re married, but all married folks understand that wedding vows do not equal completion.

While I’ve prepared dinners, I’ve not set up the dining room table and made sure we ate, I’m embarrassed to say, away from the TV. After we feed the kids, it’s what we do: make dinner, chat over the TV, and relax.

Well, this dare is all about doing these things:

  • Asking Questions: Revisiting some of those old dating type questions like ‘What are your dreams?’ ‘What are your goals?’ ‘What are your fears?’
  • Listening: There’s no better time to listen then at a quiet table, across from each other.
  • Asking God for Discernment: Learning how to hear your heart in what you say and do.

All this to say that I don’t want to be held up by Day 18. I’m going to continue on this journey, but I will treat this as a ‘pass’. I will make sure to come back to it later.

The main thing is that I need to continue to learn about you. I need to continually find out what’s going on inside your head. I need to get your counsel. I need to be aware of what your fears are and what you’re hoping to do and what you’re developing an interest in.

Heck, how else can I pick a decent Christmas gift for you?

Love Dare Day 19 Prep: Love is impossible. Simply put, this is the dare about how we can’t truly love selflessly without the love of God working through us. While some will debate this idea, I definitely think that it’s true for me. Without that love, I’m kind of a selfish ass.

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.