Love is Satisfied in God – Love Dare Day 21

The devotional portion of Day 21 ends with “God is your everyday supply. Of everything you need.”

The dare: “Be intentional today about making a time to pray and read your Bible….”

I’ve been pretty decent at this – at least 3-4 days a week. Typically, 5 days a week are started with focusing on God and asking Him to align my day with His purposes (effectively making it His day, right?).  But reading the Bible and praying isn’t the same as living from a perspective that God will supply every need.

The challenge, then, is to believe and trust that God is enough. You (my sweet wife) don’t have the responsibility to fill up every area in me that is lacking. You aren’t responsible for my self-esteem, self-worth, or self-image. You aren’t responsible for giving me a purposeful life. You aren’t responsible for my happiness.

God uses you in various ways to achieve His purposes in me, but ultimately, my satisfaction and completion is only found in God.

Therefore, I should make sure you’re free from the stress of being my everything and all-in-all. (I believe I’m touching on the whole codependence thing here somehow).

But when this little blog finds its way into your life, I hope you know that you are free. Free from being everything that I think I need. You are my wife and partner and a cherished gift from God. It’s God alone who can make up for everything that I lack (and you too for that matter, so I don’t feel pressure to be YOUR all in all).

I love you and am so thankful for all the wonderful things you add to my life, but I’m also thankful that you don’t have to be everything. That would be way too much pressure. We can both be satisfied in God and enjoy each other as gifts.

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!

Love is Unconditional (Love Dare Day 10)

But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things [that you’d list for why you love him or her]. Would you still love them? p.46

This love dare challenges the idea that we love people solely because of what they bring to the table. Let me be more specific: it challenges the idea that I love you (my wife–remember these are directed specifically to her) primarily because of who you are–your character traits, your looks, your humor, etc.

Love Because of Choice

The upshot from that would be that I only love you when you display those qualities. Or if it’s because of your beauty, if something happened to you to get rid of your classic gorgeousness, then I’d no longer love you. Or if I love you because of your sweetness, then I’d stop loving you if you were being a bear.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one beingloved but rather by the one choosing to love. p.46

I wrote before that I love you because I’m called to love you. It feels sterile and unromantic to say that.

Love Isn’t a Whim

But I can guarantee that we will have more opportunities for romance throughout our lives if I love you because I’m called to than if I love you based on the whims of how I’m feeling and you’re acting.

If I’m committed to being the best for you that I can be…

If I’m committed to responding to your moods with grace…

If I’m committed to drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit when I realize I’m acting like a turd…

If I’m committed to looking through to your heart and what your heart needs (although I’m imperfect and won’t get it right all the time)…

…then, we will have plenty of opportunities for romance. It’s like we’ll have built a solid foundations and framed out the house so well, that we’ll be able to do the fun redecorating as often as we want because we’ll be confident that the house will be ours forever.

The other day, in the morning, I left. I was mad. Honestly, I might have had reason for it. You were in a sour mood. You weren’t your sweetest (later that day, it was probably my turn).

Ditching Jerk Entitlement

I felt empowered to be a jerk to you later. I felt it was my right.  Thankfully, I caught myself. Maybe it was due to reading this book.

I sent you this email:

  1. Thank you for sharing with me when you are having a hard time. I appreciate it. Call and cry any time you need to.
  2. If there’s anything I can do to better support or encourage you, please let me know.
  3. You are beautiful. You are talented. You are a good mom.
  4. You and I both struggle with what is like some kind of autistic spectrum thing regarding our preschoolers’ too much crying, noise, etc. We both get overwhelmed. That’s hard.
  5. I’ll pray for you (and you can pray for me) that we’ll get better at that. Simple fact is that our kids (like every damn kid in the world) defy logic.
  6. But they’re wonderful, beautiful, and awesome kids. They really are. Stinking annoying a lot, but they are awesome.
  7. So are you.

So the whole premise of this website: Why I Love Tina, while it might focus on the sweet, fun, and beautiful things about you, is more about my learning to love you better–regardless of what I’m going through, how you’re acting, or whatever comes our way.

Love is not Selfish (Love Dare Day 3)

As I’m trying to go back through the Love Dare in a more conventional 40-50 days, I reread Day 3 (both in the book and my original post on the topic).

I loved this quote:

Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for our mate? the answer is a painful pill to swallow. We are selfish.

Now, I don’t always feel selfish, but I know that it’ll take a lifetime time to ferret out all the gunk in my motivations behind everything that I do.

Acting Selfish vs. Being Selfish

I might do nice things or even beautifully selfless things, but is my heart always in the right place?

I suppose I could ask myself some questions:

  1. Why am I going the extra mile here?
  2. What do I feel if my efforts aren’t reciprocated?
  3. What do I feel if you don’t respond with verbal (or other) appreciation?
  4. Am I doing this to (a) get something, (b) pay penance, or (c) because I’m just truly, honestly being selfless and loving?

I’m sure somewhere in the middle of all of that is the truth. It’s a growth thing.

The fun thing about today’s dare is that it entails that I purchase something for you. We’ll see. Where we are financially right now, you might prefer that I don’t spend any extra money.

I did give blood yesterday and gave you the cool insulated American Red Cross cup that they gave me. Let’s go with that. We’ve been exchanging a lot of gifts lately. Perhaps I can do something unselfish tonight while you’re at your mothers of multiples meeting?

That would be nice of me. We’ll see. i’ll try to report tomorrow.

Because We Speak Different Languages…

Admittedly, this is a strange reason. And it might not seem like a good reason at all. But I think it is.

I’m pretty sure we speak different primary ‘love languages’.

An aside for those who might not be familiar. The five love languages include:

  1. Acts of service
  2. Physical touch
  3. Gifts
  4. Words of encouragement
  5. Common interest/activities

You speak ‘acts of service’. I respond more to ‘words of encouragement’.  The kicker is that we typically tend to show love by the same way we receive love. Consequently, we miss the boat. You might do all this stuff around the house and I don’t even notice while if you said, “hi honey, thank you so much for working hard for us’, I’d be putty in your hands.

On the other hand, while you might appreciate this blog once I show it to you, you’re more inclined to appreciate that I empty the dishwasher every morning and allow you to sleep in on most weekend mornings.

Different Languages, More Selflessness

I bring this whole thing up because our different languages create a need for us to be more focused on meeting each others’ needs. I know I can’t just drop you a note to tell you how sweet you are (easy for me). I need to figure out where best to serve you. Since you’re not as verbal, it might even be difficult for you to tell me where you want to be served. It’s for me to explore and figure out.

When you drop me a word of encouragement – an email, a text, a sweet comment while we mill around the house – I know you are meeting my need. And since my close second is ‘physical touch’, when you simply reach out and hold my hand, I know you’re meeting me on my terms (I think it might be your second, so perhaps it’s not such a huge stretch).

Working on What Doesn’t Come Naturally

In the end, this post is more of an observation than it is a reason. Still, the fact that we get to become better people in the name of delivering love in the way each of us best receive it is a pretty good reason. The fact that we work on what doesn’t come naturally is pretty powerful and what a lot of couples need to consider.

 

Because You Have a Sweet Voice

You sing fine, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

And you’re not a morning person, so unless you get an opportunity to sleep in, your morning voice doesn’t always lilt.

It’s your night voice. The voice that tells me “good night.” The voice that rustles up from an almost sleep to whisper “I love you.”

It’s also the voice that comforts our children when they get hurt. It’s also the voice that empathizes with me when I have one of my tennis injuries (which I did last night dang it).

There is power in a voice. I love your sweet voice. It soothes. It comforts. It relaxes. It can also make me laugh.

Thank you for when you speak peace into my life and into our home.

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.