Yup… You guessed it. Here I was all high and mighty about my hard work on the Love Dare… Yuppers, I’d undertaken and completed the whole ditty on time in 40 days, and the residual bliss stemming from the self-examination coupled with proper application had me chest bumping and high fiving myself. Tons of faux karma flowed like unending deposits into the metaphorical bank. For you Larry David fans, I was feeling pretty, pretty, pretty, good.
…Something about pride and a fall come to mind, in that specific order by the way. But I’ll get back to that later.
I’m not sure I can sum the Love Dare properly. To say it was a great idea for me is an understatement. I benefited, as did my wife, and our marriage quality was elevated. Sounds like good stuff, right? Well, it is. Certainly. However, you don’t just take a self-help course and you’re magically transformed. Life is going to toss you a problem. Who knows, you might even make a problem for yourself along the way.
I’m going to tell you a story. There was once this super guy. Handsome and svelte with a beard for the ages. He was 10, maybe 15lbs overweight, but his dizzying intellect far compensated for his gut. He never really sinned much. Sure, the occasional slight misrepresentation of facts in evidence, but not any real sins. He was a lovely husband and a revered father. He could barely do wrong. In fact, I can’t think of any significant mistakes he’d ever made knowingly. Sounds like a guy you’d be interested in knowing, right?
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you know him. He’s me. The bad news is all that drivel I wrote above is the combined blather of my ego and skewed to the point of pure bunk. I know you’re having a hard time with this, but I’m a sinner just like you. My picture above has you loving me in spite of my mile long list of flaws. More to the point though, I make mistakes just like you. The trick for me personally, is mindset. When I find myself in the zone as some people say, I’m arguably better equipped to handle the strife and hiccups of life in stride. Preparation is the key for me though. When I operate on the fly, I have just as many bad outcomes as good. It is true. When I’m zipping around without a care in the world, I barely bat .500…
My wife was being difficult the other night. There’s no other way to put it kindly. I don’t want any of you to glean from this that I married a woman who can’t be happy. Much to the contrary. But, just like all of you who have ever dealt with any other human being, sometimes folks just have a bad day. No more, no less. Knowing my wife was at the end of her rope and it literally was bed time, I could have dealt with any dust-up between us properly. I could have taken the issue in stride, sprinkled a little Grace on that cupcake, and maybe a pinch of love, tossed it in the oven at 325F for 20 minutes, and enjoyed a wonderful morning cake when we both awoke. What did I do? I ran my yap, searched (hard I might add) for a pile a dog poo to step in, and when tromping through the &#@! wasn’t enough, I doubled down on stupidity and rolled in it.
Quite a picture isn’t it? I completed a 40 day training on how to better feed our marriage and it’s barely been a month since Easter when I concluded my Love Dare challenge. Here I am, having tossed out all I learned, acting like a fool. If there was any doubt, what I responded to my wife solidified that for the ages. I came to my senses of course after just a short minute or two, but the damage was done. I wasn’t able to properly apply my apology immediately and it wasn’t until the following day it was accepted. Now, am I pleased my plea for forgiveness wasn’t addressed until far later? Nope. But, this isn’t about what my wife does or doesn’t do – this is about me and what I can do, not my perception of what she does or doesn’t.
Remember when I mentioned earlier that when I ‘prepared’ I typically find myself better equipped to deal with whatever life has to offer? I was dead serious. How do you prepare? I have combined a few things now that I really like. Although I’m still missing a day or too here and there for no other reason than things have gotten in the way, I’m reading the Gospel daily. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes I chase things in my study Bible and have a ton of fun. I also like to sprinkle in some podcasts of things ranging from Christian Apologetics to history to interviews with prominent thinkers of the world. The reason I like both of those things is simple. I get the examples God intended for me to have with scripture, and I learn understanding of others and brainstorm on ways to apply what I’ve learned in the good book by having a better grasp of the world around me. It’s a twofold method for me to prepared as a Christian white male father and husband in our time here in western culture.
So, I got heady, managed to really mess up a simple thing terribly, and was reminded my search for Light will never be concluded. I’m ok with that by the way. I kind of like the idea that I can be a continual student no matter my age or stature. With no small irony, being a seeker and student, also better equips me to be a teacher to others. The more prepared I am, the better I’ll perform in front of others. This compounding impact may help shape others beyond my family and close friends. That places a large responsibility on us all, but it is a burden deserving a smile, not a frown.
I messed up, but I know better. I’m in a better place due to the continual training to make fewer repeat mistakes. The shorter learning curve with the mishaps I’m going to encounter, is a fringe benefit as well.
The KJV version of Proverbs 16:18 is my favorite, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Not only was Proverbs spot on, but my other take away is from (NASB) 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
I love you guys! Be salt and seek light! …Oh, also, that picture of a really great looking guy above? That’s not me. I found it on the internet when I searched for “beautiful bearded man.” I picture myself something like that, but the bathroom mirror says otherwise. There’s no reason blogs can’t be fun. 😉 Also, in case you’re wondering, I believe I can make a case that the better I treat my wife, the quicker and easier she handles my forgiveness. …So when I give, it is safe to say she becomes a giver in turn…