I’ll hit you straight up with it today. Some of this venture hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. There are also parts that have been truly rewarding. I should have embraced the idea early on that there would, as always, be surprises along the road to marital bliss. …And not always in the form you expect.
Day 24 – “Love vs Lust”
Do you lust after things? Lust doesn’t just have to be about the sexual nature of yearning for something. That’s the context we typically understand about it, but lust can be as rudimentary as wanting something you shouldn’t want. Some sort of misguided thirst you can’t or shouldn’t satisfy might be another way of conveying this to one another. Whether this lust in my life is relegated to a woman, or things, I must not allow these problems to lie dormant waiting for the next opportunity to tempt me. I have to cast out those problems and agree with God that they’re sins, even if I don’t physically act on them. I assumed today’s dare would be easy since I don’t run around hitting on random women. The truth is, I have much to think about. Lust comes in many forms. Thought precedes action, and thoughts may not be a crime in man’s court of law, but in God’s? Yeah, they’re a real problem. I need to get my mind right with Him.
Day 25 – “Love Forgives” – When you think of challenges in a marriage, among them are things you probably hear universally. “Are you two compatible?” or maybe even, “Are you two financially secure?” and too often, “Are you unequally yoked?” which flies in the face of any politically correct Pastor our counselor. However, how often do you hear the question, “Do you forgive easily and often?” I never do. And I don’t think it has anything to do with the circles I do and don’t run among. Simply put, I don’t think we forgive often. I further believe we don’t understand in a complete sense what forgiveness is.
When you forgive in terms of popular culture, you’re letting go of the fact that you’re right, they’re wrong, they can’t handle it, and you’re being the bigger man. But is that actually the truth? Sometimes that can be true. Other times, I would offer you the idea that while my explanation above could be a component or a truth within, so to speak, it would be better relegated as a flawed understanding of forgiveness. If you truly seek to forgive, and we should, then you’re not only letting go of the negative feeling associated with someone else, whether that be an action, thought, or something said, but more importantly, you’re choosing to love them despite what occurred.
Additionally, you should also remove yourself from a position of elevation over them with your forgiveness. You never know, my friends, you might have been the one wrong all along. When you stop, forgive, and pray for others, you’re learning and implementing the basics of caring. You’re offering the foundation for patience. We could do with more of both in this world. If I can’t forgive my wife for something, and also myself, how can this ever work? When the book mentions that this might be the toughest of all the dares, they’re right. I would also say it is among the MOST VITAL. If you can’t forgive in the full sense, what can you expect and receive from others? …Very little.
I needed to find things that I hadn’t forgiven my wife over and pray for her. I did.
Day 26 – “Love is Responsible” – This was the toughest one for me yet. I’m a man child in many regards. I’m super reliable and responsible while acting like a deranged baby all the while. I cover the spectrum from pure silliness in settings I think I can get away with it to earnest discussions with extremely powerful leaders of industry and politics. I can be responsible and most of the time, I am. But there are aspects of responsibility where I fail. Too many of them are with my wife. I don’t seem to let down others in terms of my responsibility, but when I carefully dissect my responsibilities to my wife, I learn that I have work to do. And, thankfully, it is work I can do accomplish and do well with. She deserves it.
I did as dared in the challenge by praying over and through my many weaknesses. I came up with a list of things I needed to admit to my wife and seek forgiveness for and from. It was humbling, and I needed humbled. Thank you, Lord, for laying this upon my heart.
Day 27 – “Love Encourages” – I was challenged today to let go of unrealistic expectations with my bride. I truly have very few I could hone in upon. As a couple of people who left the small rural town in a remote area and moved to the city for college, we had left behind our local supports. As such, we became dependent upon one another in several ways. This prepared us in some fashion for our journey. It has pretty much been her and I against the world, and that tends to build very realistic expectations of what can and can’t be done together and independently. This challenge wasn’t that hard for me. But it serves as a reminder that it can be easy to make assumptions and build false senses of what your other half should and shouldn’t do or be capable of doing. I need to avoid falling into that trap.
Day 28 – “Love makes Sacrifices” – Do I actually pay close enough attention to my wife that I recognize her needs? And then, do I do what I know to be right in order to satisfy or exceed her needs? Finally, am I willing to sacrifice in order to make good on those things? Those ideas surrounded this challenge today. As we move through the age of Covid as I call it, I think I’m actually better at this than before. We’re living a slightly more simple lifestyle and that lends itself to doing things that were larger sacrifices of time and habit, to be easier and more frequent. We’ve been around each other more, as opposed to less, and that makes a huge difference in our lives. I can, and will, find things to sacrifice for her benefit. I do a fair job of that now, but I’ve got plenty of room for improvement, with some ideas on specifics for her. What a great challenge today was and will continue to be!
Day 29 – “Love’s Motivation” – Easiest dare ever, for me anyway. I do this daily. I’m motivated to love my wife, praying for her mental and physical health, shoring up her motivations, and seeking to unconditionally love her for all the right reasons. I’m really good at this one and I’m glad I’m on the right track. She’s such a genuine person in the ways she works for others and her motivations as to why. It has made a good example of how I can be the same in my motivation, and it shores me up. I love this about her and myself.
Day 30 – “Love brings Unity” – Seek to be unified, huh? Ok then. We usually are, but there are also some parenting fundamentals and responses to common stimuli that we struggle with. I was able to identify one in particular that not only do I know we need help with but is within our power to master. I prayed on it. I have prayed on it before. We spoke about it. I don’t believe anything was rectified. But… The conversation was heartfelt and valuable, even if it didn’t have a conclusion. This is key for me. I need to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there aren’t always going to be complete total successes all at once. While this could be considered a swing and miss, it truly leaves me still standing in front of the plate with more pitches inbound.
Day 31 – “Love and Marriage” – Have I held onto some sort of clinging to or for my folks that I need to deal with it properly? No. Has she? No. Yes, I wish she could cook like my Mom, but isn’t that part of marriage? Eating things you don’t particularly like? I joke. Kind of. She really wasn’t much of a cook at all when we were first married. Few are, right? How can you be really great at something you don’t have a lot of practice with? But the truth is she’s improved all the while and things are pretty darned good. That’s the only one I can think of that might need some shoring up for us, or me rather, in the “leaving” business with my parents as I cling to my wife.
The “Dove Lair” isn’t out of the bag yet with her if you can believe it, and that’s after some people blabbed about it in a really public fashion. Or maybe she’s sparing my feelings. I don’t know yet. Either way, I continue to improve and that’s important to me. Be salt and light my friends. I pray for it!