Friday, August 19, 2011

Days Seven through Nine.

We took a break for a few days, and then came back to the book and started again. The day before yesterday was day 7.

Day 7: Love believes the best.

This chapter talks about how we all have positive and negative attributes. In the beginning, we spend a lot of time thinking about our partner's positives, but over time, we think less and less about the positives and tend to dwell on the negatives. "Everyone fails and has areas that need growth. Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal baggage. Thus us a sad aspect of being human. We have all sinned. But we have this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes while putting our partner's failures under a magnifying glass."

The dare says to get two sheets of paper. On one, write a few positive things about your spouse. On the other, write negative things. Place both sheets in a safe place for another day. Pick a positive attribute and thank your spouse for having it.

The journal asks "Which list was easier to make? What did this reveal about your thoughts? What attribute did you thank your spouse for having?"

I think the positive list was easier to make. I thanked Andrew for being willing to do so much for our relationship.

Day 8: Love is Not Jealous

This was actually about envy, not jealousy. It says not to be mad if your spouse is better than you at something, or more popular or whatever. You're supposed to be your spouse's biggest fan and supervisor. You should celebrate their successes rather than being resentful.

The dare says to become your spouse's biggest fan and reject any feelings of jealousy. To focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negatives and destroy it. Then tell your spouse how glad you are about one of their recent successes.

The journal asks how hard was is to destroy the list. It was super easy for me. I made my list on my computer rather than paper, so I just had to highlight and hit the backspace key.

Day 9: Love makes good impressions

It says it's important to enthusiastically and lovingly greet your spouse in the morning, when they get home, on the phone, etc.

This is something we already do, and so we didn't have to do anything different today.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day Six

Day 6: Love is not Irritable

Today is about not getting mad. "A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. Rage and violence are out of the question. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self control. She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations."

It says stress can come from two things: stress and selfishness. And selfishness can include lust, bitterness, greed, and pride.

The dare says "Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life."

Where do I need to add margin to my life? I don't know... I guess I mostly just need more help with the kids. Waking up during the night causes a lot of stress. As for wrong motivations, I know I have a lot of bitterness and pride.

Day Five

Day 5: Love is not Rude

This chapter was about having good manners and not being rude. "When a man is driven by love, he intentionally behaves in a way that's more pleasant for his wife to be a round. If she desires to love him, she purposefully avoids things that frustrate him or cause him discomfort." It then encourages us to work on bad habits that are annoying to our spouses.

The dare says "Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking thme or justifying your behavior"

So I asked Andrew, and he couldn't come up with three things. The only thing he said that bothers him is that sometimes I chew with my mouth open. This is something that I know is a problem, and now I'm definitely going to be making sure I don't do it anymore. There are a few other bad habits that I know I have, but Andrew didn't mention them. I don't know if they bother him, but I will be working on them anyway.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Four

Day 4: Love is Thoughtful

It talks about when a relationship is new, your constantly thinking about the other person, but over time that changes. "Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, yourself. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate."

There's a paragraph that says men often focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else, while women are more aware of everything. Then there are several paragraphs about how men and women might communicate very differently, and how this can cause conflict. It says thoughtfulness is required in order to be able to meet in the middle.

Today's dare is to contact your spouse sometime during the day and ask how he or she is doing and if there is anything you can do for them.

This was another challenge that wasn't really a challenge for us. Firstly, we were together all day, so it's not like we would have the need to call each other or anything. And we're always checking in with each other, when it's not our challenge of the day. So we really just needed to continue with how we do things, and didn't have to make any special effort to complete the challenge. However, I can see how this would be a good thing to incorporate when Andrew is working.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Three

Day 3: Love is Not Selfish

This day is about putting your spouse's needs ahead of your own.

"Love is never satisfied except in the welfare of others. You can't be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say no to what you want so you can say "yes" to what they need. That's putting the happiness of your partner above your own. It doesn't mean you can never experience happiness, but you don't negate the happiness of your spouse so you can enjoy it yourself."

Today's dare says to buy your spouse something that tells them you were thinking of them.

The journal asks "What did you choose to give your spouse? What happened when you gave it?"

I bought Andrew a pair of fancy little steaks wrapped in bacon. He always wants to get nice steaks, but we never get them because they're too expensive. So I went ahead and got them for him. He was pretty pleased when I gave it to him.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Two

Day two was as easy as day one. We're both pretty kind most of the time, so it really was just a matter of paying attention to what we're doing, and trying to think of things to be even more kind. Today's challenge asked us to do at least one act of unexpected kindness, and we both did plenty.

I'm supposed to list specifics, but I am having trouble thinking of everything because it's so late and I'm way tired. It was hot and the fan stopped working, so I grabbed a stack of paper and fanned him. I cleaned out the litter boxes, which is a job he always does although he dislikes it. Andrew folded a tin of laundry for me. He took the initiative in doing the dishes. We did lots of other things.

We haven't really changed much so far, but I'm sure future challenges will be more challenging. Something I've noticed is that I feel more love already just because we started this dare.

Tomorrow is Day Three: Love is Not Selfish.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day One

I have completed Day One of the love dare. Day one was "Love is patient." Today I was challenged to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative at all.

Today's journal section asks "Did anything happen today to cause anger toward your mate? Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words?"

Unfortunately for people reading, I don't have much to say about today. But that is a good thing. Today was actually very easy for me. We didn't have any conflict at all, so it didn't take much effort to complete this challenge, and I don't have much to say about our experience. I think I'm generally pretty good at being patient, but today I paid extra attention to my patience. I went really well. I'm going to be continuing this, and we'll see how it works in the future.

As for tomorrow:

Day 2: Love Is Kind

It says patience and kindness are the cornerstones of love. "If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts in order to maximize a positive circumstance. PAtience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing."

It breaks kindness down into four ingredients: gentleness (be sensitive, never be unnecessarily harsh), helpfulness (meet your spouse's needs, even if yours are put on hold), willingness(be agreeable, cooperate, compromise, listen), and initiative(think ahead, then take the first step).

The dare is to do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.