I found some important things over the last few months as we have done the Love Dare with our small group - and I'd like to share them with you...
From Day 23 "Love Protects"
Wives: you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband. Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family. "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands" (Proverbs 14:1)
Husbands: you are the head of your home. You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage. This is no small assignment. It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action. Jesus said, "If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into." (Matthew 24:43) This role is yours. Take it seriously.
Above all - the take away from this day... is to protect your marriage from unhealthy relationships, shame, and parasites.
Parasites are things that latch on to you or your partner that suck the life out of your marriage. Most often they show up in the form of addictions - such as: gambling, drugs, alcohol, or pornography. Parasites promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time and money. They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.
For us our main parasite - wasn't an addiction to any of the items listed above - but more an unhealthy addiction to media... in terms of the amount of time that got sucked away from us into computers and other things. We've made a concerted effort to not use our computers as much at home - certainly not actively if they are on... and it has made a difference. I feel like there is a little more time now in the evenings because I don't lose hours staring at a computer screen.
From Day 30 "Love Brings Unity"
Husbands - What would happen in your marriage if you devoted yourself to loving, honoring, and serving your wife in ALL things? What if you determined that the preservation of your oneness with this woman was worth every sacrifice and expression of love you could make? What would change in your home if you took that approach to your relationship on a daily basis?
Wives - What would happen if you made it your mission to do everything possible to promote togetherness of heart with your husband? What if every threat to your unity was treated as a poison, a cancer, an enemy to be eliminated by love, humility, and selflessness? What would your marriage become if you were never again willing to see your oneness torn apart?
I think these two paragraphs are profound... I mean what if all married people lived like this? What would divorce attorneys do?!
I'm not saying that there is never a reason for divorce... because sometimes when lives are threatened or adultery is a repeated sin... it might be alright... it's not for me to debate such things... I don't live in a marriage with such problems, and certainly am not here to judge people and their actions... not my place... or my mission.
The thing for me is that it isn't easy... I mean life gets in the way ALL. THE. TIME. but we have to make it our priority and our mission to learn to live like this. When the bad creeps up - and believe me it does regularly... you have to remember that your partner - is not your punching bag...
They are not the receptacle that receives the brunt of your anger, pain or suffering... they are your partner, and ultimately - they only want the best for you. Your hurt is their hurt... and I know that I sometimes have a hard time remembering that.
The interesting thing about life is that men and woman are so fundamentally different. We approach problems differently, we react differently, we solve problems differently... and just generally approach life with a different set of strengths and weaknesses.
The beauty in my mind is that God has made us all one perfect mate - one person that matches us in all areas of life. They are strong when we are weak. They are weak when we are strong. They can lift you up and keep you going - when you think that you can't make it one more day. It just just a beautiful partnership...
In my world, there is one place that I see this most often. In our struggle to have a baby... John and I approach every step of this process in very different ways. Neither is bad... they are just different. He is much more rational... I am emotional. Sometimes I am emotional about him not being emotional enough... yes, I know - crazy lives within me. (HA!) Sometimes in my whirlwind of emotions - I forget in my own hurt that he hurts too... his desire to have a child is no different than my own... we just process differently - like in all other areas of our life. So my challenge is to know how to lift him up in the ways that he needs, no matter what is going on with me... and his challenge is to do the same for me.
It's hard, and sometimes you get caught in the day to day mess of living... but that is JUST the moment when you have to stop. Take a day off, and go enjoy doing something together that you wouldn't normally do. Even if that "something" is within your own city. I'm not kidding - it can be just the boost and refresher that makes all the difference.