Because I have nothing better to do than this right now. I want to share a teeny secret with you. I don't want anyone going and telling Mr Nice Guy what I'm up to, but he does have a smidge of a clue. Because I told him a little, but I don't know if he was paying attention. Keeping the suspense, that's what I call it.
JUST BECAUSE - I purchased the book The Love Dare. Now if you haven't seen the movie "Fireproof", then stop what you're doing right this minute, and go see it. Rent it, buy it, find it in a theater or something, just do it. It's my mission to make sure every married couple sees this movie.
Ok, since I know that you have now gone and seen the movie, simply because I suggested it, this will make more sense to you. (If you STILL haven't done this, then put it on your list of things to do. You won't regret it, I promise).
The Love Dare wasn't purchased on a whim. I have been planning this for weeks, just waiting to work up the nerve to do it. I have faith in my marriage, but I'll be darned if I have faith in MYSELF to pull this thing off. Finally after much prayer and equal amounts of "listening" I opted to buy the book. I decided the month of February would be a great month to put the words of the book into practice. After all, it's the month of loooove, and I'd even have Hallmark pulling for me.
Now comes the part where I confess, before God and all blogdom, that this book is kicking my behind! I decided I wanted to take the slow approach, kind of like "adjusting your lifestyle", or "changing your eating habits". I didn't want to rush through it in the suggested forty days, I wanted to take one day, really nail the idea behind the chapter, and then once I did it RIGHT and CORRECTLY then I would move on.
Unfortunately, I appear unable to do anything correctly the first time. Or the first day. Or the first week. The first dare written at the end of chapter one was simply this:
The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret.
Ugh! Now WHY would they put the HARDEST dare FIRST?? It's because I'm destined to fail, that's why. Well, I knew I didn't have this book in my hands for nothing, so I vowed to stick it out, at least until I could go a solid day without saying anything negative.
Well... now I'm convinced that I'm not destined to fail, I merely set myself up to fail! Speaking negatively has apparently become a finely honed skill. I've had years of practice, and some great coaches. I didn't realize it until I listened to my words for an entire day. How embarassing! On day two I figured I'd give it a better try. Dang, there is NO WAY I was going to get it perfectly right. I would just be happy with giving it my best shot, and then try to do it again the next day.
I glared at the book.
On day three and four, I was struggling so hard that I almost threw the book out the window.
By day five, I decided to chalk up day one (and 2, 3 & 4) as a complete loss, and just move along. Maybe I could come back and work on that one. I finally picked up the book again.
What a coincidence! Dare #2:
In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
WELL HELLO! Someone KNEW I wouldn't get it right the first time, but darnit, now I have to try for yet another day. At least I'd had several other days to warm up. Now I realized that I needed to keep on going, do my best, and not look for perfection. Perfection is a set up for absolute failure. Only one person to ever walk the earth was perfect, and it certainly wasn't me.
I am not planning on posting every single dare here, but I do encourage you to buy the book and do it yourself. You don't have to tell your spouse what you are doing. But please be prepared to feel extra sensitive because you are trying SO hard and your efforts may go completely unnoticed, as they did in my case. Nobody notices when you don't say negative things, at least not at first. But they'll sure notice after about 40 days of it (or in my case, 50 or so. haha!)
For me, I felt it was unfair to go about some of these things without letting Mr Nice Guy know what was going on. In a way, I needed his support and understanding, because I'm sure I'll get fed up from time to time and want to burn some pages. I told him on Valentine's Day that my gift to him, was that I would be reading through this book and being an active participant because I cared about our marriage, and I loved him enough to make it a priority. Not sure if he really got what I was saying, or the full depth of my sincerity but I sure pray that this makes our relationship even stronger in the coming months.
If you've read this book, or even if you haven't, please tell me what things keep you from speaking negatively without chewing your own tongue off in the meanwhile?