Some may look at the title of today’s reading from “the Love Dare” and go, “what?”  I know I did the first time through this book.  I thought great, I’ve been going through this book for almost 3 weeks and I’m finally told that love is impossible.  All quotes are from “the Love Dare” except where noted.

Oddly enough what is explained in the reading is also the first chapter where I could say, “yes I have learned that, mastered it even!”  This is not due to my oppositional mindset, but due to a belief  in this love book and my exposure to principles in 12 Step Recovery.  I’ve stated that doing the self-examination required to reach this point in the Love Dare book is like doing a “searching and fearless moral inventory”, (Step 4 from Alcoholics Anonymous).

One of my favorite readings from the “Big Book” of AA is the chapter on “How it Works”.  “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.  Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” ….”Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened and what we are like now.” …”Without help it is too much for us.  But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now.”

The Bible tells us the source of love and instructs us in its application.  “Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God”. 1 John 4.7  The God kind of love is unselfish and unconditional.  It is beyond our capabilities to love this way.

We need to ask ourselves, “How many times has our love failed to keep us from lying, from lusting, from thinking evil of this person you’ve vowed before God to love for the rest of your life?”   And then we ask ourselves ,“ How many times has your love proven incapable of controlling your anger?  How many times has your love motivated you to forgive or brought about a peaceable end to an ongoing argument?”

These questions are not meant to discourage us by becoming mindful of all the ways that we have failed to love in this manner.  It is meant to make us realize that we cannot do this on our own, just as we cannot win over addictions on our own.  “We’ve all fallen short of God’s commands.” (Romans 6.23)  “If you are not right with God, you can’t truly love your spouse because He is the source of that love”.

“Love is from God” (1 John 4.7) “And only those who have allowed Him in their heart through faith in His Son, Jesus…are able to tap into love’s real power.”  “Apart from me”, Jesus said, “can do nothing” (John 15.5)

So what happened to me?  Even though I can refrain from using drugs and drinking alcohol, I can still slide back into my old thought patterns.  Even though I love God and have accepted the Good News, I can slide back into a way of living that does not acknowledge Him first, does not put love first.  The first scripture I learned is on a ceramic book that I got in Sunday School when I was 3.  It says, “God is Love”.

When I slide back mentally or spiritually, I end up in a world of pain with the idea of hope clouded over by self- induced blindness.  It is a painful and ugly way to live for me and those closest to me.  The better way to live is in knowing that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit …  always available, every time we choose to submit to it.”

I wish you well in your marriage and encourage all who read this to take the Love Dare.   I believe it can change the way you live not because I have had success in my marriage.  I have been drug and alcohol free by submitting my addiction to the healing power of God for 19 plus years.  God can do through us what we cannot do on our own, in that I have absolutely no doubt!

Peace & Blessings