Day 11 Love cherishes II

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Two illustrations are given in the Love Dare book on how we handle marriage. The first example is of an old car in need of extensive repairs, upon learning the cost of the repairs, the owner decides to get a newer model. The next example is of a crushed hand and the expense willingly paid to repair and save this hand from amputation. The authors comment that our marriages should be like saving the hand, cherish our spouse as we do our own bodies.

I have been amputated from my wife and it still feels like the wound has a long ways to go towards being healed. This has been described as a natural feeling, since we become “one flesh” with our spouse. The tearing apart of the “one flesh” does not follow neat lines and the wound is very jagged. Jesus came in part to heal the brokenhearted and I am relying on that healing every day. I pray for healing in my marriage daily, but I realize we all have free will and can do what we want regardless of God’s plan. I can exercise faith with things and strengthen my belief in God but my wife is free to do whatever she chooses to do, as am I, but I choose the marriage.

My stepson graduates this year from High School. He and I are back on speaking terms; he states that he was not angry, just too busy to get back to me for a week. Today I received an invite from my wife to an Open House for Garret, I don’t know if she thought I would come, but I am not emotionally incapable of attending. If the roles were reversed, I am certain my wife would have no difficulty in attending an event like this, which just illustrates how different we are emotionally. I did not make this decision by myself, I have a “Sponsor” who helps me decide what I am able to handle when I am unsure.

Eighteen years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from High School. My first wife had divorced me and I was in worse shape emotionally then than I am now. I was in the early stages of recovery and was able to attend her graduation and make a 2 minute appearance at her Open House. The similarities are present now, my first wife had reached a point where she “couldn’t take it anymore” because of my behaviors that are common to many alcoholics. I had much to learn in my sobriety and the hardening of my first wife’s heart towards me was not something she would change. I have now been sober 19 years, 7 months.

I can write all I want about my beliefs and the confidence I have in God to change lives and marriages, but if my wife continues on the path she is going, I will be spouting theory about God’s plan and work in marriages. I am fully confident that He can work miracles in the marriage of two imperfect people, because of all the cases of His miracles being worked in the lives of alcoholics and addicts.

If your marriage is in trouble or could use a boost, please cherish it enough to do all it takes to make it a great marriage. It is possible with God’s help, and it is worth it.

“Don’t let the culture around you (not even Church culture) determine the worth of your marriage. To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor God’s purpose for it….it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.” The Love Dare; parenthetical opinion is mine.

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Day 3 Love is not selfish II

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This is the 4th time through “The Love Dare” for me. This time through is a modified version, I am limited in following the “dares”, due to continued separation from my wife. I believe the lessons in this book are invaluable and can be applied to our other relationships, to a degree. If you have this book and are going through it, please share your experiences as an encouragement to those of us faced with a greater challenge in our marriages.

I grateful to be going through The Love Dare as I count down the days until my divorce is finalized. The last time I went through this book, I was an emotional wreck, it’s nice to see recovery in progress and healing, along with growth. I have been praying and hoping for God to intervene and change my wife’s heart. A change of heart is her choice, even if it is God’s Will for it to change. If this divorce is finalized, you will not hear me saying it was God’s Will. Jesus said God allowed divorce in certain situations “because of the hardness of your hearts”.

In today’s lesson we look at selfishness. Selfishness is the opposite of love and we should be aware of our motives and examine them for selfishness. Selfishness is “natural”, selfless love is spiritual. Jesus laid down His life for us out of love for us. We are to do the same, love our imperfect, selfish spouse, even when we don’t think they deserve it. That is called grace, undeserved, ummerited favor.

Pride is the force behind selfishness. God resists the proud, so how can we expect our spouses to be pleased to be around us, if God can’t be near us? Who likes to be around someone who demands their way always be done and keeps a record of every perceived slight or disappointment? If we translate our offenses and being offended into playground language, we see selfishness for what it is…immaturity.

“When a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities in front of his wife, that’s a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that’s a sign of selfishness.” 1 Corinthians 13 is referred to as “the love chapter”, a daily reading and meditating on it is a very good thing to do. In verse 5 we read, “love does not seek its own”.

Ideally both couples subscribe to these ideas and will look at this book for guidance. But remember, we love God, because He first loved us!

Day 2 Love is Kind II

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I was tested in patience yesterday, not 1 hour after posting my blog.

My stepson texted me and said his Grandmother and family were upset that I was listed as Garrets’ “father”, so he deleted the listing. “Don’t take it personally”, texts Garret. I did take it personal, I helped raise Garret since he was a baby and his contact with his biological father was minimal. I won’t go in to all the particulars, and I understand the sensitive nature of his dilemma. I would have liked to have Garret say, “he raised me, I consider him a father.” Perhaps if I were not facing this divorce, I would have responded differently. Instead I told Garret I took it personal and as a public humiliation. I did tell him later that I responded poorly, asked forgiveness and told him I love him.

Today the reading is on kindness. The LD breaks kindness down into 4 categories, Gentleness, Helpfulness, Willingness and Initiative. Hopefully you will obtain this book and read all the great stuff in it.

The section on Initiative always stands out to me. Be the first to: greet, smile, serve, forgive and don’t require the other to get his or her act together before showing love.

The whole idea of divorce is so anti-Christian, anti-grace and anti-mercy, that it screams to be recognized as such. God does not divorce us, He did not wait for us to “get it together” before forgiving us and making sure we can have right standing with Him. We are the Bride of Christ, where does divorce fit in with this teaching? “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”. Ephesians 4.32

The harsh reality is divorce amongst even Christians. Having to deal with the other parents of children now in a combined household is extremely stressful. If there is a parent that is unyielding, uncooperative and spews venom in the mix, it can be hell on earth. Step-parenting can be a thankless job, “the real” parent is primary, even if they are not nice people. “But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward”. The Love Dare.

A reminder to anyone just finding this blog: I am in the process of being divorced from my wife. This divorce is her initiative and in 38 days it will be final. This is my 4th time through The Love Dare book. Aside from my failings, I believe the enemy has won a battle in making sure this marriage is not restored. Christians need to get this teaching in The Love Dare.