Day 15 Love is Honorable Part 2

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This lesson is far to important to leave off at one day, should be  followed  everyday.  Yesterday, I was impressed at the descriptions of my late neighbor as an honorable man.  This was not the word used, but all the descriptions and imparted life lessons left no doubt in my mind that this was an Honorable Man.

I am once again going through “the Love Dare” book, all quotes unless noted are from this book.  I can not say enough about how wonderful this book is.  I appreciate the wisdom it contains and the very doable “dares” it leads the reader through.  If you are as honest as insight allows and approach this book with a willingness to grow, you will grow, and it may restore your marriage.  It may not restore it also, but most importantly in my opinion, it will restore your relationship with God.

In 1Peter 3.7 it says: ” Live with your wives in an understanding way…and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.”

“To honor someone means to give them respect and high esteem, to treat them as being special and of great worth.  When you speak to them, you keep your language clean and understandable,  you are courteous and polite.  When they speak to you, you take them seriously, giving their words weight and significance.  When they ask you to do something, you accommodate them if at all possible, simply out of respect for who they are.”

I think my wife would agree that one of the major problems in my marriage resulted from my not honoring her.  I can declare my love and her value to me 1,000 times and show dishonor 1 time and all the rest is negated.  Fair?  Yes! Why?  Because if I do not honor my wife on a day to day basis, I am not loving her no matter what I say!

How many times when she was talking to me was I distracted, not giving her full the full attention she deserves?  Did I ever get a clue until now, that by not considering her opinions and giving equal weight in decisions that effected us both, that I was dishonoring her?  I should treat her in light of how much she matters and she should know much she matters by how I treat her.

Being discouraged, I often feel like giving up.  But as pointed out in this book, that’s not the issue with love.  “Love honors even when it is rejected.  Love treats its beloved as special and sacred even when an ungrateful attitude is all you get in return.”  The rejection I am experiencing is not because I honored and loved as I should have, but because I did not.

” ‘ Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most.  Of all the things I’m willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you.  With all your failures, sins, past mistakes and faults–past and present–I still choose to love and honor you.’  That’s how you create an atmosphere for love to be rekindled.  That’s how you lead your heart to truly love your mate again.  And that’s the beauty of honor. ”

What a wonderful life it could be if  both people were following these principles!

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Day 15 Loves is Honorable Part 1

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I am at my home away from home to access the internet.  It is a local “Dunn Bros” coffee shop and it is very comfortable, comforting.  However, I left my Love Dare book at home, so I may have to edit this post to add quotes and insights from the book.

Honor is indeed a lofty word and an attitude that seems to have eroded over time.  I am guilty of not applying honor in my marriage.  In fact after 2 weeks back in the Love Dare and having no contact with my wife for a week, I am quite discouraged.  My goal in this journey is to identify and correct, with Gods’ help, the areas in my marriage where I have failed.  With this much focus and trying to be honest with myself, it is no wonder why I feel the way I do!

This morning I attended a memorial service of a longtime neighbor.  I first met Jim in 1960, he was 28, I was 7.  He was young, strong and had 2 daughters with his lifemate Pat.  Jim passed away in September of this year and today I learned how much I could have used him as a mentor, as a father figure.

Jim was rightly portrayed as respectful, honest, loving, a good friend, a good husband, father, grandfather and trusted.  He has a friend living “kitty corner” from his backyard.  John and Jim were boyhood friends, best men at each others weddings and friends until the end.  Lifetime friendships were not unusual for Jim.  John once remarked, “I don’t know of anyone who has a bad thing to say about Jim!”

I knew Jim for 50 years.  I had the honor to help his wife transfer Jim to a nursing home shortly before his death.  I never imagined that the strong man I envied as a child for his ability to build things, would need me 50 years later to lift him like a child and place him in his wheelchair.  He was not pleased to be going to the nursing home.  He said, “Stan, the program they have me on is somewhere between boot camp and prison!”  When I shook his hand, he held my grasp for several minutes, I did not know this would be the last I spoke with and touched Jim.

Another word to describe Jim would be honorable.  He honored his one and only wife.  How do I know this?  Jim’s grandson shared in an eloquence of intelligence and love for his Grandpa.  He prepared two pages of notes and said he could have gone on and on, I believed him.  One of the most poignant memories shared was when this young man was a boy and he was fishing with his Grandpa. “I told Grandpa, I couldn’t wait until we got to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house!  Grandpa said, you mean Grandma and Grandpa’s house, a gentleman always gives preference to the lady!”  The grandson said Jim gave him further instruction in chivalry that stays with him and makes him the gentleman he is today.

The soloist is a young woman who met Pat and Jim 10 years ago.  She was hired to paint a mural and stayed as a friend for 10 more years and she continues to be friends with Pat.  Julie shared that when she met Pat and Jim, her marriage was in shambles, ultimately ending in divorce.  She said, “that is not what this is about  though, what this is about is the marriage that Jim and Pat had, is what marriages should be like!”  She went on to observe that whenever Pat had something to say, no matter its’ importance Jim turned and gave her his full attention.

This is what it means to give honor to your spouse.  She is first and foremost, her comments are deserving of full attention.  She is the one to whom you defer and place first in your respect, love and devotion (after God), and this is how God meant it to be.  This is the lesson of todays Love Dare, this is the lesson I must abide by, this is the message I wish Jim would have given me.

Another word in the Love Dare for today is “holy”.  Simply put, it means set aside for a special purpose, highly regarded and esteemed.  Our marriage is to be holy.  We are to be devoted to our spouse and no one else, the marriage bed is to remain undefiled.  She is to be the only one for me and I am to treat this as a special appointment, above all others.

TGBTG

Stan

Day 14 Love Takes Delight

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Any quotes are from “the Love Dare” except where noted.

I first started going through the Love Dare on the first day of 2010.  This means to date I have spent 95 days with the books exercises.  I generally read the days reading twice through at least.  This book is so rich with insight it is truly amazing!  I am totally convinced that though my current circumstances indicate otherwise, that if you are honest and apply these principles, you will have the most gratifyingly wonderful marriage you can imagine.

Todays read is quite painful for me.  My wife repeatedly would say how I did not like her, did not accept her and was judgemental, in general not loving.  I of course verbally disagreed, but by my actions proved her to be right.  For this, above all else I am most sorry.

When I met my wife, we became fast friends.  She became my best friend ever.  I delighted in her intelligence, her quirkiness, her voice, her looks, her warmth, her smile, her touch, her talents and would float around my workplace after talking with her on the phone.  A coworker remarked, “Stans in love”, I just grinned.  She once asked me how my love life was, I couldn’t tell her then, but she was my love life!

So what happened? what buried my delight in her, my absolute devotion to her?  Simply this, I did not lead my heart, I let it and my confounding brain lead the way.  I held on to things I learned from her past that disturbed me, applying a double standard and holding on to old info and letting my experiences with her be filtered through these old ideas.

In the book a comment is made that when we choose to love, make a decision to delight in your spouse and to love her no matter how long you’ve been married, it is as powerful and fresh as new love.  In fact it is more true because your eyes are wide open.

Left to our own devices, our own best thoughts, we’ll always lean towards being critical of the other person.  We get on each others nerves, we aggravate one another.  My Aunt used to say, “life is too short” to be upset by petty problems.  Indeed, how much time do we have to waste on petty differences.  How much time is there to waste not delighting in the one you love and keeping that love foremost in your heart and mind?

Most enlightening this time through the book is the comment that we do not come into the world with presets, or “booted up” to perform and believe a certain way.  If I am irritable, it is because I choose to be irritable and if I criticize my mate more than praise her, its because I’ve allowed my heart to be selfish.

I have lead my heart back out of this free-fall that I have been.  I let go of the previous way of seeing my wife.  I remember and hold dear the fact that we were best friends and shared so many great times.  I hold in the forefront just how wonderful she really is.  At this writing I hold on to a small hope that I will be able to demonstrate what I learned through the struggles in our marriage, at times it is a very fleeting hope.

We are responsible to relearn or remember what we love about this person to whom we’ve promised ourselves forever.  I am so grateful that it is easy for me to remember all the things that I delighted in, all the things I love about my wife.

Day 13 Love Fights Fair

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I am following the Love Dare everyday.  I am not posting everyday so the dates on the post and the dare posted will not match.  I intend to cycle through the Love Dare on a continuous loop, so you will see a 40 day cycle if you follow the writing.  I can’t perform the dares directly, due to honoring my wifes desire that I not contact her in any fashion.  I’m joined in prayer with others who are asking for healing in my wife, and myself and our marriage.   I plan to be candid and as honest as personal insight will allow, this is about my deeds, my mistakes, my process, not my wifes.

May I just say it is so much easier to write this blog on my laptop instead of on my phones touchpad!  I was holding off blogging until I received some input from a reader.  That has happened, thank you Katie, so here I go.

I did not follow the ground rules outlined in the book about fighting fair.  I had opportunity to do this with a willing wife, but laziness and stupidity on my part put it off.  The reading continues from the previous day to explain that conflict is inevitable in a marriage.  Depending upon how this conflict is handled determines if the marriage survives.  There are methods of fighting fair that allow success and for both parties to come out stronger on the other side of the conflict.

“The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you’ll ever do (or ever have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict.  That’s because this is when your pride is strongest.  Your anger is hottest.  You’re the most selfish and judgemental.  Your words contain the most venom.  You make the worst decisions.”  (from “the Love Dare”)

Unfortunately, I can attest to the absolute truth of the above quote.  My default decision after or during the heat of conflict was to leave.  When I stormed off I felt convinced that I had reached the end, that I didn’t want this marriage.  Every single time after varying cooling off periods, I experienced profound pain of the loss of my marriage and missed my wife like nothing else.  Attempts were made to right the marriage, my wife opened her heart to me again and again, only to be hurt and abandoned again.  She in no way ever deserved to be treated in this manner, nothing was worth my feeling I “had” to leave.

The damage from these departures eroded the security my wife felt in the relationship.  Most painful to realize is that it communicated exactly the opposite of what I felt towards her and believed about her.  I would say, “I love you, like no one else, I want to spend the rest of my days with you, I never want to divorce, I am so glad we are together, I will do whatever is necessary to make this work.”  All these words turned to lies by my leaving.  Can I blame my wife for not wanting anything to do with me now?  NO!

The tools for laying the groundwork and boundaries are clearly laid out and completely doable, in “the Love Dare”.  The days lesson ends by reminding us that love is not a fight but it is worth fighting for!

My fight for the marriage and love I have is in the realm of the spirit, because I can have no direct contact with my wife.  For those of you that may stumble across this blog and believe in love and the Author of love, please join me in prayer to make right what I have made so wrong.

Love Lets the Other Win

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Day 12 is amazingly instructive. Do you find yourself in arguments that repeat and have no resolution? The lesson today illustrates how God gave up His rights and came to earth and submitted Himself to suffering, ridicule, rejection and ultimately death on the cross. FOR US He did these things.

All it takes to stop an argument is for one of the parties being willing to lay down their “right” and say, “I’ll give in on this one”. How many issues arise that are worth destroying your marriage? In my case, in all the years of unresolved conflict, NOT ONE was worth destroying the marriage over! Not one was worth the message that was given, “you are not worth my consideration, I will not honor you, I do not cherish you”. Being unwilling to be flexible, loving, and to humbly submit, is communicating those sentiments. Ask if those sentiments are what I felt and I’d say, “no”. Doesn’t matter so much what we say, it’s what we do.

My wife told me I didn’t like her, accept her, cherish her or really love her. I disagreed, but I continued to demonstrate that she was right, by not setting aside my “rights” and my pride.

One year ago I lost my temper with my stepson. My wife was rightly mad that I lost control with him. I grabbed his jaw in my hand and got in his face. My wife thought I grabbed him by the throat, doesn’t matter, I should not have grabbed him in anger. The fight prompted my moving out. One year later, I remember the incident, I don’t remember what it was about.

Today I am very close to my stepson. Today my wife will not speak to me, acknowledge that she is even married and I have no earthly hope that there is a chance to remedy that.

I will be a better person if I follow where I have been directed to go. I am clay in the Masters hands and He will complete His work in me.

Daring to Love

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This is my first attempt at blogging. My hope is to generate interest, experiences and hope to married people whose relationship could use God’s help.  What marriage doesn’t?

My own situation is currently in the “strong emotional pain” of a seemingly hopeless separation.  I have to admit to having been here before. Each separation was different in my eyes, but a tiring “crazy” pattern in my wifes eyes.

The last three times are what I will focus on unless relevant information from my pathetic track record dictates a mention.

I have for the past three separations been going through a wonderful book called, “the Love Dare”. Each time that I have gone through the 40 “Dares” I have gained new insights. I am currently on Dare 11.

I cannot do the actual dares, because of a breakdown of communications. I do journal each dare in a notebook and review what I wrote on the previous journeys through the book.

I felt on the occasions of my wife giving me another chance, that I had grown.   BUT, here is a bit of advice for anyone given another chance at making their marriage work. DO NOT neglect to learn Gods perspective on what true love is and how to view and treat your mate. I neglected to review the Dare lessons and now I must be honest and admit, I might not get another chance.

There are a host of people in and out of Christian circles who do not subscribe to the Love Dare perspective and encourage divorce. I went through a painful divorce 20 year ago. I do not want to go through another one!

I am praying for Gods help and asking for prayer support from like-minded Christians to have healing in our marriage and for reconciliation. I am trying to stay out of the way and granting my wife her current requests.

I have made numerous missteps at every turn and it always leads me back to relying totally on God to work on our hearts.

In future blogs I will share more of my path through life that qualifies me as one of the truly flawed people on earth and where it has taken me.

I look forward to any suggestions, comments, support and prayers this blog may generate.

Peace and Blessings,
Pops
TGBTG