When I set out on this Love Dare journey, I think in some ways I expected to have all my strengths as a wife affirmed. As I previously mentioned, I confidently believed I was among the best wives in the world. After all, I often get compliments from Josh’s coworkers about things I do that they admire or simply “don’t have time to do.” Boy, did I let that go to my head. Every time I heard something like that, it just reinforced what a good wife I was and how lucky Josh is to have me.
Ever since I saw Fireproof, I’ve been interested in the Love Dare. The truth is, I was interested in Josh taking the Love Dare. I took the K-LOVE challenge because I did want to grow in the areas that I could (not that I expected there would be many) but mostly because I hoped Josh would take the dare with me. He probably would have if I ensured we read the devotional together each day, but I didn’t want to do it like that. I wanted him to take the time out of his day, motivated by his love for me, to do this little devotional and take the dare to become a better husband.
I don’t mean to imply that Josh is a slacker husband. He is so amazing and I am so blessed that he’s the man I get to journey through life with. I feel really bad for some of the women I hear complaining about their husbands. My husband would never be as disrespectful to me as some other men out there are to their wives. And the stories he repeats from work…wow. Praise God that we have a faith based marriage!
As usual, I’ve strayed off topic. The point is I thought I was darn near perfect in the wife department. What I’ve come to realize in the 27 days I’ve been doing the Love Dare is I’m nowhere near perfect. I was measuring myself against worldly standards. In fact, my own definition of the word love was pretty worldly. I am so grateful that I did the love dare now, relatively early in our marriage, before I became to set in my ways and may have really struggled to change. The pain I hear from the other men and women taking the Love Dare breaks my heart. Thank you God for giving this to us now before we ever really hurt each other!
Today’s message (among many of the others) really reinforced how much work I need to do. Today was about encouragement vs. expectations. I am the queen of high expectations. I hold myself to very high standards and consequently do the same to everyone around me, especially Josh. Today we were reminded,
“Love puts the focus on personal responsibility and improving yourself rather than on demanding more from others.”
I believe I’m pretty good at working to improve myself, but recently I’ve told Josh (on more than one occasion) I’m tired of being the only one working to improve. He always responds that he works at that too. I think the real problem is that I can only feel the stretch and the burn of my own self-improvement. He very well may be working to improve, but I can’t feel that struggle. What I need to do with much more diligence is look for any signs of it and offer my encouragement. How much easier would it be for him to grow if I were always looking for signs of it to praise and encourage? I know praise and encouragement do wonders for me. Why on earth wouldn’t I be more eager to notice his efforts?
So that’s my new goal. Instead of focusing on the areas I’d still like for him to improve, I’m going to focus on the areas he is already showing improvement in or even areas he doesn’t need to improve. I know me, and I know this is going to take deliberate mental redirection on my part. I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to redirect my thoughts and attention, especially during moments when I’m frustrated about something that’s happening or not happening.
I want our marital love to be the reflection of Christ’s love that He designed it to be. His love for us isn’t dependent on our shortcomings or strengths, and my love for my husband shouldn’t be either. I don’t mean that I currently love him less as a result of his shortcomings, but my interactions with him and attitudes toward him definitely fluctuate. That’s something that doesn’t need to be happening, and I resolve that from now on it won’t.