Sunday, March 08, 2009

Day 3 - Selfishness

Today's passage talked about how the opposite of love is selfishness. It talked about the type of person who is always consumed with themselves, their own thoughts and opinions and basically their own little world. 

Today's theme was all about thinking of your spouse ahead of yourself, putting her needs above yours and living in a way that says meeting her needs is more important than your own.

Today talked about being satisfied by meeting her needs rather than your own, and finding your fulfillment in that, rather than living in a way where your own needs must constantly be met. 

A few questions were posed to ask today, which I found helpful and very challenging:

  • Do I truly want what's best for my spouse?
  • Do I want them to feel loved by me?
  • Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?
  • Do they see me as looking out for myself first?
I found these very challenging, as they are not only checking my motives towards my wife, but also examining how I actually feel about my motives, i.e. the reason behind them.

Very often I can do things because I know Meg will like them, but if I really am honest about it, because I have an ulterior motive, or so that I can use it later as a negotiating point; i.e. "I did so-and-so for you last week, why can't you do this?..." 

That is not service based on love and unselfishness, that is called manipulation and inducing guilt.

So often I do things because I feel I should, but not because I want to. A heart of love should compel me to do these things, not a devotion to duty, like a worn-out soldier following orders. Does my wife really believe that I want the best for her? She'll only decide that based on how I've treated her and acted around her up until this point in our marriage, if I haven't given her reason to trust me and trust that my decisions are based on love for her, then she won't be convinced of my love for her...

She needs to see that I have her best interests at heart, that I put her first in everything I do.

My Dare? To buy her something that says to her "I was thinking of you today"...

I bought her some flower pots and seedlings, one for the kitchen, lounge and bedroom, as I know living now in a city, she misses the natural beauty she was so used to seeing every day. In fact, I got her to choose the flowers she wanted to plant.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Day Out!! :-D

We're off to Tatton Park this morning as I have a Saturday off!! Check out here. This will tell you all you need to know. It's about an hour on the train roughly, and then a two mile walk. It'll be a nice day.

Hopefully, the weather should stay good, it's sunny at the moment, but rain is forecast later, so we'll see! I'm gonna bring the brollies just in case!

I'm making some Brioche bread in the breadmaker, and have added some raisins, let's hope it turns out! We've got a party at Graeme & Kathryn's house this evening, and I said I'd bring some Brioche, but forgot to buy chocolate chips to put in it, so raisins will do! 

For those of you who don't know, Brioche is the slightly sweet bread that is made with milk and easy to tear and share... It is niiiiiiiice!!

Anyway, I've done the dishes from last night, (we had friends round for a meal) and I've started the Breadmaker off, so I think I'll go get a shower and get ready to go out. Meg's ready, and has gone to get some nail polish remover while I get myself ready.

See you later, we're taking a camera, so hopefully we should be able to post lot's of good photos of lovely plants and flowers on Facebook later! :-D 

Day 2 - Kindness

This just gets harder!!

How kind am I as a husband?

Do I really show genuine kindness to my wife?

I mean... GENUINE kindness?!

The kind of kindness that shows careful thought and planning, yet no bragging? The kind of kindness that just is, that expects nothing back?

Do I ever do things for my wife because I know she'll like them, or do I always have an ulterior motive? Is it for my best or hers? 

All questions I've been forced to ask today as I've looked at the subject of kindness and how it plays a huge part in marriage. The kind of attitude where nothing is too much effort, nothing is not worth doing to bring that smile to her face. 

It's an attitude that I have occasionally, but not often. Mostly I'm very selfish and my first thought of every day is not "how can I make her happy?". I'll admit, it feels almost impossible to live like that, but surely God is in all this too? How can I say I follow Him if I'm not showing kindness to my wife? 

Do I look for ways to ease her burden, whatever that burden might be? It could be something as complex as helping her work out a math or work related problem, it could be something as simple as making the supper/a cup of tea for her when she looks tired. It could be taking her out for a meal when she looks a little down. It could be going out and getting her meds when she's feeling unwell, it could even be just being willing to sit there and offer a hug, or a kiss, or lifting the hair out of her eyes and telling her that I love her. All ways of being kind to my wife.

If I'm being patient, kindness will follow. It's the next stage of treating my wife with respect. If I'm patient, I'm putting time in my schedule and my day to be kind to her. 

Again, although it seems complicated, it really isn't. It's all about small actions and responses that say "I love you, and you're worth spending this time with in this moment, despite what I have to do today".

It's about showing her how much I love her through small things, something I'm not good at and need to be. How is she gonna know that I love her if I'm at work and can't ring? I could leave mementos, things that express how I feel, little notes, scribblings, things that show her that even though we're apart, I'm thinking of her. 

I could send her more texts during my day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Love Dare - Day 1


Something that you wouldn't think a 40 day journey on improving your marriage would start with, but it does.

Even though I'd read the novel and seen the film, and was therefore familiar with how the central character started his 40 day journey, I was surprised to find it starting this way.

At first I thought I would be great at this, after all (without wanting to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet) I have the reputation of being patient! Patient with strangers in the shop, who usually have issues and hurts and problems and just want someone to talk to, being the type of person who can stand there and listen to people and talk with them for hours... All that is actually true about me, and yet...

Those I love (particularly my wife) often get the short end of the stick when it comes to my patience. It's not a case of waiting for things, it's actually a case of waiting for her. Something as small and as simple as waiting to let her finish the train of thought she was on, letting her fully express what she wants to say about how she feels about something, whether good or bad, not telling her off like a child when she makes a mistake or does something I don't like...

All these and more are ways in which I show a huge lack of patience with her, and all ways in which I fail her every day as a good husband. I'm so quick to jump in, to comment, to volunteer an opinion, to tell her how I think it should be done. I don't wait for her to finish anything. When I read the passage before the particular dare for today, it talked about the kind of person who's impatient, not just in their opinions but also in their actions, and how they can be a nightmare to live with. 

That person has been me, and I felt such a sense of shame in how I'd treated my wife, almost as if she was a silly schoolgirl, as if my opinion mattered more. Ok, not in obvious nasty ways, but in ways that were much more devious and subtle, ways that actually long-term could undermine her and not build her up as a person, make her think that she has to respond to what I think all the time.

I really am so impatient as a person. I shout at the computer when it goes slow and doesn't do what I want, I can sometimes belittle what she thinks and feels by just not being present to hear what she has to say because I'm somewhere else working out an answer and a response in my head before she's finished speaking!! 

It's opened my eyes today to just stop and look at how many times a day I give off impatient vibes:

When she spills a drink by accident, instead of tutting and moaning, to laugh it off;

When we're discussing something and I know she's going to disagree with me, give her time to finish and honestly listen to what she has to say BEFORE responding why I'm the one who's right;

By listening before giving advice;

By giving her time to repeat herself when I didn't hear what she said, instead of irritatingly saying "WHAT?" 

Loads of things I've learnt today, just by trying to keep my mouth shut and not be the first response. 

And the dare?

It was to NOT say anything negative about or to your spouse today, and if you can't say anything positive, to keep your mouth shut. 

I didn't keep my mouth shut in either case unfortunately. I had to rush out in the rain because I knew I'd blown the dare already, and buy her a Chai Latte as a form of apology, because I know she likes those, and a promise that I'd try harder.

Lot's of things I've learnt today about patience, and being patient with my wife.

Roll on Day 2!

The "Love Dare"

Ok, I know it's been a while since I've posted, and those 2 or 3 of you who still read my blog will be frustrated that I can't give you anything on my "Big News" comment since I last posted...


I'm now starting a 40 day journey called "The Love Dare" , based on a book of the same name, featured in a recent film called Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron.

Meg and I got the novel for Christmas, and read it together in january, and it made such an impact on us that we decide to watch the film, and then start the "Love Dare". (there... enogh links for you?!!)

Anyway, we wanted to start it together, but I have only just started it, due to my inherent laziness, and am a day behind my lovely wife. This'll probably work better, as we'll be looking at different subjects on different days.

I've been married now for, let's see...

6 months and 17 days, and you would think that I'd be pretty happy about my marriage, considering that we're technically still in the "honeymoon stage", but reading the novel and watching the film made me realise that I've alot to learn about being the best husband I can be for Meg. I have to shamefully admit that I cried through various parts of the film when I watched it, only because the central character (Caleb) reminded me of me so much. Not so much that our marriage is on the rocks or anything, but the fact that I get impatient and lose my temper over so many uneccesary and silly things, and it's Meg who bears the brunt.

I started today, and I'm gonna commit to posting at the end of each day, how it's gone, what I've learnt and what I need to improve on. It'll be personal to me, but I'm obviously n0t mentioning personal stuff about Meg. This is my space and it'll be about me.

So, here we go.

Forty days to study how I can be a better husband and hopefully a better follower of Jesus.

I'll post later tonight on Day One!

Tarrah for now!