I've been having a little adventure lately with a book called The Love Dare. *
Here on this blog we talked in January about some of the things we want to focus on this year, and some of you said you'd like help with the area of how to love your spouse better.
Well, as we know, love is an action, and that brings me to this adventurous book.
I was recommended this book by one of our SUMites here in Auckland, Paula Blackie. She said, "It's really, really good." So, curiously, I ordered it.
Books take a while to get to New Zealand, but eventually it landed in my letter box, I ripped open the package, and here's what I found:
The book is a set of forty dares that you do over a period of forty days. Each dare is something you are asked to do for your spouse. Preceding each dare in the book there is a devotional first, with scripture references.
There's also a movie called 'Fireproof' that's linked with the book, and it's about a firefighter who puts the forty dares into action in his own marriage. Sounds good, but I haven't watched it yet.
Anyway, I decided not to tell Bryce about the dares and instead to just dive in quietly. Here's how it began --
Day #1 was called 'Love is patient', and it went like this:
"For the next day resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret."
"Righty ho", I thought, rolling up my sleeves. "This should be easy"; and for most of the day I didn't even see Bryce so that definitely was easy. However, we then sat down to the evening news with the boys, which we don't normally do. As soon as the news began, my whole family began speaking over the news, one on one side of me, two on the other. I didn't manage to hear a single part of the news that evening.
Irritation welled up immediately (Crikey, is this how easily I get irritated?!) and so I got to practice this good quality: patience.
I seemed to be in a particularly serene frame of mind after practising patience and a controlled tongue the previous night. My task today, according to the book, was to continue not to say anything negative to my spouse, and in addition say something very kind to him at some point during the day. A short and sweet dare indeed. Well, at some point that day upstairs I trundled (to his home office), and told him something particularly nice about himself. He grinned back at me.
I liked that dare. Who doesn't like being kind?
Day #3 was titled 'Love is not selfish'. The dare went like this:
"Along with refraining from any negative comments, buy your spouse something that says 'I was thinking of you today' ".
I like the fact the book has to keep telling you not to make negative comments. Oh dear! Is that what marriage is like? Well, that I can do reasonably easily. But the next part was hard as Bryce is the hardest person on earth to buy things for. I literally could not think of a thing to get him. In the end, I walked down to the local shop and bought him a Snickers bar, his favorite chocolate. I left it on his pillow. He said, "What's that for?" I said, "It's for you. Since it's your favorite."
And that's where I've got to so far. In thinking about love as an action, I guess this little book, The Love Dare, helps us try a few of the following things out:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV)
Thanks again to Paula Blackie for inspiring this post; and now I'd love to hear from our community: What are some practical ways you show love to your spouse?
* The Love Dare (2013), by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville: TN.