In his book, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy, author Gary Thomas likens marriage to a laboratory for Holiness. I whole-heartedly agree.
You may recall that I began reading through The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner a few weeks ago, and have to confess that I'm only on day 7. My confession isn't that I've been lazy, but that I have been actively busying myself with the business of respecting my husband. And it's been a full time job here in the laboratory of our marriage. I had purposed to take my daily challenges one at a time, making sure I truly understood them before moving on to the next one... and there have been a few dares in the first week that I've really camped out on and exercised.
The two biggest challenges for me thus far have been, first, how my home making and mothering is a way for me to esteem my husband - If the house is a wreck when he gets home and I'm constantly crying over the boys' behavior when he walks in the door, he won't feel he's entering a safe and welcoming place after his own long day. The real conviction came in my quiet time thinking more about this idea. Matt never leaves our home or comes home complaining about his responsibilities at work, and I trust him as our provider largely because of that. Does Matt's heart trust in me as a homemaker and mother as I grumble grumble grumble?
Secondly, I have needed some extra days to stop expecting him to notice all the stuff I'm doing before moving on to day 8! Sounds simple enough, right? But the extra special dinners, organized junk drawer (where he always gets lost looking for a pen or stamps), clean clothes all folded and put away by the time he got home (rather than heaped upon our bed), stopping what I wanted to do in lieu of sitting with him on the couch to watch yet another episode of "the office." Little things, but they were little expressions of my love and respect for him, and I had to stop waiting for his praise and applause. Once again I have to come back to my original reason for doing this dare... it's my job. And I'm not in charge of his job, to love me well, only my job.
When the book The Love Dare came out, one of Matt's friends bought him a copy and challenged him to do the dare. (Insert pregnant pause here...) It sat on his bedside table untouched for months.
Based on the film "Fireproof", The Love Dare is also a 40 day challenge, intended to help married people better express love towards one another in small and large ways each day. Now since I knew what it was all about, it was hard to not feel bitter as it sat collecting dust. Eventually I realized I was harboring hurt feelings and made the decision to stop waiting for Matt to pick up the book, and instead picked it up myself. I took it with me everywhere I went. As with my recent dare I didn't confine myself to one dare a day, but one dare at a time, until I understood how to make the challenge a life-style choice in our marriage...
Today, 7 days into this new dare, I wanted to share with you that I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my husband. I'm thankful for my home full of the stuff I get to pick up all day. I'm thankful for the children I get to love on and train up. I'm thankful for The Respect Dare. And, I'm even thankful for the hard in our marriage - the laboratory where Holiness is produced.
If you haven't bought a copy of this book yet, do it now. What a powerful challenge. I dare you!