(This post was originally published 5-20-09).
This post is about my personal experience with The Love Dare. If you would like to learn more about The Love Dare, go here.
Day Four: Love is thoughtful. Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he/she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them. What did you learn about yourself or your spouse by doing this today? How could this become a more natural, routine, and genuinely helpful part of your lifestyle?
From The Love Dare book:
¤¤¤ Love thinks. It’s not a mindless feeling that rides on waves of emotion and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that loving thoughts precede loving actions.
When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. You spent hours dreaming of what your loved one looked like, wondering what he or she was doing, rehearsing impressive things to say, then enjoying sweet memories of the time you spent together. You honestly confessed, ” I can’t stop thinking about you.”
But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man, the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, yourself. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate.
Let’s be honest. Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget the rest of the world. Whereas this can benefit him in that one arena, it can make him overlook other things that need his attention.
A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. She can talk on the phone, cook, know where the kids are in the house, and wonder why her husband isn’t helping … all simultaneously. Adding to this, a woman also thinks relationally. When she works on something, she is cognizant of all the people who are somehow connected to it.
If a couple doesn’t understand this about one another, the falllout can result in endless disagreements. He’s frustrated wondering why she speaks in riddles and doesn’t come out and say things. She’s frustrated wondering why he’s so inconsiderate and doesn’t add two and two together and just figure it out.
Love requires thoughtfulness – on both sides – the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks.
But too often you become angry and frustrated instead, following the destructive pattern of “ready, shoot, aim.” You speak harshly now and determine later if you should have said it. But the thoughtful nature of love teaches you to engage your mind before engaging your lips. Love thinks before speaking. It filters words through a grid of truth and kindness.¤¤¤
And just think, this only touches on the fundamental differences between men and women because no matter how hard society tries to make both sexes equal in every way, the more it’s apparent they are not, nor will ever be, the same – males and females are completely and utterly different.
That is the way they were created. And that is the way they will remain.
It’s a natural fact. And the sooner people stop fighting that fundamental difference, the happier they will become.
Ladies, men really do think linearly. Gentlemen, ladies really do over-think situations – it’s just how the genders are programmed.
There’s no use denying it. It doesn’t matter how many times we try and change that fact, the deal is – that’s the way it is.
So, given that information, isn’t it time we accept the differences and make allowances for them? I’m not saying this difference is an excuse to shirk personal responsibilities or not give 110% to the relationship, but the sooner we take these differences into account, the sooner we can adjust our thinking, and behavior, and make our marriages stronger.
It took me a long, long, LONG time to accept the fact that my husband has specific emotional and physical needs.
A long time.
I fought those needs for years. And I think I largely fought them because they interfered with MY activities, MY moods, MY time, or … whatever else you want to throw in there.
Because once again, OUR marriage was about ME.
Or so I fooled myself into thinking for years and years.
Think how much time I wasted by simply being selfish and stubborn. Once I accepted his … maleness, things began to settle for me. We started having more good days than bad. I chilled, to put it bluntly. And once I chilled, he relaxed. And once I became more thoughtful, patient, kind and understanding, he did as well. He started “living” with me as opposed to simply “existing” with me.
Suddenly, our marriage had substance. It was fulfilling. It was satisfying and most of all? It became FUN once again.
Not to make anyone roll their eyes or anything, but honestly, Kevin and I communicate several times a day. We send sweet, flirty emails back and forth. Either I call him to see how his day is going, or he calls me to see what I’m up to. We’ve done this for so long now, I can’t remember a time we DIDN’T do this.
I realize not everyone has the freedom during their day to communicate on a daily basis, but making that effort, especially when you don’t have time, carries even more weight with your spouse. Because he/she KNOWS, you took time out of your busy schedule to make room for him/her.
Oh sure, there were (are) times I felt squeezed and a bit suffocated by all the attention.
I’m weird, I suppose. I NEED my space from time-to-time. But whenever that has happened (or happens), I simply tell Kevin that we need to stop the lovey-dovey stuff for a bit because I’m feeling impatient/claustrophobic/stressed … whatever. I don’t simply pull back and start acting like a cold fish thereby confusing and hurting him – I TELL the man what’s going on in my head.
And he returns the favor.
We have learned to embrace our differences.