(This post was originally published 5-21-09).
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 Five: Love is not rude. Ask your spouse (during a quiet, relaxed moment), to tell you three things that cause him/her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking him/her or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only. What things did your spouse point out about you that need your attention? How did you handle hearing it? What do you plan to do to improve these areas?
From The Love Dare book:
¤¤¤ Nothing irritates others as quickly as being rude. Rudeness is unnecessarily saying or doing things that are unpleasant for another person to be around. To be rude is to act unbecoming, embarrassing, or irritating. In marriage, this could be a foul mouth, poor table manners, or a habit of making sarcastic quips. However you look at it, no one enjoys being around a rude person. Rude behavior may seem insignificant to the person doing it, but it’s unpleasant to those on the receiving end.
As always, love has something to say about this. When a man is driven by love, he intentionally behaves in a way that’s more pleasant for his wife to be around. If she desires to love him, she purposefully avoids things that frustrate him or cause him discomfort.
The bottom line is that genuine love minds its manners.
Embracing this one concept could add some fresh air to your marriage. Good manners express to your wife or husband, “I value you enough to exercise some self-control around you. I want to be a person who’s a pleasure to be with.” When you allow love to change your behavior — even in the smallest of ways — you restore an atmosphere of honor to your relationship. People who practice good etiquette tend to raise the respect level of the environment around them.
There are two main reasons why people are rude: ignorance and selfishness. Neither, of course, is a good thing. A child is born ignorant of etiquette, needing lots of help and training. Adults, however, display their ignorance at another level. You know the rules, but you can be blind to how you break them or be too self-centered to care. In fact, you may not realize how unpleasant you can be to live with.
Do you wish your spouse would quit doing the things that bother you? Then it’s time to stop doing the things that bother them. Will you be thoughtful and loving enough to discover and avoid the behavior that causes life to be unpleasant for your mate? Will you dare to be delightful? ¤¤¤
Rude people turn me OFF. People who spout off the first thing that come to their mind, without giving any thought to how that will affect those around them, annoy me. People who say hurtful things and think they’re “entitled” to speak their mind and do so without caring how their angry words will be received, disgust me.
Who died and made them curator of human kind?
Kevin is anything BUT rude. He goes out of his way to be nice to people – so much so, sometimes, that I get irritated with him because people, being people, take advantage of his good nature and he ends up doing way more than he should simply because he’s too nice to tell them no. He’s gentle, kind, and quite thoughtful and I can probably give you a handful of examples of him being rude to people in the 21 years I’ve known him. Now don’t get me wrong, the man has a temper, when provoked, but it takes a lot for him to get there and when he does, I’m usually the first to back down. But overall, he’s a pretty even-tempered person.
Now me, on the other hand, can be quite rude. I can be quite cutting, and disturbingly cruel if provoked (or not – sometimes I’m rude just because I’m feeling b*tchy).
I’m quick on my feet and when angered, can be uncaring and unfeeling in order to reduce the other person to mush in about 2.2 seconds.
Given this fact about me, and looking back over the years with my spouse, I can honestly say that I don’t think I could have gotten along with any other personality OTHER than that of my gentle and patient husband.
If I had married another volatile personality, such as myself, I think we would have killed each other by now.
I’m not telling you this to boast, or make myself out to be some badass, but because this has been one of my more serious flaws and one that I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I have an ugly temper. And being intentionally rude? Is never far behind that temper.
This has been one of my personal, and most challenging, demons to date. And I struggle with this demon on a daily basis – with both my husband and my children.
Heck, with every aspect of my life, since we’re being frank here.
But here’s where it gets confusing – I’m rarely rude to people outside my family.
I have more patience with other people. I suppose, if we’re being analytical here (and we are), it’s because I don’t really have any expectations when it comes to other people – I can roll with the punches and deal with any disappointment because I’m not invested enough in those around me to honestly CARE how they handle themselves.
But when it comes to my family, I have high expectations. And when they don’t act a certain way or do something that I think they should be doing, I’m disappointed and one way for me to deal with my disappointment is to be annoyed with them.
I’m painting such an attractive picture of myself, aren’t I? But hey, I’m just keeping it real and I’m not revealing anything that I don’t already know, or that I haven’t accepted about myself for years now.
What I’m trying to tell you is this – it’s taken me a long time to recondition myself to NOT be rude to my husband so if you think this is an exercise you can master over night, I think you’ll be disappointed. It takes time. It takes a willingness to improve. It requires a level of honesty that some people are not willing to obtain.
It’s not easy.
But so worth it in the end because I feel like I’m a better person NOW than I’ve ever BEEN.
This morning, I asked Kevin to list three things about me that made him uncomfortable. Here is what he said:
1. The fact that I’m an excellent liar. (He’s right).
2. My unwillingness to go see a doctor when he can see I’m in pain. (True).
3. The fact that I make him out to be villain and unduly accuse him of being mean.
This last one took me aback. Do I do that? I’ve been thinking about what he said all morning and yeah, I think he’s right. Whenever I’m talking about my relationship with my mom, or have revealed anything about my relationship to my girlfriends, I HAVE made him out to be some evil villain when I knew, in my heart, he wasn’t; I was simply saying those things to justify my own irrational behavior.
But I think what bothers me the most is that HE sees that – that he’s aware of what I’m doing and that it hurts him when I do.
Hearing things like this about yourself is never easy, but it’s almost always helpful – IF you have the right frame of mind about it and take it with humility. I think the real challenge is trying to do something about it.
On a side note: Looking over the next several Love Dare lessons, I’ve decided I’m going to just skip around and list five more lessons that I think are moving the challenge forward. Lessons six through ten are pretty much a regurgitation of what has already been covered, so let’s ramp this up a notch and go for the jugular, shall we? *grin*
P.S. I find it interesting that I’ve lost some RSS readers this week. It’s never easy to self-analyze and I’m sorry if I’ve made anyone uncomfortable with these Love Dare posts -but I’ll be honest, I think this stuff NEEDS to be said and if I’m making people uncomfortable by trying do something positive and worthwhile (saving relationships), then I’m willing to take the punches. I’m sorry to see you go, but I have to do this. I feel compelled to do this.
Thank you for reading.