(This post was originally published 5-25-09).
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 Nine: Love takes delight. Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse. Do something he/she would love to do or a project they’d really like to work on. Just be together. What did you decide to give up? What did you do together? How did it go? What new thing did you learn (or relearn) about your spouse?
From The Love Dare book:
¤¤¤ One of the most important things you should learn on your Love Dare journey is that you should not just follow your heart. You should lead it. You don’t let your feelings and emotions do the driving. You put them on the back seat and tell them where you’re going.
In your marriage relationship, you won’t always feel like loving. It is unrealistic for your heart to constantly thrill at the thought of spending every moment with your spouse. Nobody can maintain a burning desire for togetherness just on feelings alone. But it’s also difficult to love someone only out of obligation.
A newlywed takes delight in the one they now call their spouse. Their love is fresh and young, and the hopes for a romantic future linger in their hearts. However, there is something just as powerful as that fresh, new love. It comes from the decision to delight in your spouse and to love him or her no matter how long you’ve been married. In other words, love that chooses to love is just as powerful as love that feels like loving. In many ways, it’s a truer love because it has its eyes wide open.
Left to ourselves, we’ll always lean toward being disapproving of one another. She’ll get on your nerves. He’ll aggravate you. But our days are too short to waste in bickering over petty things. Life is too fleeting for that.
Instead, it’s time to lead your heart to once again delight in your mate. Enjoy your spouse. Take her hand and seek her companionship. Desire his conversation. Remember why you fell in love with her personality. Accept this person — quirks and all — and welcome him or her back into your heart.
Again, you get to choose what you treasure. It’s not like you’re born with certain pre-sets and preferences you’re destined to operate from. If you’re irritable, it’s because you choose to be. If you can’t function without a clean house, it’s because you’ve decided no other way will do. If you pick at your mate more than you praise them, it’s because you’ve allowed your heart to be selfish. You’ve led yourself into criticism.
So now it’s time to lead your heart back out. It’s time to learn to delight in your spouse again, then to watch your heart actually start enjoying who they are.
Today’s dare may be directing you to a real and radical change of heart. For some, the move toward delight may be only a small step away. For others, it may require a giant leap from ongoing disgust.
But if you’ve been delighted before — which you were when you got married — you can be delighted again. Even if it’s been a long time. Even if it a whole lot has happened to change your perspective.
The responsibility is yours to relearn what you love about this one to whom you’ve promised yourself forever. ¤¤¤
Kevin is my best friend. He always has been. So we’ve always done everything together from the very first date. We LIKE each other’s company. We LIKE hanging around with each other.
Granted, there are times he drives me insane because after all, he’s a guy. And because he’s male, his listening skills aren’t the best. And because he’s male, he tends to want to fix everything as opposed to just passively sitting by and allowing me to vent or sound off. And because he’s male, he simply doesn’t understand WHY I get so upset over things (quite frankly, neither do I, at times).
So, having him as my best friend isn’t always that satisfying – I crave a female friendship at times. The problem is, I don’t have a female friendship I can turn to. (Totally my fault and totally my choice).
There are times I need more from him than he’s capable of giving me. I realize this. I accept this. And I make adjustments. It’s certainly not his fault – he’s simply being who he is.
We are constantly doing things for each other that we don’t want to. I make trips to Lowe’s with him (I hate Lowe’s – such a snoozer for me). He is constantly doing things for me (I call it my “honey-do” list) and he doesn’t always feel like doing them.
He CONSTANTLY wants to go play tennis – I can’t stand tennis, you’re chasing a ball around and I feel stupid doing it – but I go because I know he enjoys it.
I talked him into tanning with me even though he felt completely uncomfortable with the idea and now, he is actually enjoying himself and wonders why he hadn’t been doing this in year’s past (sure beats sweating in the sun for hours at a time and hey! No tans lines! SEXY).
My point is, we do things with each other even when we don’t necessarily like it, or want to, but in the end, we end up enjoying the activity and we have solidified our relationship as a result.
So I would suggest make the effort. Spend time together. DO things together. INVEST your time in each other.
The same can be said about sex, too. I’ve purposefully kept the intimate aspect of this dare out because well, it’s a personal and intimate thing and I’m certainly not going to talk about my sex life with the world. However, I will say this, ladies, lighten up on the whole sex issue.
This goes right along with the whole “I really don’t want to, or feel like it” thing, but the funny thing is, once you get started, one can actually get into it and enjoy it.
And trust me when I say, your man? Will be putty in your hands if he’s satisfied. Enough said.
Does this make it sound like you’re using sex as a tool? Well yes, you are, to an extent. But you’re also respecting the FACT that he’s male and he HAS NEEDS that simply must be met. When they’re met, he’s more relaxed, he’s happier and he is more willing to be the type of husband you want him to be.
And gentlemen, please respect the fact that sex for a woman? Is all about the emotional aspect. Tease her. Make her laugh. Challenge her intellectually. Make her FEEL sexy and you’re in.
The Love Dare book has a section about intimacy. And for many, this is a SERIOUS issue – one that must be addressed and worked through because like it or not, sex is absolutely a big part of marriage.
I’m trying to talk Kevin into making a video with me today. We’ll have been married for 19 years tomorrow and I thought it would be cute to talk about when we first met and silly stuff like that. I have no idea if he’ll actually agree to it, but if he does, he will because he loves me and he wants to make me happy.
And I will likely tag along with him to the music store today so he can buy more guitar strings – not because I want to, but because he wants me to. To him, that’s a sign that I love him when I’m willing to put my desires aside and go with him.
Give, give and take. It’s a pattern that takes some getting used to, but it’s also a pattern that works in a marriage.
Now go, take delight in each other today.