Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Double Dare You

If practice makes perfect then why does it seem success is such a fleeting state, and mostly we're trying and trying again. Every year these last five years we have ended up with a meltdown of sorts, requiring hash it out communication and then we're like newly weds again.....for a little while.

Among a few other stressers/baggage, I think I've narrowed down the main issue (since past baggage existed before 5 years ago) to a bad small group/church experience, it caused some new trust issues (like old ones weren't enough) and made us question if we'd ever be equipped to be spiritual leaders.  We've both had moments of on and off again floundering in our life and marriage since then, partly because we took a step back from Church at that time and haven't quite made it back to the deep imersion we had then.  My husband's issues have manifested more in our daily life, sporatic passion for spiritual growth now means there are large chunks of time he has a lot of strongholds that we face on a daily basis. Then there are my struggles, which are buried under the pile of more important focuses, like what I 'should' be doing for my husband, what I 'should' be doing for my boss, what I 'should' be doing for God, even what I 'should' be doing for myself because those struggles 'should' have been dealt with already, and they fester under all that until they explode into every part of my life. Sometimes I can feel hurt by him on a daily basis (which I've purposfully refrained from writing about, until now).  Less often I hurt him, but when I do I hurt him big.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one 'working at it'.  I know it's important to Sean too, but he's not one to dwell on negatives unless he has too, although he will vehemently support a song like this and remind me I do have a fully committed partner. But for the most part I'm the one reading the books, initiating the changes that are needed, etc. It's really hard to feel like I'm carrying that burden alone, but fortunately, when I turn that burden over to God and work on it alone out of obedience I am SO blessed.
Like during the Honor Your Hubby Challenges I've talked about here the last several years.

Like Fireproofing. Saw the movie last year, only now finally getting into the Love Dare book. It doesn't just dare you to REALLY love, it dares you to do it even with no participation from your significant other. I think it should be the Love Double Dare.  It's just as much a challenge to practice real love as it is to practice it unconditionally with the same effort not being returned. I'm not all the way through yet but best lesson for me so far; Love Believes the Best & Love Rejoices in the Truth.
Love chooses to -  believe the best, to give the benefit of the doubt, refuse to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions. Love covers all offenses.  It doesn't deny there are offenses, it just chooses to deal with them positively.

It talks about the Appreciation room and Depreciation room, and where we choose to live. Living in the Depreciation room leads to thoughts like, 'I should never have married them'. It's where divorces are birthed. We have to choose to live in the Appreciation room.

This reminded me of a post I read on a blog I follow somewhat, about the lies satan tells us. Here's a snippet of that post that has really helped me in some of my longest periods in the Depreciation room.

"But it wasn’t long ago at all in my marriage when nearly every disagreement I had with my husband left me vulnerable to satan’s lies. Some of the things I would begin to think were lies like this: “I never should have married him.” “I know I don’t believe in divorce, but he is clearly never going to change, so what’s the point in staying?” “I’m so messed up and I keep making the same mistakes in my marriage over and over. Maybe I should just quit trying.” “I bet there is a man out there who is much better for me.” “This is so hard. It’s not worth the fight anymore.”
It was our marriage counselor who first helped us to see that those kinds of thoughts, which ran counter to what Scripture teaches us, were nothing but lies. In learning to stop myself when those thoughts creep in, call them out (sometimes even out loud) as lies satan wants me to believe because he wants to destroy my marriage and my witness for Jesus.... I can cling to the truth.... I know that: “I was supposed to marry my husband.” “I don’t believe in divorce, and my husband may never change, but I can work on changing my own rotten attitude and spend time in prayer for my husband.” “I’m so messed up and I keep making the same mistakes in my marriage over and over. Isn’t it beautiful to serve a God of second (and third and fourth) chances?” “There is no man out there who is better for me than my husband. I married him and so this is the man I need to make marriage work with.” “This is so hard. I need to stop and ask God for the strength to keep fighting for my marriage.” (it's nice to know we're not the only ones!)

Remember, love rejoices in the truth! The world rejoices in options. It may seem, in the light of what's acceptable in our society, that in the face of pain a spouse can inflict, it is a courageous risk just to stay committed to that spouse, never mind love them as we are called to love.  That is not the truth. The truth is we're not perfect, and we knew that when we married each other.  The truth is we do not belong to the world, and should not love as the world loves. The truth is that the author of love is also the author of truth, he is always available to help us understand what true love is. And give us the strength to choose it. It does require strength, and boldness, to accept this challenge but then again, anything worth having is worth fighting for.

*Update 19/01/11* This great post , by a blog I've also begun following, came the day after I posted this, it really hit home with me and was just what I've been needing to hear. Thanks TWW :)

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