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Day 32- Love meets sexual needs

25 May
**WARNING- Once again, this blog contains information that is likely to induce blushing and make you feel uncomfortable… Proceed with caution**

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. –1 Corinthians 7:3

Today’s Dare-

If at all possible, try to initiate sex with you husband or wife today. Do this in a way that honors what your spouse has told you (or implied to you) about what they need from you sexually. Ask God to make this enjoyable for both of you as well as a path to greater intimacy.

Was this a satisfying experience for you? If it didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, what doyou think is complicating matters? Have you committed this to prayer? If it was a true blessing for both of you, what can you learn from this for the future?

This chapter struck a chord for me. In the chapter, it said “If you let your mate know- by words, actions, or inactions- that sex needn’t be any more than you want it to be, you rob from them a sense of honor and endearment that has been set in place by biblical mandate. You violate the “one flesh” unity of marriage.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been so selfish, and to be totally honest- I have used the lack of sex as a punishment. I’m sure I make myself out to be the worst wife ever… and maybe I have been. At the time, I told myself- why am I going to have sex with him after he has made me so mad today? I hope that I’m not the only person thinking that way.

The chapter goes on to say “now it is your turn to pay the loving price to win the heart of your mate. When you do, you will enjoy the pure delight that flows when sex is done for all the right reasons.” How beautiful.

Initiating sex is really hard for me. I think it makes me feel really vulnerable, and I absolutely HATE feeling that way. But, I really wanted to complete this dare. In fact, I know that this is one of my husband’s strongest desires is for me to initiate sex. He has often asked me why I don’t and has asked me if I am not attracted to him. I had a few days to pray about it and ask for courage.

So anyway… Mission Accomplished! It was satisfying, but all of this just makes me realize that the self-esteem/insecurity stuff has got to be dealt with. I just don’t know how you really fix it. If you have any suggestions, I am absolutely open!

Day 31- Love and Marriage

21 May
A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. –Genesis 2:24

Today’s Dare-

Is there a “leaving” issue you haven’t been brave enough to conquer yet? Confess it to your spouse today, and resolve to make it right. The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it. Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.

Has this been a hard thing for you to deal with? How has it affected your relationship? If the worse offender in this area is your spouse (with your in-laws), how can you lovingly move this toward a better solution?

Fortunately, this is one issue that we don’t really have in our marriage. This chapter is all about breaking the ties of our families and putting our spouse first. Our relationships with our family have to change when we get married because we have to find our own path as a couple. They give an example that your parents should step into the role of counselors to be respected, but can no longer tell you what to do.

I actually know a number of friends who struggle with this. They never really “left” home in that their parents still have more weight in their life than their partner. They haven’t found a path as a couple and all of their decisions are made by their parents or family members.

We have both felt pulled by our families at one time or another. We’ve felt the need to please them and comply with their wishes, but we have somehow found a way to come together and make the choice that was best for us. I know that at times, those choices have left his family thinking that I make the decision for him. Havie changed ALOT once we decided to get married. All of his priorities changed. So, I can understand that it might look like I’m the one controlling everything because they can’t imagine him making that choice.

I would like to make it clear though, we never make a decision alone. Period. I truly honor his opinion and I don’t do anything that he disagrees with. We work hard to find a win-win solution. Sometimes we have to compromise, but we can live with that. At the end of the day, we know that we did what we had to do for us. And that’s all that matters.

Day 30- Love Brings Unity

20 May
Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. –John 17:11

Today’s Dare-

Isolate one area of division in your marriage, and look on today as a fresh opportunity to pray about it. Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse. Pray that He would do the same for them. And if appropriate, discuss this matter openly, seeking God for unity.

Did the Lord open your eyes to anything new that might be giving fuel to this point of disagreement? How do you intend to respond? What do you hope to see God do in your spouse as well?

I would have to say that unity is the one marital quality that I’ve desperately wanted and have been unable to sustain for any length of time. We’ve seen spurts of it here and there, but for the most part- the marriage has (at least for me) often felt more like a battleground and we’re on opposite sides of the field. So it’s not actually one area of division, but rather “the” division in our marriage that prayed about.

God has been revealing an issue that is threatening our unity throughout this process. It’s a number of things that all really boil down to my self-esteem. I don’t believe that anyone could truly love me, and so I’m always looking for confirmation of that fact. My insecurity rears it’s ugly head and has even led me to bully my husband. I’ve tried to convince him that he is the issue. I am so ashamed of the way I have behaved. I nearly ruined this gift that was given to us.

It occurs to me that God loves me unconditionally- flaws and all. I believe that with every fiber of my being. If He can love me, maybe my husband can too. I don’t have to be perfect to be lovable. I will keep praying that I will receive God’s love and share it with my husband. Maybe I will then be able to accept and receive my husband’s love.

I pray that God will help Havie receive my love. That he will be able to let go of what I’ve done and see that it is different now. I will continue to try regardless.

Day 29- Love’s Motivation

19 May
Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men. –Ephesians 6:7 HCSB

Today’s Dare-

Before you see your spouse again today, pray for them by name and for their needs. Whether it comes easy for you or not, say “I love you,” then express love to them in some tangible way. Go to God in prayer again, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person– unconditionally, the way He loves both of you.

How will this change of motivation affect your relationship and reactions? What does this inspire you to do? What does it inspire you to stop doing?

This was a pretty simple dare to complete, but I can see it’s effectiveness immediately. It is going to be a few more days before I see my spouse again, but I pray for him and his needs everyday. I am grateful that we are not in a place where we are reluctant to tell each other “I love you.” There are many couples at this stage in the game who are so low down that they refuse to say it. I thank God we never made it to that point.

I chose to express my love by having dinner delivered to Havie yesterday. I was able to surprise him with pizza and pasta. I wanted him to be able to relax instead of cooking before he went in to work. He seemed really happy about it.

When I finally made it to my bed last night (long story, sick puppy…) I remembered to thank God for providing Havie for me to love. I thanked God for creating such an amazing man. I am truly a lucky girl and I need to remember that.

This morning, when Havie called and woke me up at 5:30am, he asked me if I have been taking our dogs on walks. This brought up an anger in me. I just said yes I have and that was that, but I was angry. Didn’t he know that I would take care of them? Why did he want to know? etc.

But a voice in my heart said, “Let it go.” It doesn’t matter. You are walking the dogs and now he knows that too. I felt the anger subside and I was truly grateful. I would have called him back, asked him why he asked me that, and it would have turned into an argument. It has happened so many times before.

I wasn’t thinking at that moment- oh, I should be motivated by God’s love… I reacted by instict because I am filled with God’s love. I’ve been waiting for this to happen. For my response to be guided by love instead of frustration. I am just amazed and blessed and grateful.

Motivated

18 May

Okay kiddos, I am back on my game! I am completing day 29 today, so be on the lookout for a new Love Dare blog tomorrow!

I wanted to go ahead and blog because I am just feeling so much motivation this morning and I want to keep it going! Thank you God!

I had a productive day yesterday- finally stopped moping and got some stuff done. If I am making this sacrifice- it had better be worth it. My husband is working hard, so I need to be on my A game too!

I have found a walking/workout/get-me-out-of-the-house buddy! We are getting started tonight! Thank you so much Michelle!!!

I am not going to start an official “diet” program, but I am just going to eat right. I have read enough books, done enough dieting, etc. I know what I need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. And the first and foremost is to actually eat 3 meals a day and do some cooking.

I am also going to start packing because we are moving in about a month. I am going to have a whole new batch of items for sale very soon!

Stay tuned!

It’s getting harder

13 May

It’s going to take me a few more days to get back into the swing of things, but I promise that I will. I am just processing everything, and trying to figure out how this new situation is going to pan out.

Last night was Havie’s first actual work day. He’s had tests and orientations all week, but last night was the first real shift. We got to talk when I got out of work until about 6ish. Then he had to turn his cell off and leave it in the car because he could get fired for having it in the refinery. It was excruciating not being able to just call him up and say hi. I just wanted the comfort of being able to hear his voice and know that he was okay. I finally just had to call and listen to his voicemail and then of course leave a tearful message to let him know just how much I missed him.

When he took his lunch break, he got my message. He was tempted to come back home, and truthfully I’ve been tempted to ask him to come home. BUT we are only 3 days in to this and it will get easier. He called me when he got off this morning at 5:30 am, but I was still so sleepy that I wasn’t much for conversation. By the time I was fully awake and ready to talk some more, he was asleep…

The truth is, I know that this is what we need. I have been far too reliant upon him. I need to remember how to take care of myself becuase we want to start a family. It’s going to be a hard lesson to learn, but necessary.

Wow

8 May

I just don’t know how else to title this blog… The past few days have been a whirlwind and rollercoaster that have exhausted me emotionally, but blessed us immensely.

On Wednesday, I blogged about love making sacrifices. I put myself full force into the sacrifices I chose to make. I listed several items on Craigs List, put them up on Facebook, and was shocked that we got immediate responses!

Wednesday morning, Havie went to work and by 8 am, he had quit. When Havie couldn’t find a harness that he wasn’t even responsible for, his boss asked him, “Are you stupid or just lazy?” That was the last straw for him. He said that he only did it because I had told him that it was okay.

By Wednesday evening, we had made a little over $1,000 and Havie had a promising job prospect… in Louisiana. It was going to be a 4-5 month job doing new construction on one of the biggest refineries in the country. We already knew that there was no work here in Corpus Christi because Havie had been looking for months. Havie was really excited because the job was going to pay him $5.50 more per hour, plus 20-30 hours of overtime each week, and they are paying an additional $420/week in living expenses. He was also excited because it is going to be challenging and rewarding experience.

It took me a little bit to get excited, but we started figuring out that if we followed through with lowering our expenses and were very frugal over the next few months, we could pay off all of our debts (except for student loans) and save enough for Havie to go to school without going into debt! I felt like this was another sacrifice that I could make for my husband.

Thursday rolls around and Havie gets the job! Then it hits us, we need a 2nd car! We knew one of our friends was planning to sell their ’97 Ford Taurus for $1,000. Lucky us, we just made $1,000 bucks! So, Havie calls our friends up and they proceed to tell us that they felt God was leading them to GIVE us the car. Despite our protests, they assured us that this is what they wanted to do, but were waiting until the time was right. Our heads are spinning, trying to figure out how to accept such a gift. Why us? Surely we aren’t deserving…

Within two hours, we had our answer when our Suburban broke down. It had been acting up for a few days, but we just thought it was the alternator going out. We had it towed to a local shop when it couldn’t be jumped. Turns out the fuel pump had gone out and caused some other problem. I bet you won’t guess about how much it’s going to cost to fix it! 🙂

Are you following all of this with me?!? God is too good. Havie could have been in the middle of nowhere when this happened. This all could have happened so differently. I am just amazed and grateful.

The night ended with us rushing to the ER because Havie’s dad was having chest pains. He was really sick and dehydrated. They kept him overnight, but it looks like he’s going to be okay.

By the end of the day today, we will have two operational vehicles. Sunday morning, Havie will be leaving for Louisiana. This might pose a question about The Love Dare, but don’t fret, I will continue to do it long distance! Lots of people do it, especially in the military! I have faith that it will all be okay because it is God’s Will.

Day 28- Love makes sacrifices

6 May
He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. –1 John 3:16 HCSB

Today’s Dare-

What is one of the greatest needs in your spouse’s life right now? Is there a need you could lift from their shoulders today by a daring act of sacrifice on your part? Whether the need is big or small, purpose to do what you can to meet their need.

How much of your mate’s stress is caused by your lack of concern or initiative? When you expressed a desire to help, how did they receive it? Are there other needs you could meet?

My husband’s biggest need right now is his career situation. He is miserable and doesn’t see a way out. The economy has put an end to the type of work that he’s been doing for years. So, if he leaves this job, he won’t be making nearly as much money and he will have to start all over in a different line of work. He doesn’t want to hurt us financially, especially since I am already making less money now than I was a few months ago. I’ve tried to tell him that it is okay and that we are going to be alright, but he’s not buying it.

I decided that the biggest sacrifice I could make would be to sell off a bunch of things to make us some cash and move into a smaller and cheaper place to live. This will help us in two ways- If our monthly bills are smaller, then Havie will be able to find another job AND we will be able to put him in school so he can start working toward the career he really wants.

We have been living below our means already, but I am really going to strap down now and do whatever it takes. I know that his biggest stress comes from feeling like he has to provide for me. And he has been a wonderful provider. But now, I need to turn the tables and provide for him so that later he can provide for his family and be happy about it.

He understands why I want to do this and he is grateful, but at the same time apprehensive. He doesn’t want me to be unhappy, and I won’t be. I thought that I would, but I can see that I am going to be okay. I don’t need the stuff and the nice home to make me feel good anymore.

There are lots of needs that I can meet, and I plan to meet those needs as well, but for now this is my main concern.

Day 27- Love encourages

5 May
Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. –Psalm 25:20

Today’s Dare-

Eliminate the poison of unrealistic expectations in your home. Think of one area where your spouse has told you you’re expecting too much, and tell them you’re sorry for being so hard on them about it. Promise them you’ll seek to understand, and assure them of your unconditional love.

When you place high expectations on your spouse that they don’t feel internally motivated to attain, what does that tell you about yourself? What are some better ways to deal with these disconnects?

I chose to apologize to my husband for being so hard on him about his joking around. Havie has never come right out and said that I’m expecting too much of him, but I can tell by his reactions and the fact that he hasn’t changed any. One aspect of it that he has truly tried to restrain from is his degrading remarks about himself. A few week ago, I expressed to him that it really bothered me that he was willing to talk so badly about himself.

I often take his joking way too personally and feel disrespected by it. Not that he is saying anything degrading about me. I want to make that clear. I’ve never really considered his motivation behind it which is to make me happy. I am sure this all sounds silly, but our fights often begin with him making some joking comment that I get all booty hurt about and then it spirals from there.

This chapter made me realize that I need to relax, consider his motivation, and see it at face value. I also need to really consider if I am truly offended or if I am just irritated and wanting him to change because I’ve asked him to. It is so small, but it’s grown to be a big problem. I need to let it go.

Day 26- Love is responsible

29 Apr
When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. –Romans 2:1 HCSB

Today’s Dare-

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse. Do it sincerely and truthfully. Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well. No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love. Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

What does your mate need to see in order to believe that your confession was more than just words.

The very first words of this chapter go something like this: Today will be hard. But as you seek God’s strength and wisdom, you will be able to get through it. This day could be a milestone in your marriage if you allow it to be. Boy, they weren’t kidding.

I knew that this day was coming. I looked ahead the very first week of the dare and saw that it was a matter of time before I would get to this day. I have probably been dragging my heels a bit to avoid it, but at the same time I knew that it was necessary.

I made a list of my wrong doings and prayed about them asking God for forgiveness. I asked Him for His strength and grace to make it through. I felt like I was ready to face my greatest fears and admit my wrongdoings.

I told Havie that I wanted to be completely honest with him by admitting what I’ve done wrong and correct my errors up front. I told him that I haven’t been taking responsibility for myself. That I’ve been selfish and unfair. I’ve resented him, lied to him, and judged him harshly. I have hurt him emotionally and physically. I have tried to control certain aspects of our life. I have been lazy. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Finally, I had to admit something that I am very ashamed of. Back in January, at the height of our problems at home and work. I reached out to someone from my past. An ex-boyfriend. The one and only ex-boyfriend that I knew would be the last person he would want me talking to. I was in communication with him over the course of several weeks through e-mail, text, and a couple of phone calls. It never went anything past that. It wasn’t that I was trying to rekindle a relationship with this person, but I needed some kind of confirmation. And I got it. If it weren’t for that time, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.

It was a wake up call for me. I realized just how bad things were. That person encouraged me to save my marriage at any cost because he hadn’t done that in his marriage. I realized that I loved my husband and wanted to save my marriage. It made me realize that I had to make a drastic change which led to the career change and then the love dare.

It is going to take time, but he is not nearly as angry with me and I expected him to be. I have been honest and loving about answering his questions. He told me that he can see the difference between January and now and that’s why he believes me. I am going to have to continue to be intentional everyday about repairing my wrongdoings and keeping them from happening again.