Monday, May 18, 2009

The Love Dare

My wife and I just shared our 5th anniversary. We went out to eat for dinner at one of our favorite places, and as a gift for both of us, I picked up a copy of a book that my best friend Kevin recommended. It is called "The Love Dare." The book is designed for couples to go through together for 40 days. Throughout that time period, the book challenges the couple in many ways. You are asked to examine the things that make you upset, to begin to control your anger and have patience, to share your feelings.

We started today. The very first thing we read about was having patience - especially when your spouse does something to make you angry. Our challenge is to use patience whenever we get upset for the next day and then talk through what that was like tomorrow night. We also spent some time talking about some of the things that make us upset, in an effort to stop doing the things that make us mad to begin with.

As you might expect, the things that she was doing that made me mad - she did not know it was making me mad. Now that she knows, she can take steps to stop putting me in that situation. One thing we talked about was navigation in the car on trips. I thought she was criticizing me in the moment while I was driving - she thought she was helping by suggesting something I could do that would be better. Now that we've talked about it, it'll be better.

The whole point of the book (I assume, since I'm only on day 1) will be that if we as husbands and wives would take time - real, quality, regular time - to sit down and get real with each other and talk this stuff out, we would have healthier, stronger relationships. But so often we just try not to make waves, or we think it will get better, or we think they will pick up on the subtle clues that we leave (THEY WON'T!). In order for a relationship to become unshakable, it first has to be shaken. It's not easy to talk about this stuff through, but it is absolutely essential to any relationship that wants to last.

What has been going on in your relationship that you need to talk about? Will you commit to practicing patience when you're upset and talk through the things that make you angry later when you're calmed down? Is your relationship important enough to do whatever it takes to make it last? Mine is.

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