Greeted her with a simple morning greeting to have a great day. I want to speak blessing on her day.. that's why I greet her every morning since Day 9. No repsonse, but none needed. I made the list and prayed. I also reread the dare. I felt a prompting that I needed to share not only this list, but something about my relationship with God. Not a lot, just a little. I asked God to search my heart and remove selfish motivations and manipulations. I asked myself if our divorce was final today, would I still send this email and the answer was clearly, "yes". I prayed again for God to show me how to please Him. I felt an even stronger urge to share this with her. So I emailed this to her.
Had I been the man I should have been, and the husband that you needed, I would have made this list before we married and lived by it.... not wait until you asked for a divorce. Hindsight can be so bitter.
I will pray for patience and understanding to avoid disagreements.
I will pray before, during and after each disagreement, seeking patience and understanding from God.
I will listen first, be slow to speak.
I will not raise my voice above normal speaking volume.
If I find myself or you becoming angry, I will take a time out.
I will not throw items, slam doors or damage items that are important to you or me.
I will not say or do things with the intention of hurting you.
I will guard my words to avoid unintentionally hurting you.
I will not block a room so that you cannot leave.
I will not speak of divorce… ever.
I will not degrade you in any way.
I will not argue in front of the children.
No matter the circumstances, I will greet you each morning with a kiss and tell you that I love you.
No matter the circumstances, I will end each day with a goodnight kiss and tell you that I love you.
I will agree to disagree when a solution cannot be immediately found, however, will strive not to let problems linger.
I will not react in ways to manipulate you, I will act in love.
I will not react angrily or negatively to circumstances, instead choosing to pray for those that choose to do us harm and for wisdom in correcting the situation.
I will not drink alcohol… period.
You may think that this is an attempt in of itself to manipulate you, but it's not. Deciding that I needed to make changes required that I look at my own faults and not justify or rationalize my actions based on anyone else's. We all have faults, but I have spent so much time blaming others for the things I didn't like about myself, that I ignored my own.
You deserve to know that I recognize my faults that attributed to the condition of our marriage. Yes, you have faults, too, but I have complete control over my actions and no control over yours. I know you felt as though you were dysfunctional as a wife, but that really could not be farther from the truth. I was dysfunctional as a man and husband. There are certain things that a man should take responsibility for in a marriage, and I took no responsibility for those things. Not to get preachy, but there is one Bible verse that has echoed in my head for weeks.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" - Ephesians 5:25
I've read this verse a hundred times, but never understood what it was actually saying (Men always focus on the Wives submit yourself to your husbands part). It's not saying that I "feel" love towards you when you are lovable... God is commanding me to love you. An action, not a feeling... unconditional just as Christ loved us. There are no conditions placed on loving you. I must do it.. and I will. Nowhere is a wife commanded to love her husband. It is my sole responsibly to love you when I spoke those vows to you on our wedding day.
I failed. I chose not to love you when you weren't lovable. We can blame a thousand other things, but the reason we are here right now is because I ultimately failed to love you as I was supposed to. Ultimately, the responsibility is mine.
BTW. I will not stop standing for our marriage.
She has been so hard on herself for her short-comings. I don't think I've ever know anyone to beat themselves up as much as she has. I keep forgetting that I AM her husband. We may be apart, and I don't know if she filed for divorce yet, BUT she is still my wife.
Time and time again, I've seen people use Salvation to manipulate someone else into something they want that person to do. I have been very concerned about that and how it would disrupt her potential walk with Christ, which is ultimately what I want most for her. It's hard because I can share my joy with everyone else but her for fear that it will push her away from God further.... and she's the one person that I must be a testimony for. So I just prayed for a way to convey this and I have prayed for several days.
I cannot force my changes on her, but I can give her a glimpse of the transformation without using my Salvation as way to condemn her for her decisions. I'd rather use my Salvation to lift her up... not allowing her to suffer for the poor decsions that I made because of ego and pride... and ultimately my lack of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
People do not really push others away with their testimony. When it is a true testimony they are convicted. Usually they cannot handle it or do not want to feel it.
But no matter what, it will stick in their minds when it is needed. The testimony is you planting the seed. Christ will take it from there. If they choose to ignore it or fight it, that is not on you.
But the most important thing is... Being a true testimony. Not a show off or a manipulator. But with Christs guidance it is easy.
Received an email from her this morning.
"Knock yourself out....there is no marriage. As far as I'm concerned its just a piece of paper."
I was initially awash in comfort, but then fear began building. I caught myself thinking why would God prompt me to do the dares, continue to encourage me to do them and then allow me be continually rejected. All about me, huh?
I went to the restroom, cried a little, and thanked God for continually molding me to His son's image. I asked Him to forgive my selfishness and I then prayed that God would lift Melanie up today, comfort her and that she would have a great day.
It was a little later that I realized how many times I had rejected Christ, yet when I cried out to Him, He lovingly picked me up and gave me new life, holding no account of my actions. I am to be Christ-like. Melanie is rejecting me right now and it hurts. It must have hurt Christ so much more. When Melanie returns, I will lovingly welcome her back into my arms and hold no account.
She read this email and chose to respond with anger/resentment when most of the other dares were ignored. I will use this opportunity to put action to my words of Day 13. I prayed for a way to respond in keeping with my email.
"I understand why you feel that way. I hope you have a great day today"!
I'm almost "giddy" right now and don't even know why.
She will respond with Venom until the conviction of the actions are either not true, or that she cannot hide from them any more and seeks out Christ.
This is where Christ is teaching humbleness. You are passing, she is not!