Saturday was Day 14 of my second round of The Dare. It started with a bump, but all in all, it was a good day.
A little back story, my wife owns a horse. We board it at her parent's house. Every year in July, we wait for the call from a local farmer that he has hay ready for us to come get. We buy enough to feed the horse for a whole year (about 150-200 bales). This requires multiple trips throwing bales on a trailer, driving back to my in-laws and then throwing the bales up into the loft of the barn. The best days for making hay is when it's hot (really hot). It's a tiring, sweat inducing, dusty undertaking. It's everyone's least favorite day of the year.
Anyway, my wife texted me Friday night to let me know that she got the call that it would be ready for us Saturday afternoon. She was worried because her parents were out of town for the weekend and she wasn't sure what to do. She wasn't able to get in contact with them because they were at a concert. I told her to let me know in the morning if she heard from them and what the plan was.
Saturday morning I didn't hear from her so I sent her a text and asked if she had talked with them. Her parents had agreed to come home early to help, so she said, "Yes. All set." I replied, "What time do you want me to come over." Her response was, "No. Don't need help."
Throughout the course of the dare, I've done my best to back down and respect her wishes, but in this case it didn't feel right. Without my help, her father would have had to throw all the hay into the loft by himself, as neither my wife nor my mother in law is strong enough to do it. That's a huge undertaking for a man in his mid 50's, with a bad back, on a 90 degree day. So I called her and put my foot down. I let her know that I didn't appreciate her not including me. I told her that it was rude (which I later apologized for... bad word choice). It didn't feel right to not help and I was just coming anyway.
By the silence on the phone, I could tell she didn't like that. She offered, "Well I'll call if you we need help. Is that okay?" My response was, "No, because I know you won't call." After a little talking she admitted that she was afraid it was going to be uncomfortable for everyone. Her mom hasn't been handling things well, so she was afraid she'd dissolve into tears. My response, "By separating we've put ourselves in an uncomfortable/awkward spot. There will be uncomfortable situations we have to deal with and this is just the first. We're all adults. We can get through it." Ultimately, she accepted my help.
I felt bad pushing myself into the situation, but I felt her pride and stubbornness were getting in the way. I wasn't doing this to be manipulative just so I could see her. I just truly felt it was wrong for me not to help. Her dad's tough, but that job takes a lot out of you.
In the end, I feel as though God blessed me with an opportunity to spend time with my wife. I don't feel as though it was a coincidence that the first time he allowed me to see her in almost a month, was on the day of The Dare when we were supposed to spend time together. And I don't think it's a coincidence that he brought us together in a situation that required us to do exhaustive work. I think there's a lot he was saying to us there. I'm just not sure if she sees it as I do.
We were supposed to pick the hay up in the farmer's field at 3 PM, but her father thought we should get there at 1:30. When we arrived he hadn't even started baling. This presented, what I feel, was the greatest blessing so far. While we waited her parents went off and sat at the edge of the field and my wife and I sat in the truck and just talked. For over an hour. We talked about anything and everything. She laughed and told stories. It was good to see her loosen up and not treat me like an enemy.
When all was said and done, we parted ways. I thanked her for letting me pitch in and help. She thanked me for helping. Her parents handled the situation well and her dad thanked me (and his back thanked me) as I was leaving. I have been praying a lot lately for an opportunity to see my wife, but got the impression that God didn't think I was quite ready. Yesterday he granted me my wish.
It is my hope that I did not let him down.
It was good to be a testimony in this situation. I am sure you will be blessed by it. But be careful and do not let this show you how to see her by pushing yourself in. This was a circumstance that was appropriate, but if not careful you will justify it in other less appropriate situations.
Thanks Sean. You're correct and thanks for the warning. My counselor had warned me that I will need to be very cautious with how I approach my wife, and I will need to be very mindful of when to put my foot down, or when to concede. I think in this situation it was appropriate to put my foot down, but you're right, there will be many situations where it will not be appropriate, but it will be tempting if I think it will provide me an opportunity to see her. I just need to be very conscious of it. After all, the blessing of being able to see her won't be worth it if it comes as the result of manipulation.
Just commit it to prayer. Christ understands your weakness and will lead you in the right direction