Sorry for the length of today's post. I have a lot to share.
A quick note about the previous day's dare, Day 33. I didn't think I would get an opportunity to see my wife. Before she moved out, we had begun a bathroom remodel. Let's just say that interior design is not my thing. So, now that she's gone I've been emailing her samples of vanities and other fixtures to get her input. She's been responding positively and even making suggestions.
To complete Day 33's dare I sent her an email and thanked her for her input. I told her that I really appreciated her help, and although she wasn't there, I still value her opinion. I said that whether it's with the house, or just life in general, I would still like to seek her input, if she's willing to give it. I also apologized if I ever made her feel as though she didn't have a say in matters.
Fifteen minutes later she walked through the door to get some more belongings. I said, "Oh, I didn't think I'd see you today. I just emailed you." She said, "Yeah, I read it." I didn't push, or ask what she thought (which from past posts, you'd see is something I struggle with). I was just happy she acknowledged it. Even though it was a quick visit, I still consider ever day we see each other a blessing. And I thank God for it each time it happens.
For Day 34 I wasn't sure how to complete this dare. I wasn't sure what to commend her on. I began the morning in prayer and asked God to help me with today's dare. I asked him to give me some help and lead me in the right direction. My initial thought was to commend my wife for her patience with my mother lately. My mom has been very emotional since we announced our separation. She emails, IM's and text messages us both multiple times a day. My wife is very patient and has responded kindly to her each time.
I attended church this morning alone, for what I think, was the first time. I was extremely nervous to attend alone. I felt like I stood out and that everyone was looking at me. We have family who work at the church who saw me come for my counseling session. But, I swallowed my pride and went anyway. I'm very glad I did.
There is an older man who greets people at the entrance. I worked with him for many years in a local restaurant. He used to try to get me to come to church but I always found a reason not to. When I walked in he said, "Where's your wife?" I just replied, "It's just me today." He looked at me seriously, then smiled, and said "Good for you!" It made me feel good. His approval and support always meant a lot to me.
As it's father's day, the pastor's sermon basically boiled down to "Men need to follow God's principles in order to be good husbands and fathers." He used Enoch as an example of someone who walked with God and was rewarded by being sent to heaven without dying. How appropriate that, with everything going on in my marriage, the one time I attend church alone, this is the message I receive. Coincidence?
After church I reflected on the message. It's the same message I received in counseling, and thinking back, it's the same message the pastor who counseled us before we got married impressed about me. As a man, it is my Godly duty to be the spiritual head of the household. It is a duty I was given, and a duty I feel I failed at. This got me thinking back to the last couple of years in our marriage. I realized that as I failed at my duty, my wife stepped into the role. She always encouraged me to go to church. She tried to save our marriage (she tried to get me to watch Fireproof about a year ago). She was always patient. She was always selfless. She was always loving and supportive. She was all of the things I was supposed to be.
And that, is what I believe God wanted me to acknowledge and thank her for today.
I called her, expecting her not to answer, prepared to send another email. She picked up on the second ring which surprised me. I made a little chit chat and then without asking, I stumbled through something like, "Today at church the sermon was about how men need to follow God's principles to be good husbands and fathers. It's something I think I failed at. So I'm sorry. But I wanted to thank you for stepping up and following his principles."
She was quiet and then said, "Why do you keep telling me this stuff. I feel like it's... What's the point?" I said, "I just wanted you to know. It made me think back to when we received marriage counseling and the pastor said I was to be the spiritual head of the household. I failed at that. But I feel as though you stepped into that role, even though it was never supposed to be your role. It was supposed to be mine. And I wanted to say thank you and let you know I appreciate it."
There was more silence followed by, "How's Brooke?" Brooke is our dog. We talked briefly about her and she asked me to send some photos. I agreed to. We talked a bit more and then I said, "I won't keep you anymore," and we said our good byes. It was encouraging that she heard what I had to say and didn't attempt to argue or dispute it.
I'm not sure if my message did more harm than good. I'm actually not worried about it for the first time. As Sean pointed out before, I manipulated a previous dare when I didn't follow through because I knew it might upset my wife. By doing so I didn't trust God. Today, even though it may have upset her or annoyed her, I feel as though God was pushing me to do it. Today I trusted him all the way.
I believe he pushed me to church today and helped me overcome my nervousness and swallow my pride. I believe he was working through our pastor today and that I was meant to hear his sermon. I believe he wanted me to not only accept my failings but admit them to my wife. I believe, regardless of the outcome, he wanted me to connect with my wife and commend her. I believe he was with me all day today, as he is every day.
Now that you asked Him in your life, everything will be apart of His plan. You just need to pray for wisdom to recognize it.
Hey Dan,really happy you went through with it. Even though I am not married but I love my girlfriend and started treating her as the most special person in my life after God. I am on day 34 myself,and trust me when I say feels like we are in the same boat. She gets really annoyed to get my messages,doesnt receive my calls and we live in different cities. So some dares I cannot physically do but I improvise wherever I can.
Last night I told her THANK YOU,she replied for what..so I said "just thank you". She asked me for how long this pretence of my NEW self will continue and that her boyfriend doesnt like me messaging her. When I say that something inside me wanted to explode because after coming so far she decided to find someone else but I pretended and ignored it,said goodnight. While I can only hope she was testing me and there isnt any other guy but I can only hope and pray to love her more.
You need to continue the journey of the dares. That anger inside you needs to be replaced with love and forgiveness.