I recently started the Love Dares & so far so good. I have been reading through many of the postings others have contributed & I felt compelled to post. A little background: 2 months after the birth of our 3 child last year, my husband sat me down and told me he just didn't love me anymore. At one point we did separate briefly & our children are still young so they never knew the full details of what was going on. Separation didn't last long becasue my husband "missed" me. We have been together for 7 motnhs consistantly, but recetly, he has come to say again that he just doesn't want this anymore. It's hard to be faced with that reality, but I have tried several tactics to "make him see what he is missing". For certain reasons, he cannot move out for at least the next 3 months- if that isn't God's way of telling me to get loving, then I don't know what is. I always reacted to him "not wanting this" by the silent treatment, ignoring him, living for myself and the kids as many books & therapists suggested. The problem with this is that living for myself gives my husband even more reason to want to leave. Who would want to stay in a marriage where they are ignored or treated unfairly? I have always loved my husband, there was never any doubt. However, I have come to see that my love wasn't the unconditional kind. There was always a "if only he would.... then I would....". Seeing the movie & then beginning the dare the next day made me realize that no matter how hard we tried to work things through, I couldn't do it if my love for him was conditional.
I have come to see that my husband needs me to do this becasue he is lost. I have come to see that God truely is guiding my way. I give my husband the space he so desires, but I try to remember to be patient, kind and loving to him everyday. We may not communicate much, but when we do, I make sure I do it with love.
My husband seems to be confused by my change in behavior (from bitter/angry to peaceful), and he is definately resisting everything. I have come to see the rejection as stepping stones to progress instead of viewing them as "two steps backwards". It helps to be focus on God & recognize how many times He must have felt this way but He never stopped loving- which is why I can't either.
Fianlly, I want to add that in my midst of approaches, I tried the "killing him with kindness" approach, too. The problem with this approach is that you must know WHY you are being kind and to know that you must be kind/loving always, not just until you see a reaction from your spouse. I finally know why I must be kind and loving & forgiving, though it seems like I should have known all along. You never think that this would be the "worse" part of "better or worse", so you never really think about HOW to love your spouse day after day...
I find that it helps to give my husband his time to think & his space to work through his issues. He has confessed to me that he feels like a failure & is depressed & I know him well enough to know that having me breathing down his neck will only frustrate him more. Space is not always a bad thing- I think you have to respect your spouses request as much as you don't agree. And trying to convince them to stay in the marriage or not leave will only frustrate them more. Just as God can't control if we accept or reject Him, I cannot control is my husband accepts or rejects my love for him. But at least I know that I do love him, unconditionally, and I know God is walking beside us.
In the short 6 days, I have made many changes & I see it reflecting not only in how I treat my husband, but also my children, parents, sibling, etc. I look forward to the challanges I will be facing & feel very positive about how things will end.
This journey you have chosen to take, is one with you and Christ. Christ will mold you to what He wants you... He will direct you where He wants you to be. Of course if you allow Him.
In the past, those books were was of telling you how to manipulate the situation, and as you can see, when you keep control and do it your way things do not really work out.
It is only with Christ and giving Him the control that will allow your heart to change, to be one that is loving and kind. It becomes a part of you as you do Christ.
I always suggest to new people. Please read the ENTIRE appendix. There is much good information there that will help you with your journey.
And as the dares go on. Remember, rejection or harsh reactions are just a way to humble you. Remember this is a journey with you and Christ, not you and your spouse.