I started the Love Dare 10 days ago, after my wife told me that she wanted to separate and get a divorce. The last 10 days have been extremely difficult with many ups and downs.
My wife comes from a family that has strong relationships with Christ. I have always participated, attending church every Sunday, but I have never fully embraced it until now. On the day my wife told me she wanted a divorce I turned myself to prayer. I didn't know where else to go. The next day, I was led to the movie Fireproof, and ultimately to the Love Dare. Since then I have felt Christ working through me in everything I do, whether it's work, chores, or my marriage. I am truly humbled and thankful.
The last line of the first dare sums me up completely, "Everyone must be quick to her, slow to speak and slow to anger." That is the exact opposite of how I have lived my life, but exactly how I should live my life. I have had a bad habit of being stressed, selfish and irritable. All to often, my wife has been the person it's been directed at, when she has had nothing at all to do with it.
For the first 8 days, we lived in separate rooms of the house. We barely spoke. It was a tense atmosphere.
On Day 8, we had a tough discussion about what our next steps will be and what has led us to this point in our marriage. I accepted everything my wife had to tell me and told her I am to blame for everything. I apologized for waiting so long to realize that. I know that I have been selfish, unkind, unsupportive and rude. I have put my job first and her second. I know now, in hindsight, that I missed many opportunities to repair our marriage.
She has tried time and time again, but I have been ignorant to it. She actually suggested over 6 months ago that we watch Fireproof. On Day 8, it had the humbling realization, that now that I am ready to change, now that I will change, and now that I am changing, it is too late. I have pushed her to the point where she is tired, scared and unwilling to give me another chance, for fear of being hurt again. She says she loves me, she does not hate, she wants to be friends, but that she just can't do it anymore.
The morning of Day 9 was different. We were cordial. We spoke to each other. We communicated via email throughout the day (unfortunately about apartments she would like to look at). When she got home from work, I greeted her on the porch with a simple smile and a "Hello, do you have groceries you would like help with?"
We cooked dinner together, we prayed together and we ate at the dining room table together for the first time in probably a year or more. We had a conversation. We laughed, we joked. It felt so good! It felt like the early days of our relationship. It was great to show her how I'm changing.
Then I blew it. We had planned to make time to talk that evening about budgets and what she could afford living on her own. Instead, I took control of the conversation and I told her that I have not given up hope on us. I told her how I feel God working through me every day. From the tiniest details, like answering my prayers for assistance with moving a rock, to the obvious examples of when I feel that he further humbles me when I slip and stumble and revert to my old ways. It's because I know he's with me every day, that I haven't given up hope. I know he's here working in me and our marriage and it gives me so much hope. I should have realized this years ago and put him in the center of our marriage from the start.
To her, this was my attempt at rehashing the previous night's conversation in hopes of changing her mind. She was right. It was. It was me being selfish, pushy and controlling and trying to capitalize on a good thing. I took it too far.
She stated that the previous night's conversation felt like a huge burden had been lifted from her shoulders and that we could now be civil and friendly and work together towards divorce. She was worried that I misinterpreted it. And I had. My hope was that we had cleared the air and that we could work together towards repairing things. It ended in tears. Her in the bedroom with the doors closed stating she didn't want to speak to me.
I later sent her an email apology, which in hindsight was also pushy. I sent her a sample budget of what I think she can afford based on her current income. I know she has an appointment this afternoon to look at an apartment.
I feel completely lost. I'm truly humbled and feel like I'm at the lowest point of my life. I know God has a plan for me and that it gets harder before it gets easier, but it's hard for me to grasp, as I don't understand what I am supposed to do next. I can't imagine my life without my wife.
I feel terrible, disgusted and embarrassed that I allowed us to get to this point. It makes me sick that I am the person who has pushed her to the point of exhaustion where she feels as though she has nothing else to give. I'm the reason she is afraid to try again, because I have hurt her so many times in the past, she can't believe that I won't hurt her again.
Sorry for the extensive post. My 30th birthday is next week and we have chosen not to inform family until after that. My birthday is shared with her brother, so we are waiting in an attempt not to upset everyone. In the meantime, I haven't had an opportunity to share with anyone, and have kept everything bottled up inside, avoiding family and co-workers.
I have frequent conversations with God every day. I know he is listening and his is with me. I pray he will continue to work through me and our marriage.
BE STILL.... FOR I AM GOD.... You will here these words many times. And it means leave her to Him. This dare is a journey. One between you and Christ, not you and your wife. Your wife is just a tool.
God is NEVER late. Do your dares. Nothing more nothing less. Anything outside of that is probably a manipulation to convince her. And it will not work.
Allow Christ to mold you in this journey. Because it is not about putting your wife first. It is about putting Christ first. If you want to love your wife better, Christ must be first.
You have done it your way all this time. Where did it get you? Now hope in the Lord and let Him show you His love.
If you can... Take a few minutes and read the appendix on leading the heart.
Thank you for you response. You're right. After reading other posts yesterday, being led to the appendixes, and extensive prayer, I have accepted that I have continued to attempt to manipulate the situations as I've gone through the dares each day.
I realize that I need to put Christ first and to trust him. I read in another post that this isn't about me trying to change her mind, but about me and my relationship with the Lord. Through that relationship and my continued change, perhaps then she'll see his love in me and the qualities of the husband she's always wanted.
It's just hard to reign in the emotions and not run into the room and say, "Look what I realized I've been doing wrong! Look at how I'm going to change it!" I realize that would be manipulating the situation.
On my Day 10 dare, I washed her car inside and out. It was filthy from a recent trip. I finished the dare before she got home. I'm not sure if she noticed when she got home because she didn't mentioned it. At a couple of points in the evening I wanted to allude to what I had done. But I just hung my head each time and prayed.
I was tested on my Day 11 dare this morning. When asked if there was something she needed from me today, she asked me to re-rinse a very dirty dish she noticed that I had put in the dishwasher (oops). I said I would be happy to, and asked if there was anything else she needed, perhaps carrying her bags to the car before work (she's housesitting this weekend).
I received a sarcastic reply, one in which I normally would have a) offered an equally sarcastic reply or b) continued to push the conversation. Instead I paused, and replied, "I know you can. I'm here if you need me."
I know Christ is working through me every day. I know I need to trust in him and continue to work directly through him. You're right, I've been in control up until now, and it has gotten me to a dark, lonely place.
Despite the situation, and the range of emotions, I can say that I still feel hopeful and joyful, due to the work that I feel Christ doing through me. It's a great feeling to know he is there. I just need to continue to trust in him.
Again, sorry for the extensive post and I thank you for taking the time to hear me out and offer your reply. I really appreciate it.
Something I learned when I started this as well. You should not be supporting her in the divorce. By sending her the budget, you basically are paying for her train ticket out of town.
As Sean said, do only the dares, and work on YOUR relationship with Christ.
We are on the same day and our paths share so much in common. I wondered if maybe I wrote this post myself, because everything you are going through is what I am going through. It's confusing, but I know it's a long journey and I've only taken the first few steps. I want to just skip ahead to the end and get to the Happily Ever After part and avoid all this pain... but there's no shortcuts with God. Thank you for sharing, Brother!
Always keep in the back of your mind that you controling and doing things your way is what got you here. Now you are going to overcome and do it Christs way!
Thank you again for your kind words.
What I'm struggling with, and praying for guidance on, is how to determine if an action I'm contemplating is due to me wanting to do it because I'm changing, or because I want to control of manipulate.
For example, yesterday I had another breakthrough (one of many recently) and determined that it's not just my wife I haven't been fair and loving to, but my family as well.
I tend to be distant and don't express my love to them. Now that I feel Christ molding me everyday and I feel love pouring through me. I'm having trouble containing it (certainly not a bad thing) and I feel compelled to express it to them as well.
We are having my birthday dinner with my mother tonight. My wife will be in attendance. Two thoughts have come to mind. 1. I wish to bring my mother a gift. All too often we show up empty handed, and I have resolved to break that cycle and show appreciation, by bringing her something (flowers or wine).
Secondly, I feel compelled to ask everyone to pray over dinner, as it is something that has become important to me.
But there's a part of me that is telling me no. Don't do either. As it may just me continuing to plan and trying to manipulate the situation and use it as a way to show my wife that I've changing. It's selfish.
I'm inclined to do neither and simply focus on my dare and use dinner as an opportunity to further strengthen all that I've learned in previous day's dares and apply them to my relationship with my mother.
When you are confused, run to the Lord in prayer. He will make your path straight.
Since Christ is the center of your life and you are feeling His presence always it is your responsability to be a testimony to others. It is more of a concern of what would be in the prayer to determine it being a manipulation. And as for your mother, the Bible clearly states to honor your mother.