Marriage is tough.
There are definitely amazing moments and it can be great, but it also takes a lot of work.
Spencer and I just celebrated our 4 year anniversary.
Probably not a big deal for a lot of people, but when the marriage is between two very
Sometimes it get tough.
I recently noticed myself having more bad thoughts than good thoughts about my marriage.
In fact I found myself being more negative than usual in general.
That's not at all how I wanted to feel about my marriage, and I knew that it could be better and I knew that I had the power to singlehandedly change the way I was feeling about and viewing my marriage.
I know that I married an amazing strong man.
So I decided to make a change.
I remember watching the movie Fireproof, and I googled "Love Dare".
I found myself facing a 40 day challenge.
I'm the kind of person where if you dare me to do something, it's on.
So I dared myself to take the dare.
This is my journal of the first 10 days of my dare.
I figure it's safe to post here because Spencer doesn't read my blog.
You see... I haven't told him about this yet.
Day 1 – Love is Patient
FACT: I am the most impatient person in the world. One time, when I was 20, I was silly and I prayed for patience. I didn’t end up getting married until I was 25, and in my mind, that was my Heavenly Father’s way of teaching me patience.
Anyone who knows me knows that I speak what’s on my mind. I rarely have a filter and I am known to be very honest. Brutally honest. So today’s dare was hard for me. To bite my tongue and to only speak kind words, when I’m use to speaking sarcastically at times and speaking my mind which is not always pleasant, was definitely a challenge.
It is an insanely stressful week around our house. We manage men’s housing at BYU-Idaho and it’s check-in week. On top of that all of our units were remodeled during the past 7 weeks and they are behind schedule and it’s crazy. Lots of stress to say the least.
But I completed the dare. I watched my tongue and spoke kindly, and I saw a difference.
I was insanely shocked. I truly didn’t think that it would make a difference really.
Spencer reacted well and was kinder in return, whether he knew it or not, and we both seemed to gain patience and understanding, and despite the stresses and insane life we have right now, we had a good day.
Day 2 – Love is Kind
Every day, you are supposed to build off of the previous day’s dare. So you do the dare assigned to the current day along with continuing what you did the day before. At least that’s how I understand it.
That could get tough.
Not sure I will be so successful in that aspect of the Love Dare.
Today’s dare was to do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Since it has been so stressful around here getting ready from check-in’s, we have really neglected our needs. Like eating. We usually remember to eat around 5pm. So when I went to drop Aniston off for Preschool at noon, I thought it would be nice to run to Wendy’s and pick up Spencer some JBC’s (Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers) for lunch. I got there, got in the drive through, ordered, and then remembered that Spencer had my debit card.
At least I tried.
Spencer asked me what took so long when I got home, so I told him that story, and then told him to leave so that he could buy himself lunch.
Part of me feels as though I have failed in this dare, but the other part of me thinks it all worked out in the end. I mean, Spencer still got a yummy lunch and it was still unexpected.
Fun Fact – Day 2 was our 4 year anniversary!
Day 3 – Love is not Selfish
Today’s dare was to buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”
This was hands down the hardest and longest day of the year for us. It was the official check in day. 9 crazy hours of 168 tenants checking in, maintenance needs to be met, cleaning to be done, parents to deals with.
Spencer and I literally were running nonstop and did not eat 1 bite until 7pm.
What a day!
We escaped out of town the minute the office closed for the day to avoid late check-ins. After we finally ate, we went to some stores. Spencer found a really nice, I mean really nice, long sleeved Henley shirt that he liked. So without throwing a fit, or asking for something in return, I told him to get it. I think he was actually really surprised. Man oh man does he look good in that shirt.
It felt really good to just allow him to get something without any strings attached. I mean I can totally see how this purchase also benefits me, but it was definitely something that I would like to do again. I don’t often say yes when he requests a purchase without asking for something for myself. It made Spencer incredibly happy and it made me feel really really good to do something unexpected and specifically for him.
Day 4 – Love is Thoughtful
Today’s dare was to contact your spouse someday during the day with no other intention except to ask how their day was going.
This was the perfect dare for this day! It was the 2nd day of check-ins and things were still a little crazy. We were both super busy. It was really easy for me to find a minute to pick up my phone and call him to ask how he was doing. Spencer totally thought that I was calling with another job for him to do, so it seemed to me that he was really shocked when I told him that I didn’t have another job to give to him and was just wondering how he was doing.
I mean seriously, I had been calling him all morning with more and more jobs, so to take a break and to just make sure he is okay and doing well, was a HUGE surprise!
This surprising him thing, by changing the way I am acting in our marriage, is really making me really happy and makes me really excited to see what the next day’s dare will be.
Day 5 – Love is Not Rude
Today’s dare made me a little uncomfortable. I was to ask my spouse to tell me 3 things that cause him to be irritated with me. I was not allowed to attack my spouse or justify my behavior.
Spencer didn’t even want to tell me 3 things because I have a history of justifying my behavior and fighting back. I think he was surprised when I didn’t fight back, but there was also 10 minutes of awkward silence after he named the 3 irritating things I do. Of course in my head I was justifying and attacking, but I remained calm and really focused on listening to him and his concerns. It was definitely not easy and definitely not comfortable, but I survived and so did he and it didn’t cause any further issues or an argument at all so that was fantastic.
I’m honestly not sure what to do with this information though…
Day 6 – Love is Not Irritable
Today’s dare came in a few different parts. First I was to react in loving ways to tough circumstances that may arise, as opposed to reacting with irritation.
I was asked to make a list of areas in, my marriage, where I needed to add margin to my schedule. My list is as follows:
I could add more margin in my marriage when it comes to:
Honestly, I felt like the list could go on and on. There are so many ways that I can do better in my marriage! Obviously, that’s why I’m doing this dare.
The next part of the dare asked me to list any negative motivations that I could let go of. Here is that list:
TV in general
Basically that’s it. I feel as though I do really good as a wife, but when it comes to watching my shows, that’s when I can literally see myself getting distracted and becoming lazy and a whole lot of things that I do not want to be as a wife or even as a mother. I really need to set some limits when it comes to watching my shows. I think that too often I justify it by watching them on my iPad, so that I can still be mobile and get things done, but that’s not a good enough excuse.
Time to make a change.
Day 7 – Love Believes the Best
Today’s dare was to spend a few minutes and write down, on two sheets of paper, the good qualities of your spouse and the negative things about your spouse on the other one.
I am not going to share these with you for obvious reasons.
Then I was asked to hide both sheets of paper.
Sometime throughout the day, I was to take one of the positive characteristics and thank my spouse for this.
Honestly, I almost forgot to do the actual thanking. We were literally in bed falling asleep when I remembered. But I did it. I rolled over to him and thanked him for being a good dad. He seemed surprised that I said that out of nowhere, which really got me thinking. I apparently must not be as appreciative as I think I am due to all of the surprise that he has as I have been attempting this love dare. Something else to think about for sure and to make sure that I am doing more often.
Day 8 – Love is Not Jealous
I LOVED today’s dare!
Determined to become your spouse’s biggest fan, today was a day to focus purely on Spencer’s achievements. First I needed to take the list of negative characteristics that I made yesterday and burn it. Well, it’s raining in Rexburg, and our tenants are not allowed to have open flame, so I figured I needed to set a good example and abide by that rule as well, so I just popped it in the shredder.
Side note. I shred a lot of things. When I get a mean e-mail, I print out a copy and shred it. It really makes me feel awesome. I still have to deal with the issue obviously, but I am able to feel better for a brief moment.
The next part of the dare was to share with Spencer how excited I was for him and a specific achievement that he has accomplished lately. I really do love praising people, especially my husband and children for their accomplishments. Spencer has been working hard towards so many different things lately physically, spiritually and academically. There were so many different things I could praise! Narrowing it down was the difficult part.
So I decided not to narrow it down at all, and I just praised the heck out of him for absolutely everything I could think of.
And it felt really good to do so!
Day 9 – Love Makes a Good Impression
For today’s dare I was asked to think of a specific way to greet your spouse. Then once I have done this I was to determine to change the way I greet my spouse to reflect my love for him.
I know that the way I am greeted really has a significant impact on how I feel from that point forward. I like to be acknowledged and to feel welcomed, so I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to do this for someone who I truly care so much about.
It felt so good making Spencer feel welcomed. I somehow mustered the energy to run and jump and throw my legs around him as a greeting. I’m shocked that he could even hold me! I married one strong dude!
Seeing his surprised reaction really made this day’s dare so much better!
Seeing his reaction throughout these dares have really made this more of a game than a hard effort to change my marriage. I mean, the change is still happening and things have improved like crazy, but it’s actually really fun.
Day 10 – Love is Unconditional
Today’s dare was to do something out of the ordinary something that would prove to my spouse that my love is based on your choice and nothing else.
Besides doing the things that I always do to show my love like cleaning, laundry and meal making, I really wanted to do something more.
Earlier in the day Spencer had mentioned something about craving this tiny Mexican Taco place in town and how good that sounded. So I told him I was planning something else for dinner, but when dinnertime rolled around, I was dressed, the kids were dressed and we took Dad out to dinner.
It was AMAZING!
I, of all people, know the power of fulfilling a craving. I seriously crave something every day.
It’s the worst!
But I could see how happy it made him to have something that he desires simply fulfilled and to be able to do it with his family was surely the cherry on top.
Let’s be honest. It was a win for me as well because Mexican food just happens to be my favorite type of food.
So far, this Love Dare has been an AMAZING experience.
I love that there are still 30 more days.
I can truly see a HUGE change not only in my marriage and the way that I am viewing my marriage, but I also see a huge change in Spencer, who has no idea that I am doing this and working really hard to make my marriage the best it can possibly be.
Just simply by changing the way I am acting in my marriage it has changed my husband, and only for the better.
He has become the man that I knew I married and I can't help but to be so happy.
I cannot wait to see where this next 10 days will take me.
If you want more information about the Love Dare check it out here.