…Except when it isn’t.I read the book Fireproof a long time ago. For those not familiar, it is a book about a firefighter who basically has decided that his marriage is over, and that his wife is lost to him forever. Instead of giving up on the marriage all together, however, his father convinces him to try something called The Love Dare. The synopsis from Amazon.com reads:
Growing up, his wife Catherine always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter . . . just like her father. Now, after seven years of marriage, she wonders when she stopped being “good enough.” Countless arguments and anger have them wanting to move on to something with more sparks.
As they prepare for divorce, Caleb’s father challenges him to commit to a 40-day experiment: “The Love Dare.” Wondering if it’s even worth the effort, Caleb reluctantly agrees, not realizing how it will change his world forever.
Surprised by what he discovers about the meaning of love, Caleb begins to see his wife and marriage as worth fighting for. But is it too late? His job is to rescue others. Now Captain Holt must face his toughest job ever . . . rescuing his wife’s heart.
Cheesy, right? Yeah, a little. But it wasn’t a bad read. I debated the whole idea of this “Love Dare,” but finally, several years of marriage later, it makes a whole lot of sense. The Love Dare is based on the beliefs of a Christian household, but I am sure it could be tweaked to suit any religion or belief. In reality, after reading through it, The Love Dare is something that could be done regardless of whether or not something in a marriage/relationship is broken.
I decided to share them with you here, in case you ever felt the need to put them to your own use. So, without further ado, here are the first 10 days.
THE LOVE DARE
40 Days Love Journey
Day 1: Love is patient
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
—Ephesians 4:2 NIV
The first part of this dare is fairly simple.
Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret
Day 2: Love is kind
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Day 3: Love is not selfish
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.
Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”
Day 4: Love is thoughtful
How precious also are Your thoughts to me. . . .How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.
Day 5: Love is not rude
He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.
Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.
Day 6: Love is not irritable
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule.
Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.
Day 7: Love believes the best
[Love] believes all things, hopes all things.
—1 Corinthians 13:7
For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper.
On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day.
There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.
Day 8: Love is not jealous
Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire.
—Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV
Determine to become your spouse’s biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it.
Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.
Day 9: Love makes good impressions
Greet one another with a kiss of love.
—1 Peter 5:14
Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.
Day 10: Love is unconditional
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse—something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else.
Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry.
Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.