A little more than forty days ago two friends and I decided to do the Love Dare on our husbands.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Love Dare, it’s forty days worth of challenges to perform, designed to grow your marriage. Some of the challenges are easy, like calling your spouse during the day just to let him know you’re thinking about him.
Some are more difficult, like choosing to forgive him for something hurtful he’s done.
When I decided to do the Love Dare on my husband, my marriage wasn’t bad. But working on marriage is something that should never be neglected, and I had been neglecting my marriage a little bit.
I can’t say I completed all forty challenges. I had my good days and bad days.
What I can say is that I learned a lot, and doing the Love Dare, even if I didn’t do it perfectly, has impacted my marriage for the better. These are my big three takeaways.
Words can Improve a Marriage
I’m a very cerebral person. I process things by thinking, not by talking. I’m also a very direct and matter-of-fact person. You all may be surprised by that, since I write a lot. But I don’t really talk a lot. And when I do talk, I get straight to the point.
That’s not necessarily great in marriage, especially since my husband processes things by talking through them.
Words, both the quantity and the quality, make a difference in marriage. I discovered that I need to share more with my husband, so he feels like he’s important to me. I also need to watch my tone of voice when I’m concentrating on a task, or I can sound like I’m ordering him around even when I don’t mean to sound that way.
Focusing on these two areas has made the biggest impact on my marriage. It’s amazing how little changes can make such a big difference.
Prayer Improves a Marriage
I have always prayed for my husband, but I haven’t always been consistent. And I haven’t always prayed in a way that makes the biggest impact.
[Tweet “Through praying for my husband, God changed my attitude.”]
This month I began not only praying for difficulties my husband is facing, but I began to lift up areas of frustration I had with my husband.
Did God always (or even most of the time) change those areas of frustration?
But by turning that frustration over to God, it freed me to accept and love my husband for who he is, warts and all. And truth be told, I have plenty of my own warts that he has to (and does) accept and love.
Through praying for my husband, God changed my attitude, even when my circumstances remained the same.
Thoughts can Improve a Marriage
How often do you think about your husband? I’m going to be honest. With three kids, a house, and a work at home job to manage, my husband was becoming an afterthought in my life too much of the time.
After all, he can take care of himself. So often the urgent crowds out the important, and ladies, our marriages are important!
Doing the Love Dare forced me to think about my husband a lot! And thinking about my husband a lot spurred me to DO little things that create closeness in our marriage. Little things like getting him a glass of cold water when he’s thirsty. Or making sure his favorite work shirt is clean. Tidying up the house before he comes home from work, so he can relax. Or remembering something he told me and using that information to plan a special anniversary present.
Good thoughts lead to good actions. And good actions can strengthen a marriage.
Neglect can Kill a Marriage
More than anything, I noticed how quickly neglect can ruin a good marriage. I said above that oftentimes the urgent crowds out the important. That’s a fact worth repeating.
If we put our marriages on autopilot, eventually they will die. Good marriages don’t just happen. They take work.
[Tweet “If we put our marriages on autopilot, eventually they will die.”]
It’s kind of like a plant. If you don’t regularly water a prune a plant, it will eventually wither and die. Marriage is very similar. I need to make my husband a priority. That doesn’t mean I need to neglect my other responsibilities in order to spend time with him. But I do need to make sure I am showing him he’s a priority on a regular basis.
At first I was really hard on myself for not completing every challenge in the Love Dare. But the truth is, by focusing on my marriage for forty days, even without completing every challenge, I learned once again how to tend to my marriage with the care it deserves.
Recommended books on marriage:
- The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
- The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller (here’s my review)
- A Marriage without Regrets by Kay Arthur
- Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus