"If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand." Mark 3:25
Love fights fair. Oh, but individuals do not! When I first started reading this love dare, I knew I was going to get put in my place. I'm scrappy. I'm learning Zane's buttons, and he's learning mine--and sometimes we like to push them. But to step back and look at our attitudes in arguments, we would do well to be more graceful. Listen intently. Gracefully bend. If my attitude is to be the same as that of Christ Jesus, I have some practice to do!
"When (Zane and I) tied the knot as bride and groom, (we) joined not only our hopes and dreams but also our hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage" (Kendrick). But weaving our inner most secrets together, we are bound to rub together on a few rough spots like sand paper. Not agree entirely. Get uncomfortable. But while sanding down the edges, we can become smooth, and work together in a more beautiful way. In The Love Dare, Kendrick points out that the deepest, most heartbreaking damage you'll ever do to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict. I can attest to that. There have been many times, unfortunately, that I have opened up my mouth and immediately known I needed a 'rewind' button. The things we say when we fight are painful...because it is when our pride is strongest, our anger is hottest, and when we are the most selfish and judgemental.
But love reminds you that "your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you're fighting about. Love helps you install air bags and to set up guardrails in your relationship."
This chapter reminded me of a great song that was kind of my theme leading up to marriage. Not because Zane and I were fighting constantly...we weren't...but I knew that one day arguments would come, and I wanted my heart to resonate on love.
Love is not a place where we can go on as we please
It's a house we enter in, and then commit to never leave
So lock the door behind you. Throw away the key.
Work it out together, let it bring you to your knees.
To some, love is a word that they can fall into
But when they're falling out, keeping that word is hard to do.
Love will come to save us. If we only call.
He will ask nothing from us, but demand we give our all.
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of war
And if we try to leave may God send angels to guard the door
Cause love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for.
So, this dare is to fight for. Zane and I got together and made a list of "we" rules to fight fair, and "I" rules to fight for. I won't share his, but our "we" rules are: never mention divorce; don't bring up unrelated past events; call time-out if things get too heated; don't go to bed angry; don't have your mind made up before the discussion even begins; never argue in public...and when we have kids, not in front of the kids.
"I" rules for myself: I won't raise my voice; don't give up and shut Zane out (become withdrawn); listen first; pray during the argument, continually, for God to give me wisdom, strength, and calm.
I know that these rules may not always be followed, but their boundaries worth setting, and attempting to keep. Because my love for Zane is not a fight, but something worth fighting for.
Dare 13: Fight fair.
Dare 12: Let the other win.
Dare 11: Cherish each other.
Dare 10: Love unconditionally.
Dare 9: Greet well.
Dare 8: Don't be jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.
--Inspired by, "The Love Dare."