Jan 18 2010

Love Dare - Day 13

Love Fights Fair


If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. – Mark 3:25



Like it or not, conflict in marriage is simply inevitable.  When you tied the knot as bride and groom, you joined not only your hopes and dreams but also your hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage.  From the moment you unpacked from your honeymoon, you began the real process of unpacking one another, unpleasantly discovering how sinful and selfish each of you could be.


Pretty soon your mate started to slip off your lofty pedestal, and you off of theirs.  The forced closeness of marriage began stripping away your public facades, exposing your private problems and secret habits.  Welcome to fallen humanity.


At the same time, the storms of life began testing and revealing what you’re really made of. Work demands, health issues, in-law arguments, and financial needs flared up in varying degrees, adding pressure and heat to the relationship.  This sets the stage for disagreements to break out between the two of you.  You argued and fought. You hurt.  You experienced conflict.  But you are not alone.


Every couple goes through it.  It’s par for the course.  But not every couple survives it.


So don’t think living out today’s dare will drive all conflict from your marriage.  Instead, this is about dealing with conflict in such a way that you come out healthier on the other side.


Both of you.  Together.


The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you’ll ever do (or ever have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict.  That’s because this is when your pride is strongest.  Your anger is hottest.  You’re the most selfish and judgmental.  Your words contain the most venom.  You make the worst decisions.  A great marriage on Monday can start driving off the cliff on Tuesday if unbridled conflict takes over and neither of you has your foot on the brakes.


But love steps in and changes things.  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.  It reminds you that conflict can actually be turned around for good.  Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards.


But how?  The wisest way is to learn to fight clean by establishing healthy rules of engagement.  If you don’t have guidelines for how you’ll approach hot topics, you won’t stay in bounds when the action heats up.


Basically there are two types of boundaries for dealing with conflict: “we” boundaries and “me” boundaries.


“We” boundaries are rules you both agree on beforehand, rules that apply during any fight or altercation.  And each of you has the right to gently but directly enforce them if these rules are violated.  These could include:

1.     We will never mention divorce.

2.     We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.

3.     We will never fight in public or in front of our children.

4.     We will call a “time out” if conflict escalates to a damaging level.

5.     We will never touch one another in a harmful way.

6.     We will never go to bed angry with one another.

7.     Failure is not an option.  Whatever it takes, we will work this out.


“Me” boundaries are rules you personally practice on your own.  Here are some of the most effective examples:

1.     I will listen first before speaking.  “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19).

2.     I will deal with my own issues up-front.  “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

3.     I will speak gently and keep my voice down.  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).


Fighting fair means changing your weapons.  Disagreeing with dignity.  It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down.  Remember, love is not a fight, but it is always worth fighting for.



Today’s Dare


Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement.  If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to “fight” by.  Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.



Be of the same mind toward one another.  (Romans 12:16)


Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.


Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.


Comments (27) -

1/18/2010 4:12:14 AM
Valerie Flinchum United States
Valerie Flinchum
I own a restaurant in central KY, and beside the exit door is a bulletin board I have dedicated to K-Love's Love Dare. On heart shaped paper, we post each daily dare and corresponding Scripture. My employees and I watch our partons as they leave, and we smile when we see them pointing to and discussing the different Love Dares. Thank you for promoting this, and God Bless us all! K-Love truly rocks!!!!  Valerie FLinchum
1/18/2010 5:28:49 AM
Rebecca United States
I didn't do well with yesterday's Dare.  My husband wanted to go get a couple of beers from the store and drink them during the football game (he's a Vikings fan) and I got upset about him drinking beer at noon.  So then he got upset with me for my reaction and reminded me that it wouldn't be any different if we had gone to a bar to watch a game.  I should have realized right then that my opportunity to give in was right in front of my face, but I didn't.  I kept harping about how crazy it was to want to drink beer in the middle of the afternoon.  Finally after about 15 minutes it hit me!  Give in Rebecca!  So I went back and apologized for making a deal about it and told him he was right...if we had gone to a bar to watch the game, he would have had a beer.  By this time, he was already upset with me and I feel like I missed my opportunity.  I continued to apologize and eventually it seemed like he forgave me, but I was so disappointed in myself.  I'm going to attempt yesterday's Dare again today along with today's Dare.  

I pray you are all succedding in this Dare and if you are struggling, I pray that you won't give up.  If you don't want to do it for yourself, or for your spouse, do it for God.  
1/18/2010 5:58:06 AM
Mindy United States
My husband and I have made a vow to never go to bed angry.  We have never slept apart because of a fight.  Now we might get into bed and roll on our sides and not face each other.  But, within a few minutes of doing that one of us will touch the others foot.  That is all it takes for us to start talking again.  
Love is uncomfortable sometimes.  But, our little bit of uncomfort is nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross.  
Be forgiving and loving toward your spouse.  How many times has the Lord forgiven YOU?!?!
1/18/2010 6:15:44 AM
Wendy barr United States
Wendy barr
Sounds just like the kind of fight we have had. Only I made a rule that there would be no getting drunk in our house before we ever got married. When my husband had some leftover beer from a party and wanted to drink it in the house regularly over a period of two weeks, I said absolutely not. My father was an alcoholic and I will not live like that again. He swore at me and I said, "fine, if the alcohol is more important than me I will leave. I lived in a homeless shelter for three days, calling each night to see if we had made any progress. He said "just come home". I said what are we going to do about the beer? Finally we agreed to use it to make rye bread and I came home. I'm glad I stuck to my guns when I believed it was important. I felt he was not respecting me. I don't think giving in is always the right thing to do, and it does not always result in peace. If you have a problem with a behavior and you don't do anything about it, you are setting an example for your children to not stand up for what is right.  
1/18/2010 6:25:19 AM
Tammie Lynch United States
Tammie Lynch
When my husband drives our van I am jugde his driving and make comments about it. Yesterday I did not make one comment about his driving. At the end of the day he thanked me for not saying anything about his driving and ask if I could try to do that more often. That is not comment on his driving. I sayed I would try not to make comments about his driving any more.  I thank God for helping me to do that.
1/18/2010 6:28:12 AM
Jonique United States
My husband was happy to help make a list and thus far it's been productive. This was a pretty easy dare...the hard part is going to come when we have to put them to use.
1/18/2010 6:44:46 AM
Navy Sailor, Mother & Wife United States
Navy Sailor, Mother & Wife
The past three days has been so hard for me....
1/18/2010 7:19:41 AM
cindy United States
Today's dare is very difficult for me since my husband has moved out.  We don't talk much or fight I am doing the love dare by myself.  I have chosen to love and encourage my husband even though he says he does not want our marriage.  I wrote down my own rules for fighting and I hope he sees how loving and forgiving I continue to be in spite of his harsh unloving words.  Thanks for praying, thank you Lisa and Eric!
1/18/2010 7:34:41 AM
julia United States
Our Father who art in heaven,
   Hallowed be thy name,
     Thy kingdom come,
     Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we
    forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but
    deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the
Power, and the glory, forever.
1/18/2010 7:48:22 AM
Shel United States
Thank You everyone who responded with your beautiful words. I know that God sent you all to help me.  I read Psalms 34, It was awesome. My husband has still not been home, however he texted me to let me know he is still alive. I just sent back a "good to know, praying for you". I hope that while we are apart God will work on his heart. I feel this is bigger than our marriage, it is about my relationship with God and my husband's salvation.  If Christ could suffer and endure what he did for us, then shouldn't I suffer and endure this, which doesn't even compare, for the one I love?  Praise be to God! May He bless you all!
1/18/2010 9:51:05 AM
i was baptist on september 27 year age
please keep wilma pray she brain caner.

her test are comming back good she don't go back to the doctor until march

god bless you all

1/18/2010 10:01:11 AM
elizabeth United States
First let me say --due to the moral conflict--internet--over me I left home for awhile--this has been an ongoing issue and i thought it was over years a go only to find it is back --when i left to go visit friends -- i took enough stuff with me that if i don't want to go home i don't have too. If he keeps his promise and goes to the Christian counselor it is a start in the right direction. My rule for myself while away is not to do anything to add fuel to the fire --so yesterday I let his text go unanswered and call too as I am still deeply hurt--my second rule for myself is not to do anything I will regret even if tempted but to turn to friends and God for strength and guidance. I love my husband but there are some things that you have to stand firm on even when it hurts--Trusting God is all I can do at this point and that is what I am going to do. I will go on serving--practicing the Love dear even in the middle of the storm.
1/18/2010 10:19:10 AM
Shelly United States
I am proud of you Tammie!  I have been praying for you and your hubby!  This love dare thing is very thought provoking, challenging and rewarding!  I was praying that God would show me how to reach out to my kids and love them more than I already do and show provide me with opportunities to express my love for them.  (I got married almost 1 1/2 years ago, my husband has 2 teenage children)......I was listening to klove and heard a listener talk about how she reads the book and then starts the book over when she is done!  Thank you Father In Heaven for answered prayers!
1/18/2010 11:15:43 AM
Elizabeth United States
Sometimes limits have to be set--but in setting the limits be careful not to add fuel to the fire. For me, I am doing this alone and I am hoping my husband keeps the promise to go to the counselor tomorrow. Also in setting fair rules --I have to remind myself not to beat myself up emotionally as it really serves no purpose but to make the pain worse. I believe God can heal anything that's broken--it's the time that it takes--like many others in society I like instant gratification but my marriage didn't get in trouble over night and it will take work to fix it. Love is the answer and love is more than a feeling, it's a commitment to each other and to the one God created for me. Elizabeth
1/18/2010 11:32:01 AM
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1/18/2010 11:37:37 AM
Shelly United States
Great Job Tammie!!!!!!  I have been praying for you and your hubby!  I started the love dare challenge after I heard a listener talk about how she always started the book again after she had finished it.  I was praying/asking God how to love my children more and demonstrate to them how much I cared about them. (I got married a 1 1/2 ago to a loving, fantastic man who has two teenage children).  God is good...allll the time.  This book has been a challenge and good at encouraging me to build relationships.
1/18/2010 12:41:10 PM
Les United States
I'm in my early 20's and not married, but a few months ago my boyfriend proposed and I was engaged for about five minutes. Needless to say it did not go so well and we've both been broken hearted ever since.

I've been trying to really work on our relationship because he is still the person I want to marry. However, I've been getting very frustrated because I've been trying so hard and don't feel the same effort from him. Then, he recently admitted that he didn't know if he wanted to try to work on things because his heart was cold towards me and irreversible damage had been done.

I've been struggling with this and I know I should feel utter discouragement, but I still feel a spark of hope.

Well, when I heard about the Love Dare I asked if he'd be willing to try it for 40 days and then, if nothing had changed we'd could give up or give in or whatever he wanted to do.

So as the days trickle by I can't speak for him, but personally I have felt a change. I've been trying to work on "us" for so long when I should have been working on me.

I've been looking at myself and have seen how selfishly I usually act and react, how I always have to be right, and how I don't want to listen or compromise.

So I let go and let God.

I've backed away and removed my stormy rain cloud from around my BF, as I relearn how to love like Jesus loves.

I know if nothing else, there's been a change in me and I'm now able to enjoy the only time that I may have left with my special someone.

I feel a little older and a little less niave, and hope that if we do make it through this and ever get married one day that we will have a much better foundation and be stronger for it.

I appreciate your prayers.

Thanks K Love
1/18/2010 12:55:40 PM
brenda United States
what happen to day 12?
1/18/2010 1:21:35 PM
Rebecca United States
Wendy, I'm glad that you stood up for what you felt was right for your family.  Thankfully for us, having alcohol in our home isn't an issue so this wasn't a situation where I needed to "stand up for what was right".  If it were the case, I certainly would have done so.  And even though my children are 3 y/o and 5 m/o, I pray that I can show them that there are times to stand up for what is right and times to let things go.  Take care and God Bless you.
1/18/2010 1:50:28 PM
Liz United States
Yes. I am also Love Dare-ing by myself. My husband said he loves and cares for me, but is not sure if he is in love with me. We have set a date for separation the first week of May(which is when my semester at college ends) I am fearful of losing my family, when I could have done differently 8 months ago, and this wouldn't have happened. Please add me to the your prayer list. I am praying it's not too late, please Father God, let it not be too late.  I am already trying to be better with my behavior during a fight. Talking calmly, not being condescending etc.  

My husband said," I can't take you doing all this nice stuff for me. It's not you, it's not right." He thinks I'm doing it just to keep him here.
Well I am on a certain level I guess, however I'm trying to show him the wife and best friend I hsould have been.  May God be with us all.
1/18/2010 2:29:20 PM
Susan C United States
Susan C
I thank you so much for promoting this wonderful adventure. I don't even know where to begin with my comments, except to say I am so lost and frustrated with myself. My 4th anniversary is coming up next week and I would love it to be special, but I know better than to have an expectation. My husband is a loyal, very rough around the edges, well help anyone type of guy, but when it comes to our marriage well I am lost. I have shaken off my stubborn, angry attitude so many times. I kept telling myself to be the "better person", be kind, let things roll, but at some point isn't enough enough? I have been doing my best with the dare, and I am praying the my heart will soften fast. I pray for everyone to do their best and grown more loving, patient, and understanding with each day. I am a believer that we "should" make the best of each day and genuinely appreciate every blessing, however imperfect, because tomorrow is not promised. Thank you Eric and Lisa for your tremendous encouragement each day.
1/18/2010 2:38:21 PM
Shel United States
I thought I left a post before but it isn't on here so let me say thanks to everyone who responed to my post yesterday. I know that all of your prayers going up will make a big difference.  I still have not seen him but I have faith that God is working on him. I feel more at peace today with the situation.  Praise be to the Lord, His awesome and mighty power will avail!  Bless each and everyone of you, my brothers and sisters.
1/18/2010 4:00:09 PM
Broken Hearted United States
Broken Hearted
I just found out today that my husband of 25 years has had 3 affairs, all starting with online flirtation and then planned meetings.  I had just finished reading the Love Dare.  I have been doing by myself in an effort to change that which I can - me.  I can't change him but I do have control over me.  So I had just finished reading the Dare about fighting fair.  Needless to say, I did not fight fair.  I am numb.  I am having trouble breathing.  I have met with my pastor for guidance and prayer but I am so heart broken.  Please hold me in your prayers. I am going to read tomorrow's but I am not sure I can faithfully continue with the Dare.  
1/19/2010 8:39:43 AM
yeny United States
hey... I had a 3 day weekend and did not do the dares of those days... the  weekend was also hard I fell off the train and said a couple of negative things... I want everyone to keep both my partner and I in their prayers. At times I also feel discouraged and want to look aside for what life would be like of I just gave up and moved into another relationship, I trully believe that is not what GOD wants for me, but this situation is hard to deal with. PLease pray for the revewal and restoration of my marriage. I want this to be a testimony for the honor and glory of God., So the world can see what GOD can do.
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