Jan 22 2010

Love Dare - Day 17

Love Promotes Intimacy

 

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9 NIV

 

You can be close to a good friend you’ve known since childhood or college days.  You can be close to a sibling, your parents, or a cousin who’s about your same age.  But nothing rivals the closeness that’s experienced between a husband and wife.  Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships.

 

That’s why we need it so much.  Each of us comes into life with an inborn hunger to be known, love, and accepted.  We want people to know your name, to recognize us when they see us, and to value who we are. The prospect of sharing our home with another person who knows us down to the most intimate detail is part of the deep pleasure of marriage.

 

Yet this great blessing is also the site of its greatest danger.  Someone who knows us this intimately can either love us at a depth we never imagined, or can wound us in ways we may never fully recover from.  It’s both the fire and the fear of marriage.

 

Which of these are you experiencing the most in your home right now?  Are the secrets your spouse knows about you reasons for shame, or reason for drawing you closer?  If your spouse were to answer this same question, would they say you make them feel safe, or scared?

 

If home is not considered a place of safety, you will both be tempted to seek it somewhere else.  Perhaps you might look to another person initiating a relationship that either flirts with adultery or actually enters in.  You may look for comfort in work or outside hobbies, something that partially shields you from intimacy but also keeps you around people who respect and accept you.

 

Your mate should not feel pressured to be perfect in order to receive your approval.  They should not walk on eggshells in the very place where they ought to feel the most comfortable in their bare feet.  The Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).  The atmosphere in your marriage should be one of freedom.  Like Adam and Eve in the garden, your closeness should only intensify your intimacy.  Being “naked” and “not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25) should exist in the same sentence, right in your marriage – physically and emotionally.

 

Admittedly, this is tender territory.  Marriage has unloaded another person’s baggage into your life, and yours into theirs.  Both of you have reason to feel embarrassed that this much has been revealed about you to another living soul.  But this is your opportunity to wrap all this private information about them in the protective embrace of your love, and promise to be the one who can best help him or her deal with it.

 

Some of these secrets may need correcting.  Therefore, you can be an agent of healing and repair – not by lecturing, not by criticizing, but by listening in love and offering support.

 

Some of these secrets just need to be accepted.  They are part of this person’s make-up and history.  And though these issues may not be very pleasant to deal with, they will always require a gentle touch.

 

In either case, you and you alone wield the power either to reject your spouse because of this or to welcome them in – warts and all.  They will either know they’re in a place of safety where they are free to make mistakes, or they will recoil into themselves and be lost to you, perhaps forever.  Loving them well should be your life’s work.

 

Think of it this way.  No one knows you better than God does, the One who made you.  The writer of Psalm 139 was right when he said, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all” (Psalm 139:2-4).

 

And yet God, who knows secrets about us that we even hide from ourselves, loves us at a depth we cannot begin to fathom.  How much more should we – as imperfect people – reach out to our spouse in grace and understanding, accepting them for who they are and assuring them that their secrets are safe with us?

 

This may be an area where you’ve really failed in the past. If so, don’t expect your mate to immediately give you wide-open access to their heart.  You must begin to rebuild trust.  Jesus Himself is described as One who doesn’t barge into people’s lives but who stands at the door and knocks.  “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and I will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

 

The reality of intimacy always takes time to develop, especially after being compromised.  But your commitment to re-establishing it can happen today – for anyone willing to take the dare.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them.  Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues.  Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you.  Make them feel safe.

 

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  (Song of Solomon 6:3)

 

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 (28) -

1/22/2010 4:34:27 AM
Mariela United States
Mariela
Day 17-The more I read, The more I try, The more I pray.....The more I failed..I feel like I want to quit...I dont have what I need I feel sad and today I turned 36..Please keep me in your prayers
1/22/2010 5:27:19 AM
Lela United States
Lela
My Husband and I are seperated and have been for several months. He has already filed for divorce,.
In the past month I have become closer to God then ever before. I am ashamed to say that before I never really took intrest in God's word.
I was lost and depressed and called out to God and he has helped me so much!
I am praying for our marriage to be restored. And even though some of my attempts are being rejecting by him I know that God is faithful.
We have so many issues in our past. So many wrongs I have done in my marriage. I pray that he will forgive me and let me come home. We have one daughter that is 3 and she seems so happy when we are all together. I know that they both were given to me by God.
I hope to reconnect with my spouse and show the love that I took for granted before and I hope that he will decide not continue on to divorce.
I will not give up, because my Lord is faithful and he hears our prayers.
1/22/2010 5:27:51 AM
elizabeth United States
elizabeth
spoke with husband late last night and early this morning - he still doesnt know I am doing love dare - but the good news is we are talking about things again. Through the dare God is showing me that when i got angry, it didn't help i threw up everything i held against him from last 10 years--that wasn't fighting fair -- When it comes to a safe place to discuss things, he needs to know I am going to keep things fair, no scornful looks or rolling eyes. Finally refusing to talk and leaving didn't help. I have so much to learn --with God's help I will learn. Finally, i even bought him a couple of polos on sale for him to wear to work -- God is softening my heart - God is remaking me.
1/22/2010 6:01:32 AM
Jonathan United States
Jonathan
This is a tough one. Especially, when you have been wounded by words. It is truly hard to let that person back in to know your struggles and pains.  Because sometimes I am reminded of how my past messes up things now. This is truly going to be leaning God to walk this out.  But I really do want my wife to feel safe sharing with me and knowing that I am here for her.  I need to do better at supporting her and seeing things from her perspective.  Instead of always offering how she should look at it.  
This love dare has been challenging but it also has been very eye opening. On how quickly
1/22/2010 7:38:33 AM
Broken Hearted United States
Broken Hearted
I too wonder how to trust a person who has let you down time and time again.  I think the real trust is going to have to be in God and not the spouse.  If God knows the desires of my heart, he will make it so that I am doing all that I can which will help spouse do all he/she can.  Is that naive?  I don't think I could stand another disappointment.  
1/22/2010 8:15:43 AM
Evelyn United States
Evelyn
You cant make a true transformation without being willing to change, true transformation requires listening, learning, and living through christ who strengthens us. Pray for my Family we can make it through our trial
1/22/2010 9:19:45 AM
Liz United States
Liz
I am catching up on the dare I'm doing day 11- through today all at once.

I have asked God to dampen my feelings of hurt and hopelessness every time I start to give into Satan and his urging to " Go ahead, cry, he deserves none of your love. Just leave, it would be so much easier." Last night I realized the extent of my husband's change.  He told me about some fantasies he has( which are abhorrant and adulterous) and said that he only finds them erotic, then he said I have other ones that I won't tell you about because you would hate me. Nothing else does it for him, he said. While I listened to him, calmly and with as little emotion as possible, my brain screamed. I listened as the book says to do, to give him a safe place where all of his imperfections could be discussed without fear of retribution.

In the beginning of our relationship 6 years ago, I knew he had magazines and videos, but I never thought it was that big of a deal. I wasn't using God as my guide then either. Now, the thought of anyone else being the object of his eye honestly makes it hard to breath.
I never believed this would happen, but now I know that he has commited adultery in his heart, as Jesus said, If you look at another man or woman with lust, you have commited adultery.

How do I deal with this? He said he won't act on his fantasies, but it makes me feel dirty and used, and sad. I never realized the extent of his feelings.

He says he's not happy with our marriage and he doesn't know why. Well it might have something to do with the fact that lusting after another woman or wanting your wife to do things she finds sinful and repulsive is pushing you away. I don't know how long he has had these feelings.  I always thought it was just a phase he went through when we were first together, but now I know better.

He watched Fireproof with me, and when the woman got upset over the pornography, he said " Now she was upset about the pornography why?"

Please brothers and sisters, I feel so overwhelmed at this moment. Pray for my husband that he realizes how shameful and destructive those thoughts are and that perhaps maybe that's the reason he feels no connection with me.  He knows I want no part of that lifestyle, and that is a barrier because he see's nothing wrong with it. I know that I let it in to our lives by not taking a more clear stance early on, and now I am paying for it. If anyone is contemplating doing that, DONT!!!!!!!!!!

Lord, I know that you hear everyone's voice, and that even with all the horrible things going on in this world, you are in my situation as well. I ask for You to give me strength to perservere.
Please pray for me to get through each day without weeping every hour. I feel so miserable, almost depressed to the point of distraction.

I can't get anything accomplished. I only think of him.
1/22/2010 9:38:53 AM
Sara United States
Sara
Mariela-
I am praying for you.  Your post called out to my heart.  Keep faith.  This Battle is not yours, it is the Lord's. He would never give you something you could not bear.  He will help you through it.  He will walk side-by-side with you through your troubles and when you get weary, put your hands up to the Lord and cry for help..He will carry you.
1/22/2010 9:58:18 AM
Jeanette United States
Jeanette
today I will start the dare, I don't want to lose my husband. We have been thru so much in our 16 years together. God saved us and brought us together again 2 1/2 ago. At times it has been really hard to love when all you get in return is the opposite of love. Yesterday I sat down, prayed and talked to God, asking Him to help me continue on . The thought that came to my mind was of Christ being crucified. Beaten, spit on, laughed at, and still He in return gave all his love, and forgave. So I will do the same. Expecting nothing in return, for it is my desire to please the one who loved me first...So lets not give up, for greater is the one who is with us, than the one against us.......god bless all of us...........
1/22/2010 10:14:45 AM
Melly United States
Melly
I give up.  Honestly, I'm tired of fighting.  I pray and pray and pray for YEARS (16 years now of this nonsense) and for what?  It just gets worse.  I thought God honored marriage but I see that in other couples who are Christians but not in ours.  I'm tired and I just don't want to do it anymore.  I give up.  God can fix it or He won't.  So far, he hasn't.
1/22/2010 10:27:55 AM
Angel United States
Angel
This is difficult when the pain runs soo deep, when you know that you can do this, but at the sametime you feel the other person should becuase you've been hurt too. I don't feel anything towards my husband anymore, I faith in God but not in my marriage. I don't feel anything towards my husband anymore, how do you change your feelings, I can't just force myself too, it doesn't work that way!! I feel numb, indifferent and cold!
1/22/2010 10:33:54 AM
Melly United States
Melly
Not sure where my comment went but I give up.  16 years of prayers and I am just done trying.  I'm done.
1/22/2010 11:47:22 AM
David United States
David
First thank you for posting the Love Dare… During this challenge I have discovered many things, some easy many hard. I am trying to rebuild what over time have fallen apart. The hardest thing is to curb the tongue, and dodge the harsh words and anger I have created in her. That takes true discipline and trust in God. I asked for forgiveness from the things I have done to damage the marriage. I’m forgiven in Christ. Which in turn will soften my wife; the enemy reminds me daily of past addictions and actions and wants me to fail. I pray and ask for prayers that I (we) continue to grow and claim this victory.
1/22/2010 12:00:12 PM
Alicia United States
Alicia
Mariela, I don't know if you will read this, but what you wrote touched my heart and I can relate to how you feel about trying and then failing.  First, I want you to know you haven't failed. We all try and make mistakes, things don't go how we expected them to turn out, or even the devil just chooses a day to pound on us, but we aren't failing.  Tomorrow comes and we have a chance to try again. God knows our hearts and our true intentions, some how some way He always works things out for the good for His children (you and me Smile).You are still moving forward Mariela.  You still have life and breath.  You are a valuable person. It's in our weaknesses that God can do His greatest work.  Seek out what He is doing, even when it seems like no good is being accomplished, it is. Every day you live you plant a seed, and one day when the timing is right, it will grow.
Personally, I'm in a relationship with a man I can't trust.  This man has never done anything for me to doubt him. I have trust issues because of past abusive relationships that interfere with our relationship.  Every time I see him I say, "I won't fight with him, argue with him, or accuse him", and I mess up but the next day I try. It hurts me to hurt him and hurts me that I can't trust him. But one thing I have come to realize is in order to be successful with my issue I need to go through a healing process. It's not just getting to the finish line, it's what I will learn along the way to be a better me for me and the people I love. Secondly, I need to remember its ok NOT to be perfect. We all make mistakes, but a set back in life is a set up for a good comeback. And with God on our side nothing can hold us down.
I will keep you in my prayers. And please know you are valuable treasure to your Heavenly Father and a loved sister to me. God Bless You and stay strong. You will over come!  
1/22/2010 1:41:44 PM
Angel United States
Angel
The one lesson that really spoke to my heart was about "Trying to change my mate" I know I can't only God can, and as the lesson and scripture stated, I can only nurture, toil and sow, plant, but I cannot make it grow. I need to be more fruitful in prayer and this has always been an area in where I have been lacking, I am a christian but still have a hard time focusing or should I say "Calming" myself down to sit in silence and pray. and when I do pray my mind wonders, I need help in this area. And will strive to improve on this and pray for my marriage. Please pray for us, we have been struggling in so many ways. We are military with no family around, not close to our family anyway, and my husband has been long struggling with Depression and the aftermaths of war. He is not a church goer, does not pray or read his bible, he believes but I see nothing. So it's difficult, he always asks me-so God can just fix us? (I say "yes" but we have to be willing!) Also, we have had bad spiritual counseling before in the past where my husband felt abandoned by one of the pastors at our church, we were in the middle of counseling and he said he could not countinue cause the head pastor had other things for him to do and referred us to someone else. (I really do not think the pastor grasped the severity of my husbands illness or the sickness of our marriage) so he felt just like we weren't as important or a priority on his "To do list" and I agree. It just looks really bad. Especially when he couldn't remember my husbands name after seeing us for 3 weeks. Just awful....I just pray for better counseling to come our way!!
1/22/2010 3:06:07 PM
Terry United States
Terry
My husband and I have been married over 25 years, but a few months ago we were always arguing. Both of us were ready to end our marriage. We started seeing a counselor and things are better. I started the Love Dare because I thought my husband needed to change (there was nothing wrong with me). Through counseling and the Love Dare I have been learning how far I have to go. Don't quit. God can do all and everything is possible. My husband has gone to church with me two weeks in a row and even told me last night that he prays for me. I have seen God working in him especially the last few weeks. I know in my heart that the Love Dare and God are responsible for this change.
1/22/2010 6:01:35 PM
Shel United States
Shel
I haven't written in a few days. The last time I asked everyone to pray for my husband and me. You answered and said you all would. I feel like since everyone in my family is against what I am doing with this love dare I have noone but my Christian "friends" on here. Your prayers have helped me have faith where a situation appears hopeless. I love seeing the success stories. My hasband is the one having an affair and rejecting God. I've been praying for his salvation and trying to step aside and let God work. I know with his salvation, he will begin to appreciate me more. He is still saying he loves me but that he has been leaning toward divorce. He thinks he has feelings for this other woman. She needs prayer, too. She knows about me and I confronted her via text and let her know I was still fighting and that I was praying for her. She wants him to kick me out so she can move in. I told him I was not moving. He is torn, therefore I know God is working on him. PLEASE, please keep praying for us! May God bless you all!
1/22/2010 8:09:52 PM
Liz United States
Liz
This one is a struggle for me... When I heard it said in the radio this morning I troubled over it right away and broke down and cried. My husband has had an affair on our family for a little over four years now with the same woman. I kept this in my heart and head for years before I spoke of it to anyone, on his reccomendation, and then when I did tell someone he was angry with me for talking to the person I did. This past fall he had a breakdown and revealed not only was he still in the relationship he had been saying was over, but also that he was addicted to pain medicine. He told his family about all the evils. And therefor I thought things were in the open and made a statement of my feelings to someone in his family which caused big issues for the two of us. Knowing what faults are okay to keep private and what to share has always been a fault of mine and has caused problems over our 17 years of marriage. I pray that God helps me to be quite more and listen more and speak less.
1/22/2010 10:49:16 PM
john United States
john
Don't give up everyone. GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.
1/22/2010 11:03:12 PM
john United States
john
DON'T GIVE UP MY FRIENDS. GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.
1/23/2010 6:30:41 AM
Michael United States
Michael
I must respond to Mariela's comments. I too am separated from my wife. She left me Dec. 20, 2009 but in reality I forced her away, I really don't know when, by my terrible actions as her husband. I most certainly was not the type of husband commands me to be. Thank God for forgiving my transgressions. I am hoping & praying my wife can forgive me & allow me to show her I wish to be the very husband I can be for her. I too was not very spiritual, had actually drifted further away the more tense our marriage became. This trial has allowed me to let God in my heart really for the first time in my life. The Love dare Challenge is very tough. My wife will only have dialogue if is necessary which makes it very difficult indeed to keep faith in God's ability provide for one's wants & desires but please have faith for God does love you, wants the best for you, & will continue to watxh over you. Quite a few times now I feel as if God has been carrying me instead of me walking with him. I pray to God daily thanking Him. Mariela I will pray for a successful outcome in your marriage.
1/23/2010 5:55:23 PM
Sherri Banks United States
Sherri Banks
My husband and I have been together for 30 years and married for 22.  I love him dearly but get very lonely as he is a truckdriver not by choice but because it is the only thing he knows.  It is so hard because we struggle and people leave their spouses for so much less than this.  I feel so sad for people who get divorced and never try to work it out.  If they could only just get through the tough times it would make them stronger and they will be closer.  Sometimes I just want to leave but realize that he is my other half and there is nothing that we cannot get through together.  He is my soulmate and I would give anything to have more time with him.  If you are thinking about divorce, think again, you can work it out and get through and you will be glad you did
1/23/2010 7:56:19 PM
Zelda United States
Zelda
I heard my husband say " A safe place, I can do that" It is nice to have someone who wants to work with me to make this marriage work. I cried at being blessed with someone who actually loves me, respects and wants to be the safe place I need. Men, just let your wives know what they mean to you. Be the romantic even if it does feel weird. My husband sings to me when I am sick, dances with me and takes my hand when we need to pray. He is awesome. He is not perfect, but with God as our Rock in this marriage we know we can go to him for anything and give it to him. He even gives our lifts our children up in prayer every day.
1/23/2010 8:07:19 PM
Zelda United States
Zelda
When we were on our way to work, I heard my husband say" A safe place, I can do that". It was very humbling. I cried knowing God put in my path a man who loves me that much to work on this Love Dare with me. Husbands and wives don't give up on each other. Let God be a the center of your walk each day.
2/3/2010 8:02:55 AM
sooo hurt... United States
sooo hurt...
I lost my trust and peace when I was betrayed and lied to.... hiding and very sneaky , he is.... how do I get It back and is he sincere?... I feel used and very hurt.... very lonely,  soooo lost with this.... ;(  I want a good Husband sooo much..
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