Jan 31 2010

Love Dare - Day 26

Love is Responsible

 

When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.  – Romans 2:1 HCSB

 

Today will be hard.  But as you seek God’s strength and wisdom, you will be able to get through it. This day could be a milestone in your marriage if you allow it to be.  So resolve to focus on what the Lord may be saying to you, and purpose to follow His leading.

 

Today is about personal responsibility.  It’s something we all agree others should have, but we struggle to maintain it ourselves.  Over the past few decades, there’s been a decline in personal responsibility.  More and more, people seem less likely to acknowledge their own mistakes. We see it in politics.  We see it in business.  We see it in celebrity headlines.

 

But this is not just a problem with the rich and famous.  To find an example of someone who has an excuse for every action, all we have to do is look in the mirror.  We are so quick to justify our motives.  So quick to deflect criticism.  So quick to find fault – especially with our spouse, who is always the easiest one to blame.

 

We tend to believe that our views are correct, or at least much more correct than our mate’s.  And we don’t believe that anybody, give our same set of circumstances, would act much differently than we have.  As far as we’re concerned, we’re doing the best we can.  And our spouse just ought to be glad we’re as good to them as we are.

 

But love doesn’t pass the blame so easily or justify selfish motives.  Love is not nearly as concerned with its own performance as with other’s needs.  When love takes responsibility for its actions, it’s not to prove how noble you’ve been but rather to admit how much further you have to go.

 

Love doesn’t make excuses.  Love keeps working to make a difference – in you and in your marriage.

 

That’s why the next time you’re in an argument with your spouse, instead of working up your comebacks, stop and see if there’s something worth listening to in what your mate is saying.  What might happen in your relationship if instead of passing blame, you first admitted your own wrongs?  As the Scripture says, “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool” (Proverbs 17:10 NKJV).

 

Love is responsible and is willing to admit and correct its faults and errors up front.  Are you taking responsibility for this person you chose for yourself as the love of your life?  How deliberate are you about making sure your spouse’s needs are met?  Or are you only concerned with your mate fulfilling yours?  Love calls us to take responsibility for our partner in marriage.  To love them.  To honor them.  To cherish them.

 

Are you taking responsibility for your own faults?  Have you said or done things to your spouse – or to God – that are wrong?  Love desires to have a right relationship with both God and your mate.  Once that is right, the stage is set for other areas to fall into place.

 

A real heart of repentance may take a while to grow in you. Pride is very resistant to responsibility, but humility and honesty before God and your spouse is crucial for a healthy relationship.

 

This doesn’t mean you’re always wrong and your spouse is always right.  This is not a demand that you become a doormat.  But if there is something that’s not right between you and God, or you and your spouse, then that should be the first priority.

 

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).  However, “if we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  Confess your areas of sin first, then you’ll be on better ground to work things out with your spouse.

 

In order to walk with God and to keep His favor, you must stay clean before Him.  That doesn’t mean you can never stumble but you confess it to God and ask for forgiveness when you do.

 

Can your spouse say that you have wronged or wounded them in any way and never made it right?  Part of taking responsibility is admitting when you’ve failed and asking for forgiveness.  It’s time to humble yourself, correct your offenses, and repair the damage.  It’s an act of love.  God wants there to be no unresolved issues between the two of you.

 

The problem is, to do it sincerely you must swallow your pride and seek forgiveness regardless of how your spouse responds.  They should forgive you, but your responsibility does not lie with their decision.  Admitting your mistakes is your responsibility.  If they have wronged you, leave that for them to deal with at another time.

 

Ask God to show you where you have failed in your responsibility, then get it right with Him first. Once you’ve done that, you need to get right with your spouse.  It may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it is crucial to taking the next step in your marriage and with God.  If you are sincere, you may be surprised at the grace and strength God give you when you take this step.

 

Today’s Dare

 

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing.  As for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse.  Do it sincerely and truthfully.  Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well.  No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love.  Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

 

Each one must examine his own work … in regard to himself alone. (Galatians 6:4)

 

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 (18) -

1/31/2010 6:02:59 AM
Robbyn United States
Robbyn
I am writing in case there are others out there who may be dealing with the same struggles in their marriage now.  
I've known this for a while about myself, but have never taken responsibility to get any help.  For whatever reason, I have had difficulty expressing myself in intimate ways with friends, family, and especially my husband.  I try to make up for it by doing things for others or making up for it anyway I can.  It hurts so bad!  
Because of this my husband has been resentful  and critical of everything I do.  It's taken its toll on us and he is ready to leave the marriage.  We have two children (1/2 siblings) and they love and adore each other.  I am so sad it has come to this.  
I have already called my pastor this morning to get a referral to a counselor.  I am hoping that by some miracle it will help us.  Please pray for us!
1/31/2010 7:46:22 AM
kay United States
kay
Key to this is being aware to my own expectations.  I can say I'm sorry over and over...God does not require that, but, some wounds do.  What happens after I'm broken because of my own failures is between me and God.  If criticism comes in place of forgiveness, I have to be willing to acknowledge his pain and wait for the forgiveness that will come as God works in his life.
1/31/2010 8:34:50 AM
Shel United States
Shel
I tried this earlier, when everything was raw. I am going to try this again. I will probably have to write it since we aren't really talking and he refuses especially to discuss "us". Please pray for "us". God is my strenth, my hope, my rock.
1/31/2010 10:04:45 AM
just me United States
just me
I know this step in the dare is necessary, but do I have to tell my husband about something that never happened?  To put it bluntly I have the problem of lusting after other men.  I have never done anything physically or emotionally with another man, I just "fantasize".  Listen to me....I'm trying to justify myself already!!  I sure need Your help GOD!
I can't bring myself to tell my husband that I think about other men when I have never, nor will I ever, do anything with them.  I know the thoughts must be stopped, but how do I stop them?  This is a real hard one for me.  This isn't like dieting where all I need to do is not eat that fattening dessert.  I can think about the dessert, look at it, imagine what it would be like to savor it, then just walk away.  In this case I need to stop thinking about the desserts completely! I sure could use some advice from others in this boat!  
1/31/2010 11:39:18 AM
free United States
free
what can i say except i forgive and forget-i am a sinner and God forgives me all the time when i repent- everyone who has hurted me the pain of it all hunted me for years-it's easy to hate,it's easy to have a pity party, heck it's even easy to be bitter-but boy it's taken its toll on me-6 years ago Jesus showed me a key but i didn't know what it meant-to be free to say i forgive you now it's God Almighty turn to have his say at the end-i am tired and want rest-i forgive those who hurted me so i can move forward-no more feeling sick to my stomach when i see or hear the names of those who have hurted me-i am set free-because i fianlly realize that the battle is Gods' not mine-this will take a year for me to sink in-so day by day i will remind myself and keep on reading the bible for support and encouragement
1/31/2010 4:07:53 PM
pathfinder United States
pathfinder
responding to "just me", I have been in a similar boat countless times. If you go back a couple days to the day 24 dare I sure saw myself there regarding justifying my thoughts. It says something about the progression- thoughts travel to heart, to action , to shame and regret. I also never "did" anything except think and some of the thoughts did travel to my heart. Thank God the progression ended there. Probably no need to tell husband. I'm sure mine knew. Still -even though the action was absent eventually shame came. Every minute I spent thinking about another were times I cheated my husband out of the "me" promised to him alone. This dare is so wonderful for me. I sometimes will sit and stare smiling at him. When he notices & says..."Whaaat?"I just say "nothing just lookin at you" or "nothing i just love ya" he sometimes rolls his eyes like he's married to a loon, but i see the grin as he shakes his head and I'm so proud to be his wife- what was I thinking???? I know this is serious business- some of the situations here are so heartbreaking. I do pray for these . For those of us who have not yet had to reach that point:- try some fantasizing about your own mate and see how good you feel about yourself. As well as the Power of love from God I am so very grateful for his sense of humor. Thank the dare for giving me some tools to reconnect with my husband in such meaningful ways
1/31/2010 4:58:35 PM
Michael Corbin United States
Michael Corbin
I did it. I took responcibility. I asked Shira if we could post-pone filing for seperation as well. Despite yesterday going horrible, to day was good. She didn't say we could wait for sure, but she wants too. Please pray for Shira, Zoe Lee (our new baby, 1-27-10) and I.  I have learned enough from the Love Dare, not to be able to be how I want to be, but to see how much I have failed. I can see how long and hard the road may be. "for better or for worse" does not just mean loving our spouse when they are at there worst, but doing everything to see their needs are met before our own even we are at our worst, when we feel we need the support, we must still give it to them, God will give us enough.
1/31/2010 6:44:44 PM
RS United States
RS
Michael Corbin,
Have you sat down and talked with Shira? Told her how you feel? Have you sat down with her mother? The BIBLE (and the Torah also) tells us to leave our mothers and fathers and to cleave together as one. Our job as parents, is to raise our children to be adults. If we do that properly, when they are ready to leave the house, whether they get married or not, they can stand on their own two feet. That doesn't mean they are to never come home or to ask for help or guidance, but they won't rely on us to do everything for them. They treat us as a trusted friend and advisor. This is the highest respect a child can pay their parent. Of course, the highest respect a parent can show their child is to allow them to be an adult, to be the adult we raised them to be. This sometimes is MUCH harder for us as parents to do than it is for our children. I suspect Shira's mother wants her little girl, and is having a very difficult time letting her go to be the adult she raised. (and maybe Shira is having a bit of a rough time becoming that adult.)
1/31/2010 6:49:45 PM
RS United States
RS
For those who want to start at the beginning...
At the top of this page are two links that look like this...

<< Love Dare - Day 24 | Love Dare - Day 26 >>

click on the one on the left and it will take you back one day... keep doing this and you will eventually get to Day 1.
FYI, there is a few days where other content was inserted... Smile so it won't say Love Dare...
1/31/2010 7:31:17 PM
Chilli-Pep United States
Chilli-Pep
Robbyn I know where you are at..My wife moved out two weeks ago as I too don't express myself very well..She says she needs time to heal and is not asking for a divorce, but after all the crap we have done to each other I don't know.  So pray for me as I will be praying for you...Peace and Grace....
1/31/2010 8:37:49 PM
David Floyd United States
David Floyd
Self-examination is Key to this step. Forgiveness allows a relationship to heal and grow more intimate. Love and prayers to all who dare to tread this path of righteousness and love.
2/1/2010 6:16:47 AM
Broken Hearted United States
Broken Hearted
Message to Just Me - Tell him everything.  From a spouse who has found out about affairs just recently, use your husband as someone to hold you accountable.  If you believe you can walk away, one day you will get closer to the line and then you will be in bed with someone else.  Tell your husband that you need his help, get a counselor, talk to your pastor, get someone who can hold you accountable.  Tell God about your lust.  He can redirect it to the appropriate recipient, your husband.  From someone who is having to learn to forgive an infidelity, don't go there.  Flee evil
2/1/2010 6:56:27 AM
Shel United States
Shel
to just me-

This is an issue where you do need to pray. You need to ask God to forgive you and thank him for your husband.  Then you need to pray for strength to have control. Pray that when you look at those deserts you see them as sickening. You see them as something that will destroy the gift God has given you. Focus on your husband more. Think of him. Pray that when you look at other men, you immediately think of your husband and then turn your head. Pray, pray, pray.....
2/1/2010 11:15:30 AM
Darrick United States
Darrick
I'm sorry you guys but I have to dis-agree with some of the comments. Mainly with the full disclosure. Confess to God and move to the repent stage. I say this because of human nature, do not put your spouse through undo hardship. If you need to get it off of your chest find a christian friend (an accountability partner) and let them know tell your pastor in confidence and pore it all out. No if the situation is to close to home and it will come out eventually then yes pray and confess to your spouse.
Now once you have done that you must repent (turn away from) your sins and not do the things were doing before, don't go the places you were going before. avoid the situations that put you in the compromising position. When you change your life your spouse will notice it and they will stop asking are you cheating, they will stop checking your emails, and phone, and asking where you are going everytime you leave the house. Because in changing you are going to put God first and his commandments and your spouse will not have a reason to doubt anymore. The reason I say all of this is because it doesn't matter how many times you cheated. You cheated and that is the broken promise you have to deal with. Adding if it was 1, 10, or a 100 times and whom with adds to the hardship and the hopeful healing process.
To those who lust, i am the same way. My love for romantic comedies, love stories and fantasy has contributed to my warped view of reality. But a wise friend of mine told me something that has changed my life. Take those fantasies of love, and lust and apply them toward your spouse. The thing that you would have done or want to do, do them with you spouse whole heartedly and notice the change. Now my dreams are of my wife when I hadn't done that in 16 years, my intimate moments with my wife are adventurous and we laugh and play just like the people do in the movies. Now I look forward to seeing her everyday so I can live another adventure with her. It doesn't happen over night, but if you put your heart and soul into it as you would do the person you lust after. Then over time you you will notice a huge change. Those you lust over think of them as a sibling, and even talk to them about God. It becomes very awkward to sin when you are talking about our savior and the commandments we are to obey...Smile. God bless sorry it's so long.  
2/17/2010 2:52:37 PM
Miguel Sipriano United States
Miguel Sipriano
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Sydney Pintello
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Ervin Vanorsdol
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