The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
Day 1 of the Respect Dare. You’d think the first one would be easy-ish. Not for me.
I tried to get a head-start in the study a couple weeks ago. Dare 1 stumped me. Really, I couldn’t even get through the first one. I told you I was stubborn. Do you believe me now?
Here’s my journal entry.
Dare 1, Expectations
Okay, this is just not going to work. We have two assignments:
- Now, in your journal, under the heading “Expectations for My Progress ,” write out three tangible, measurable statements that would indicate progress is being made for you.
- On a separate piece of paper, under the heading “Expectations of My Husband That I Release,” write three tangible, measurable statements that are expectations you have held for your husband.
I can’t do either one of them. An example she gives for the first one is to refrain from telling my husband what to do or how. Now, my husband has always told me, “You can tell me what to do or how to do it, but you can’t tell me both.” Oh, I hate when he says that. There’s no logic. You can’t do the second option without having done the first, so basically, I can tell him what to do but if there’s anything important to know I’m not supposed to say anything? Sometimes, it’s important to me to be able to explain what I’ve learned about how to do something in a way that works. So yeah, I can see where this would be something my husband would see as respect, but I just can’t do it.
But here’s the real problem—I think I have such a poor understanding of what “respect” means that I can’t come up with anything. How can I measure progress if I don’t really understand what the goal is? I could probably think of other things my husband complains about, but that feels like giving my power away. I can’t. That’s scary. It’s like telling him he’s in charge of our marriage and in charge of me. I just can’t let that go. Oh, crud, now I’m sitting here crying. What’s wrong with me?
As for releasing my husband of expectations, I know I have some but they’re so ingrained in me that I can’t separate them from just how things are. I have to pay attention.
See? I told you I wouldn’t be any good at this. I think I’m going to flunk respect class.
Several days later…
Expectations for My Progress: I can’t see myself objectively in this area, so I’ve decided to ask my husband what respect would look like to him.
- Be patient when I ask him to do something. Okay, I can see this. But I’m struggling because the example he used was the lawn mower repair the other day, when I felt incredible anxiety about getting it done and I had absolutely no knowledge of how to do it myself. He used the words “pestering” and “nag.”
- Make supper when I get home before he does. He does most of the cooking for our family, and when I come home, my introverted self needs to complete hole myself away from the family to recharge. Gotta work on that.
Expectations of My Husband That I Release: No clue. I forgot that I was going to pay attention. The example in the book is an expectation of the husband giving a hug or backrub every day. I don’t know that I have expectations in this regard. I have desires. I want him to not yell. I want him to hug and kiss me. I just don’t know that I expect it.
The next day…
- Okay, Dare 2 helped me come up with this one: My husband needs to never raise his voice.
The Peaceful Wife has a list of things husbands find disrespectful. I do a lot of things on the list, although to be fair, some of these things I’ve already begun to work on.
I want to be transparent here. I feel upset just looking at this list. Why does my husband get to be treated like a king and pampered and never have to deal with how his actions/words/inactions affect other people? Why does he get to have a bubble around him? So many things on this list go against my grain. Why should I have to be the one to change who I am just so he can think everything is hunky dory? When I think back to our early marriage, I remember arguments about how to fold his underwear, where he wanted his shoes to belong, how much he was willing to share in the housework. In order to maintain some sense of harmony, I simply let go of how I wanted to do things. I felt like I caved and just gave up.
Is it even possible to learn to respect without coming to resent?
Here’s why I know I need to do this Respect Dare: Truly, it isn’t about my husband or our marriage. It’s about me and God. My earthly relationship with my husband mirrors much of my relationship with God. I complain about the rules. I do things my way. I don’t put God center in my life as I should. When I do things the way I should—in my marriage and with God—I am filled with such joy and peace. I need to do this Respect Dare, not for the sake of my marriage but because I need to make a habit of doing well with God. Learning these habits with my husband will carry over into learning them with God. My marriage is like a trial run of the relationship that truly matters most. It is my chance to work things out and learn how to be who God wants me to be. That overwhelms me and frightens me—and then I start wondering whether my husband deserves all this hard emotional work I’m about to do. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t matter, since it’s really about me and God.
Still, if Dare 1 is so hard and took me a few days, will I ever get through to Dare 40? I don’t want to do this. I need to do this.
If you’re doing the Respect Dare with me, how are you doing as you get started?