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!
Today’s dare is about speaking in kindness and seeing things from another’s point of view—basically, not being self-centered. Suffice it to say that I am guilty as charged, but I have been working on this and am making progress.
But I don’t want to write about that today. Instead, I want to write about something that showed me some of the work the Respect Dare is doing in me.
My husband and I spent the afternoon at the county fair near our home. I had a chance to observe some changes my husband and I had both made. Our outing did not begin well. When we arrived, one of the guys directing parking made a comment that my husband perceived as rude; he responded, and suffice it to say it was not one of his most stellar remarks.
I felt embarrassed and upset. I gathered a breath to start to say something to him . . . and instead, I reached for his hand and kept walking. I remembered that his behavior was not my responsibility, but I was disappointed by how he had spoken.
We wandered around. The incident was still on my mind, and I simply wasn’t able to be very engaged while we wandered through the animal barns. My husband was attentive and moved me out of the way when the cow almost did its business on my foot and even found a cool place for me while he went to talk to a guy about antique tractors.
I was battling my feelings and trying to work through them, but I did make two observations: 1) I was controlling my tongue, which in the past has been the first thing to fly when I’m upset with my husband. 2) I wasn’t so wrapped up in my own misery that I couldn’t recognize and appreciate my husband’s care for me. This intrigued me.
I decided I needed to work a little harder on getting through my feelings so my husband and I could fully enjoy our day. Just as I was reaching for God to ask for help, my husband handed me a lemon shake-up and asked me why I was feeling down. I took a deep breath and explained that I was having a hard time processing the interaction between him and the parking guy. He started to say, “He was rude to me first . . . “ and then looked at me and said, “but if I’m doing something that upsets you and that you think is out of character for me, then I’ll talk to the doctor and see if we need to adjust my medications. You know me. I trust you.” (His medication changes sometimes trigger a quicker temper in him.)
Let’s see . . . I was upset and didn’t say anything at the time. It took a little while, but I had an opportunity to express my feelings (actually, an invitation to do so). And I got the exact response I would have hoped for. And throughout this, I was still able to see my husband caring for me.
This is still hard. I find that every day, I am having to take deep breaths to stop from saying something. I’m still snappy (particularly during an incident several hours before we left for the fair). I still feel like I’m being asked to suppress who I am in these Dares (although those feelings aren’t as strong as they were at first).
I am delighted to see that I am growing in small ways. My husband is content, and I’ve learned that when he’s content, he’s better at making me feel cherished. Or maybe he’s been doing this all along and I just haven’t noticed until now.
As soon as I told my husband what was going on with me internally I felt free of those feelings that had been dragging me down. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. I ate various foods on a stick, visually teasing my husband as I did so. I let him look down my shirt. I held his hand while we walked around.
I would love to hear from you if you’re doing the Respect Dare. What have you experienced that shows you what you’re learning or the struggles you still have?
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)
Image courtesy of Iamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net