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!
This Dare asks me to think of an activity my husband enjoys doing with me and plan a time to do it with him this week. The example in the chapter is one of a woman sitting in her husband’s workshop with him while he works on a project.
I really thought that by this point in the Respect Dare process, I would be doing better. I thought I would see signs of growth in me. Instead, I growled at my husband today about something he did a few months ago that I had completely forgotten about. I am still feeling unloved from earlier in the week. I feel like I’ve failed too many Dares or been half-hearted about some of them. I’m worn out from being so emotional almost every time I sit down to look at the book. I just want it to be done.
Many of the Dares have forced me to look at issues I brought into the marriage. This one, however, forces me to look at some things that arose after our marriage that have been a problem. It forces me to see some of the disappointments I have experienced with my husband. Between the illustrative story and my responses to the questions in the chapter, I am reminded of some of the things that weighed heavily in my heart as my sexual refusal was beginning. There are things my husband doesn’t do that I wish he would—things that I perceive as being signs of love and care and that I therefore perceive as lack of love and care when they aren’t done. There are things he enjoys doing that have often made me feel like something of an afterthought in his daily life.
My husband doesn’t really want me to watch him and be a spectator, but he does want me to just be there, present and in the background of his life. When I choose to be in a different room than him, he feels like I don’t want to be with him, even if my reason for being there has nothing to do with him. If he’s even just watching TV, he likes me to be in the room where he is—even if there’s no interaction between us. He just wants me to be there.
I’ve been making a point to do this sometimes, even though I don’t like to watch TV. But even that dredges up some of the feelings I’ve had about some things throughout our marriage.
So at the moment, I’m feeling rather agitated—about the whole Respect Dare process in general and about this Dare in particular.
But then, I think about tomorrow.
Early last month, I wrote about my husband’s medical tests. We’ve learned that the results of the test he had that day contradicted a CT scan he’d had a couple months earlier. This could mean that surgery will not be an option, which means that he will require a new medication that won’t be as effective as surgery and will have difficult side effects. Or, it could mean that one of his tests was mislabeled. Friday afternoon, we have an appointment to talk with our primary care physician about addressing my husband’s growing irritability. While we are there, he gets to drink a yucky prep solution for a second CT scan to be held later in the afternoon. Then on Monday afternoon, we meet with the specialist to review the results of this scan.
There is no medical reason that my husband requires my presence at either of his Friday appointments. He knows the pertinent facts and concerns to share with the doctor about his mood. He will be perfectly capable of driving to and from his scan. My only job is to remind him when it’s time to drink his two bottles of the CT prep solution.
A medical test is hardly the same thing as an activity that my husband enjoys doing. I won’t be with him most of the time. I will be sitting in a waiting room with a blaring TV and my cell phone. I’ll be praying for his comfort and for clear results. I will think of the other times I’ve sat in waiting rooms while he’s had tests done. I’ll think of the times he’s sat in waiting rooms when I’ve been the one having tests and surgeries. I will remember how the things he’s done and hasn’t done don’t truly matter, not in the long run.
I won’t be watching him. He won’t be enjoying my company. But I will be there, getting him his prep drink and holding his wallet and keys, and waiting, all for him—and that’s what counts with him.
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)