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!
I’m intrigued by my experience with this Dare. The illustrative story at the beginning poses a couple challenges for me, as it incorporates a couple issues that I’ve faced in my marriage. What intrigues me is my response—or, more aptly, my lack of one.
My usual pattern when reading about something that hits close to home is to have an emotional response and get caught up in my internal emotional processing. I think about the past and begin to re-experience the emotions from that time; before I move past this to get to the next part of the reading, I’ve been through the wringer and I’m simply worn out. I have come to understand myself well enough to know that my emotional responses are on me, not on the reading that triggered them. As I began to read this chapter, I began to feel sad—but only a little, and it didn’t last long.
I read this Dare and began to react emotionally, simply because it’s a habit. I started to write about my feelings—and then realized I was writing about feelings I wasn’t even actually experiencing at the time!
The biggest challenges that I faced in the early Dares came from my emotional processing. I dug stuff out that I didn’t know was there, and it kept coming back to haunt me, Dare after Dare. Keeping it close to the surface and looking at it so much has apparently helped me to come to terms with some experiences and emotions.
So here I am, having an experience where I’m controlling my response rather than letting my emotional response control me. Wow. I didn’t know this was actually possible. Now, this is something I was reading, not an actual face-to-face interaction. I’m sure I have many more emotional reactions in my future. But, wow, I didn’t even know that what I just did was possible.
This is a huge revelation for me. I can separate what I read from my own emotional response—and while I feel for the person I was who experienced the issues brought to mind by the reading, I can respond as the person I am rather than the person I was. I think of all the things in my marriage that could benefit if I continue to develop this ability. I am, almost 50 years old, finally growing up. The mind boggles.
So I moved on to look at the actual Dare, which really seems beside the point to me now. And I’ve realized that what it challenges me to do (think of things that are important to my husband and try to accomplish them each week) is something I’ve already begun doing as part of the Respect Dare process.
Evidence of my own growth . . . who woulda thunk?
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)