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!
Last week, I told my husband how glad I was that the Respect Dare process was nearly over. I feel emotionally raw. At times this has drained me, and other times it has filled me up. But I am raw and fragile—and maybe that’s where I need to be in order to foster new growth.
My husband was somewhat dismayed, though. He said, “What do you mean it’s over? Does that mean you don’t have to be respectful anymore? I’ve liked this.” No, honey. That isn’t what it means at all—but it does show me just how much my disrespectful patterns had become ingrained and expected.
Yesterday . . .
Honestly, after finishing Dare 39, I felt like I need go no further. All along, I knew this would be about me and God more than about me and my husband.
However, our marriage and my attitude and behavior toward my husband are part of it—and I struggled yesterday. After an afternoon that had included an incredibly powerful prayer experience for me, I shouldn’t have been surprised to feel like I was being attacked.
Two nights ago, I was in urgent care with a severe and quick-onset UTI. Due to the severity of my symptoms and the fact that I had an allergic reaction to a similar antibiotic in the past, I stayed home from work yesterday to monitor my symptoms and side effects (and to push fluids and go to the bathroom a lot). I sat around all day, writing and puttering in my medicated state, pretty much an unshowered couch potato all day. So I was feeling kind of yucky and sorry for myself anyway.
Last Night . . .
While my husband and kids were watching TV, I started watching sappy proposal and wedding videos on my computer. And I started thinking about how my husband hasn’t gotten me flowers in a long time and about the things that need to be taken care of in our house and yard, and I started feeling resentful and hurt. I clung to the image that God had given me during prayer yesterday and found great comfort, but I felt like a wolf was pounding on the door and trying to get into my marriage.
By the time we got to bed, I was feeling somewhat disconnected from my husband. A conversation then ensued that left me feeling hurt and crying, my husband upset with himself for having told me a truth I didn’t like to hear, and him falling asleep before I could pull myself together and offer him something sexual even though anything for me is off-limits because of the UTI. I reached out to some friends via email and felt their prayers. I fell asleep somewhat comforted but still unsettled.
Today . . .
I’m not sure how I am today. I woke up still sad and somewhat distressed, but every time that bubbles up, I pray for peace and for evil to be kept out and it goes away. My husband has been comforting, although I don’t think he realizes how deeply I was hurting. He doesn’t like it when I cry, and he wants to fix it–but there isn’t a simple fix. I’ve assured him that I know he loves me and desires me and that I just need to work through some feelings. In the past, I would have responded by telling him all the ways he hurt me and I would have tried to demand that he do something around the house for me. I didn’t, so there was no argument as there would have been at one time in our marriage. But I feel wiped out today, and my UTI symptoms are clinging.
That’s where I am as I sit down to do Dare #40, having a wonderful image of God to hold on to yet feeling emotionally and physically drained.
The Last Dare . . . or a New Beginning?
This Dare asks us to listen. First, listen to God as we dwell on the words, “Oh Lord Most High, Creator of all things, Redeemer, Conquerer!” There is a prayer in the book as well. I am still working through the thoughts and feelings that came to me during the prayer. I can say that I had an understanding of some things that I’ve never had before. I am still stunned at all the ways I have experienced God in a personal way over the past few months. I am overwhelmed, and I’m not ready to put it into words.
The second part of the Dare is to listen to God through hearing inspirational music. I figured that would be pretty simple. I often listen to Christian contemporary music on Pandora while I’m on the computer. Mostly, I do it to help block out the sounds of my noisy family, and I don’t always pay attention to the words. I judge whether I like a song on the basis of the melody and the voices. Sometimes a phrase will jump out at me.
So what was the first song I heard when doing this part of the Dare? Sanctus Real’s “Lead Me.”
Figures. My mind fights, but my heart listens. I still have some work to do, but maybe I’m finally ready for it. I thought Dare 40 would be the end of the road, but I suspect it may be the beginning.
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