Friday, January 29, 2010

Love Dare

Have you watched "Fireproof"? Excellent movie...

In the movie, the hero of the story is challenged to do a love dare, where he has to perform 40 acts of kindness to his estranged wife. He goes through them all, transforming himself and his marriage.

As it turns out, you can buy the Love Dare book. So I did. I thought it would be a cute Valentine's Day thing for me and Jeremy.

I excitedly opened the book, waiting for sprinkles of magic to fall out and make me sparkly. It went something like this:

YOU cannot change your spouse, so don't try. This book is for you to stop being a schmo and try being nice for THEM for a change. Good luck, sucker.

Day One: Try something new, and be patient with your spouse. No matter what they say or do (or don't say and do) be patient. If you are tempted to say something nasty, bite your tongue really hard. Don't be alarmed by the salty, metallic taste. It's just blood.

Okay, I thought to myself. I can do this!

Since Jeremy was at work, and it was 3 PM, I figured it shouldn't be too hard to be patient with him for the rest of the day.

Then he came home.

Dinner was ready and Jeremy was inconsiderately sitting down and checking his E-Mail. Sheesh.

My impulse was to say, "Hel-LO! We are all waiting for you!"

Instead I said, sweetly, "Jeremy, dinner is ready..." followed by a batting of my eyelashes.

"Hang on," he said, prying his eyes open.

My blood was starting to boil. I must have some latent anger issues.

Patience patience patience, I chanted to myself.

"Okay," I said evenly, not trying to manipulate him or get angry.

He finally came. My dreams were coming true! My family life was going to be wonderful!

Since I was trying to make my marriage perfect, I thought I might as well try and be a perfect mother as well. The kids were being crazy, but I thought, Gee, I really ought to try and be patient across the board, and then we will all be a perfect family and WOW, wouldn't that be swell? I had visions of me in heels and an apron (over my perfectly ironed dress) pulling a golden-brown turkey from the oven while my family sat in perfect harmony at the table in their Sunday best.

The evening ended uneventfully. I was trying my hardest to be patient, and was startled to realize how impatient I am most of the time. It's pretty sad when nuking food in the microwave for 3 minutes seems like an eternity.

The next day I was excited to start early. So, at 9 AM, I pulled out the Love Dare book, and read Day Two:

Today, on top of being patient, do something really nice for your spouse (and children, I added to myself).

Okay, I thought. Nice...hmmm...Patient AND nice. I can do this!



I think the pressure was too much. It was like my desire to be perfectly patient and kind every second was baking soda mixing with vinegar. In a very small container. With the lid on.

After getting super crabby at Josh for swallowing his chewable vitamins (DOESN'T HE UNDERSTAND THAT HE WON'T METABOLIZE THEM IF HE SWALLOWS THEM?? IS HE TRYING TO DIE!??!?!?), getting crabby at Eva for being whiny (and I almost NEVER get crabby at her. It's unfair, I know...), I completely forgot about doing something nice for Jeremy, and patience got left in the parking lot behind my apartment (after I got home from Grammy and Papa's house) where Joshua stood defiantly at the top of the stairs with a Try-and-Make-Me look on his face after I asked him to come into the house, resulting in a spank and a 20-minute respite in the timeout chair.

What was happening??? Why was everything going so wrong??

Never mind the fact that I stayed up super late the night before catching up on "Chuck" episodes. It couldn't have been that.

Then I decided something.

Yes, exerting more effort in being patient was a good thing. Although, it is pretty fun to push Jeremy off of the computer chair when I want his attention.

BUT, I think perhaps taking things slowly is best. Perhaps I should take each challenge by the week, instead of the day, and practice until I get each principle down.

So, tonight, when Jeremy and I were watching yet another BBC mini-series, I decided to acquiesce to Jeremy's request to turn in for the night. Usually I whine until I get my way (maybe that's where Eva gets it...?), but I just turned it off. Jeremy then plopped in front of the computer to look up Tran Ams. I pushed him off the chair after several jibes about him supposedly wanting to go to bed, which resulted in an all-out brawl in the living room. After successfully untangling myself from his grasp, I plopped myself in front of the computer to write this here blog, letting out a successful "Ha HA!" as I gripped the chair. Jeremy let out a mock-offended "Hey!" and then wandered into the bathroom, where he discovered my complete ineptitude at replacing the toilet paper roll.

I like the idea of "line upon line, precept upon precept." Not all at once, but slowly and surely. After all, you cannot create a masterpiece in one day.


Trillium said...

..."After all, you cannot create a masterpiece in one day"... yes, we have been programmed by our use of today's technology to expect instant gratification and demand it in every situation, but perfection and masterpieces take a long time. Do you want radishes or oak trees?

Rebecca said...

I have had several failed attempts at behavior modification - mostly because the promised results never came to fruition when I expected them.

Instant gratification is a huge factor.

It has taken a very long time to master patience and I haven't thrown a Christmas Tree across the living room in about 5 years. :)

Tina said...

I instantly thought about going to the temple when I read this. You know when you plan on going and the rest of your day is complete caios and you get grumpy and don't want to go? Well, this is the same. You are trying to better yourself and Satan knows it so he'll throw all of your imperfections at you all at once and try to get you to give up but the final reward is worth it... patience and kindness and a "perfect" family!! You are amazing for at least trying and I can't wait to hear all about what you are doing to better yourself and your family!! Way to go!!

Katscratchme said...

It's always a daily choice to change your own behavior... if you don't quite get it right today, there is always tomorrow.

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