Thursday, March 11, 2010

I dare you!

Ever play truth or dare as a kid?  I remember playing it lots of times.  I played with my friends when we had sleepovers and I even played, occasionally, with my sister and brother when we’d stay up late together giggling and goofing off instead of sleeping.  Though it was supposed to be fun, truth or dare always made me nervous.  The truth part wasn’t so bad- I have always been a very honest person, but the dare part always caused me stress.  What if I was asked to do something I just didn’t want to do? Or something I knew I wasn’t supposed to do?  I almost always chose truth and avoided the dares as much as I could. As an adult, the opportunity to play truth or dare hasn’t come up much.  In fact, until recently I have been able to completely avoid the challenge of dares in my grown up world just as I attempted to do when I was younger.
    So, how has truth or dare manifested itself in my life again?  Last year, good friends of ours told Tim and me about a unique way of observing Lent.  They had seen the movie Fireproof and had purchased the companion book entitled The Love Dare.  They decided to use the 40 days of Lent to journey together through the book, which consists of 40 days of “dares“.  Our friends’ excitement about their personal Love Dare results inspired Tim and I to try it together this year. 
    We are about halfway through Lent, and about halfway through the Love Dare book.  So far, it has been a little reminiscent of my past truth or dare experiences.  It has been a little unsettling.  Day one of the Love Dare was entitled “love is patient”- the title alone was enough to make me anxious.  The dare itself was to not say anything negative to your spouse.  It sounds easy enough but immediately I started trying to analyze it.  Does it just mean that we should not criticize each other or does it mean, like it says, that we can’t say anything negative, like no complaints?  No venting?  No snapping in frustration over little annoyances?  Needless to say, I didn’t quite perfect day one, yet we moved on.  Day two was “love is kind”- this time we were dared to perform an unexpected act of kindness.  This was a lot easier, but the reading that preceded the dare itself spoke of gentleness, helpfulness, and willingness.  None of which are my greatest strengths.  Now I won’t go through each of the dares we have so far confronted, but I must admit they have all challenged me in one way or another.  The readings have enlightened me and the dares themselves have revealed a lot of truths about myself and my marriage. Thankfully the truth is, I have a wonderful marriage and an amazing husband.  I, however, often think more about what I want to get from my marriage than what I want to put into it.  The Love Dare has helped me to see how much more I can do for Tim, and how much more I can do to strengthen and nurture our relationship. 
    I’ve always shied away from dares because they take me outside my comfort zone but in marriage sometimes that is just what we need.  It is so easy to get into comfortable routines and to lose sight of our spouse’s needs.  Marriage is a beautiful sacrament, a sign of God’s grace in our lives, but it needs to be nurtured.  I have found out that a little dare can be a great way to grow in truth…and the truth is we can all be more loving, can’t we?

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