We have fallen a couple of days behind, but are picking up where we left off!
Day 17 was "Love promotes intimacy." It centered around the idea that if your partner tells you a secret in confidence, you should not go out and share it. I think this is mostly a problem with women, because they start out sharing a secret in the name of getting help or advice, and then it escalates from there. How many times do women hear a secret, which they are warned not to share with anyone, only to go and tell one more person and tell her not to share it with anyone? You can generally bet that everyone will have heard about it within a week or two. This is especially bad when you're talking about your spouse's secrets. It reminds me of Mama Rissa's post on gossiping about our husbands and children. Maybe it feels okay because you're talking about your own family, but it's really the worst gossiping of all. You will be privy to all kinds of damaging or embarrassing information about your spouse, and you ought to be the one person in the world your spouse can count on to keep that information a secret. The dare was to determine to guard your mate's secrets and to pray for them; to really listen to their personal thoughts and struggles and make them feel safe. I think Jordan and I already do a pretty good job of this, but it is a good reminder to watch what I say to other people. There are certain things that should remain private.
Day 18 was "Love seeks to understand." The book reminds us of how, in the beginning, our partners are so interesting to us. When you first start dating someone, you want to learn everything about them, and you spend most of your time thinking about them. When you've been married a few years, it may seem that you know enough and, having lived together so long and seeing all the good and the bad, a lot of the mystery is gone. The dare challenged us to prepare a special dinner at home and focus on getting to know one another better. There was even a list of questions in the back of the book to help with this. It specified that the dinner be just for the two of us, but with Suzi, that is kind of tough. We would've needed advance notice. Luckily she was taking a nap so we had a pizza together and talked for a while. I plan to try to continue that conversation with Jordan later, perhaps in the car. We always have our best talks while we're in the car because there's nothing to distract us.
Day 19 was "Love is impossible." This may sound strange, but it's actually referring to our human inability to love unconditionally--at least by ourselves. The only way we can give unconditional love is with God's help, through Jesus Christ. (If you've seen the movie Fireproof, you probably remember this part of it.) The dare was to ask God to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination. Jordan and I both already felt we had done this. For someone who had not, this would be both an important and possibly difficult day.
Day 20 was "Love is Jesus Christ." It reiterates the previous day's conclusion, and the dare asks us to dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation and to pray "Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. But you have shown Your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and You have proven Your power to save me from death by Your resurrection. Lord, change my heart, and save me by Your grace." We had already prayed this prayer, but it doesn't hurt to pray it again and again.
One more thing I wanted to share. A few days ago at work, I sold a couple of nursing bras to the parents of a new mom who was waiting upstairs with her baby. They politely thanked me for my help and then, before they left, the woman turned to me and asked "How can we pray for you?" I was taken aback. (Very few people ask that here outside of church.) I had no idea what to say! After thinking for a while, I told them that everything was going well for me and I wasn't sure. It's not that I didn't want them to pray for me; it just took me by surprise. The woman said that they would just pray for Jesus to show himself to me and for me to recognize Him when that happened. I think I was meant to see that woman, because it left me thinking... Why don't I do that? I know it isn't just me. Why do many Christians, in particular, act so shy about their faith? If there's one thing we can take from people of other religions, it's the ability to "go public" with our beliefs. How is it that we have the most widespread religion in the country and yet some of us can't come up with the courage to speak openly about it? I know I need to work on this.