For day six, we were to choose to react to tough situations in our marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. We have been trying to do this since we began the Love Dare, and I think we did a pretty good job. Also, we were supposed to decide on areas in which we could add margin to our schedule. We thought it over and came up with a couple of ideas. I don't think we are necessarily over scheduled, but...
1) We watch a lot of TV, and TV can suck your life away. We turn it on to fill up silence and then end up watching for the rest of the night. The funny thing is how we'll say "We're just so busy! We don't have time for _______." Actually, we do have time; we just need to take it. When you're watching TV you feel like you were doing something, even if you can't quite remember what. We resolved to plan some fun afternoon activities with Suzi instead of turning on the TV.
2) We need to build in daily cleaning time. Our house gets overwhelming fast. On the days when I'm home with Suzi, I usually try to clean but it's hard because she wants to play, and generally in a manner which undermines my cleaning. She goes around behind me taking all her toys back out, or starts doing something dangerous so I have to stop what I'm doing to take care of her. Then I forget what I was working on. That is when I get frustrated with her, and I'd rather be a happy mom spending time with my daughter than a grouchy one feebly trying to clean around her. I usually only get one day off with her each week! I'm not sure Jordan is totally on board with this, but we agreed to add a "cleaning hour" to our schedule each night. After dinner we can turn off the TV and turn on some music and do dishes or fold laundry together. With the two of us working together, Suzi would be more likely to get involved and stay happy. As we catch up on our messy house, we could probably cut back to half an hour. I also would like to get up early (like 5 am) more often to clean. I do it sometimes already.
3) I pointed out we need to add more margin to our finances, but we were working on that before beginning the Love Dare. We don't have credit card debt and I'm thankful for that, but the more margin you have in your finances the happier you'll be. I know I'm not the only one who's had a bad day just because of money worries such as a big unexpected expense. Sense to Save is an inspiring blog if you want to save money. Kacie is so smart and it's just amazing that she's learned all she knows at such a young age. Our goals are to pay our van and hospital bill off early. We already make a little more than the regular monthly payment on the van, and any extra we pay goes straight to the principal. It's a double-whammy: the faster we pay it, the less interest we get stuck with; and the faster we pay it, the sooner we have several hundred dollars freed up each month. We will soon have $38 extra each month as we are about to finish paying off a vacation program we purchased in college. (Incidentally, we've used it several times and it was already worth what we paid.) We will probably tack an extra $40 to our van payment at that time. Over the past couple of months we have been a lot more careful with impulsive purchases and it's paid off.
For day seven we were supposed to make two lists: one list of positive things about each other, and one list of negative things. We were to hide both lists away for later use, but share one thing off the positive list at some point during the day and just say thank you for having that quality. Jordan wanted to be sure I wasn't blogging a laundry list of his negative qualities (of course not!) but I told him I would share some of the positive and that was fine by him! I'll just share some of them. I wouldn't want him to get embarrassed.
1) He can fix most anything. Several years ago, with no specific training whatsoever, he ordered a bunch of computer parts and put together a custom PC for us. The parts cost a significant chunk of money (but we saved a lot over what we'd have spent to buy that computer ready-to-use), so to be honest, I was a little nervous. But he did it and I am sitting here using the computer to blog right now! It is so nice to have a computer guy right here 24/7!
2) He never shrinks from helping others with his geeky gift. He recently helped my parents get their monitor fixed, helped my dad re-run the cable for their TV so it isn't fuzzy when they turn on the shredder (long story), and installed a wireless router so my mom could check her email and surf the web on my old college laptop without having to go downstairs. He frequently troubleshoots his parents' computer over the phone, and has advised numerous people on what type of computer to buy.
3) I have always loved his laugh when something struck him as really, really funny. It's cute.
4) He has the ability to make friends in a snap. He's gotten into a study group in every single class he has taken in the past two years or so. I could never do that.
5) He always believes the best about people.
Jordan told me he likes how I love to help people. He gave the example of some of my blog topics, and also how babywearing helped us so now I make slings for others and help spread the word about it. That made me feel good.