Day 166: Your Love Does Not Boast

March 15, 2012

I’m either blind to your boasting or you don’t boast at all, because when I prayed for you about this issue on Monday, I couldn’t think of a single time since I’ve known you that you’ve boasted. Still, I prayed that God would refine your character in this area so that you can better serve him.

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Day 163: Love Does Not Boast

March 12, 2012

I’m a boaster. Boasting runs in my family [sorry, fam, it’s true]. On Friday, I prayed that God would make me the kind of person who doesn’t boast about my strengths and accomplishments. I have no reason to boast in them, whatever they may be, because God, by his grace, has given me everything I have or have done. However, there are things I can and should boast about–for example, my weaknesses, because God is strong when I’m weak, and my God, because of all that he is and does. In light of this, I thanked God for my weaknesses and praised him for his greatness. [Let’s use our boastful tendency, my family, to boast about our God!]

What does any of this have to do with 365 Act of Love? As I’ve mentioned before, bettering my character allows me to better love you. And being boastful is a character weakness. In particular, it’s an inappropriate focus on self that is opposed to love. So, I’m seeking to become the kind of person who doesn’t boast, because I want to be the kind of person who focuses on others rather than himself. In particular, I want to be the kind of person who focuses (at least) on you, and your strengths and accomplishments, and your wants and needs.


Day 158: Your Love Does Not Envy (Much)

March 5, 2012

Last night, I prayed that God would form you into the kind of person who doesn’t envy so that you would be content with where God has you and with what he’s allotted you, and that you would praise him for how he’s blessed you. Although I’m impressed with your ability to be content in a variety of circumstances, all of us could stand to grow in this area.

 


Day 153: Love Does Not Envy

February 29, 2012

Last night, I prayed that God would make me the kind of person who does not envy and asked him to show me ways in which I envy you. I need to deal with the envy in my heart, since love is selfless and envy stems from selfishness. Additionally, if I allow my envy to foster, it might lead to bitterness, resentment, anger, and hatred toward you. That would not be good.

Speaking of envy, our oldest was so envious that I took you on a helicopter ride to see whales that she was angry with me. She didn’t want to talk to me or even look at the pictures of our trip. Poor girl. Maybe some day, she’ll have her turn.


Day 144: Your Love Is Kind

February 20, 2012

You’re such a kind person that it amazes me. So yesterday, I thanked God that he’s made you kind by his grace. Then, I prayed that he would increase your kindness and bring you opportunities to be kind.

He answered my prayers. When I came home in the afternoon for a break from work, you let me play with the kids while you prepared a great meal for us. Then after we ate, you let me take a short nap on the couch before I went back to work. Thank you so much.

 


Day 142: Love and Respect CD #2

February 17, 2012

Tonight we listened to the second CD of the Love and Respect Conference. The Crazy Cycle, which perpetuates by the husband’s lack of love and the wife’s lack of respect, surfaces in our marriage every now and again. It’s good to be aware of it so that when we can stop it before it starts.

Lately, I’ve been a little inconsiderate in the way I relate to you. Honestly, in the back of my mind I’m thinking I can get away with it because of everything else I’m doing for you through 365. That’s not very kind. I’m going to work on that before it turns into something big.

 


Day 140: Love is Kind

February 17, 2012

On Wednesday, I acted on my resolve to develop the characteristics of love in myself (I Cor. 13), by praying that God would instill kindness in me, then looking for opportunities to be kind. I can’t think of any particularly noteworthy opportunities I had, but there were plenty of pedestrian ones. Perhaps I should’ve made opportunities to be kind rather than wait for them to come to me.


Day 134: Back Massage #3

February 10, 2012

Three massages down, four to go.

Since day 131, I’ve given my intentions for this blog some thought. I’ve asked myself questions like “Why am I doing 365 Acts of Love?” and “What do I hope will result from it?” Here are some answers. For one, I want to express and increase my love for you and that for many reasons, including the betterment of our relationship, the growth of our character, the good of loving you, the glorification of God (which I take to be primary), etc. For another, I want others to be spurred on to love their spouses deeply and to praise God for what he’s doing in our relationship. So maybe this sums up my intentions: I want to express and increase my love for you for our sake and others’ sake, and all this for God’s sake.

But the above is ideal. I’m sure other, less noble intentions creep in. Like what? Well, perhaps I’m doing 365 because I want you to recognize what I do for you. Or maybe, I want to use it as leverage later in our relationship (“Remember I wrote that blog for you? Can’t you do this one thing for me?”). Maybe I’m blogging because I want recognition from others. I hope that none of these motivate me. Frankly, none are worth the effort 365 requires.

I do recognize that I’m prone to some of the above ulterior motives. But that’s part of the reason I keep this blog anonymous.* Sure, I’ve told some friends and family. [Hi, “Danielle” and “Kyle”!]  But for the most part, I’ve kept it a secret.

At any rate, I want my motives for this blog to be good, rather than bad. May God’s grace put and keep me on track.

 

*Disclaimer: I’m not sure I’ll always keep it anonymous.


Day 123: Love is Patient

January 30, 2012

As I’ve discussed before, in order to better act lovingly toward you, I need to foster a loving character in myself (through Christ working in me: Jn. 15:1-8; Phil. 2:13-14). One way of doing this is by thinking over, praying about, and exercising love or one of its characteristics.

In light of this, yesterday I did so regarding patience, since love is patient. First, I considered the nature of patience and what it is to act patiently. Then, I prayed that God would afford me opportunities to act patiently and that he would give me the grace to do so when those opportunities arose. Then, I waited for the opportunities. Given that we have three young kids, there were opportunities aplenty. I know that developing character takes time, practice, and grace, but at least yesterday was a step in the right direction.

On a related note, I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for patience before, partly because I’m scared of what circumstances God might use to foster patience in me. After all, suffering is a great vehicle for character growth (Rom. 5:4). But, after years of stifled growth, I’m slowly accepting that the benefits of character growth outweigh the hardships brought on by this vehicle (though I say this as one who hasn’t suffered much). Then again, I’m not waiting for suffering with open arms. Instead, I’m asking God to do with my life what he deems best. Even so, I’m asking reluctantly, which is odd since God’s in a decent position to know what’s best.


Day 120: Soli Deo Gloria

January 27, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to clean our kitchen and living room, with me opting for the former and you the latter. Before we started, though, you went upstairs to lay the baby down. 30 minutes later, you still hadn’t come back. So I crept upstairs to confirm my suspicion that you’d fallen asleep. You had. For my act of love, then, I let you sleep and I cleaned the kitchen and the living room myself.

It wouldn’t be hard to guess how this scenario would likely have played out a year ago. I probably would have woken you up so that you could do your job or let you sleep but made sure you cleaned later. In either case, though, I might have suspected that you fell asleep intentionally (love believes the best, anyone?) and even subtly accused you of that.

Now though, my thoughts are less and less about how to satisfy my needs and desires (though they are about that, which isn’t necessarily bad) and more and more about how to satisfy your needs and desires.* Throughout my day, my thoughts consistently and automatically turn toward you. I’m also gaining a clearer understanding of what it is that God requires of me as a husband, the purpose for which he designed marriage, what things please you, what kind of person you are and want to be, etc.

In addition, I’m happier and I desire you more. Sure, there are times when I do things for you purely from a sense of duty. But, week by week, my obligations and feelings (i.e., desires and emotions) are lining up. As a newlywed, I had strong (positive!) feelings for you and a sense of duty to commit to you and treat you well, but lacked a firm character underlying my feelings. Then I went through a time in which my feelings waned and my sense of duty remained, while my character slowly developed (due in part, it seems, to my commitment to you). Through 365, I’m happy to be in a place where my character is developing and feelings for you are welling up from that character.

But don’t get me wrong. Even though there’s been change, I’m far from where I need to be. Though my thoughts are less about me than they were, they’re still mostly about me. I’m still entrenched in false beliefs, whether dispositional or occurrent, about who sits on the throne of my life. My desires and emotions continually favor me over God, you, or others. I’m sick of it. What’s worse, though, is that I’m absolutely certain that I’m blind to most of my selfishness. (But it’s by God’s grace that I am and that he reveals my sin to me little by little, since I might despair if I saw it in full view.*)

I’m not going to kid myself, then. 120 days isn’t going to reverse dispositions long established. And while working on my marriage is good, many other aspects of my life and character need transformation. Yet, I’m making progress, however slight.

I chalk this progress up to the grace of God. It’s all by his grace. It’s by grace alone. Grace, grace, grace. Grace. The impetus for working out my relationship with you is God working in me (Phil. 2:12-13). In other words, without God’s work in me, there would be no heart change.

Soli Deo Gloria

*Obviously this doesn’t exhaust my daily thought life. My primary goal is to make God the consistent and automatic object of my thought.

*I got this point from Keller.