Day 101: Old Pictures

January 9, 2012

On Saturday, we looked at old pictures together. I wanted us to look at wedding pictures and pictures of us when we were dating, but we ended up looking at pictures of our kids when they were younger. Here was our clichéd but appropriate reaction: my, how they’ve changed!

You’re actually a tad overwhelmed with my acts of love (I don’t know why, *cough cough*). So, this week, I’m going to lay low. Maybe I’ll do some secret, small, and/or mundane acts.


Day 81: Am I Just Whistling Dixie?

December 19, 2011

For my 82nd act of love, I humbled myself before you by giving you this apology letter:

Dear Wifey,

This weekend I didn’t love you as I should. Though you showed me grace, I often spoke carelessly and acted inconsiderately. Our weekend was great, to be sure, but it would have been better if I hadn’t acted selfishly. Will you forgive me?

I love you and wish I would continually treat you well. May I rejoice in you–a loving doe, a graceful deer. May I ever be intoxicated with your love (Prov. 5:18-20). May you be more pleasing to me than wine  (Song of Sol. 4:10). As Christ gave up himself for the church, may I give up myself for you (Eph. 5:25).

Love,

Your Husband

As the letter indicates, I had a tough time loving you this weekend (but you’re so darn lovable!). Selfishness and pride flowed out of me, though not as freely as before 365 Acts of Love. May I consistently love you, not just act lovingly once a day for 365.

Not only is it tough to consistently love you, it’s tough to consistently do 365. Every day I have to plan a new act of love, execute it, and write about it. But as Coldplay says in their whiny tone: “Nobody said it was easy.” In addition, isn’t this exactly what I wanted: to daily consider and mull over and reflect on how to love you? Still, it’s tough.

But consider what God did for us. When he said he loved us, he wasn’t just whistling Dixie–his love resulted in actions that cost him greatly. The Lord of all creation made himself a servant. The Creator became a creature. The all-powerful God became a helpless babe in order to be slain for us. Consider this passage from Philippians 2:

[Christ] . . . being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Truly, the incarnation is evidence of God’s great and sacrificial love for us (I Jn. 4:9).

What’s the evidence of my love for you? Am I moving beyond just whistling Dixie? Let’s put consistent action to these words of mine! Though it’s tough, I need to will to love you in spite of my desire to be selfish. I cannot do this without God’s grace. By the end of the year, perhaps God will so mold my thoughts and desires, that willing to love you will be second nature. Or if not, perhaps it will be easier than it is now.

PS: I must give credit to our pastor for inspiring this post with his sermon.


Day 59: Love and Respect

November 28, 2011

Five years ago, we attended our first marriage conference: the Love and Respect Conference (loveandrespect.com). We loved it so much and it had such an impact on our marriage that we decided to attend a marriage conference every year; but, we haven’t attended one since (oops). We need to. Right now, we can’t because we have a newborn. Given that, I decided that we could at least listen to a conference from home. So, on Saturday I asked you if you wanted to start listening to the CDs from the Love and Respect Conference. You said yes. We listened to the first CD called “The Crazy Cycle.” At times, we definitely fall into to the Crazy Cycle: my lack of love fuels your lack of respect and vice versa. I’m anxious to listen to the CDs on the Energizing and Rewarded Cycles. Perhaps I’ll learn new ways to love you that I can incorporate into 365 Acts of Love.


Day 53: Through the Looking Glass

November 21, 2011

For yesterday’s act of love, I read the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass to you. Both you and I have read this book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland before and enjoyed them.

Also, you went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things and brought back a coffee for me from Starbucks. Your face beamed with delight as you gave me my gift. Since I started 365 Acts of Love, you’ve been more inclined to do kind/loving things for me. These things have been unsolicited and seemingly without expectation of reciprocation by me. Is there a connection between 365 and your kind acts? Maybe.


Day 50: The Secret Letter

November 18, 2011

It’s day 50! I’m nearly 1/7 of the way through 365 Acts of Love and I’m going strong. To celebrate, I wrote you a love letter that I hid in a book on my bookshelf. If you’re reading this post for the first time, it should be late September/early October of next year (unless you somehow found out about this blog). The letter should still be there.

I wish I could say I found a clever place to hide it, like in a book called The Secret Letter or Your Husband Hid a Love Letter in This Book, but I wasn’t so clever–it’s in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. That’s a pretty safe hiding spot, though, because I’m almost positive you won’t brush up on the free will debate within the next year (is that due to your genetics and upbringing?). I did look for books on our shelf with the word ‘letter’ in their title. There were two–The Scarlet Letter (!) and The Screwtape Letters–but I didn’t like what either choice might suggest about us. The Oxford Handbook of Free Will is on the top shelf with the other philosophical works. Go get your letter!


Day 48: At the Car Wash

November 16, 2011

There’s something you love but rarely have: a clean car. We don’t wash it as much as we would like, because we have no way of doing it for free. And even when we clean it, it quickly becomes dirty–within a few days the outside gets dusty because we park by a field and the inside gets sticky, cluttered, crumby, smelly, etc., because of our kids (oh, the joys of fields and kids!).

Last night, while you atteneded a meeting, I cleaned the car inside and out at a self-service car wash. This wasn’t easy given that I had all three kids with me. We tried to get home before you returned so we could keep our gift a secret until you used the car next; instead, we arrived at the same time as you. Oh, well, it probably would’ve been dusty by the time you used it anyway. You really appreciated that I cleaned the car for you. Really. But, you delicately pointed out that, for once, the car didn’t need cleaned–two days ago, you vacuumed the car and it rained (yes, I count that as getting the car washed, which is why I get really excited when it rains). Oops. Also, I’ve been super busy lately, so I’ve had to do some work in the evenings. So, I let the dishes pile up last night. I guess I could’ve spent my free time washing the dirty dishes instead of our clean car. I didn’t really think this one through.

I’ve noticed some changes in me since I started 365 Acts of Love. Here’s one: throughout a given day, I’ll frequently and automatically consider, for a given action, whether or not that action would be for your good. Before starting 365, I would often act, and only afterwards consider how that situation might affect you. Or, I would act while simultaneously realizing that my action wasn’t for your good. But now, I often pause before committing an act to consider whether or not I would be loving you by that act. I can tell you that this has already preempted some fights. I’m getting amped typing about this because if this is what can happen in 48 days, think about what an entire year can do. We might just come out of this thing with a fantastic marriage. That’s the power of love! (I mean, the Spirit’s transforming work).


Day 47: Breaking Bread

November 15, 2011

For yesterday’s act of love, I lead us through the Lord’s Supper. After we put the older girls to bed and our newborn was asleep, I set our table up with a candle, two glasses of Martinelli’s, and two pieces of a baguette. We quieted ourselves before God as I read Matthew 27, which concerns the Lord’s crucifixion. After reading this passage, we silently confessed our sins and expressed gratitutde for God’s grace. Next, I read I Corinthians 11:23-29 as we took the bread and the cup. Our time together was solemn and meaningful. I chose this as one of my acts of love because I wanted us to connect spiritually: I wanted us to be broken before God together, to praise God for his grace together, and to walk away from the experience united in our commitment to hate sin and pursue God.


Day 46: Sunday Brunch

November 14, 2011

After church yesterday, I surprised you by taking our family to Elephant Bar for their Sunday brunch. This was a big deal because you love to eat out, but we try to save money by not eating out often. I hope you felt special. I think you did because you talked about our brunch a lot yesterday.

You weren’t the only one who enjoyed it. Our oldest daughter loves Elephant Bar–whenever we decide to eat out, she votes to eat there. On our way to the restaurant, I told you what we were doing, but not her. As we pulled into the parking lot, she saw the restaurant, hung her head, and said “I wish we could eat at Elephant Bar.” (What did she think we were doing in the parking lot for Elephant Bar? Taunting her?) “We are,” I replied. She brightened up immediately.

When I talked to our pastor later that day, he asked how I was doing. “Great! I took the family to Elephant Bar for brunch.” “They deserved that,” he replied. “They did. They give up a lot because of me.” He agreed. I’m sorry, honey, that I can’t take you to restaurants all the time–financially, we’ve sacrificed so much to pursue my dream. I wish I could treat you like a queen, lavishing you with expensive gifts, taking you out all the time, etc. But even though I can’t do those things, I can still treasure you–by guarding you, fighting for you, giving of myself for you, caring for you, etc. If I did the former things without the latter, you wouldn’t feel loved. And if you had to give up one for the other, it’s obvious which you’d choose. In the end, you wouldn’t want me to spend inordinate amounts of money on things we don’t need, given that we could use the same money to (for example) feed the hungry or spread the Gospel. (Having said that, I’m not opposed to taking you to Elephant Bar once in a while.)


Day 45: Breakfast in Bed

November 14, 2011

Since I started 365 acts of love, it’s been difficult to stay mad at you. On Friday night, I got mildly upset at you (and you at me) for something stupid. Moments later, I began thinking about Saturday’s act of love. I couldn’t stay mad at you while planning out an expression of my love for you (Even still, I decided not to talk about our dispute while we were both tired.)

While you slept on Saturday morning, the girls and I brought pancakes, bacon, a sliced pear, and coffee to your bedside. It wasn’t even Mother’s Day! We gently woke you. You sat up, saw us with breakfast for you, and smiled the sweetest of smiles. As you ate, we talked about why we were upset at each other. The conversation went much better than the night before: our bodies were rested and the act of love put both of our hearts in better places.


Day 44: Hide and Seek

November 12, 2011

Last night, I wrote a different note of encouragement on each of 5 note cards, then stuck/hid those cards in different places around the house. Here are the five notes: (1) “You’re beautiful,” (2) “I’m so glad I married you,” (3) “God loves you,” (4) “You’re a wonderful, godly woman,” and (5) “I love you.” I taped (1) to the bathroom mirror because I want you to see yourself as beautiful as you read the note. Also, I want you to see it every morning when you get ready so you can go about your day knowing your husband thinks you’re beautiful. Okay, there’s one more reason: when I get ready in the morning, I want to pretend that the note’s written to me. (2) is in the spice cabinet. I want to say I put it there because marrying you spiced up my life. Although you do spice things up, the cabinet just looked like a good hiding spot. I placed (3) in the towel closet. Again, I had no particular reason for placing (3) there. Although, God loves you even when you need a towel. You’ll find (4) taped to the coffee in the freezer. (5) I put somewhere in the house; but honestly, I can’t remember where. It might still be there as you’re reading this a year from now.