Day 68: Building Our Marriage in Vain

December 6, 2011

In anticipation of Christmas, I took us out last night to look at Christmas lights. We drove around for about an hour, but saw nothing spectacular. It was a blast, though. When we got home, I made hot chocolate for everyone. So went my 68th act of love.

On another note, here’s a confession: since I started this blog, I’ve taken our marriage down the wrong path. That is, in order to focus on 365 Acts of Love, I’ve spent less time focusing on God. That’s right—I’ve absolutely neglected my relationship with God for the sake of this blog.

Doing so undermines this blog’s purpose, which is to build a successful marriage by being the right kind of husband. How do I figure that? Well, anything that is not built for the Lord and his glory—whether a business, a life, a marriage, or a blog—is built in vain. And nothing built in vain is successful. So, if I finish 365 Acts of Love, but take the focus of our marriage off of God in the process, I’ll consider 365 a failure. Furthermore, if at the end of our life together we’ve developed a fine marriage, but one that’s not based on proclaiming God’s greatness, we’ll have developed our marriage in vain.

In light of this, I hereby commit to putting God before this blog. If I cannot write a given post without neglecting my time spent praying, reading the Scriptures, and reflecting on our God, then I won’t write it. More than that, I commit to writing this blog with the aim of magnifying our Creator, by loving you for your own sake and for the sake of our relationship; and primarily, by loving you for the sake of God’s glory. Then perhaps 365 Acts of Love will not be built in vain. And I hope, neither will our marriage.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain (Ps. 127:1).

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Day 65: Intercession

December 3, 2011

On day 34, I prayed that God would change my heart. Yesterday, I prayed that he would change yours. This was my prayer:

I praise you, Father, that in your wisdom you placed my wife and I together. Help me to value her for the treasure that she is. She’s diligent, working all day to care for her children and staying up every night to keep up our home. She’s wise and kind. She has compassion on the needy. I praise you that she’s all these things and much more.

Lord I pray that she would love you with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help her fear you, the creator and sustainer of the universe, the one who holds her life in his hands. Let her magnify your name in our family and among our friends and neighbors. May she place you above all things.

I pray that she would love me, even when I don’t deserve it. Give her grace to continually do me good, and not harm. May she remain faithful to me throughout our marriage. Increase her gentleness and patience with me.

Grant her strength and love in caring for our children. May she be kind and gentle with them. Let her joy continually bring light to our home and marriage. Fill her heart with peace.

Already you’ve given her with all of these things. Please give them all the more.


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 36: R (in God) & R

November 4, 2011

When I came home yesterday, you looked absolutely exhausted. “I think after the girls are in bed, I’m going to take a shower and go to sleep,” you said. I thought that sounded great. So later that evening, I put the kids to bed while you took a shower. The kids were easy (I don’t know why you were so worn out from watching them all day, haha!). After your shower, I suggested that you relax and watch the second episode of Once Upon a Time. While you sat down to watch it, I made you a cup of hot chocolate (you seriously love chocolate!). Then, I asked you if you wanted a massage while you watched your show. You looked confused, checked my temperature to see if I was sick, then said “Sure, but what got into you?” Apparently, I haven’t made it too obvious that I’ve been programmatically doing kind things for you. That’s good! So I gave you a foot, leg, and back massage. You said your relaxing evening was just what you needed.

For my fourth prayer  session on my day of fast (see day 34), I prayed that God would help me love him more. That he’d give me the grace to desire him with all my heart. That I’d not turn to the things of this world for satisfaction, but to him since he’s supremely satisfying. As C. S. Lewis said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Or, as St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” May I be willing to give up everything to find satisfaction in the only one who can give satisfaction. God, I love you; help me to love you. The more I love God, the more I’m able to love you, my dear.

By the way, last night after your massage you asked: “Why haven’t you written me love notes lately? So you give me three love notes in the past few weeks and you think you’re done?!” I guess I need to add more love notes to my daily acts of love–or else!


Day 35: Once Upon a Time God’s Grace Found Me

November 3, 2011

Last night I planned on listening to a sermon with you on the Song of Solomon. I thought it would be good for us to reflect on healthy intimacy. You liked the idea, but said you were just too tired. So instead, we watched the pilot of Once Upon a Time while snuggling and holding hands. Instead of listening to a sermon on intimacy, we practiced intimacy.

For my second and third prayer sessions on my day of fast (see day 34), I confessed and repented of my marital failings. Here’s an inkling of those failings. While God never changes, I constantly flip back and forth between putting myself first and putting you first. Lord have mercy on me. While God is wise and his word is truth, I often go against sound judgment and I’ve even lied to you before. Lord have mercy on me. God is full of love, grace, and goodness; I fall prey to selfishness and lust, I keep a record of the wrongs you’ve committed against me, and I’m often just plain evil to you. Lord have mercy on me. I often think of our marriage simply as an end in itself, rather than something that God can use for his glory. What’s worse, I typically seek my own glory (I want praise for what I do!), not God’s; accordingly, I serve myself rather than you. Save me from my heart, O God! I confessed to God these and many of my other sinful acts and dispositions and asked him to pour on me his mercy and grace.

Thank you, God, for loving a wretched man like me! Once upon a time I was lost. You chased me down. You transformed my heart. Now, I am found, having being adopted into your family. In spite of this, I’m inclined to my wretched ways. May you turn my heart more and more toward you. And as a result, may I love her as you love me.


Day 34: 24-Hour Fast for Heart Change

November 2, 2011

If I don’t increase in love for you through the course of this year, I’ll consider my project a partial failure. Although I think it’s important to express my love for you, I desire more to increase in love for you. I want my heart to change. Toward this end, I fasted for 24 hours yesterday and prayed for our relationship through six ten-minute sessions. In the next several posts, I’ll write about what I prayed for in each of those sessions (though I’ll continue writing about my acts of love).

For the first session, I focused on the character and glory of God. I prayed through God’s attributes following J. I. Packer’s Knowing God. I praised God because he never changes, he’s majestic and wise, his word is truth, he’s full of love, grace, and goodness, and he judges and pours out his wrath on the wicked. I acknowledged that I need to submit to his authority and control over my life and our marriage. God is king. May he be king over my heart. I also prayed that God would receive glory through our marriage, and that I would desire his glorification above all else. Less of me, more of God.


Day 26: Love Is Not Self-seeking

October 25, 2011

Last night while we watched a movie, I brushed your hair. (Can I be honest? Though I enjoyed doing it, I didn’t do it with the best attitude.) You’ve told me that you enjoy having your hair brushed, especially by me, but I haven’t done it much. Why not, though? I know you enjoy it and it’s not difficult. Why do I often choose laziness over service? Why do I consistently choose my interests over yours? I’m not sure, but I know this–“love is not self-seeking” (I Cor. 13:5). Selflessness is necessary for a loving relationship. In order to grow in love for you, I must daily deny myself and serve you. I hope that during this year, my character strengthens enough that I commit these acts of service from a genuine desire for your well being. May God help me in this pursuit. I cannot do it alone.


Day 13

October 12, 2011

My loving act for day 13 consisted in posting an expression of my love for you on your Facebook profile. I told you that I love you, that I love being married to you, and that I’m so attracted to you. These statements are true! Incidentally, I’m growing to love these daily acts and blog posts. Every day presents a new opportunity to love you, to show you that I love you, and to make you feel appreciated. I hope that this year transforms our marriage and it seems that things are already changing. Here’s a disclaimer, though: I don’t want you to get the impression that I think our marriage was bad. Things were going fairly well. It’s just that I became passive and comfortable with our relationship. I want to actively pursue you and make you the passion of my life (though God is my ultimate passion!).