Day 106: S’mores and Stars

January 13, 2012

Last night, I asked you if you wanted to roast marshmallows and look at the stars from our backyard. You said you very much wanted to and even called me a fun person. That made me feel great

I took our daughters to the store to get marshmallows and graham crackers for s’mores. (We didn’t buy chocolate because we already had some (we always have chocolate).) This gave you a small break, which is what I intended. When we came home, I fired up the grill and set up some chairs for our fun evening put on by a fun person (me!).

And how fun and perfect it was. The girls ran around the backyard eating their s’mores as we snuggled up together on a chair and looked at the stars. Even though the viewable stars were few, we could still see the Big Dipper and were still in awe of our big universe.

Here is my honest, albeit cornball reflection on last night. Whenever I look at the stars, I’m driven to consider life and meaning and my own (in)significance. While the universe is dark and vast, and the prospect of finding my way in it seems daunting, I’m comforted to know that the one who made the universe lights my way and you, my friend, are holding my hand.


Day 105: Ecard

January 12, 2012

For my 105th act of love, I sent an ecard to your email account that says I love you and hope you have a good day.

On another note, I’m glad our relationship’s changed for the better because work is getting really stressful and will be continually stressful for a while. Before 365, stress at work resulted in discord in our home. Now, stress at work results in unity. Instead of taking my stress out on you, I look (in part) to you for support, encouragement, and comfort. And you provide it. Of course, there has been some tension in our home since work’s gotten more stressful, but it’s not as great as it would’ve been before 365.

PS: You just walked through the room, but didn’t see what I was doing. It’s likely you’ll find out about this blog before it’s finished, but I’ll work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Day 104: Our Wedding Video

January 11, 2012

After we put the girls to bed last night, I popped some popcorn and threw our wedding video into the DVD player. When we were about to start watching it, we heard our girls talking upstairs in their beds. We agreed that, though it might be fun to snuggle up together alone while watching our wedding video, it might be just as fun (more fun?) to show the video to our girls. So we called them down and enjoyed it as a family.

While watching the video, you kept smiling at me while holding and rubbing my hand. Afterwards, when the girls were in bed, you hugged me and told me you’re glad you married me. For a while, you wouldn’t let go of me and kept repeating what you said. I’m so glad I married you too.

I said I would maybe talk more about Keller’s book, so here’s a great quote from it:

Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love. Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion or merely with dutiful action. Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two—emotion and action—it is the latter that we have the most control over. It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day (103).

Day 103: A Simple Act

January 10, 2012

In my effort to tone down my acts of love (for now) so as not to overwhelm you, I committed a very simple act yesterday: I gave you a long hug and told you that I love you and I’m glad I married you. You very much enjoyed that act of love and reciprocated my words of affirmation with your own. Though my big acts of love are great memory makers for us, I think you enjoy the little acts of love almost, if not just, as much.

Day 102: Timothy Keller’s _The Meaning of Marriage_

January 10, 2012

In the course of our marriage, I’ve read many hundreds of books and articles, but until I started 365, I hadn’t read much on marriage (shame, shame). In fact, as of a week ago, I hadn’t read a single book on marriage. That’s changed. For my 102nd act of love, I read (over the course of several days) Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. His book refined my view of marriage and was an excellent and interesting read.

In the coming days, I may post some of my thoughts on Keller’s book. For now, here are some things Keller said about selfishness that stood out to me:

Self-centeredness is a havoc-wreaking problem in many marriages, and it is the ever-present enemy of every marriage (56).

Self-centeredness by its very character makes you blind to your own while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered by that of others. The result is always a downward spiral into self-pity, anger, and despair, as the relationship gets eaten away to nothing (57).

If two spouses each say, “I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect of a truly great marriage (65).

In light of Keller’s thoughts on selfishness, here’s a summary of what I’ve learned regarding my own selfishness through 365 Act of Love. Before 365, I was blinded by my own selfishness into thinking that I wasn’t all that bad and that you needed to turn yourself around. But 365 is changing that. I’m recognizing that selfishness is opposed to love and is death to marriage. (I knew that before, but merely intellectually.) I’m recognizing how selfish I am and the problems my selfishness causes for us. Now, I’m working (and God in me: Phil 2:12-13) to fight self-centeredness with self-sacrifice in order to reorient my heart. I know I’ve touched on these things before in this blog, but I can’t help but discuss what God’s been doing in my heart through 365.

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.

100 Days, 100 Ways

January 7, 2012

After you went to bed for the night on Thursday, I told you not to come downstairs for anything so I could prepare a surprise for you. For your surprise, I first wrote out a list of 100 things I love about you (taken from day 57; you haven’t read that list yet). Then, I cut out each item from the list and stuffed a different one in each of 100 balloons and a piece of chocolate in most of them. Then, I blew up the balloons, spread them around the room, put up some streamers, and hung your flowers for the week from the center of the room:

In the morning, I woke you up and handed you a note that said, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”* Then I told you to go look at your surprise. When you walked into the living room, you shrieked with delight. When I told you that each balloon had a love note in it, you said “awww!” and hugged me for a while.

Our oldest daughter came downstairs, but she was so tired that she walked right through the balloons, cleared a space on the couch, then lay down. After she was more alert, I told her that the balloons had chocolate in them. So, she started inspecting balloon after balloon to determine what kind of chocolate each had. Once, she picked up one of the balloons without chocolate and said, “Hey, this one only has a note in it. That’s not very interesting.”

Finally, I woke up our two year old and told her to go downstairs to see a big surprise. She crawled out of bed and said, “Okay, but first I’m going to do a summersault.” (There’s a girl with her priorities straight!) So, she did a summersault and went downstairs. When she saw the balloons, she did a double take, then ran into the room and started laughing and throwing them into the air.

For most of the morning, we all kicked balloons around, made balloon angels, and beamed with delight. It looked a bit like this. At one point, we even made a balloon pit out of our furniture and buried the girls in it. Since then, you’ve popped a few of the balloons to read their notes and each time you do, you give me a very nice hug.

By the way, I’ll still love you even if each of those 100 things that I love about you changes.

*Strictly speaking, I should’ve given you a note that said something like, “What do I love about thee? Let me count,” but that doesn’t have the ring to it that Browning’s line does.

C. S. Lewis Quote

January 6, 2012

I came across this quote from Mere Christianity and thought it captured some of what I’m trying to do through this blog, i.e., to commit loving acts for you in order to increase my love for you:

Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

Day 99: Sunset at the Beach, Attempt #2

January 6, 2012

I tried to make up for missing the sunset on day 98 by taking you to the beach at sunset yesterday. I envisioned us having a tender moment watching the sunset while the kids played in the sand. That didn’t happen. Instead, we took one of my best friends along with us and I talked to him the entire time the sun went down while you watched the kids. Lame-o! (It’s my fault, not his. I could’ve enjoyed a moment with you while talking to him.) I can’t really call what I did an act of love, so let’s throw this in the fail bin and move on. Some day I’ll make this sunset-at-the-beach thing work out.

We had a great time with my friend, though, and we’re so glad he came to visit us.

Day 98: Suspects and Muppets

January 5, 2012

After work yesterday, I asked you if you wanted to go the beach with me (and the kids) to watch the sunset. You said yes. As we walked out the door, we spotted police officers pinning a man to the ground and a police helicopter circling overhead (I thought we lived in a good neighborhood!). While the officers struggled to handcuff the suspect, he taunted them. Eventually, six cop cars showed up to take care of him. We ended up missing the sunset because we weren’t comfortable leaving the house with everything going on.

Instead, we waited until everything settled down, grabbed some dinner, then went to the drive-in theater to watch The Muppets. I think we ruined the ambience of the drive-in for some of the couples there when we pulled in with our minivan and three wound-up kids. Still, if our presence there forced them to watch the movie, that’s good: it was stupendously funny!

What a contrast in our day between manic suspects and screwy Muppets–mahna mahna, that’s life!