September 19, 2012
You have a lot of relationships in your life that you need to foster—your relationship with me, God, our children, our church, your friends, and your family and mine. Some of these relationships have priority over others and maintaining that proper balance can be tough!
For act 329, I read and prayed through the chapter on priorities in The Power of a Praying Husband. Omartian talked about the importance of living a balanced life, giving appropriate attention to your relationships, your spiritual life, your responsibilities, yourself, etc. I prayed that you would be able maintain a good balance in your life, but I focused on praying that you would maintain a good balance in and give appropriate priority to the various relationships in your life.
I prayed that you would give your relationship with God priority over every other relationship. I prayed that you would put me next and the kids after that. From there, I prayed that you would have time to foster good relationships with other people in your life. I can help with that by providing opportunities for you to be with others.
I think you do a great job in this area. I pray that you would grow even more.
February 11, 2012
Back massage #4 went okay. Just before I started, you said something that really got under my skin. I gave you your massage anyway, but my heart wasn’t in it. Instead, I bit my tongue the entire time and tried to put the remark out of my mind. The massage changed neither of our attitudes, though we did work through our issue afterwards.
This morning I talked to a good friend on the phone. When the conversation came around to you, he told me that I married up. I certainly did. You do get under my skin on occasion, but that’s what happens when two imperfect and very often selfish people try to make a life together. I love you, Francine, and can’t believe a gal like you married a guy like me.
January 17, 2012
Per my commitment on day 107, I brought back the wildly popular five-dollar coffee card yesterday. Each time I’ve bought you coffee or a coffee card through 365, you’ve showered me with gratitude and affection. Last night was no different.
I needed to do some work after dinner, so I went to my office. Afterwards, I stopped by Starbucks and bought you a five-dollar coffee card and grabbed an empty coffee cup. I put the card in the cup, then came home. When you answered the door, I said, “I know how much you like Starbucks, so I brought you this paper Starbucks cup for you to put coffee in. Do you want me to make you some right now?” “Oh, thanks! I’ll use it for the hot chocolate I just made,” you replied with a comically exaggerated smile. I handed you the cup. You saw the card and shrieked, jumped up and down, and flung your arms around me, hugging me tightly.
January 16, 2012
For my second act (of the acts you seemed to most enjoy from the first 100 days—see day 107), I gave you a white rose. You certainly enjoy your weekly flowers, but you’ve come to expect them (which isn’t a bad thing). So I wanted to surprise you by bringing you a flower I don’t usually bring on a day you don’t usually get flowers.
With the rose, I wanted to give you a line of poetry written by me (which is something I haven’t done before through 365). Nothing big, just a single line of poetry. I spent a bit of time while doing chores trying to think of something nice, something elegant. I’m definitely not a poet, so I wasn’t expecting Pushkin-quality writing. But everything I came up with smacked of sappiness. So, I started over and embraced and even exaggerated the sappiness. Here’s what I gave you:
Less beautiful is this here rose,
Than either of your little toes,
And when I look upon your knee,
I’m filled with rapture and with glee,
No elbows found in all the land,
Are finer, neater, or more grand,
And if one looks upon your chin,
His adoration does begin,
No man nor child would hesitate,
Your uvula to adulate,
No waterscape with moonlit sand,
Could rival your pineal gland,
Your ears do strike each passerby
As prettier than earth and sky,
So all in all, you see, my dear,
You’re beautiful from toe to ear.
PS: Perhaps the world’s not ready for my poetic genius.
January 16, 2012
On day 107, I decided that, for the next week, I would commit the kinds of acts from the first 100 days that you liked best. Well, I’m starting a day early. My first act was a back massage. You practically beg me to give you these, so I almost can’t go wrong by complying.
Sometimes, I know you have a certain need, but I’m not sure how to meet it or I know how to meet it but don’t have the right resources to meet it. Meeting your need for a back massage is so straightforward and easy. I love it!
January 14, 2012
Months back, you asked me to go through my tools to get rid of the ones that were no longer usable. I put off doing it for so long that you stopped mentioning it. So, yesterday, I decided to get it done. You were relieved that I finally did it, but still didn’t understand why it took me so long. I’ll tell you why—utter laziness, which stems from self-centeredness
I committed this act because I’ve been thinking lately about how I put a bunch of time into this blog and into committing acts of love for you, but I put off doing certain things that you want me to do. (I don’t put stuff off at work. So my procrastination seems very selective.)
Then I started wondering (thanks to this blog) whether or not the acts I commit through 365 fulfill your needs. Here’s a (fictional) example: if you really need me to spend time with you and you don’t care for gifts, but I neglect my time with you to buy or make you gifts, then I’m not loving you very effectively.
In light of this, I asked you the other night whether or not I’m meeting your needs. You said you feel completely satisfied with how I’m showing you love and with our relationship. Great! Still, I decided that this next week, I’m going to commit those kinds of acts from the first 100 days that you seemed to like best (starts Sunday, ends Saturday). In addition, I’m going ask you to make a list of the things you want me to do around the house or whatever. I’ll work on completing that list.
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.
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.
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).