41- day love Journey
Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer
Unconditional love is promised in committed relationships and at weddings, but rarely practised in real life. As a result, romantic hopes are often replaced with disappointments. It doesn't have to stay that way. In a world that attacks, devalues, and redefines relationships, they are numerous ways to rescue and protect your relationship from the firestorm.
Take this 'Love Challenge' as a guide through the life-changing journey of saving your relationship.
The aim of this challenge is to find real love. This Love Challenge will help you reinforce and enrich your relationship, regain a love you thought was lost, and learn more about our Creator, who not only designed unconditional, sacrificial love - He illustrated it.
This is not a process to change your partner/spouse to be the person you want them to be. Rather, this is a journey of exploring and demonstrating genuine love, even when your desire is dry and your motives are low. Some will be easy and others very difficult - but take each challenge seriously, and be creative and courageous enough to attempt it. Don't be discouraged if outside situations prevent you from accomplishing a specific challenge. Just continue as soon as it is within your ability and proceed with the journey.
If things are going well, don't get too comfortable, there is always that quiet just before a storm.
Accepting the challenge
If you accept this challenge, you must take the view that instead of following your heart, you are choosing to lead it. It will take courage. Love is a decision and not just a feeling. When love is truly demonstrated as it was intended, your relationship is more likely to change for the better. Remember, you have the responsibility to protect and guide your heart. Don't give up and don't get discouraged. Learning to truly love is one of the most important things you will ever do.
Anything for Love
The journey begins today, November 17, with Vicky Choo, Sandra Brown and Jade Small.
Choo has been married for five years, and wants her marriage to grow by understanding their differences so that they can be a great example of what love and marriage should be like for their two-year-old son.
Brownhas been in a committed relationship for one and a half years. Brown and her partner have just moved in together - opening the door for a higher possibility of trial and errors, especially on Brown's part. Brown said that she argues a lot, especially when things don't go according to plan, but somehow the love they have for each other sees them through. Growing weary of this, Brown is willing to take this bold step to work on making it smoother sailing for her relationship cruise ship.
Almost two months with her partner, Small wants to ensure that her heart and mind are in the right place to win over this man's heart - which will not be an easy task. Small said that she does not want to be just randomly dating, but wants her relationship to be a healthy, fulfilling one.
Going all the way
To take this dare requires a resolute mind and steadfast determination. It is not meant to be sampled or briefly tested, and those who quit early will forfeit the greatest benefits.
If you will commit to a day at a time for 41 days, the results could change your life, and your marriage. It is important that you take the time at the end of the day to create a journal to log what you are learning, doing and how your partner is responding. Capture what is happening to both you and your partner during the journey: Did anything happen today to cause anger towards your mate? Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words? Was your partner/spouse surprised by the things you did or didn't say and chose to do or didn't do?
Your significant other should not suspect that you are doing this - it should be natural. When it gets difficult, just get on your knees and remember, don't give up, because as Betty Wright lyrics in her song No Pain, No Gain - you must follow through.
This Week's Dare - November 17-23
Day 1: Love forgives
Whatever you haven't forgiven your partner for, do it today. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to "forgive us our debts" each day, we must ask Him to help us "forgive our debtors" each day as well. Unforgivingness has been keeping you and your partner/spouse in prison too long. Say from your heart, "I choose to forgive."
Day 2: Love is not selfish
Buy your partner something that says, "I was thinking of you today." It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you.
Day 3: Love lets the other win Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your partner. Tell them you are putting their preference first.
Day 4: Love is patient
Resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your partner at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret.
Day 5: Love is kind
In addition to not saying anything negative to your spouse, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Day 6: Love intercedes
Begin praying today for your spouse's heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire God to work in your partner/spouse's life and in your relationship.
Day 7: Love is not rude
Ask your partner to tell you three things that cause him/ her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behaviour. This is from their perspective only.
Well done! For some, this might have been the hardest week ever, while a breeze for others. Don't get too comfortable or frustrated just yet, there is more. Don't forget what you are fighting for - love, joy, peace and happiness - the best gifts you can ever give yourself.
Not real names
To be continued in the Flair on November 24.
Inspired by the film Fireproof and the novel Love Dare.