Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day # 7- Love Believes the Best- Jennifer

Even if your marriage is healthy, this 40 day journey will strengthen it all the more. Eric and I have enjoyed doing these dares on each other and have heard from several that they had not thought about doing it at the same time as their spouse and plan to.

Last evening while sitting up in bed, Eric and I made our two lists. One with all the positives about each other and the other with the negatives. We both started at the same time with the positives, not knowing at all what the other was writing.

I started laughing when just 30 seconds into this exercises he had to stop to think. With a kiddish grin he asked, "What?" I asked him how many positives he'd written. He told me four and I was laughing even more saying that I had already written 10 for him!

This was a great exercise and I suggest starting with the positives first because then by the time you get to the list of negatives your spouse won't seem so bad!

When it came to the one positive we were suppose to share with each other, I had fun seeing Eric's face turn red when out of my dozen I chose - "Great at sex!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day # 6 - Love is not Irritable - Jennifer

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. - Proverbs 16:32

What a convicting scripture they quote in day 6 of the Love Dare! I remember just a few days ago being in the car with our daughter, Erika, and her saying to me "mom, breathe!, out...breathe, mom" So I did. For her, I stopped being in my frenzy and just breathed!

How sad that my twelve-year old daughter had to remind me that life is way too short not to "just breathe" when the chaos of life come our way.

Why is it that the ones we love most become the most irritable to us? It takes a lot of intentionality on our part to see our spouse in a different set of lenses. That is why The Love Dare works so well. I get a chance to practice loving Eric in different ways and that keeps my focus off of myself and centered on him. That is called INTENTIONALITY! Try it for yourself, the results might amaze you!

Day #6 - Love is not Irritable - Eric

As I have watched individuals and couples come into this online community my mind has quickly moved away from Jennifer and walking through the 40 Day Love Dare. My heart has been broken as I see how people rate their marriages. The Message Board has notes from people seeking help and prayer.

My heart is heavy for all those wanting to see a miracle in their marriage and even those that are okay but know it can be so much more. I am committed to pray for each one of them.

In processing Dare #6 the question they ask on page 26 is, Am I a calming breeze, or a storm waiting to happen? That really hit me hard as I reflect on my 'lion' personality. How does my wife see me and what about my children?

Let's just say that sometimes it storms when I am around. This is a great one to think and pray about as a man with a type AAA personality.

I am going to take this dare and really work hard on it. Intentionality is the key for me and this 40 Day journey is giving me a great head start. One thing I have already done is stop traveling so much and this has given me margin. Margin, it directly impacts your life at every level.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day #5 - Love is not rude- Jennifer

I didn't grow up with men in the house. My brother being 10 yrs. older than me was out of the house by the time I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot so that left Mom, my older sister and me at home most of the time.

I had always heard of crazy stories about men leaving their dirty socks on the floor, or passing gas or running around the house in their birthday suite. Even drinking beer while watching their favorite football team and yelling at the top of their lungs about the plays.

I have to say I've never experienced any of that in our house. Even with living with four boys. Eric has always been a gentleman and has taught our three boys to be the same. No one walks around our house with even a shirt off, and they would never talk to their mother in a rude or rough tone or they would have dad's fist waving in their face. He even expects table etiquette and teaches our kids how to hold a knife and fork properly.

So this dare was more of a challenge than I thought. I only came up with two things about Eric that frustrates me and he already knew about them and has even made strides to be better.

Guess you could say I've been very blessed in this area of our marriage!

Day #5 - Love is not Rude - Eric

Love is not Rude - This one seemed real simple when I read the title.

At the end of the day, a day that Jennifer survived a root canal, we ask each other this interesting question. Tell me three things that irritate you about me? And we promised not to react to the answers.

Of course Jennifer asked me to go first and frankly I really had to stop and think. I was sure she had a list of 12 things right off the top of her head about me.

This Dare did the reverse on me and instead of coming up with a list of things I really could only think of two. They were not big ones but two never the less. So all day today I am thinking about Day #5's Dare more.

What it showed me is that I have got it real good, I married up! Yes, we have our moments at times but things are really good.

Yes, Jennifer did get her turn but I am not saying a word about what she said about me...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day #4 - Love is Thoughtful - Eric

For some reason, Sunday was a strange day for this dare. Maybe it is because I am with Jennifer all day and we are actively interacting. I did not feel like I needed to to call her, see how she is doing, and find out if she needs me to do anything for her. Maybe I am totally off on this one but this is how a felt.

First, Jennifer wanted to stay for a meeting after church for some volunteer training around a new area of ministry. This ministry area is one we are planning on being involved in but with pizza on the menu and 1 1/2 hours of time taken from my day, I was not overly excited. It was important to Jennifer so I jumped right in. The time was well spent and worth it.

Second, I had a new bed to put together and needed to move the old bed and other furniture into our casita. It was on the to-do list because we have guest coming to stay with us in the middle of this week. Seeing Jennifer happy about the way everything looked made it worth it and the new bed felt great to sleep on last night.

I may have blown it because we did not go on our Sunday night date that has become something we both really look forward to. Instead we just watched some TV together and talked. I am not sure I passed this dare, but if the small things count at all I did okay.

Day #4 - Love is Thoughtful - Jennifer

Being that this 4th day fell on a Sunday, it was a little different than if we were into our usual busy week. But I did notice Eric's intentionality several times through out the day.

For instance, He does not enjoy the kind of "church meetings" that volunteers have to sit through to be trained in an area to serve in. Especially when they serve pizza, if you know Eric at all than you know he really doesn't like pizza. But he was actually the first to say we needed to go to the meeting after church, knowing I really feel the need to do these kinds of things.

Later in the day Eric stopped writing to rearrange some furniture and put our new bed together.

I can't say I did much for him, he's pretty self-sufficient but I did ask throughout the day what I could do for him. I think it's probably a good thing that day four was easy since Day 5 is coming!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day #3 - Love is not selfish- Jennifer

When you intentionally think of your spouse before yourself, it's amazing how your relationship is just better!

For this dare I went real simple. Of course the thought seemed simple enough until I had a hard time finding what I wanted to get Eric. I had to search 5 different stores until I could find his favorite candy - Original Brach's Candy Corn.

I had no idea how many different flavors of candy corn is out there not to mention all the generic kind that tastes a little like wax. I finally succeeded and even found a candy jar to put them in, along with a little note.

He brought me home flowers and they were beautiful!

But the best action of love that Eric did was to go mattress shopping. We've been wanting to upgrade our mattress for awhile and I've been searching for deals to find the perfect one for the perfect price and I found it!

What I didn't think through was how we were going to get this mammoth king size mattress and box springs home. Afternoon Phoenix sun beating down on us for a full 30 -45 min. while Eric patiently and methodically ties the mattress to the top of our expedition. Luckily we have no horror story to tell and we got home with out even a glitch.

Now that's love! And that's why I love him!

Day #3 - Love is not Selfish - Eric

Day #3 - Saturday Morning - I wanted to get a jump on this Dare!

I got up early and got cleaned up so I could go buy Jennifer some fresh cut flowers.I got to the store and picked up some flowers for Jennifer and even found some in her favorite colors. I tried to get them in the house without her seeing them but she was right in the kitchen.

Then, we go look for the mattress (king size) that Jennifer wanted. So it is only 100 degrees out when we go look for a mattress and yes we found one. It was a great deal but not the best timing as we tied it to the top of the Expedition, it was hot! Everything went well and Jennifer was trilled that she found exactly what she prayed for.

Flowers - not a big deal but they are downstairs where she will see them often. Hopefully, when she sees them she will know I am thinking of her. I also jumped in and helped cook dinner, that was fun! The small things can make a big difference - try it!

It is hard not to live life focused on SELF!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 2-Eric

Acts of kindness do not come real natural at times in this fast paced world we live in. As a spouse, it should be something we all slow down to do.

And it doesn't have to be something big...

At the end of the day I was in the kitchen talking with Hudson and noticed the sink was full of dishes, so I took care of it. Yes, placed the dishes in the dishwasher and even cleaned the big stuff.

It truly is the little things, try it and you will like it... Good Stuff.

Day 2 -Jennifer

Eric is such a natural when it comes to meeting my needs, he makes it look easy. Everything from opening doors for me, letting me go first, taking my luggage even though it's light and I can carry it, helping with the dishes, to giving me nightly back rubs.

We text each other throughout most days to touch base. So this was a pretty easy dare. I did, however, make sure he had his favorite drink (Pepsi) available chilling in the refrig when he got home early evening from the office.

But I have to say he out did me on this one. After dinner Erika our twelve yr. old and I went up stairs to watch a chick-flick movie. After the movie I went back down to the kitchen to clean up to find the whole kitchen cleaned! That was the best act of kindness Eric could have done for me! He wins this day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 1 - Jennifer

Love is patient-I don't think either of us thought about what that would mean as it's always chaos in our house when we are headed out of town. I'm reading the first entry of the love dare while in the bathroom when I hear in the distance a roar coming from the bedroom "why would you pack your flat iron when it's hot?" Oops... Never thought someone would put their hand on a flat iron in the first place.

Every woman knows you don't do that. So sympathetically I asked "did something melt?" I had no idea he burnt his hand. So we continue to rush out the door to get t... as a mom my mind is on so many things wondering if I've left everything as I should for the kids, including the instructions for the sitter on the counter where she could see them and so on... I have a million things running through my head at once...been there?

We get into the garage and I hear Eric with a very strong aggressive tone asking why the trash can wasn't out? And of course I reply in a strong aggressive tone back -"Why am I getting chewed out for Hudson's responsibility of taking out the trash." Honestly when he went to friends house last night that was the least on my mind and I really hoped he would remember so I couldn't understand how this was my fault.

Then we get in the car, including our daughter, Erika (who we need to drop off for work on the way to the airport) when Eric asks the question in a hurried huffy tone, something about the clocks in the house. We've lived in this house for nine months and he's never noticed that the clocks are 5 min. fast? The good news was we were on time for the airport!! But because I have the clocks set ahead by 5!

This kind of a morning could be a huge disaster for most couples, and has been in the past for us. But because we were thinking already about being patient with one other it was easy to laugh and go on with our day. Not holding it against each other all day long, but having those short accounts.The rest of the day and evening turned out to be great as we met our friends and AMFM Board Members, Doug and Judy Hall, once we arrived in Kansas City.
- Jennifer Garcia

Day 1 - Eric

Caution! If you are traveling with your spouse, do not start the 40 Day Love Dare on that day.

Being patient the morning you are flying out of town together?????

So I made it through the first day but...

My day started off with packing for a flight with Jennifer to Kansas City for several meetings.

Jennifer placed a red hot, flat iron in the suitcase as I was packing it. So when I grabbed it you can guess what happened - I got burnt. So how did I react? I simply asked the question, "did you place this thing in the suitcase hot?" Not sure if that is all I said but... All she said was, "did I melt anything?" I totally bit my tongue and did not say a word...

Then, we are trying to leave and as we head to the airport I notice the entire street has their trash cans out, but do we? No. That is the job of Hudson, our oldest, and since he spent the night at a friend's house, I figured she would have made sure he took care of this beforehand. NOT!

Then we are rushing to leave and I realize that we did not need to rush but because Jennifer has set every clock in the house 5 minutes early so we are fine, yes FINE. My clock in my car is the right time, so how does this make sense? Jennifer said it totally makes sense so I'm sure it does...

Love is patient? This was a tough one! To say the least I had to stop myself several times and just back off. I found that as the day went by it became natural to not react or not say something negative. I learned that practicing PATIENCE really makes your married life much more enjoyable.

So, that's Day 1. Before I sign off, I wanted to suggest a great idea. I think you and your significant other need to join Jennifer and me and take the 40 Day Love Dare challenge with us!

I am sure Jennifer will share her side of Day #1 with you soon...

Eric Garcia