Love Dare Day Five: Love is Never Rude

[Editor’s note: The author explains her family’s Lenten commitment to take the Love Dare here . Regular updates will be posted all through Lent.  Click here to catch up on previous posts.]

Change Something about Yourself that Irritates Others

“He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.” Proverbs 27:14

This dare was a really hard one for me personally. We really had to adapt the original dare which involved actively asking your family member/spouse what irritated them about you. It was clear to us that this would quickly deteriorate into a list of criticisms about each other. In order to make the most of this dare, we are combining it with day six, which involves looking at what in yourself bothers your family members.

Two days is not a long time to work on such a big issue. I think it will take us years to learn to undo some of our patterns. After all, isn’t that what siblings do best? Family members are so good at knowing each other’s weak spots and going straight in for the kill. I think this is one of the biggest reasons for family discord.

I have to say here, that I am very proud of my 16-year-old son today. His little sister and I have been very sick and my boy is not always the most helpful in a difficult situation. Today, working his dare, he stepped up. He came home an unloaded the dishwasher (which I had requested), then stacked it (which I had not)! He took the puppy out and maintained a fairly positive attitude all day long. May God bless his efforts and those of the whole family.

My husband was really great today too. He has a demanding job and always works late, but knowing how sick we were, he brought work home instead of staying late. He stopped and got us medicine and even offered to get dinner (I already had it in the oven, but it was a sweet offer). If nothing else, the dare is helping us to think of the needs of our family members a little more quickly than we used to.

Lord, bless the efforts of our family in this dare. Draw us closer to each other and to you.

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  • Doris Rodriguez

    TODAY’S DARE: Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.

    What three things did your spouse point out about you that need your attention? How did you handle hearing it? What do you plan to do to improve in these areas?

    He pointed out that I need to 1) lose weight, 2) be more affectionate, and 3) spend less time on the computer and more time with him watching TV. I agree with him in all these areas, except the TV one. If I am on the computer, I am either working OR checking my e-mail and responding to it. I handled hearing these okay because I know they are true. I am going to try to exercise and eat healthy which will make me feel good about myself.

    1) Walk on the treadmill while I am saying my daily rosary.
    2) Count my WeightWatcher points again and monitor my weight daily.
    3) Use my exercise ball regularly.

    Ricky also wrote some really “cute” comments that I want to keep forever:
    1) That you are so in tune with God. That you have not missed one single Mass since we rejoined the Catholic Church (since 2005). I only wish that I had the same spirit. (religious)
    2) That you say, “We are not getting any younger. We need to do it now or not do it at all [in reference to the house remodel and vacations]. (persuasive)
    3) That you tolerate L and his lack of self-confidence and the fact that you have mentioned that he is B made over. I must realize that his time will come. He will probably be our most successful son. (tolerant)
    4) That you can rationalize situations better than me, like … (rational)
    a) T
    b) Our investment portfolio with Irvin
    c) The situation with Katie S.
    d) The solution with Darla; give her back to Zack and the animal shelter

    What are the three things that bug you the most about your husband?
    1) Dancing inappropriately with me and other women when we are out in public. We have had more problems over this behavior than anything else.
    2) Not taking care of the garage or the yard. He never puts things back in their proper place … and then we have to hire someone to come and sort everything out. He throws away anything that doesn’t have value to him personally without caring or asking first, and then I get upset because I can’t find it. We both had fathers who maintained tool shops with everything in its place, so it is hard for me to understand his lack of organization and order. I needed a long-handled Phillips-head screwdriver the other day to change out the vacuum cleaner belt and couldn’t find one in all the mess and clutter we call a garage. It was very frustrating to know that we have every conceivable tool you can imagine but can never find what we need when we need it.
    3) He shuts down emotionally and physically when I need him most by going into a silent and disconnected mode. I automatically jump to the conclusion that I have done something wrong and everything goes downhill from there. One example is when Cuddles had her accident. He shut down on me completely and I felt like I was going through it alone. I didn’t get emotional release until my two oldest sons came to help. I was left thinking he shut down because of 1) the inconvenience of having to drive into Austin to an emergency vet clinic, 2) the unexpected expense of it all, 3) his desire to be at home free of all responsibilities and worries, and 4) that he didn’t love me or Cuddles enough to be there for us.

    Lord, as I look at this long list of negatives I realize that I have to change my way of thinking and reacting … and try to focus on Ricky’s positive and endearing qualities. Give me the grace and the patience to do this, please! Amen. +++