After seeing the movie Fireproof with my wife recently, I wanted to do the love dare in it for my wife. I put the book on my hold list at the library. I couldn’t publish this until after the whole 40 days, because my wife reads this blog and I wanted it to be a surprise. Here are some notes on what happened, but since I don’t want to ruin the book (or infringe on copyrights!), I won’t list the dares here. (Update: the book’s web site actually has the full list.) You just need to pick up your own copy.
In the movie, all that stood in the way of their perfect romance was their fading feelings. Real life is more complicated. Just in the last forty days, some of the things that made it harder for me to do this included: a kid got sick and threw up seven times in one morning, my wife and I were taken to court (where we did not do well), I got sick (twice–once during the first week of the dare, and again during the last week), our refrigerator broke down and got repaired, work and other responsibilities kept us apart all day and up very late, the lock on my car door broke (and the dealer didn’t even fix it right!), the battery in our van died, and a motley assortment of other irritations, distractions, and adversities made their merry way into the path of my earnest scheduling. In short, life happened.
So it was hard at times, but I think my wife appreciated it, so it was absolutely worth it.
My only frame of reference for ideas was the character in the movie, and at times I felt a little bad that my gestures weren’t as dramatic as his. I guess that’s to be expected: my life isn’t scripted, nor does it have a movie studio’s budget. I, alas, do not have twenty grand stashed away for a boat that I can dip into to help make her dream come true.
Days 1-5 (May 20 -May 24)
Day 1: The day I picked this up from the library was one of the hardest, most discouraging days of work I had all year. I wanted to complain about it and dump it all on my wife, but I took the injunction to not be negative as literally as I could, and held my tongue. At least for today!
Day 2: foot rub
Day 3: Star Trek glass from Burger King. We’re awesome.
Days 6-10 (May 25 -May 29)
Days 6 and 7: I wrote my private notes here in a draft and just deleted them for publication. This was neither easy nor fun.
Day 8: I used a candle lighter to burn a printout of my notes in the bathroom. Lame. I hate not having a real fireplace.
Days 11-15 (May 30-June 3)
Day 11: Did the dishes from yesterday before going to work.
Day 12: For today’s dare, I agreed to go on a vacation that I’ve been sullenly resisting for years. (Update: a few days later, however, she decided that she doesn’t want to go this year after all. I had nothing to do with it. Free brownie points!) (Updated update: never mind. It looks like we’re going after all. Oh well.)
Day 13: By today, she was wondering out loud where all these new questions and topics of conversation were coming from.
Days 16-20 (June 4-June 8)
Day 18: I flipped through a couple of her cook books for a minute and figured I’d just make something up instead. I was in the mood for something light and Mediterranean-feeling, which she also likes, so here’s what I did:
Boiled a bunch of pasta (I used organic wheat stuff from Trader Joe’s), then added a tbsp. each of lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of garlic. I added a can of diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, a can of olives, and a cup each of cheddar and mozzarella. This made about seven servings–I was shooting for two. When we had leftovers, she added some garlic and onion salt, and it was much improved.
When I asked about making a meal, she said, “Where are you getting all this lately? Does that Fireproof movie have a web site with a list of that stuff or something?”
Days 21-25 (June 9-13)
Day 21: The book was due back to the library and I couldn’t renew it because other people had it on hold, so I typed up a list of the rest of the dares and worked off of that from now on. Today’s dare about Bible reading suggested a daily chapter of Proverbs, which is easy because since I read about that idea in the Duggar family’s 20 and Counting! a few months ago, I’ve been trying it and it’s becoming a pretty good habit.
Day 23: These dares have certainly made for some interesting conversations between us.
Day 24: I started writing the “Restraining Desire” post on this blog for today’s dare.
Days 26-30 (June 14-18)
Day 28: Today is my wife’s birthday. When she opened her presents, I got the camera to take pictures. This has nothing to do with the dare (for today, I went without something I wanted to do to spend time with her), but I don’t think I’ve ever thought to take pictures on my own before. I’ve been interested in how this “love dare” might be improving my mindset, and I think I do see myself becoming more consistently thoughtful towards her. Of course, just about any thoughtfulness would be an improvement.
Day 29: folded laundry
Days 31-35 (June 19-23)
Days 33-34: These subjects are getting harder to work into normal conversation…
Day 35: We discussed married couples we know who could inspire us. We tended to admire those who were most affectionate with each other.
Days 36-40 (June 24-28)
Day 36: We agreed to do the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month, each day starting July 1.
Day 38: Over dinner tonight, I looked at my wife and she looked at me, then, reading my thoughts, she asked, “So, do you have a question for me tonight?” I did indeed. And a European vacation is an ambitious goal. I don’t have a full written plan just today, but I’ll work on it.
Day 39: I did today’s the way I did one other dare: I wrote a mushy note inside a romantic greeting card and hid it somewhere in the house where I knew she’d run across it during the day.
Day 40: First thing this morning, I gave my bride the “wedding vows” I’d written. Then I told her that I’d been doing the love dare, and today was day 40.
Then she smiled at me with her beautiful blue eyes.