The Problem with Memories… Dare Eight of The Respect Dare

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I had the lunge line in one hand, the end of the rope in the other.

I quietly told my horse to lunge (walk a circle) around me to the left.

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She did this.

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Then she sprung into the air, and started to gallop.

Mane tossed in the wind.

Eyes wide. Both of ours.

Nostrils flared.

My throat tight.

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Her head tosses.

Tears welled.

She’s going too fast – too much energy – too close – I can’t control her…

Oh, yes, I remember this feeling.

Terror.

Heart pounding.

Tears. Why TEARS??!?

Sigh.

I don’t know what to do.

Helpless.

Several nights ago…

Talking about something I can’t share here. (I’m sorry, but there are boundaries…I hope you understand.)

I confide…”I feel A when B happens (that thing he does that slays me)… and I don’t know what to do.”

He confides.

I learn something new.

But there’s more.

Heart pounds.

Tears. Again.

I confide… “I can’t go there now… I’m not ready to talk about it. Yet.”

He understands.

We break.

And Dare 8. STUPID DARE 8.

Gottman’s research reveals couples in trouble rewrite their history. They forget there were ever good times. They think they’ve never had sex 3 times a week. They forget why they married each other in the first place. They can’t remember ANYthing good.

And satan wins.

My horse trainer, an incredibly smart man who reads people and horses brilliantly and is truly a gift from God…he helped that day.

And I took the first step by being responsible for my fear. For my failure. For my lack of knowing.

(Oh, please, understand I’m not bragging… this is but a rare moment I sensed I got it right)

And I asked for help.

(Do you?)

I was truthful.

(Are you?)

I told him I was afraid. Nearly in tears, I told this man I barely know but respect so very much and trust with my life… on his horse (he’s amazing, he literally gives Annie to me for this part of our journeys) … I told him the Truth.

I told him I was afraid.

I told him what happened.

And he took her, lunged her, rode her, and then had me do the same thing.

(Will you?)

And I wasn’t afraid in the middle.

At the beginning… YES.

OH. Hell YES. (don’t be offended. hell is real, fear is from the enemy, and this is a real victory story so don’t get upset with me over this).

overcome fears Annie

But in the middle, no.

And at the end, no.

Because we only overcome and grow in the middle of the fears we face at the moment we face them.

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And that night…

The one where I confided in my husband?

Shared and was vulnerable…

(Could you?)

He listened.

And he revealed things I didn’t know about him.

22+ years of marriage plus 5 years of friendship before that…

And I learned a new thing about this man.

And no, I can’t share it. So respect that, okay? :)  It doesn’t matter to you.

But for us, fear was faced, and progress made.

Because in that moment of fear, I asked myself, actually felt God asking, “What is this fear?”

And it was one I could reveal. Chose to reveal.

Even with tears.

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And the relationship with the horse? And the husband?

Better.

So don’t re-write your history.

Refuse.

And pray…pray HARD… through Dare 8.

Because the enemy wants you to remember…

but only the bad…

or nothing.

Refuse.

Thanks for being on the journey with me.

Am deeply wondering today how these things strike you… where are YOU in this journey? Can you confide? Are you afraid to try…or rewriting history yourself? What is God doing? Dare you to share with us…we promise to pray…

And if you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year, or schedule one of our weekend retreats. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussions!

Love to you,

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Comments

  1. Renee says

    Nina, I just want to thank you for responding to God’s call in this ministry! I found you through the Peaceful Wife blog. I bought your book and just completed Dare #8. What a joy it was to remember all my husband’s good, noble qualities from 25 years ago – he still has those qualities! I gave him the Dare #8 list of my husband’s positive attributes along with the Dare #7 question about times I’ve disrespected him or made him feel diminished. He listened to me about the book and my goals for this Lent to become a better Christian and wife. He asked me if I expected him to change or do this along with me…and fortunately I had read enough of your blog to know that I should have NO EXPECTATIONS from him and that the only person I can change is myself…so I told him that I just want to be a better person and have a better relationship with him and with God…he seemed pleased with that answer. I can tell he is a little wary about this, but change is always a little (or a lot!) scary…my goal is to stick close to Jesus every day with prayer and worship, read the book, accept the Dares, and watch what God will do. Nothing is impossible with Him! He is a master renovator and restorer, so I trust Him to transform me.

  2. CMD says

    I am stuck. I am stuck being resentful, frustrated, and tired. Tired of having to carry the load for him emotionally for myself and my children. Tired of not being able to share with him. Tired of feeling guilty for every mistake I made and letting him get away with almost anything because of my guilt. Tired of sleeping on the couch 6 out of 7 nights a week. I’m just plain exhausted. I do know the TRUTH but I have no desire to put it into action because I’m tired of feeling that is the burden is mine, which I have carried long before I ever married this man, with my parents. (I know, I know God shares in it, but its hard to feel that at times) I do remember why I married this man and it definitely wasn’t all for love and happiness, it was also for reason based on my own insecurities and patterns, which makes me more resentful and frustrated. I’m praying, I’m trying, but how do you get past all of this?

    • Nina Roesner says

      CMD,
      Can I give you permission to take a break?
      :)
      Seriously, you are tired. You are in a war. You need a rest. Whatever that means for you (for me it is two novels and a long weekend away), take a rest.
      Start there.
      You need to rest and dwell in the Lord, maybe take a silent retreat at a willing friend’s house, where you go for two full days, just rest, sleep, read your Bible, pray. Your batteries are completely depleted, and you need to recharge them! He will fill you up, if you let Him.
      How do you get past it? TIME. Listen to the Lord – just do the next thing, staying connected to Him, and He’s going to show you what to do.
      Glad you are here, baby.
      You are not alone.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  3. Tree says

    You shared and were vulnerable…he listened and in turn, it sounds like he shared and was vulnerable with you. My question is, what do you do when he doesn’t listen, when instead he takes your vulnerability and piles onto it, then lectures you on how you shouldn’t feel that way, or even takes your admission of fear and turns it to be an insult of him somehow.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Two things: 1) if you are dealing with someone mentally ill, don’t even try this. Narcissists and those who are lost in their illnesses of depression (btw, I’ve had ppd, so I can speak to this) are unable of meeting you in a healthy way, so no, it won’t work. 2) If he is NOT mentally ill, when he responds unkindly, you have to check your delivery – was it at all snarky? :) if it was not, check to see that your words were not accusatory in any way – and then begin again, as if it were a fresh new thing, “I sense I’ve just upset you – I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to do that – what did you hear me say?” and check that he’s not feeling defensive. Speaking into the NOW of the moment, in a gentle, but truthful way, is what we are to do, lovingly, as we both work through our misperceptions and opportunities. He is wrong to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel, but he doesn’t know that yet. Don’t give up. Start small. :) Keep trying. This stuff takes YEARS to get good at, and a long time to get comfortable with – for both of you. Be patient, loving, and when you need to vent, call the girlfriend, because coming unhitched at him will set you back eons. :) But know you can get there in Christ’s strength – this is Philippians 4:8 in action, and 4:13 as the result. :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  4. JD says

    This is something I struggle with. What if there really weren’t good times? I know that sounds crazy because we did get married but it’s become so tainted. My husband said he manipulated me from the start. I always hear the advice to remember why you got married in the first place but that does no good in my situation. I’m on this respect journey because I want to be obedient to God. I want to save my marriage.

    • Nina Roesner says

      JD –
      I’m so sorry you are in this place. You are right – it is now tainted. It wasn’t before, however, otherwise you wouldn’t have married him. You are both believing lies. So what to do? Your husband says he manipulated you? He admits this? I don’t know either of you well enough to know if this would work or not, but I would encourage you to first get yourself in line with what God is saying, spend 6 months working on being respectful, overlooking the insults, etc., but not if he is abusive. If he’s abusive, and his verbal behavior sounds that way if he’s actually boasting about being manipulative, you may want to pray about whether or not you should engage in Matthew 18. The steps are to lovingly, gently confront him with his sin – maybe, “Hon, I love you and I want our marriage to work, and I am deeply wounded to the point of not wanting to go on when you say abc to me. Comments like that are harsh and slay me. I want them to stop.” Give him some time (and loving reminders when he fails – habits are hard to change) and then take him to see a good counselor, one skilled in Dr. John Gottman’s methods of restoration. Give him more time to work through these things (and know you’ll have sins of your own to deal with in the process – it’s always both people’s faults!) and then take him to your pastor and a few elders, preferably men, whom you’ve met with to ask for help. Their job is to walk along side him. You might have to separate in the mean time, but only do so if led by God. What will emerge is the truth about whether or not he is a believer and a follower of Christ – and then you’ll have a new set of circumstances to work through, 1 Peter 3:1-6 style, maybe, but you’ll know what you’re dealing with, which is the point of the end of the verses.

      I am praying for you, JD. You are right to try to save your marriage. This is a hard journey, but if you can persevere, know that there are blessings in store for you. God has many lessons for you both, and He is using your marriage to teach them to you.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

      • JD says

        Thank you for your prayer and advice. There’s is so much more to our story but yes he had admitted that to me but I feel it was coming from pain not boasting. He had said he didn’t think I’d love him if I knew the real him so it was that kind of manipulation. Or maybe it is a lie he’s believing. I do believe we are both believing lies. The beginning of our relationship was not ideal for either of us but we both still went through with it. He’s not abusive. He’s a believer but not close to the Lord right now that I can tell. He has his faults of course but I’ve been convicted of my controlling and disrespecful actions that have contributed to the state of our marriage . I love your advice of going 6 months on this journey. I’m 1 month in now. I’m at the point where I’m walking on eggshells bc he always has this simmering anger towards if I say something “wrong” which from the books and blogs I’m reading this is fairly normal for some men. It’s hard bc its lonely right now. Otherwise he’s mostly neutral towards me. He’s wanting more space which I’m trying to be respectful of. Although at first he told me that me trying to change was just me manipulating him since we are on the rocks but I know my motives and I’m just leaving that with the Lord. Sometimes it’s hard to think of things to respect about him but I do know that years of my actions have contributed to his withdrawal and passivity. I just want to be obedient to God and use this time draw closer to Him. Thank you again.

        • Nina Roesner says

          It is, unfortunately, normal, but you do not have to respond in kind. Be careful not to be patronizing or condescending in any way, and continually own what is yours to own – someone needs to model this for him, and eventually, he’ll begin to trust again. :) Glad you are here, JD, you are not alone.
          Love to you,
          ~Nina

  5. says

    YES .. understand that feeling … fear .. history .. stemming from childhood.. not wanting to recreate parents mistakes in our own lives, and yet I do at times ..
    Prayer, wise counsel .. the spirit leading .. the only way to victory :-)

  6. tiff says

    I think both my husband and I forgot for a while that we were happy and in love. I am so blessed that we have found eachother again. This past year has been filled with tears and triumphs and strength to face those fears and new tools to talk openly, but respectfully about how I feel. When I learned how, his love poured!

    • Nina Roesner says

      YAY!!!
      Tiff, I love your voice of encouragement here. We are blessed to have you with us. :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  7. Piebynite says

    How dis I get here? The forgetting what was, and was good and exciting and enticing about him and us in the beginning. Too much satan and getting caught in the machine of this world! not enough Jesus and His word. Today’s dare was painful, painfully poignant to go back and remember. And the fear, it was aways there like a thick black curtain, holding me back. Still is.

    • Christina says

      I am wondering the same? Dear Lord help me remember the good things and times and forget about the rest,replace this fear with Love.

      • Nina Roesner says

        Christina –
        No one is suggesting you forget, but rather keep no list of wrongs.
        And yes, choose life. Those good times can happen again – dare you to ask God to transform your mind, Philippians 4:8 style. THOSE are the things we need to be thinking about. And whatever is TRUE will help us in the middle of when our feelings get hurt.
        Don’t be afraid, beloved.
        Love to you,
        ~Nina

    • Nina Roesner says

      Piebynite –
      Bravery is not doing things we aren’t afraid of doing, but rather doing things in the middle of the fear.
      Dare you.
      Choose Philippians 4:8.
      Beg God to transform your mind with this verse – it will help in literally every interaction, conflict or otherwise.
      Don’t give up beautiful!!!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

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