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The Love Dare: Day 3

  • Day 3

    Love is Not Selfish

    Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; 
    give preference to one another in honor. —Romans 12:10

    We live in a world that is enamored with “self.” The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.

    If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness.Unfortunately it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. You can see it in the way young children act, and often in the way adults mistreat one another. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. Yet you cannot point out the many ways your spouse is selfish without admitting that you can be selfish too. That would be hypocritical.

    Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for our mate? The answer is a painful pill to swallow. We are all selfish.

    When a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities in front of his wife, that’s a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that’s a sign of selfishness. But love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Loving couples—the ones who are enjoying the full purpose of marriage—are bent on taking good care of the other flawed human they get to share life with. That’s because true love looks for ways to say “yes.”

    One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you do even a good thing to deceitfully manipulate your husband or wife, you are still being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself.

    Love is never satisfied except in the welfare of others. You can’t be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say “no” to what you want so you can say “yes” to what they need. That’s putting the happiness of your partner above your own. It doesn’t mean you can never experience happiness, but you don’t negate the happiness of your spouse so you can enjoy it yourself.

    Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritize the well-being of your mate, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love. The truth is, when you relinquish your rights for the sake of your mate, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage.

    Nobody knows you as well as your spouse. And that means no one will be quicker to recognize a change when you deliberately start sacrificing your wants and wishes to make sure his or her needs are met.

    If you find it hard to sacrifice your own desires to benefit your spouse, then you may have a deeper problem with selfishness than you want to admit.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • Do I truly want what’s best for my husband or wife?

    • Do I want them to feel loved by me?

    • Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?

    • Do they see me as looking out for myself first?

    Whether you like it or not, you have a reputation in the eyes of those around you, especially in the eyes of your spouse. But is it a loving reputation? Remember, your marriage partner also has the challenge of loving a selfish person. So determine to be the first to demonstrate real love to them, with your eyes wide open. And when all is said and done, you’ll both be more fulfilled.

    “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

    Today's Dare

    Whatever you put your time, energy, and
    money into will become more important 
    to you. It’s hard to care for something
    you are not investing in. Along with 
    restraining from negative comments, 
    buy your spouse something that says, 
    “I was thinking of you today.”

     Click here to buy a copy of the Love Dare book.

     

    Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

     

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23 comments
  • 3
Mary Pat Taylor
Mary Pat Taylor Buying something is not possible right now. I did that for Christmas though, bought him something he had talked to me about with gift money I had received, and it turned to be something he didn't actually want. He was thinking of it for me, but I didn't want it either so I sent it back. He has admitted to not understanding me, and has said he never will, and I know I don't really understand him as well. *sigh*  
February 2, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Well, at least you had made the effort <3. I guess both of you were trying to think of the other and just got your wires crossed. In that, it's kinda sweet :). 
February 2, 2016
  • 3
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froese It's ok. Some of the best gifts we can give are things that don't cost anything. Showing that you cared enough to give him something is love too. Even if he didn't take the gift, he witnessed you showing love for him and being selfless. That is what matters.
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Totally agree, Sylvia, it's the heart that matters. We are not mind readers and just do the best we can.
February 3, 2016
  • 3
Keith Yount
Keith Yountedited: February 3, 2016 I have the book and made it to day17 before giving up. This time, having seen the movie and having a great support group I WILL finish. Though were only at day 3,  I'm seeing the exact response I received last try. This time I know not to let responses, or lack of, motivate my success. Thanks Bro Dion and Sis Sylvia
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd That is wonderful, Keith! And yes, it does help to see the movie, and know that there will not necessarily be a response immediately. Truly, even if there is never a response, just going through it will be a work on ourselves, which is just as important.
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd Yea, a lot of it is self-improvement. It will make you into a better person whether they ever come around or not. But very often, they are reflecting our attitude right back at us. 
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froese Good to hear you are not going to let responses motivate your success. It takes time for others to trust changes they see. You are working hard at this and that is awesome and takes time! Be patient with yourself and do lots of positive self-talk like you are. Keep doing it! You are doing great!
February 3, 2016
  • 0
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member My husband many times surprises me with flowers or money to go shopping, so I try to give him surprises at time, he is in the middle of an ongoing building project and he loves Lowe's gift cards, so that was my surprise for him today. 
February 3, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 1
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froese What a great idea of a Lowe's card. Have fun!
February 3, 2016
  • 0
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Thank you, he loves to build. He is an automotive body man, by trade, he has run his own business for about 30 years, so when he gets the chance to get away from cars, his hobby is building. 
February 3, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froese that is so great. You are TRULY blessed! :-)
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd That is so sweet, Tammy, and probably the best gift you can give him :)!
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Mark Duell
Mark Duell Besides food that's the next best thing to a guys heart. LOL
February 4, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd lol, Mark, lunch at Lowe's then :)!
February 5, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froeseedited: February 3, 2016 I had tried to do this book when my husband left me. He didn't come back as a result of these things I did in here. But I am hoping I can forget that experience and just look at these exercises as a way of how I will try and look at a future romantic relationship I hope to have one day. I know I have changed a lot in many of these areas that this book talks about since I last did the things in this book. I'm giving up on online dating because of bad things that happened to me there. I am hoping to learn how to make friends with a man first and get to know them the old fashioned way without technology and in person as much as possible. I am reading a book How to Get a Date Worth Keeping written by Christian psychologist Dr Henry Cloud who writes of a program that has a person do tasks to take steps toward dating. It is a really good book and I highly recommend it. If you are familiar with the books called Boundaries, you will recognize Henry Cloud as one of the authors.  All the best everyone in your Love Dare! I am thinking of doing it (on the devotional days of where it works to do it) with my children or close friends instead to show them that I love them.
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd I think that's a wonderful idea to do the Love Dare with your children and friends, Sylvia. Also, I think you bring up an important point that doing the Love Dare is not a magic pill, in that it doesn't guarantee the spouse or loved one will change. I DO believe that a relationship can be wrecked by NOT doing the principles in the Love Dare, but there are certainly times when we can do all the right things and the person won't respond out of their free will, addictions, even God's other plans. All we can do is learn, be the best we can be, do our part, and let God handle the rest. It sounds like you have grown in wisdom since then, Sylvia, and I pray that the next one will be THE one for you <3.
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froeseedited: February 3, 2016 Yeah I sure hope you are right Sylvia. <3 I hope I find THE one too. (you need to stop making me cry like this.) lol You are always so kind. Thank you. I am so glad I know you and many others on this site. Doing this Love Dare together as a group is really great since we get to know each other better and share our experiences as we do the Love Dare.
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Aww (((HUGS))), love you <3! Amen, I think it's been a wonderful journey here too! 
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Froese
Sylvia Froese ((HUGS)) I know I have never met you in person. But I love you guys too. You and Don. Maybe one day I will meet you in person and give you guys big hugs. I wonder sometimes about seeing you and others from the RHM family in person somehow. Would be so cool after this long of talking on here. Anyway, thanks for being you. Take care.
February 3, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen, that would be lovely indeed :)!
February 3, 2016
  • 2
Mark Duell
Mark Duelledited: February 4, 2016 I think what some couples forget, especially the guys is that material things are nice and appreciated but just a few minutes here and there holding the wifes hand and listening to her means a lot. When they see us stop with our busyness and take time to do what they would like to do instead of going golfing with the guys can really be an awesome thing for them. Or instead of going to bed and leaving her with a pile of dishes sitting on the counter, loose a little sleep and do them for her so she can go to sleep. Or even make it some together time and do them with her. Change that nasty diaper for her instead of sitting on your throne waiting for her to make your supper! We are here to serve our wives as we are to serve our Lord out of love. Remember, it's a "relationship". You need to know the person you love. 
February 4, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd For sure, Mark, time spent with each other, getting to know each other, helping each other, are immensely important! For Dion and I, those are far more important than gifts. The principle in this post, about investing in what's important, I believe also can include time and attention. I read once though that disagreements over money was the number one cause of divorce. While I believe that more likely means that there are value differences happening there, what we do with our money certainly has significance. I don't think that's even only about gifts...a person who blows the mortgage money on the ponies is probably not saying much about how he or she thinks about the household and the family within it. Of course, that example involves other problems ;-).  Additionally, apparently there are people who care a lot more about gifts than others, at least from what "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, describes: http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OICLVBI?keywords=love%20languages&qid=1454682870&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1. 
February 5, 2016