If you follow this blog’s Instagram account, @jessicaandersonwriting, you may have noticed the daily stories I posted about reading the devotional, “Love Dare” by the Kendricks. If you want to go back and take a look, there is a highlight of each “dare” for 40 days and some of my quick thoughts on them.

As promised, I want to share my husband and I’s experience through going through the 40 days of dares to strengthen our marriage and our walk with Christ as a couple. But here’s the thing, we definitely failed at it.

My husband and I started off strong, reading to each other every night from each chapter, reviewing the dare for the day and committing to completing each dare the following day. We had some incredible conversations nightly, and simply spending time reading a devotional that included scripture helped us stay connected both to each other and to God during a trying season. You see, we started the Love Dare in the midst of a pandemic, while we were both out of work, hopeful that we would not lose sight of what God was doing in our marriage, rather than focusing on what had been taken away.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” Luke 16:10.

After about 10 days, we skipped a day out of exhaustion. Then together decided to get back on track. Then a few days later, I went back to work and our nightly routine became a whenever I was home routine. Then my husband and I stopped reading before bed altogether, and are admittedly doing out best to get back on track to finish the dare together.

When I noticed my husband and I weren’t finding the time between our schedules and my travel for work, I decided to start reading the rest of the dares on my own, completing them on my end. I’d start the conversations that the dare’s told me to have. I’d do the little gestures some dares suggested, like small gifts and thoughtful words. I asked God to help me finish, even if my husband wasn’t going to actively be able to read alongside me.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Philippains 3:14. (NIV)

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” Philippians 3:12-14. (ESV)

What I found was my husband and I didn’t need to read together before bed every night to grow our marriage and our connection to Christ within it. But that God was the one who would help us in that, in the exact season we were in, between our new normal and chaotic schedules. I also found that in our “failure” to keep up with the daily devotionals, we were actually wise to take the rest and breaks we needed from commitment in a season where tension and anxiety were knocking at our door. God allows us to rest, and not just that, He helps us to!

Paul writes to the Philippians about exactly this in Philippians 3, “The Priceless Value of Knowing Christ”. Paul reminds us that in “whatever happens…rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). I thought about this verse when I was feeling like I was failing at the Love Dare. Paul’s words reminded me that God was still in the middle of it all and I could rejoice in that. I thought my marriage would be holy because of completing the Love Dare, even though God’s love for us doesn’t come based on our actions. Paul reminded me again in his words that the Love Dare holds no value compared to my walk with the Lord. Because I was pressing on and leaning on God to help me, I was still running the race well. I needed to remember that.

When I promised a blog post on the Love Dare when I first started it, I imagined a post that would tell you about the dares that helped my marriage grow and connect my husband and I deeper and more faithfully. While the dares did in fact do just that, God used this season and our failure at committing to daily devotionals to grow me as a wife in other ways too.

Instead of being hurt or annoyed at my husband because he was too tired to read with me some nights, I found grace for him and did my best to create a peaceful and loving bedtime routine, even if that meant setting our book aside and skipping reading. Instead of the pressure to read with my husband and feeling like a failure in my commitment, I found grace for myself, and security in knowing that a devotional won’t make or break my marriage, but who I am in my marriage as a wife will. Would I be the nagging wife who puts reading a chapter in a book as a priority over what my husband and I needed in that moment? Or would I be the wife who adapts to our needs as a couple and does her best to meet them? I had to make that decision when our nightly routine went out the window. I had to remember not to place value in a book over what God could do with or without it.

“I one thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7-8.

I learned a lot from the Love Dare, don’t get me wrong. There were incredible conversations had and expectations re-evaluated because of the words the Kendricks so perfectly wrote. I so appreciated the time invested in each dare and have done my best since to continue daring myself to love my husband in a way that serves and honors both him and Christ. I’d even be willing to bet that if you asked my husband, he’d tell you he’s noticed a difference in our ability to give grace, let go of plans, be flexible, listen more, and love better. The Love Dare works!

You know what also works? God. He works in incredible ways. We may not even know how He is going to work, and our expectations might seem to go unmet, only to recognize He had something more perfect for us in store all along. By inviting God into our marriage via this Love Dare devotional, we invited Him in, period. One God is involve, and you allow Him to do the work, He might just surprise you. I was surprised to find that in my failure, I actually still grew as a wife and my marriage still grew deeper rooted in Christ. In my failure, I needed to depend on God a whole lot more than I ever imagined. In my failure that God knew I would have, He used it for glory!

So, would I recommend the Love Dare to my readers? Absolutely. Do I think there are incredible tools, conversation starters, and ideas to spark romance and love in a Christ centered marriage? One hundred percent. Can you read the Love Dare as an individual or as a couple? Yes! But I would encourage you to first pray and ask God to use it how He wants to in your life, let go of your expectations and pressure of commitment, and let Him lead you as you walk through the dares. We never know what God is working on in our lives, but when we are open to whatever that is, it is always something for good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *