The Love Dare - Learning to Love Like God Loves

The halfway mark of my husband’s deployment approached. It had been a long, cold winter and I needed to get away. Thankfully, I have a son and daughter-in-law who live in sunny San Diego, so I knew exactly where to go.

The dreaded "D" word, deployment, has been our reality this year. <<Tweet This

My son is in the Navy and leaves for his first deployment this summer.

I'm surviving my husband’s deployment, as I eagerly look toward his return home. There are days when it feels like I'm barely surviving, but I can look back and see how God has carried us this far and even strengthened us as a couple during this time apart. I trust He will carry us the rest of the way.

Deployments can easily put strain on a marriage. I cannot sugar coat it. Deployments are hard. 

I experienced the strain beginning before my husband even left. We became argumentative and my husband slowly began to withdraw as he prepared to leave.

My children did not grow up in a church-going home. It has only been three years since my husband and I accepted Christ. We pray for our children daily to know Him. Before I left for San Diego God placed it on my heart to witness to my son. He is not a believer, nor is his wife.

Fully aware of how difficult a marriage can be, with or without the added stress of deployment, I decided to pack The Love Dare book for my son. Though I had not read the entire book, I did see and own the movie based on it, Fireproof. So I knew the idea behind both is that choosing God’s kind of love changes lives.

I had time alone with my son the first day I arrived in San Diego.

Knowing we may not get the opportunity again, I pulled out the book and movie rather quickly. Being a witness to someone is not something I’ve done much of, so I was nervous. Jesus interceded and words began to flow . . . God’s words.

I handed the book to my son, saying, “He wants you to know how much you are loved and to help you love your wife in the same unconditional way He loves you. Whether or not my son will choose to read the book, or watch the movie, I do not know. It’s in God’s hands. My son’s willingness to listen to me and accept The Love Dare says to me that God is softening his heart.

With God, there is always hope. <<Tweet this

I returned home from my trip refreshed and grateful for the time with my son and his wife. However, the thought of only being halfway through my husband’s deployment once again weighed on me. Tension marked our phone conversations. He had asked me to take care of something several times and when he asked again, I snapped.

Shortly after that, I remembered the book I had given to my son. I decided to download a copy for myself on Kindle.

If I thought it valuable enough to encourage my son to read and take the Love Dare Challenge, why shouldn’t I?

That’s when a journey began for me. I am now blogging my way through The Love Dare. The book is written for a 40-day love dare; I’m doing a 40-week love dare. I even found a website that provides a supporting devotional for military couples going through a deployment. How perfect is that!?!?

As I write this, I’ve made by way through the first three days of the book: Love is patient, Love is kind, and Love is not selfish. By the time you read this I will be further along. You can catch up here.

I am not writing this post as a review of the book, though I do highly recommend the book no matter the season your marriage is in. For me, deciding to read The Love Dare and take the Love Dare Challenge is about knowing Jesus more intimately and learning what it means to follow Him.

Each love dare has led me to spend more time in God’s Word as I seek to understand God’s kind of love, which I am discovering means choosing to love and honor others above yourself (Romans 12:10). It’s an utterly unselfish kind of love.

I asked my son when I gave him the book, “What do we have to lose by choosing that kind of love?” What do we have to lose?"

My marriage is not in a place of desperation, but the strain of the deployment has taken its toll. Choosing to put the needs of my husband first has added a spark to our marriage even though he is on the other end of the world. While our motivation for choosing to love others should not be about what we gain, we are immensely blessed when we choose to follow the example God has given us on how to love.

Again, this is not a book review. 

Consider it a wish . . . a wish for us all to choose God’s kind of love because His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8a)

Beth Stiff is a wife, mom of two boys, and a mother-in-law. They are a military family with her husband in the Army Reserves and her oldest son in the Navy. Through over 20 years of marriage, Beth and her husband have been through a lot, but their love for each other is stronger than ever. 

Beth loves Jesus, family, friends, reading, and a hot cup of coffee to begin her day. She writes on her blog, Simply Beth, about how her relationship with Jesus has changed her life. Her promise is to always speak from the speak with love. 

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