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Day 22 – Love is Faithful May 19, 2010

Posted by poetiscian in love, Reflection.
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Be ever so faithfulA (*) friend encouraged me to re-saddle my love horse, so here I am! When our love is rejected, we as humans find it very challenging to keep moving forward in the direction of love.  In order to keep loving the person and/or people who have actively voiced their rejection of our love, takes a love greater than ourselves. We as Christians are supposed to love as God has loved us – no matter what. Now, I do realize that is very hard, and darn near impossible, especially if you are not able to see any light at the end of the love tunnel. However, I pose this to you, remain faithful in your pursuit of love for the partner who has abandoned your love. How you say? Just as God continues to love us through our collage of spiritual mishaps, our unyielding anger towards each other, our daily inability to just offer Him thanks for once again, pulling us from the jaws of death. He gives us underserved love and it is our responsibility to pass it on.

The Bible speaks of Hosea, who married a prostitute named Gomer, and she in turn after many years, returned to the profession that she knew best – lusting after other men.  Now who in the world would expect Hosea to return to this woman? No one would, but God did – He told Hosea to offer her redemption and take her back. (read full story) That is a lesson within itself, for God has redeemed us many times, so who are we not to reach out and offer that same redemption.

If your spouse has gone astray, stop looking outward and begin the soul-searching journey within yourself first.  Seek God for understanding and then pray. Out of love grows faith.  Be faithful in your pursuit for the love of God and your fellow-man. There is power in faithfulness that is immeasurable to anything that the world has to offer. Faith keeps you grounded when it appears that your very foundation is crumbling beneath your feet. Be like Hosea – go and rescue the one whom you’ve confessed to love forever, forgive them for their past transgressions and work on re-building a solid relationship built on faith, patience, integrity and unconditional love. Where would most of us be if God left us on the selling block to be auctioned off to the devil.  I am sure you don’t want to really know the answer.  Go in peace…

A few critical thoughts: God still loves us after rejection. Love is our basis. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you. God gave undeserved love to you.

Biblical Verse(s):
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Luke 10:27 – He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.”

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Resources: True to be You by Harry L. Kirk

Challenge:
Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it.  Say to them today in words similar to these, “i love you.  Period.  I choose to love you even if you don’t love me in return.”


Q: How hard is it for you to tell your spouse that you love them, even when your words appear to fall on deaf ears?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

*** “Thank you Carol, also known lovingly as CeeCee Entertainment”

Day 21 – Love is Satisfied in God March 1, 2010

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Have you ever eaten a full course meal, but for some reason you were still hungry? How about starting out on a destination with the address and location, but still ending up lost. Here’s another one, meeting a group of friends for an activity and in a room full of people, you still feel lonely. This feelings are very similar to how you may feel when you are without God. A feeling of being unsatisfied with self or surroundings.  When we arrive at the realization that God is a complete package, we will hunger no more for things of the material world. You are probably thinking, “How can that be.”  I say, easy.  It is based on you having a personal relationship with God and trusting Him to satisfy all of your needs.

God ought not to be your last resort when nothing else seems to satisfy you, He should be first in your life.  No human has the capacity to give you all the things that you desire, only God has this magnificent power; however, you must put all of your trust in Him. There are times when it just seems as though your mate is unable to give you that contentment that you so desire, it is those time that you should seek God. The ones that you love the most are not always able to be that stable person that you desire, however, God is that non-movable rock.  Again, you must trust in Him to satisfy all of your wants and desires.  At some point in our lives, we are all broken and damages vessels floating in the sea of life.  God wants to be salvation that we so desperately need, but you must come to Him and place your cares upon His alter.  No matter how long you take, He will be there with open arms.

If we can just learn to put our faith in God, and not seek peace, love or joy from external sources, then we will be one more day closer to understanding the true power of love. Will you give Him a try?  You have nothing to lose, but salvation to gain.

A few critical thoughts:
Make God a bigger part of your life.  Don’t look to things that are unstable. God can fulfill all of your needs. God will always be on time and never let you down. God can be trusted.

Biblical Verse(s):
Isaiah 58:11
– The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire.
Philippians 4:6-7
– Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 -And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

Challenge:
be intentional today about making a time to pray and read your bible.  Try reading a chapter out of proverbs each day, or reading a chapter in the gospels.  As you do, immerse yourself in the love and promises god has for you.  This will add to your growth as you walk with him.


Q: Have you abandoned God?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 20 – Love is Jesus Christ February 22, 2010

Posted by poetiscian in Jesus Christ, love.
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I must admit that this particular challenge is quite profound to me.  I am not a biblical scholar and just felt that I wasn’t qualified to even talk about this subject. Yes, I am well aware of whom Christ is, but to talk about how one should submit their lives to Christ, well, that’s another subject. So I listened, took notes, and then re-listened again. I even downloaded some podcasts from itune.com in which Joyce Meyer’s talks about Jesus.  In a nutshell she said this, “You have to know who you are in Jesus.” My Aha moment – this is a personal thing, and yes, I can indeed write about this, because I know Him for myself.

After years of failed marriages, personal relationships with both friends and family, I came to realize that my heart just wasn’t in it for the right reason. I loved in order to gain something and not for the pure simplicity of the act. Once I came to know Jesus for myself, my actions changed. God loved me enough to give his one and only son, just can’t get any better than that in terms of sacrifice. If He was able to do that, then I could surely love those around me. It is a matter of humbling one’s self for the utter good of another. Being able to say you’re sorry in order to allow peace to abide within a situation. When Christ is allowed to take center seat in our lives, we are able to give love freely, just as He did by his dying on the cross.

I do realize that everyone does not believe in Jesus, but I would be willing to bet that everyone knows someone who knows Jesus on a very personal level. Turn to those folks when crises arise and yield unto their understanding.  Listen to their stories of triumph during stormy weather. In order to love as Christ, we must first know Christ. This doesn’t mean endless hours in church bowed down in front of the altar, but it does mean being able to do down on bended knees before our Savior. I simply say this, what do you have to lose by giving God a chance to reveal the marvels of true love. His love is free!

A few critical thoughts:
You must put your life into Christ’s hand in order to truly love. When you receive God’s love, you will be able to give it freely. Love one another. God demonstrates his love for us through Christ our Lord. You are able to share God’s love with your partner.

Biblical Verse(s):
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Psalms 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Resources: Podcasts by Joyce Meyers

Challenge:
Dare to take god at his word.  Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation.  Dare to pray, “Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner, but you have shown your love for me by dying to forgive your sins, and you have proven your power to save me from death by your resurrection.  Lord, change my heart, and save me by your grace.”


Q: Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 19 – Love is Impossible February 17, 2010

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I can remember quite vividly the day I turned 14, almost 29 years ago. I thought to myself, only four more years to go and then  I will be grown.  I’ll be able to do what I want, when I want, and how I want and that definitely included going to church almost every single day of the week.  Well, when you’re young, it seems like every day – Saturday mass, Sunday school, Tuesday Catechism, Wednesday Bible Study, Thursday Prayer meeting and then all day Saturday running from some type of church function.  It just seemed like every single mom in the world devoted their lives to church, church and still more church.  At 18 I just knew I would finally be rid of this church hopping thing that was consuming every waking moment of my life.

Fast-forward to now.  Without the foundation of Christ in my life at an early age, I am not really sure where I would be today.  I believe that this is true for a lot of people who have earnestly embarked on this journey of love.  If God is not a part of our make-up, then I do believe that it will be quite a task to love unconditionally. I don’t mean just being in love with someone, I am talking about your whole being in love with those whom you established relationships. To just love with your own heart for the sake of loving will require a greater power that is implanted within us – that power through Christ our Lord.  You see, God is the source of love, the type of love that has no boundaries and requires nothing, not even love itself returned. He loves us because He promised that he would. Even when we fall out of communion with our Father, He never forsakes us.  He justly loves and forgives us, so that we may do the same unto others.

When we find ourselves in broken and often times abandoned relationships with those that we love, we need only repent our shortcomings and either turn back to God or continue faithfully moving in His light. The most significant and major flaw that we can allow to go unattended is “guilt.”  This emotion will stop us from truly witnessing the goodness of God and others around us.

I hope that this concept is quite clear and you don’t take it to mean that it is impossible to love, because that is not the message.  Love is impossible – only if you are attempting to do it by yourself and without the assistance of God.

A few critical thoughts:
Agape love is not something you can do – only God. We have all fallen short of God’s command. God is the source of love. When you surrender self to Christ, His power can work through you. Put your trust in God and see what he can do in your marriage.

Biblical Verse(s):
1 John 4:7 – Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Romans 6:23 –
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 15:5 –
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Ephesians 3:20 –
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

Challenge:
Look back over the dares from previous days.  Were there some that seemed impossible to you?  Have you realized your need for god to change your heart and to give you the ability to love?  Ask him to show you where you stand with him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination.


Q: Do you believe that God is real?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 18 – Love Seeks to Understand February 16, 2010

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School is the perfect place to go when you are lacking knowledge of a particular subject. In places of higher learning you are afforded the opportunity to ask questions and to receive answers. In short, we seek out understanding, especially when continuing our education beyond high school. It is our choice to attend school, just like it is due to our own free will that we enter into various relationships. So, it just stands to reason that we never cease in continuing our quest to understand those that we love.

In the beginning of any relationship, we don’t really know the other person. Most times there is just something unique and/or awesome about them.  Something that attracts us, whether it is friendship or relationship geared. Initially we do everything possible because we are sincerely interested in getting to know and understand this newfound relationship. However, once the conquer is over, we sometimes lose admiration for the people in our relationships. Our differences become quite evident after months or possibly years of knowing the person.

It is no longer our goal to seek understanding in our relationships.  We no longer ask the pertinent questions of what makes them happy. We stop caring about drawing our spouses closer to us or we are no longer concerned about their struggles and dreams.  It is during these crucial times that we must remember that love continually seeks to understand and grow within our relationships.  It is during these trying times that we should steer closer in God’s direction.  It is important that we use patience and kindness as our stair steps to understanding those within our given relationships. Never let us cease in going to school in order to further our own knowledge about our partners and spouses.

A few critical thoughts:
Desire to really understand our mate. Continually ask God for discernment. Make a personal commitment to understand those that we love.  Way to unlock the heart is through love. Relationships are a life-long journey.

Biblical Verse(s):
Proverbs 3:13 – How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 13:15 – Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Resources: Joyce Meyers Ministries – Daily Devotionals

Challenge:
Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you.  The dinner can be as nice as you prefer.  Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, prehaps in areas you’ve rarely talked about.  Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your mate.


Q: How do you seek to understand those that you love, especially when it appears that the love is long gone?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 17 – Love Promotes Intimacy February 8, 2010

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Love is or it ain’t.  Thin love ain’t love at all.

Toni Morrison

As she lay shattered in your pool of words, do you take pride in knowing that she is losing this verbal battle? Instead of helping her to her feet, you shove a few more hurtful words at her hemorrhaging body, only to further wound her fragile ego. Then you leave the room; leave her to content with the pain that you have just inflicted.  That is how you show love. Then you wonder days later why you can’t get her to fully take part in any type of intimate behavior.  She can barely stand the sight of you. You on the other hand don’t have a clue about what is wrong.  I mean, don’t you usually throw her past in her face to get her to see your point.

Private thoughts entrusted to you.  You were only trying to get her to see your point of view. Well, that is how you justified your rude and unwarranted behavior.  In actuality, you further severed if not destroyed the already weakened relationship. Barely standing, it is now damn near destroyed. What do you do know. It is time to turn towards to God. For surely you had stepped away because love does not destroy with words, it heals.

Your partner should always be able to feel safe when in your presence.  That is what a committed relationship is all about – able to lay your worries and concerns down and not feel threatened that they will be used against you.  Your partner should be able to trust you completely, and you in turn should be able to make them feel safe. A marriage should not be a day-to-day walk on eggshells, but a refuge when daily routines have gotten the best of us.

Be a safe-haven to all of your relationships. Take every opportunity to listen and be attentive when the people that you love need you the most. Use your words not as weapons, but as a source for healing. Once you do as God so wants, then you will be able to enjoy the full intimacy that comes from loving.

A few critical thoughts:
Don’t lecture or criticize, be gentle.  Determine to guard your mate’s secrets and to pray for them. Make your partner feel safe. There should be freedom within marriage. Mate should not be pressured to feel perfect.

Biblical Verse(s):
Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
1st John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Revelations 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Featured Bloggist: A Safe Relationship by Harry L. “Justin” Kirk

Challenge:
Determine to guard your mate’s secretes (unless they are dangerous to them or you) and to pray for them.  Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues.  Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you.  Make them feel safe.


Q: Do you do more of the talking than listening in your relationships with those that you love?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 16 – Love Intercedes February 8, 2010

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Dear heavenly Father, it is so costly to love.  I find myself bankrupt after having spent so much of myself. The one I loved has hidden himself from me, leaving me to search for the shattered pieces of my heart.  Help me to recover them from the dust.  And as my spirit weeps over my emptiness, please catch my tears and refresh me with them.

Michelle Mckinney Hammond – “Help for the Hurting Heart…”

It is common to go down on our knees in prayer when things are not going as well as we would like. Usually during times of crisis, we call out to our Father to just intercede on our behalf. So, we are not strangers to the prayer concept. But wouldn’t it be nice to cry out to the Lord before things got to their worst.  Instead of praying when our partner has abandoned the relationship, we started praying way ahead of the fall-out.  Stop trying to change who people are, just pray for them. Quit expecting to get different results by doing the same thing over and over.

Go before the Lord in earnest prayer. Tell God exactly what you want out of your relationships and stop nagging the people in your life to do something different. You want a more wholesome and honest relationship with your children, then seek out God first. If your wife is constantly starting some drama in the house, then go to the one who is sovereign. You desperately would like for your father to attend church, don’t mentally beat him up, seek God through fervent prayer.

It is crucial that you realize now that you can’t and I do mean, can’t change anybody, and that includes the people who you love the most. Everyone has their own personality and it may not coincide with what you think is right or wrong.  So, the only real test of love is to accept them for who they are at that particular moment and then pray for them.  Not a selfish prayer based on your own needs, but the desires that will strengthen the relationship.  But first you must have an intimate relationship with God for He so desires this from all of us. It is important to be humble and not think yourself better than those in your relationships. It is impossible to compete with God and He does not want this, instead He wants you to submit to loving with all of your heart.  When you’ve done all you can – just pray!

A few critical thoughts:
God changes the heart not nagging. Most loving thing is to pray. Pray for what you want.  Effective prayer is powerful, it is a spiritual phenomenon. Pray instead of giving up.

Biblical Verse(s):
Luke 18:1 – Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray all the time and never give up.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Resources: Meet Michelle McKinney Hammond bestselling author, speaker, singer and television co-host.

Challenge:
Begin praying today for your spouse’s heart.  Pray for three specific areas where you desire for god to work in your spouse’s life and in your marriage.


Q: Do you intentionally look for fault in your relationships or pray for change?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 15 – Love is Honorable February 6, 2010

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Is there anything left in this world that is honorable. A rhetorical question.  Really, what do we really honor? Your answer??? To honor someone or something means to have the highest level of respect and esteem.  Is this true Wedding Bandseveryday in our relationships? With the divorce rate rising far beyond the marriage rate, where has the concept of honor and respect gone – outta da window.  “Holy”matrimony, means entering into a commitment to set this person apart from any other.  This ceremony also means treating your spouse with the highest level of respect possible.  This person should be sacred to you, and no one else should stand on equal footing. It is important that your marriage is valued by everyone. Cheating devalues not only the people involved, but also God. Why? Because marriage is sanctioned by God.

And I know this concept may seem a bit lofty for most to even wrap their brains around, however, it is one of the truest forms of love that we can show our partners. What about the children, my sick parents, my friends, my job, my this, my that.  All of these people are secondary when you enter into a holy and committed relationship with your life-long partner. Think about this – if your foundation (relationship) is sturdy and strong, then it will support anything that placed on it. I say this to the non-believer: If you don’t think that it is possible to share your entire world with another person, then STOP and don’t do it. That is one reason to stay single because you don’t have to be responsible for another person, only yourself.  I digress…

When you love someone, it also means valuing them and what they bring to the relationship table.  What they think should matter to you.  Regardless of the fact that you may not always feel honored nor may you feel that your love reciprocated, you continue to show love and honor within your relationships. Always, the focus is on you and your behavior – and not necessarily about the other person.  You create the atmosphere of love. Just as you do at work, take control of your relationship situations and be the first to show your mate that they are sacred to you and that you value them completely.  Just as God does for us, we too, should do unto our loved ones. Imagine what one day would look like if for one second God decided not to honor and love us – because we made one or one-thousand mistakes.  Don’t know about you – I don’t even want to think about it. Make the choice now to honor every love relationship that is present in your life today!

A few critical thoughts:
Words have powerful meanings. Give your mate your undivided attention. Love honors even when rejected. Marriage should be honored by all.

Biblical Verse(s):
I Peter 3:7 – Live with your wives in an understanding way . . . and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.
Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Hebrew 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Resources: The Bible as inspired by God

Challenge:
Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine.  It may be holding the door for her.  It might be putting his clothes away for him.  It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication.  Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.


Q: What does sacrifice mean to you?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 14 – Love Takes Delight February 4, 2010

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No matter how much you tell yourself – it just seems that you are no longer in love with your spouse.  He simply can’t do anything right as far as you are concerned.  You’ve tussled with the idea for the last couple of months and it has just come down to the simple fact, the love is gone. You hate the way she nit-picks you about the smallest inconsequential things. The last argument was too much and after much consideration, you’ve decided that you no longer want them as a best friend.  In these situations, someone has determined that a relationship divorce is the clearest choice. Where is the delight?

Mama said “there would be days like this” and she was right.  But I am here to tell you that Father said, “stand firm on your obligation to love and honor one another” and he too was right. It is a shame that we discard relationships so easily.  Toss in the towel when things are not going our way. Just up and abandon the person, the dreams and most importantly the commitment to love the person for life. Sometimes for something that could have easily been resolved if you both sat down and communicated.  It was a choice to be together, so you should want to honor that choice by sticking by your partner.

Start by remembering why you were first delighted to have the person in your life. Choose to think about the positive attributes of your wife. Focus on what made you love him in the first place. Stop criticizing one another and start being more patient with one another’s faults.  We are all flawed in the sight of our Lord and Master.

Today you have a real chance to change your behavior – choose to be delighted by the people whom you love.  Don’t just throw away a relationship and blame it on the other person.  Take ownership of your own emotions and live up to your responsibilities – for it takes two to really want to be one!

A few critical thoughts:
Have a radical change of heart. Make the decision to delight in your spouse no matter how long you have been in the relationship. Welcome your partner back into your heart.

Biblical Verse(s):
Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life.
Proverbs 23:26 – My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways…

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Online Blogger: The Power of our Beliefs by Robin Easton

Challenge:
Purposefully neglect an activity you would normally do so you can spend quality time with your spouse. Do something he or she would love to do or a project they’d really like to work on. Just be together.


Q: Is it hard to let down your guard and let those back into our lives that have disappointed us?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn

Day 12 – Love lets the Other win February 4, 2010

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As children we are taught to win. The purpose of playing a game is to win. We take on challenges, why? – so that we can win.  Nobody starts off a dare with the thought of walking away a loser.  So, from childhood right into adulthood our goals when facing any type of opposition are to win.  Do you see where I am going with this?  When we firmly believe that winning is the goal, we miss many learning opportunities.  Busy trying to get the prize we often lose sight of the real goal  This happens more often than not within our relationships.

Often times we are so busy defending our opinion that we don’t see our partner’s side of the situation.  We let our stubbornness dictate the direction of the disagreement and thus don’t really resolve anything. Jesus taught us willingness, how to let down our selfish pride and bow to the one’s that we love. He willingly gave up His earthly possession of life, so that we my have eternal life.  This is the same type of respect that we must have in our own relationships.  Of course we may find that our pride is often compromised, however, it is but a small price to pay to show our loved ones how much we value them.  It is our differences that bind us together, for we should not be exact mirrors of one another.  Love truly teaches us how to coöperate with our spouses and not fight against them – it is okay to be humble.  Don’t allow a stubbornness to be the guide, instead lead with your heart!

A few critical thoughts:
Stubbornness is detrimental to a relationship.  Choose to honor the one you love. Relationships need balance.

Biblical Verse(s):
Philippians 2:4 – Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

Challenge:
Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.


Q: How hard is it for you to be humble and allow someone to win a disagreement – even if they are clearly wrong?

Have a blessed day, I love you!
Dawn