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The Love Dare: Does it Work? What does the Research Say?

March 29, 2009 · Print This Article

Recently, there has been a firestorm of excitement among the Christian community. “Fireproof” has been endorsed by many Christian ministries. For a review, visit ChristianityToday.com.  The movie focuses around a firefighter and his spouse whom are on the brink of divorce. The husband commits himself to taking “The Love Dare” for 40 days with the idea his marriage will improve after 40 days.  Not withstanding, it is difficult concept to appreciate for a marriage on the brink of divorce. The movie portrays well the negativity that has settled in to the marriage, even when one partner is committed to inject love and hope back into the marriage.  The book love dare follows Biblical scripture and provides day to day practical activities to heal an ailing marriage.  For Christians, it is clear how it works and it’s power.  Non-Christians may dismiss it due to the spiritual content and as one more attempt to “push religion.”  The question that they may be wondering about is, “How does the book “Love Dare” with is practical, day to day advice, measure up against the marriage research on injecting love and passion back into a lifeless marriage? And, why should I take it?”

Research:

First, know that Christian’s divorce at the same rate as Non-Christians. Divorce is non-denominational. Research shows that all marriages have an “emotional bank account.” Imagine that each person can make deposits into and withdrawals from the account based on each and every interaction they have with each other. The marriage itself keeps track of the day to day deposits and withdrawals, much like a checkbook register. Each person may have their perspective on whether or not the interaction was positive or negative. I propose that if it is viewed by one person as negative and a withdrawal, it counts as a withdrawal regardless if the other counts it is a deposit. Why? The marriage keep track of the withdrawal in the register vs the deposit.

Couples who eventually divorce have a ratio of deposits/withdrawls as do couples who remain happily married. For the former, for every $125.00 in withdrawls made, only $100.00 is deposited into the account. Mathematically speaking, it is easy to see how a couple who is married for only a short time can quickly be headed for divorce. They are overspent and in deep indebtedness. The marriage will foreclose rather quickly.

For the later, for every $100.00 in withdrawls made, $500.00 is deposited into the account. Small, day to day, positive interactions during non-conflictual times serves as a huge reserve against times of crisis and serious repair. These marriages  can and do weather the storms.

Example 1: Happy Couple

9AM: Husband smiles at wife and gently rubs her back. Wife smiles at him and tells him she loves him. Deposit: $100.00

9:30 AM: Wife makes coffee and brings husband a cup in the bathroom. Both smile at each other and make eye contact. Deposit: $100.00

9:45 AM: Wife makes a comment about the news she is watching; husband responds with an interesting comment back. Deposit: $25.00

10:00 AM: Wife complains because spouse forgot to take out steak from the freezer the night before like she asks. Husband responds defensively and goes and gets it. Wife is upset because this has happened many times before. Withdrawal: $75.00

and so on.

Example 2: Indebt Couple

9 AM: Both roll out of bed, don’t say anything to each other: Both want attention but neither gives. Withdrawl: $100.00

9:30 AM: Husband makes coffee and has breakfast by himself. Wife comes out and gets her own coffee.  Wife longs for him to bring her coffee while getting ready. Withdrawl: $50.00

9:45 AM: Wife comments on something she sees on TV: Husband stonewalls (does not say anything). Withdrawl: $75.00

10:00 AM: Husband has gotten the steak out the night before and has left a love note and small gift on the table for his wife. Wife appreciates his remembering and the gift. Deposit: $100.00

Still in debt…

Frequency, not intensity, and duration

While grand gestures may have a large qualitative value attached to it as a deposit (as in the end of the movie ‘Fireproof’), when withdrawals have occurred numerous times daily and over the course of time, large value deposits are effectively worthless against the debt that is owed. This is the reason why a spouses attempt to do something grand and/or expensive to help an ailing marriage (like a vacation, jewelry, chainsaw) often has very short term value without changing the day to day deposit/withdrawal ratio.

Take the Dare

This is where the value of the “Love Dare” lies for non-Christians and Christians based upon marriage research. Remember, Christians divorce as the same rate as Non-Christians. Divorce is politically, gender, socio-economic, and religiously neutral. The “Love Dare” with it’s slow and steady approach can begin to investing in the marriage on a daily basis. The dare-taker can have their negative perspective of his partner reset (more later on negative perspective), thus giving the marriage more time to heal. The more indebted the marriage, the more time it will take to get out of debt and obtain a positive balance – just like finances.  40 days may not be enough, and yet, God-willing, 40 days may be more than enough. It will take time, patience, and faith. It will then take a daily renewal of your marriage for the rest of your life.

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

God Bless.

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Comments

87 Responses to “The Love Dare: Does it Work? What does the Research Say?”

  1. tstein on December 26th, 2011 11:25 pm

    I can only imagine how abandoned you must feel. Often, the pregnancy can be very difficult on a marriage when a lack of intimacy has taken over, particularly on husband. Men often feel neglected during this time as things begin to dramatically change in the marriage. Sadly, what can often be so joyous for a couple, ends up being painful memories in the future. I would be very clear on what he needs to see improve – and make certain it is explained in very clear behavioral terms. I would also put on the table what you need from him as the relationship may have been experiencing some neglect from both of you. I think it is AWESOME for the two of you to take the dare together. It can be very a very healing and bonding experience. Be certain you both agree to the following at the outset: 1) no judgement 2) look hard each day for each others efforts and express appreciation for them 3) set aside a formal time for problems to be worked out (develop a problem jar and agree each day at that time you will sit down and talk about them – gently and in the spirit of understanding each other deeper and then problem solving) 4) expect positive results! I am praying for you and your husband right now for healing and deeper intimacy. If he continues to experience these feelings after the dare, I recommend a depression screening prior to any big decisions being made. God loves you both and wants you to express love to Him, and to each other. In prayer. T

  2. Ron on December 31st, 2011 5:31 am

    I am on day 3 of the love dare. My wife and I are separated and 60 days away from our divorce being final. She is living with another man but has told me there is no intimacy involved since we decided to divorce. she had an affair with him during the summer which led us to where we are at now. i am not blameless as i was addicted to porn. God has delivered me from it. I watched fireproof on Christmas Day and wept through most of it. My MIL had sent the workbook to us a few years back, but I never made time to utilize it. The Lord spoke to my heart to give it a chance. So here I am. I pray that it is not too late and God will show her that I am not who I once was. Do you think we have a chance to heal our marriage?

  3. Casey on January 27th, 2012 3:01 pm

    I have with my wife since I was 16. This May will be 14 years together and 10 years married. We have 2 girls 9 and 7 years old. The last few years of our marriage I have been neglecting my wife because I was addicted to playing an online video game. I would play nearly every day after work or on days off. We slowly just stopped doing things together and she began going out without me. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong at the time because I was at home and not out at a bar or running around with my buddies. In my head things were not great but they weren’t that bad either until a few weeks ago…

    My wife tells me she doesn’t love me anymore and she wants a separation. I was devastated and didn’t know what to do. So I moved out and stayed at my mother’s for a week. After that week I couldn’t take it anymore and move back in and this was when my wife drops another bomb on me…. She says she likes women and always has. She wants out of our relationship to explore these feelings. She has been talking to a lesbian friend for a few months now on the phone and she calls or texts her nearly every day.

    I am on day 5 of the love dare. My wife and I are still in the same house but no matter what I do or say, no matter how patient I have been all I feel is coldness from her. She doesn’t love me and it’s killing me.

  4. tstein on February 13th, 2012 3:28 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. After years of marriage neglect, each person will often seek ways to satisfy their needs for love and attention as well as comfort that they are no longer receiving in the marriage. While certainly we recognize your responsibility and neglect, it is also important to be compassionate towards yourself and forgive yourself as you now have woken up from your deep sleep. I admire your perseverance and taking the Love Dare. It takes great strength encourage to press forward when you’re not feeling like the proverbial “apple” of your spouses eye.
    Don’t push it and don’t pressure. Your goal at this point should be to reestablish a friendship. Your evaluation and appraisal of success ought to be based on how you are being and acting as a good friend would. Resist the urge for relationship talk as this will drive a further wedge between the two of you. She’ll be skeptical and may even rebuff your kind gestures of friendship. Her anger runs deep and will require tact and skill and comfort – as a friend would offer, such as: “You deserved better” or “You felt so abandoned I can’t blame you for not being able to forgive me”…then, just listen – no relationship talk unless it is “I understand your deepest desire to be known for the wonderful woman you are.”
    I will pray for you. Keep on the Dare and remember the goal – become her best friend. We do have a marriage therapist who is now accepting coaching clients should you need some additional help and support.
    In prayers, Ted.

  5. tstein on February 13th, 2012 3:45 pm

    Sorry for the delay in reply. I am so sorry to hear about your situation. When I answer these postings, I pray that God provide me words of comfort, words that heal suffering, and words of encouragement. Today, it is quite simple: Pray for her. While you pray that God “open her eyes” to you…her eyes need to be open to Him. After she lifts her eyes upward towards the heavens and prays for His grace, she will see you. As for now, she is acting in ways that are displeasing to God as He watches over her. As He continues to love her, much as you do, His heart aches because she is His child. He wants her to return to Him and He will welcome her return with delight and open arms, much as He has for you. He will comfort her and help her return and be in the world fresh and renewed, washed and cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb. Much as He speaks to us in 2 Peter 3:9 when He says: “The LORD is not slow in doing what he promised-the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you (and your spouse). He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people (you and your spouse) to change their (or your’s and her’s) hearts and lives.” Lastly, in Isaiah 43:18,25 “the LORD says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. I, I am the One who forgives all your sins, for my sake; I will not remember your sins.”
    Thus, much as your Father in heaven forgives you – your spouse needs your prayers of intercession right now.
    Nothing is too late for GOD!!!!!
    Amen brother. In Prayers, T

  6. nlcb on February 25th, 2012 11:01 pm

    My husband of 12 years and i I have been in a long-distance relationship for 7 months. When he was home for Christmas 2 months ago he told me he really enjoyed his new life, had been unhappy in our marriage for several years and was no longer in love with me. He said he needed time and space to decide what he wanted to do. Since he went back to work we have had very little contact and, in the last 2 months, I have maybe received 3 brief emails and one phone call from him. I am completely and utterly heartbroken. I have been trying to concentrate on improving myself, being positive, praying for our marriage, and giving him space to think things through but I am terrified that the distance and lack of communication will only make the emotional distance in our marriage worse and I have lost my husband forever. I have tried speaking with a couple of different counsellors but felt they weren’t able to offer the type of pro-marriage approach I am looking for. Do you think trying the Love Dares would work in my situation? I’m trying to find a balance between respecting his need for space, showing I care about him, showing him I’m working on myself and letting him know how much he means to me without coming across as desperate.

  7. Guy on February 28th, 2012 2:55 pm

    You have answered a lot of my concerns in your replies to other posts. I can relate to how the majority of these individuals are feeling. My wife and I have been together for 7 years (married for 5). We have a 23 month old daughter and I just found out about a month and half ago that my wife doesn’t want to be with me anymore. She said that she isn’t happy with me and doesn’t love me anymore. She says she is willing to try to work on our marriage but isn’t sure that I can make her happy or that she will ever love me again. Over the last 7 years I haven’t been very affectionate towards her and have been very critical of her. I have listened to all of her reasons and can openly agree with her. However I have loved her from the first moment I saw her and that love has only gotten stronger. I just didn’t know how to show her. Since she approached with this, I have started working on changing and redevoting myself to her and God. We have attended the Art of Marriage seminar at our church last weekend, but after all of this she still feels like this won’t work. She said that she has been praying that God would give her a sign that this will work but that she hasn’t felt any changes. My friend gave me the Love Dare about a week ago, I have read the entire book and am planning on starting this next week. My wife also wants to read it. I see in your previous posts that you recommend doing the love dare together. After she reads it, I plan on approaching her and us working through it together, my questions are:: how much do we need to share in this experience? Should we compare our notes and thoughts that we write in the book with each other or just perform the dares? Should we be using separate books? thanks!

  8. David on March 5th, 2012 2:39 am

    Hi, my wife and I have been married for 3 years. We just separated end of last month. I have discovered that most of it was my fault. My Dad did the same thing and so did his dad. Basically I got depression, and did not support her emotionally and I’m a natural worrier so there was a tremendous amount of stress. I have discovered a lot of my issues and want to take care of them. I’m about to take a mentoring class at my church here hopefully start of next week. I will seek out medication and therapy if needed. I really want to be the old me again. I am on day 7 of the Love Dare. I’m taking it very seriously. I have recommitted myself to Christ and have been praying constantly about all of it. My wife says she is no longer in love with me and only loves me as a friend. She says she doesn’t really want to stick around and see if my changes will be permanent. Doesn’t want to waste her time if I go backwards. However on the other hand, she says that if she can see true changes in me then we could try to work on us. I don’t know if she is just saying that to make me feel better or not. She knows I’m doing the Love Dare and says to not work on us, just to work on me. I’m doing both. Do you think there is hope and do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

  9. David on March 7th, 2012 12:41 am

    Hello Ted, Thank you for your reply. I took your advice and I’m trying to just become her friend. I will get through the Love Dare. I think I have followed the Love Dare extremely well so far. I’m in a bind though. My wife is not staying here. She watches children from home though. So she comes over during the day while I’m at work and watches the kids. I get to see her for about an hour before they leave and she runs out the door. She is looking for a regular job so she can quit watching the kids. I’m really messed up on all of this. I do well during the day, but after she leaves I just completely break down and ball. I know I really need some extra support. I know there is a small chance she will come back, but I just can’t get my emotions under control. I’m willing to do therapy, but I just can’t afford it right at the moment. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much and God Bless you!

  10. tstein on April 3rd, 2012 5:27 pm

    My heart goes out to you. While long distances can impose much strain and stress on a marriage, it is not does not have to be the end of the marriage. When people say they “fall out of love” it usually means there has been a serious case of neglect towards the marriage. Love is a conscious decision in words and actions to show our commitment, intimacy, and passion towards our closest confidant, our haven of safety, and base of security. When you ask me if the Love Dare would work – I cannot say. What I can say is that you will know you did everything in your power to save your marriage. The hardest part for you will be knowing you will be vulnerable to being hurt and that indeed, he may want to end the marriage. The best part of the dare, is drawing closer to God – who will never leave nor forsake you. Ever.
    In Prayers,
    T

  11. tstein on April 3rd, 2012 5:37 pm

    Delightful!!! I am glad to hear that she and you are both willing to work. When a couple does the dare together while they marriage is recovering from the wounds of the past – tender care must be taken. I encourage couples to have clear understanding that the talks about it will be in the spirit of understanding vs accusing and defending. Have the discussion first of talking about it and being really interested in just deepening your understanding of one another. Apologies should abound and comfort should flow…Comfort means not explaining why someone did something, but an understanding about how actions have affected the other person and some clear gesture of comfort – hug, hand hold, snuggle, etc…as if the wounded person is a child. Spouses often can lose sight real comfort means one person being very vulnerable (comfortee) and the the other person holding, hugging and giving until the comfortee is feeling better.
    Lastly, ask her her thoughts on how much she wants to share and talk together about your fears of sharing…and comfort each other…let each other know in words and actions the marriage is a haven of safety!! Separate books are good for each of you to make your notes in. Keep me posted!
    In Prayers
    T

  12. tstein on April 3rd, 2012 5:44 pm

    Yes. There is hope. I am very proud of you for recognizing your role and awaking from the deep sleep. YES to therapy and talk to your therapist about medication. Mediation works best for mild to moderate cases of depression (can still go to work and function – just moody, irritable, and withdrawn or angry most of the time). I have seen miracles happen in cases such as yours. Medication and therapy together are the best cure for depression (or exercise and therapy: exercise has the same benefits as medication – but must be moderate to intense exercise). Depression brings with it a paricular approach to marriage than distorts real love and real giving – both as a giver and receiver. It is important to learn how the depression speaks to you about your marriage and relationship; what are the lies it tells. Keep up the good work! One day at a time. As your head becomes clearer, she will see the changes. Remember, she is wounded and protecting herself. She needs to experience safety, not just listen to promises of safety. She needs to experience your cherishing her, not just broken promises.
    In prayers.
    Ted

  13. tstein on April 3rd, 2012 5:50 pm

    If you have a church home, they are often willing to help and may provide some financial assistance or have someone on staff. Many therapists have sliding fee scales and payment plans available. You do not mention if you have insurance, but some therapists have “hardship” which waives any financial responsibility. Contact a number of them and ask them questions about financial plans, hardship plans, sliding fee scales, pro bono work. Also, ask them about their training, expertise, success rate, theory of marriage therapy. Talk to your MD about medication as a possibility as they often assess for depression/anxiety and can prescribe for it (or exercise moderately to intensely 45 min. to 1 hour per day as the research has shown no differences between medication and exercise for treatment of depression).

    Divorcebusting.com has a community board for people to talk and get support as well!! Lastly, each day is a do-over; a chance to become who you were meant to be!!
    In Prayers and God Bless You also.
    Ted

  14. David on April 6th, 2012 10:48 am

    My wife and I have been together for over five years and married for only six months. Almost three weeks ago she found out that I cheated on her while we were engaged (a year ago). It was the biggest mistake of my life and I knew right after I did it that I loved my fiancé (at the time), and wanted to marry her still.

    Six months ago we had and amazing wedding and honeymoon and things were going well. Unfortunately, she did have suspicions and actually asked me a few times over the past year if anything happened and I lied each time.

    The other woman confessed to her husband and he called my wife and told her. She moved out that night to stay with her sister and won’t talk to me. I’ve pleaded for joint counseling but she refuses. A couple of days ago, I came home to find a Separation Agreement. She still loves me tremendously, but doesn’t think she can ever trust me or be at peace with me again.

    Can the love dare work here? Is it too late? I’m desperate.

  15. tstein on April 10th, 2012 3:34 pm

    David, my heart aches for your situation. As you are probably aware, this is a “double whammy.” She is experiencing the wounds of a relationship betrayal and an integrity betrayal. Once the source of her comfort, she is uncertain if she can find you to be a haven of safety again, both emotionally and physically. Your first impulse will be to do whatever it takes to make it right out of a fear of losing her. Most individuals who have an affair react very strongly and really want to know how to make it right – while the wounded is hurting and needs some time to heal. She is communicating that she is wounded and seeking comfort. The Love Dare is a powerful antidote; however, when someone is so wounded from a betrayal, it may cause them to further retreat. She is recovering from the shock of finding out and needs a place to process this without pressure. Finding ways to remove relationship pressure would be important to her and respecting her needs at this time. If you have not already, I would suggest counseling for yourself as the guilt and shame can impact your own well being. You may experience symptoms of depression including weight loss, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, and anxiety. If these are present for more than two weeks, seek help. Counseling can help you as you too are suffering and you will need someone who can offer you unconditional comfort for your own wounds as your spouse will be most likely be unable to comfort you during your time of suffering. Lastly, you do not mention if you have a personal relationship with Jesus and have accepted him as your personal Lord and Savior. God makes us a promise in Ephesians 1: 5 – 7 reminding us how rich is God’s grace when we seek Him and accept Him.
    In prayers,
    Ted

  16. dave on May 10th, 2012 3:39 pm

    Hello. My wife and I are currently separated. She says she is no longer in love with me, and that she feels ‘smothered’. Ive caught her cheating online, and also developing a very close emotional relationship with an online male friend. They may have even met, Im not sure. After a huge blow up, I left and am now staying somewhere else. I love my wife unconditionally and I want this to work. She doesnt seem to want the same thing. My question is, can I do these dares while separated, and if she feels that I’m ‘smothering her’, would this even be beneficial? I will do ANYTHING to save my marriage! I am in constant prayer about this and I know it is Gods will that we stay together. Please help me!

  17. tstein on May 11th, 2012 7:04 pm

    Dave – I am so sorry to hear about your situation. You clearly love your wife very much. There pain you are experiencing must be enormous. It is natural for you to be looking to her to sooth those wounds – as she has been your source of comfort and is also now your source of suffering. Naturally, you are going to want to pursue her; however, this is only likely to backfire and create further distance between you and her. When I often have clients in my office with a similar dilemma, we discuss ways of saving THEMSELVES…that is, to begin to focus on ways of nurturing the wounds, through therapy, friends, and family. God is a powerful God who can do all things and the natural challenge you face right now is to sit back and allow Him to work in His ways. Trusting in Him means trusting in Him fully. While it is scriptural for a husband and wife to remain yoked, we know there are powerful forces working against God’s children. Trust in Him, have faith, and focus on reclaiming your life and deepening your relationship with God through serving him. Remember, in your moments of desperation, to sit back and do nothing but wait, and trust in Him. Pray for her to return to Him and to be in His presence as He can set all things right and proper. This is about her personal relationship with Him through Christ – and right now, she can use all the prayers she can get. That, my friend, is what I believe would be beneficial. God Bless You .T

  18. Kyle on June 18th, 2012 4:34 pm

    Hi my situation is a bit different lol I met my Gf of 3 years and we fell in love right away. About month 3 we decided to slow down and make sure this is exactly what we wanted. So we took s few months off and still talked and dated some but I made the horrible decision to sleep with another woman. A couple months later I found out this girl was pregnant but she said she didn’t think it was mine. So me and my Gf got back together but I never told her about the other girl. Then I cheated on her again with s dif girland she found out and we almost broke up then. but we fought and stayed together. Then about a year later I found out the girl I was with on our break that the kid was mine. Not to mention that my current Gf and I had a kid together already too now. Needless to say It was hard for a while but she accepted it bc we was on the break and we went on. Then I made the mistake of a lifetime bc I cheated on her again with the baby’s mom again. It’s been downhill since and she left me yesterday. I know I don’t deserve my Gf anymore but I want to make this work so bad but ive done nothing but crush her heart since we met. She is an unbelievable great person. And I honestly love her so much I just had a problem. I’m trying the love date starting today and got her a copy too. And want god to change my life. Can this book and god help me save this relationship ?

  19. tstein on June 18th, 2012 4:46 pm

    Kyle
    Thanks for sharing. God is an all powerful God who can do anything. With that said, he also expects much from us. The issue seems to be much deeper than acting in ways to show her you love her. The issue seems to be about commitment and judgement. In writing you made the “mistake of a lifetime”, you made it twice!!! Whether you deserve her or not is not the issue, the issue is learning about yourself and failing to keep your commitments. Mistakes in my book are occasional bad moments. When you have the same bad moments over and over again, it is a pattern. The Love Dare may help you win her back, however; the pattern needs to be addressed or, you will in all likelihood, keep making the same “mistakes!” My suggestion…hold off on the Love Dare and meet with a counselor to help you figure this out. You now have two children – how do you want them to view you as they get older? What legacy do you want to leave behind for them? Sometimes we need a sage in our lives to help guide us on the path to maturity and wisdom…
    In prayers Kyle
    T

  20. Missy on June 22nd, 2012 2:26 pm

    My husband and I have been married 19 years and together for 24, we have 3 kids 18, 15 and 13; there’s alot invested here. But, things have been pretty rocky lately to say the least. I have suggested counseling, his reply “counseling is stupid, we know what our problems are and what we need to do to fix them”. I really don’t think his answers are the only correct way to fix the problems we have. We watched Fireproof as soon as it came out and both really liked the message that the movie shared. I went out and immediately purchased the Love Dare, I cheated and read the entire book in just a couple of days, with the intention of going back and doing the “dares”, but I became full of resentment. Why did I have to be the one to fix things, why wasn’t he doing this for me? I know selfish, totally not what I was supposed to be doing or learning. The book has been in a stack in my room for over a year. After a recent blow out, I picked up the book again and tried once more. Made it a little farther into the “dares”, but became so discouraged, that once it again, it sits collecting dust. Last evening after several hours of yelling, screaming, crying and discussing our relationship, the counseling question resurfaced and again, no way! I suggested that he reads the Love Dare and this morning he put it on his iPad. Now I am wondering, do I read it at the same time? Do we do this together? We will know what each days “dare” is and we will be anticipating the others action? What if they don’t follow thru? Part of our problem, is I feel like I do everything wrong, he feels like I have too high of expections of how things should be done in our family, home and relationship….. I sort of feel like I am setting my self up for disappointment and more failure. Any suggestions on how to make the Love Dare work for us? Together? Seperate?

  21. Larry on July 20th, 2012 12:32 pm

    My wife and I have been married for 16 years and last year I was abruptly asked to move out so she could find herself. I found clue after clue that she was seeing someone however being faint of heart never tried to really “confirm” it. She denys it obviously and the mere mention of it sends her off in a tailspin. Naturally I tried everything to get her back and finally she asked me home after 10 months. It’s been 5 more months and we are not intimate and she seems to blame me for all her problems. All these weird excuses why she needs to divorce. If there was an affair it looks to be over but her heart is so hardened no matter what I do to try and soften it. I don’t get it. I do everything short of being a doormat. I have this book now and am trying although I’ve tried all of this on my own with mixed results. I do get negative with her way too much though so perhaps patience? I think I just need prayers and moral support because I am about over trying and am wondering what God has in store for me and my family. “Standing” is so hard. I wonder if God wants me to leave? I’m about out of steam.

  22. Nicole on July 26th, 2012 6:30 pm

    My husband and I dated twice in high school and then got back together my senior year of college. From there we were married in 5 months and were pregnant another 1.5 months later. The beginning was rough because I was still in my last semester of school and we were living with my parents until we finished the renovations at our house. It seems like there have been trial and tribulations from the beginning usually dealing with finances, not getting help around the house or with the kids, or fighting over each others parents. I also am one of those people who is always down on herself so I need constant reminders that I am loved where he seldom offers those moments to me. And on his side I think he was often angry with me because our life together meant that he couldn’t always do what he wanted when he wanted. He left me 2 years ago shortly after our son was born, but after 15 days he returned. Unfortunately we never worked out this issues and now 2 years later he has left again. This time he emailed me and said he was not in love with me and was not returning home. I do not believe that he is not in love with me and I have faith that he will return. I am in my 2nd time doing the Love Dare on him (the first time I abandoned efforts after he came home and a failed attempt to get him to do it with me). I keep getting advice that is this really what I want? Do I want to go through this again? Well I do not want my marriage to be over but I also want to salvage it in the name of Christ. I want us to each find our way back to God and ultimately to each other. I fear though since he is staying with his parents, who do not like me, that my attempts may be futile, however I am trying to remain positive and faithful that God will work through Justin in whatever way it takes. It is hard to do the Love Dare when he is not around so what suggestions do you have for that? I just cannot fathom that God would want us to divorce and I know that through Him all things are possible. Until that day I will work on myself, pray for him, and of course do right by my children.

  23. tstein on September 18th, 2012 1:06 am

    Do not be afraid. Did you know that shows up 70 times in the Bible! Do all that is pleasing to God and remember, Matthew 22:37-39 when Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Your Father in heaven loves you very much and He loves Justin. While Justin may be walking far from God right now, He is not far from Justin. Right now, Justin may be influenced by the world and others in the world – but we have a Father who transcends the world and all understanding! Jesus is also interceding for Justin right now. God did not give you a spirit that makes you afraid, but a spirit of power and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) and the Spirit you received does not make you a slave again to fear; it makes you a child of God. With that Spirit, you cry out “Father.” And Spirit himself joins with your spirit to say you are God’s child (Romans 8:15-16). Remember, trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord is all you do, and he will give you success (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
    In Prayers
    T

  24. Janelle on September 29th, 2012 4:27 pm

    After 12 years of being apart from my ex, he asked me if I would consider moving to Europe with our son (which lived with me) and his two kids ( which lived with him) . To make a long story short, I said yes and we married by proxy ( no wedding, no vows said).
    It’s been two very rocky and difficult years trying to learn each other again. But with that said, I fell in love with him, his children and our family. He is now telling me that he has tried but is not falling in love with me and does not see it in the future. Also, that he is done trying and thinks it would be better if I move back to the states.
    I know my story is a little unusual and I left out some details. But I love my husband and my family and will do anything to keep us together.
    Should I read and do the dare myself? What else else can be done if he is not willing?

  25. tstein on October 2nd, 2012 2:40 pm

    Hi Janelle
    My heart aches for you and your situation. You have given up much and unfortunately, your spouse has not come to the realization that Love is a choice, a choice we make everyday to show those we care about that we love them. The God I know, through my personal relationship with Jesus is an awesome loving God. First is to make certain you and your relationship are right with Jesus and God (1 John 2:2-6). Remember His promise in 2 Timothy 1:7 “God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid, but a spirit of power and love and self control” and in 1 Peter 4:12-13 when He says, ‘My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.”
    This is a difficult time for you and your family and it is precisely these times that our own weaknesses can perfect God’s power. The Dare is a great start – I would also find a good counselor who values marriage and will work with you as long as you need to make it happen as it can be very painful when one partner is committed to make it work but the other person is not. Be direct when you ask about their thoughts on divorce. God hates divorce. Finally, remember during this time, the first and greatest command in Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus answered, Love your Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
    In prayer
    T

  26. Mark on October 5th, 2012 6:41 pm

    My wife and I have been married for over 10 years. Prior to getting married, I strayed with two women. By my doing, physical intimacy has been lacking in our relationship. Recently I engaged in an inappropriate online conversation with a young woman. My wife discovered this, at which time I came clean about my prior indiscretions. She has filed for divorce, and expects me to leave our home ASAP. I started the love dare a few days ago, but I fear that she will view my efforts as pathetic, or be aggravated by them. I’m reluctant to leave the house, for fear that I’ll never be able to come back. I don’t want to bring her any more pain, and am starting to wonder if the best thing I can do for her is to minimize her discomfort during the divorce. Any thoughts?

  27. tstein on October 8th, 2012 7:44 pm

    Mark
    Thanks for you honesty. I know this must be a difficult time. Often at the discovery of an affair, the emotional pain of the faithful spouse is overwhelming and trust is shattered. Sometimes, the faithful partner needs some time and emotional space to sort things through. She is experiencing anger, hurt, abandonment and betrayal all at the same time. Your post reads as if you in a contemplation stage of change as well: either to commit to the marriage or end it. I suggest a good therapist to help you sort out the where you are at with regard to your marriage.
    In Prayers
    T

  28. Marie on October 17th, 2012 4:47 pm

    We have been married for 28 years. Until recently I would have said happily, always blaming the signs he was giving on family or work pressures, money problems or tiredness. I was wrong, why couldn’t I see it? He still rang me every day, was always kind to me, but I have yearned for more for several years now.
    We haven’t had a physical relationship for about 8 years. He said he was unable to because of medical problems. I accepted this but gradually all contact, the kisses, the cuddles, the hand holding, the endearments, all tailed off. He was always very affectionate and I always let him take the lead. Over the years, every now & then, I challenged him about this. He said he was sorry, just thoughtless, had things on his mind, he would try to do better, but he never did. About two months ago I challenged him again and this time he admitted he didn’t love me anymore and hadn’t done for a long long time. I’m heartbroken and tearing myself apart trying to figure out how many years this goes back.
    Since telling me this he’s become a changed man, cold and distant. When I reached out to touch him he flinched and quickly moved away. He said he’s too old (he’s now 70) and we just have to learn to tolerate each other.
    The first thing I did, alongside wallowing in self pity, was to take a long hard look at myself and how I’d behaved. We haven’t been out as a couple since the children were born two decades ago and he has gradually built up a social life without me, even taking vacations with others for the last couple of years. (A boys only trip or there was a spare place available etc…). Ultimately I’ve been taking out all my lonliness and frustration out on him for a long time, crticizing and belittling him as I went along. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I resolved there and then to stop and treat him better, with patience and condideration. I’ve managed to do this every day since but it’s been two months now and I wonder if there is any hope. I desperately need him to love me and hold me again but fear it’s too late. Will he ever begin to see in me the person he once loved now his feelings for me have been killed stone dead and he thinks he’s too old to have these feelings anymore anyway? I have just started the love dare but am not sure I’ll be able to do everything. Asking him to tell me what he doesn’t like about me for example. I’m sure it would be a discussion he wouldn’t want to partake in and he would get angry about it.
    Only now do I realize how much I really do love him and how I was blessed to have been given him as a husband. If I could be given a second chance I know I will truly value him for the rest of our lives. Could this love dare work or do I need to do more. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  29. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:06 am

    Marie, my heart just aches for you! While God for whatever reason, has given him over to a hardened heart, He is working on yours! I know you are feeling extremely discouraged but you are taking such great steps in the right direction to be the woman God intended you to be and are working to love him with all your heart and soul. Each day, you must be like Jesus, and forgive him for he knows not what he does. You must also remember to confess to God through Jesus and you are forgiven! Accept that forgiveness! You are building a relationship again, both with Jesus and with your husband. I would also recommended to you the “Power of a Praying Wife” because God answers prayers and He can do anything! Psalm 9:9-10 states, “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Isaiah 58:11 tells YOU “The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul din drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Keep the Dare going, do the 365 days dare, and find a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor who is a Marriage and Family Therapist. Ask them specifically for those credentials (again, as I posted earlier, this is my way of helping you find the right help as not all counselors are the same). Your pastor can be a good place to start if you have a church home. If not, contact an Evangelical Free Church and ask them who they recommend for counseling. I pray that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit given to us through the death of Jesus on the cross, soften your husband’s heart and mold you and him into the Saints He planned for you both to be and have the marriage that He has designed.
    T

  30. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:12 am

    Marie
    One last thought. When you think he will get angry about something in the Dare, modify it accordingly. For example, instead of asking what he does not like about you, ask him what he would appreciate more of from you…think of different ways to get at the information to get what you need. Also, love is a decision – people can choose to love. What happens in a marriage when people fall “out of love” really means marriage neglect – as you have clearly stated. Keep at it. As long as he is not blind or deaf, he will see you changing!!
    T

  31. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:37 am

    Missy
    Sorry for the delay. I hope things are better now that 5 months have passed. Please update me if you both took the dare or not…
    T

  32. Scott on December 2nd, 2012 4:04 pm

    My wife of 22 1/2 years texted me on Nov 1 “I’m not going to live like this, I want a divorce”. I thought my life was over. The last month has been the worst time in my life.
    I was totally blinsided, and had no idea things were this bad. She filed for divorce 18 days later and is still moving rapidly forward with the process. I started the Love Dare on Nov 30th as a last ditch effort to save my marriage. I am now on the 3 rd day and things are not looking up yet. I looked ahead to day 4 and this chapter describes our marriage to a tee. While not intentionally being thoughtless, I definitely was. A lot of this is explained in this chapter as simply the differences between women and men.
    I love my wife with every fiber of my being and am praying that The Love Dare will work for us. I recognize at this point it will take a miracle from God and that is what my prayer is. I heard the song “I need a miracle” by Third Day in the truck while driving the other day. It brought me to tears. Pleas pray for us!!

  33. tstein on December 6th, 2012 12:44 am

    Scott
    The story behind that song is a man did go to the woods to kill himself and turned on the radio and a Third Day song was playing that led him to Christ right then an there. God delivers miracles. I am praying for you to forgive your wife and for her to forgive you. When you struggle, remember, His mercy and love can radiate through you and just as He forgave you, you can forgive her. Jesus offers His grace always, even when we don’t deserve it. When the love of Jesus and His mercy shines through you like a lamp in the darkness – His grace is sufficient to open the hardest of hearts – God willing!!
    In prayers
    T

  34. hqdiame on December 16th, 2012 1:49 am

    I am on day 15 of the loved dares and I am just wondering if I should tell my wife who is filing for divorce. Should this remain a secret to her? Or would letting her know be ok. i also don;t want to be manipulative either.

  35. tstein on December 16th, 2012 4:29 am

    Thanks for the email. There are pros and cons to each. On one hand telling her may show her how committed you are to making thing work – on the other hand, it may look like an act of desperation that in her mind would allow for her to think “too little to late.” On the other hand, assuming she can see and hear, she will see your changes you are making if you don’t tell her…yet, she may wonder, “what the heck are you doing?” Either way, she may not believe the changes are really permanent and sincere – which is common when a spouse has already filed for divorce and have a hardened heart. I typically tell people I work with that the spouse will see the changes and so telling is about the book may only serve to allow them to think “you still don’t know me.” Lastly, I also believe in a God through Jesus who can heal and soften any heart through when repentant and reconciling. Pray hard my friend. God answers prayers!
    In Christ
    T

  36. tstein on December 16th, 2012 4:36 am

    Larry
    I am sorry to hear about your situation. Recently, God has put on my heart to help people use two of the most powerful “tools” and “weapons” Christians have available. Those are forgiveness and being a blessing. Genuine forgiveness is a choice, an act of will that is made. And, God is clear in His word that it is not enough to forgive but then we are called to be a Blessing to the person who has harmed us. I know that is a lot to take in, but at this time, the debts you collect against her harden your heart as well and is making it difficult for you to express the Love of Jesus through you towards your most intimate of partners. Just as Christ forgave and forgives you, you are called to do the same. We as Christians are called to a higher standard that most. As the bitterness seeps into your heart, it is causing you to sin as well. The book I just finished is Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh Demoss and all I can say is “WOW.” Be prepared for a live changing experience should you choose to take that road as well.
    In Christ
    T

  37. josh on January 8th, 2013 7:45 pm

    My wife and i have been married for two years.she had told me that she no longer had any physical attraction our emotional attraction towards me. For someone so withdrawn is the love dare really worth trying? She also cheated on me when i wad in the hospital for my recent bipolar discovery. I spent a lot of money on a manic episode that has pushed her away from me. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I want it to work but is it to far gone i wonder.

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