You made it!!!  It’s the last chapter of a book that seemed like a pretty quick read thanks to some of the humorous writing.

So we dive out of the bedroom and into the deep love stuff for the last chapter.  Page 222 (in the hardcover) or the very beginning of Chapter 9 is a good summary of what you’ve learned so far.  (So if you’re cheating, skip ahead and read that.)

So what is LOVE?  That’s the big question here at the end.

Here are some lines on this point that really struck me:

  • The truth is that love is so over- and misused that we struggle to come up with any common meaning or understanding of it….Sometimes we mean “I have strong romantic emotions towards you.” Other times, it’s “I really need you in my life right now.”  Still other times it’s “I’m glad I can count on you to help me right now.”
  • “When you love someone, you wish the best for that person. You want nothing but the absolute best life for that person – even if that best life doesn’t include you in it.”
    • Actually I REALLY liked that line.  Once I got over the whole high school true love cliche “If you love someone let them go and if it was meant to be they will come back to you.”  GAG!   And then I had to get over the whole he’s not saying to divorce or separate from someone either.   Here is what I think he really means in fire wife terms.  Let him, no encourage him, to stay after for coffee with the chief, go to that extra training, do the extras he has to do to be the best firefighter.  That’s his career and a man wants to do his career well to provide for us.  So give him permission and freedom to do just that.  No he isn’t right beside you but that is what makes him happy and what makes the best life for him.   That’s what you do for someone who loves you.  (And again, not a free pass to be completely absent from your marriage by the way.)
  • Can you honestly say you love your spouse?  I don’t mean what is easiest or more convenient or materially valuable. And i don’t mean what makes it better for you.  I mean what is best for your spouse.  The best health.  The best physical environment, the best job, the best family, the best challenges, the best friends, the best mentors and or course, the best spouse.
  • The Four R’s of Forgiveness.
    • I have to say this was a key to turning around our marriage, I mean myself.  Because really I just changed my approach.  I swallowed my pride, looked inside to see what I could change, the one who said I do, and initiated.  Even though he was been an awful stinky boy and totally didn’t deserve it.
  • Distinguishing between regret and guilt (Listen up ladies!  We are so bad about this stuff!)
    • Guilt is a debilitating preoccupation wit our bad feelings about our behavior.  It often leads us to beating ourselves up, which leads up to paralyzing inaction.  Regret, on the other hand, generates action;  we are compelled to make things better.

Did you read the story in the conclusion called “The Strength to Stay Calm”?   Totally worth it.  In fact, have your outlandish acting teenagers read it as well.  Very powerful.

(And because I missed her email earlier….you also get a week 9 message from Michele!)

Well, I can’t believe this is our last week for ScreamFree Marriage. I’m so excited about the marriages and lives that are changing through this study! This is a long chapter with some great information. It’s also another one that I had to read over and over, really think about it, and let it sink in. This chapter makes you think about what it means to REALLY love your spouse AND what it means to grow into that full self.

One of my favorite quotes by Hal is: “It’s easier to complain than to change.” That is so true in so many areas and especially in marriage. It took me a long time to realize that (and I’m still working on it). Coming from a divorced home I always want everything to be happy, happy, happy (for you Duck Dynasty fans-ha). I was (and sometimes still am) afraid of conflict and it took me a long time to know how to share my feelings. I was immature and needy. Boy, was I needy. I could also really fly off the handle. That’s why when I came across ScreamFree I was a little skeptical because I did not want to focus on me. It’s all HIS fault, right? Wrong, I had to realize MY part in the pattern and ask forgiveness.

So this chapter is all about love and forgiveness. Do we really love our spouse? Do you wish for, hope for, pray for what is absolutely best for your spouse? (p. 226) Are you able to combine “I love you” and “I do”?

I can’t say if any better than Hal does in the workbook: “You are the CEO of your life so you have the power to make changes right now.”

You really can have the marriage of your dreams, and you really can be the person you’ve always dreamed of being, and thankfully, the two are related. p. 222

What do you think about this definition of love?

When you love someone, you want the best for that person. You want nothing but the absolute best life for that person-even if that best life doesn’t include you in it. It is simply not as helpful as it temporarily feels to justify your own shortcomings by comparing them to your spouse’s. This is about you, not your spouse. p. 231

You are offering an apology because you made a proclamation, “I love you”, and a promise, “I do”. And you, as a person of growing integrity, don’t take such things lightly.  You actually mean to live up to this proclamation, and this promise-even if your spouse doesn’t reciprocate. Or forgive you. Or even appreciate your effort. And that makes you a rare creature in this world-a person of character. It makes you a person of integrity.

And paradoxically, that makes you much more attractive to your spouse. p. 238( I personally feel this is one of the most profound statements in this chapter. As the wife of a firefighter, we sometimes “hold it against” our FF for the tough schedule and hours he has to work. If we can start to combine the “I love you” and “I do” and practice ASR we can build a connection that will bring us closer than ever to our FF.)

 

Let’s discuss…..you know the routine by now.  Pick one or more of these items and comment in the comments below:

1.  How did it strike you when he talked about you saying “I do” and the first part being “I”, not “we”?

2.  Guilt versus Regret.  Where do you struggle with guilt that needs to eliminated?   What is an example of a “healthy” regret you have and what action did it generate?

3. What is one area you can improve on wanting the best for your spouse?

4.  The 4 R’s.  When is a time you have recognized and initiated the step towards calming down and maturity?  How did you spouse react?

5.  Resolve – was there ever a time you thought you didn’t want to be married and how did you fight your way back to having a strong resolve?

6,  What is one thing you do that you would like to change because it would make your FF happy and bring you closer to a successful marriage?

7.  Homework: If you have time, watch the movie 42 with your FF this week. The movie is a little different at one point than the book but I believe it’s because Hollywood does not understand the Screamfree movement-ha!

God bless you all on your ScreamFree journey and keep us posted!!

 

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Firefighter Wife on a mission to save fire marriages, nurture and encourage other fire wives and love on Jesus, my firefighter and our 4 kids. Blessed to be leading this amazing community of Fire Wives.

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