Tim and I celebrated five years of marriage on August 14, 2015. That evening we renewed our vows. In fact, we wrote entirely new ones. I won't share everything we promised to one another, but one thing we did promise one another was that we would find new ways to show each other love. So we made up this game we named the Vincent Love Challenge that same night!
We filled three jars with popsicle sticks. We each filled one jar with ways for the other to love us. There is a "Ways to Love Jillian" jar that I filled for Tim to pick from and there is a separate "Ways to Love Tim" jar that Tim filled for me to pick from. The ideas can be from any of the five love languages: gifts, touch, service, quality time, and words of affirmation. All ideas that are gifts have to be things under ten dollars because we are on a budget!
The third middle jar are full of date night ideas. We filled these with fancy pants ideas like the ballet and new restaurants to try in Dayton, to chill out in stretchy pants ideas like ordering take out and starting a new Netflix series.
The challenge is to empty ALL THREE JARS by our sixth anniversary. We have no goal of how often we pick a stick, but in general we try to pick around one a week. We also try to keep it a secret and pull them when the other isn't around. Another rule we made is that we can't put a stick back once its been pulled. It wouldn't be a CHALLENGE if it wasn't CHALLENGING sometimes!
We have JUST hit the halfway point yesterday! God has used this to stretch us to the next level in our marriage in so many ways and has made it a ministry to other couples who have tried it with us! And He still has so much to teach us! My plan is to share our experiences in the blog so you can see how God is working in us.
Marriage is a lot of work and a lot of grace. God shows his love for us in how we love each other. The point of this challenge is to show each other God's sacrificial love and to learn how to love one another well. Marriage doesn't have to plummet when you have kids! This is such a simple way to be intentional with one another. Join us! Make your own love challenge and share it with us!
But let me be clear. Your marriage doesn't need this. Your marriage needs Christ. We can not, on our own, love the other person, save our marriage, redeem brokenness, bitterness, resentment, biting words, and the list goes on and on and on. Only Christ being at the center our your own heart can enable you to love your spouse. Only Christ can change us. Only Christ can empower you to lay down your self for the other. So yes, this is an awesome technique to help you know how to do that. But only Christ can bring lasting change within you or within your marriage.
For more background on my heart in starting this challenge, see my post Your Marriage is Over.