Love believes all things, hopes all things. — 1 Corinthians 13:7
Today we’re going to get very specific. The lesson and dare today are going to take you into two rooms—the “Appreciation Room” and the “Depreciation Room.” If you needed a day to focus on a definite task, today is that day. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or what you are involved in—you can do this.
Let’s start in the metaphor of the “Appreciation Room.” That’s where your thoughts go when you remember positive and encouraging things about your spouse that you appreciate. In this “Room” you will find written on the walls the characteristics which attracted you to him or her in the first place and what you have grown to admire. Have you forgotten? Hopefully you see words like “diligent,” “laughs at my jokes,” “great cook,” “pretty eyes.” And when you spend time in this Room, thinking about these good attributes, your gratitude for your spouse grows.
But down the corridor of your heart is a darker place. The authors of The Love Dare call it the “Depreciation Room.” They write, “This room is lined with the weaknesses and failures of your husband or wife. . . . Emotional injuries fester here, adding more scathing remarks to the walls. It’s where ammunition is kept for the next big fight and bitterness is allowed to spread like a disease. . . . Spending time in the Depreciation Room kills marriages.” (p. 32)
Can you picture these two rooms? Now, let love direct you into the “Appreciation Room” and stop your lingering in the “Depreciation Room.” Because love is going to choose the better way, and “love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. . . . As much as possible, love focuses on the positive.” (p. 33)
But what if all of the negative things written on the walls are true? Aren’t the positive things written on the walls also true? Think about it—wouldn’t you want your spouse to remember you in positive ways while you are geographically separated? Why not do the same about them? Love would.
Here’s how love would handle the things written on the walls of the “Depreciation Room”—the same way Jesus handles them. The authors (Stephen and Alex Kendrick) remind us that He writes across all of those things, “COVERED IN LOVE!” He has forgiven . . . . and we must, too. And we must pray for our spouse. So peek in the room if you must, but only to know how to pray and to cover the walls in the writing of forgiveness.
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Take out two sheets of paper, one to write down the positive things about your spouse and the other to write down the negative things. Put them away in a safe, secret place—we will return to them at a later date. But as you are writing down the positive things, choose one and write or tell your spouse how much you appreciate them for that.
Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. — Colossians 3:13,14
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)