Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Love Dare and the fireproof Abuser

Posted by Hannah at 7:53 AM

Waneta Dawn recently has been writing a series about the Love Dare movie FIREPROOF, and materials that we have all been hearing about. Waneta Dawn is the author of 'Behind the Hedge'.

The Product Description for her book reads:

Yearning for a warm and loving marriage, Yvette works hard as a housewife and on their Iowa dairy farm to satisfy her husband, Luke, and tries to motivate him to be a loving and caring husband and father. But hidden behind his charming public facade, Luke is critical and demands more submission. With the help of her friend, Delores, Yvette grapples with the meaning and application of Biblical submission to her husband, changes how she relates to her husband, and endeavors to correct the misbeliefs of their teenaged sons, Greg and Kyle. Luke indoctrinates his wife and children on the meaning of submission and obedience. But one day he goes too far. Will their marriage survive the storm? Will Luke become the warm and loving husband Yvette craves? Will their daughter, Tanya, learn to trust her father? And will their sons become loving and respectful young men?

Waneta Dawn grew up on a dairy farm in Kalona, Iowa, and was raised in the Mennonite faith. She currently lives with her daughter and next door to her mother in Iowa. She has researched domestic violence, particularly dominance through verbal, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse for over ten years. For two of those years she used curriculum from Duluth, Minnesota to facilitate the Batterer's Education Program, a men's group, which met one evening a week and operated through the Iowa Department of Corrections. Ms Dawn hopes Behind the Hedge will help heal and strengthen relationships to the glory of God.

If you aren't familiar with the Love Dare here is the trailer for the movie. It was called Fire Proof:

You can actually go and see the trailer of the movie if you wish.

Waneta Dawn is doing a series of articles on the movie, and has a very interesting take on them.

Fireproof: Part 1, the Faulty Premise

Fireproof, part 2, Putting Pressure on the Person who has Given Everything

The current one, Fireproof: part 3, The Minimization of Sin really got me thinking.

I think most of us realize this movie was all the rage when it came out, and still to this day is mentioned alot within the church circle.

Waneta Dawn touched on an aspect that truly got me thinking about this movie FireProof, and how people tend to tell the wrong party to do the LOVE DARE with their spouse! Here is a quote from Waneta that got me thinking:

Additionally, this movie tells anyone an abused wife goes to for help, that if she would just do the Love Dare and stick with it, no matter how long it takes, her whole problem would go away. Even worse, they may PRESSURE her to do the love dare and stick with it. If she refuses, they are likely to hold her at arms length, shun her, or even drive her out of their church.

I think people need to realize the premise of the Love Dare is to change - in this case - the man's heart towards God and his marriage. In the movie Caleb is selfish, hard hearted, and pretty much lives 'MY way or the HIGHWAY'! They don't truly go into the relationship to much beforehand, but shows at this point how the wife is to the point of not willing to give anymore. She is DONE! Its OVER! They show hints as to why her attitude has changed, and it doesn't show her as this 'perfect angel' either.

The movie hints to the fact she has given her all, and he flat out rejects her in his treatment of the marriage. We hear all the time about people speaking of the modern "ME ME ME" attitude. I suppose people can try to apply this to her character as well, but then they would be missing the point of what the movie was trying to tell them. The entire focus is NOT on the 'two to tango' or how they are both at fault, etc.

Stepmother fire proof love dare

It deals with a real life couple issue, and its characters doesn't have to be this WALT Disney World type of relationship. In other words, she doesn't have to act like Snow White or Cinderella in order see the sin.

With the Disney themed movies the church at times would ask Cinderella to do the LOVE DARE on the stepmother. The fantasy character at the beginning of that movie showed how she was rejected in the relationship. How Cinderella are now treated as the evil step child.

If they were real world relationships - as in a man and woman - you could clearly see how the Love Dare would be useful to change the heart of the Stepmother in the Disney Film NOT Cinderella. Cinderella already has her heart in the right place in this fantasy. You can clearly understand WHY she don't trust the step family, and for most of us? We would understand its for good reason.

I doubt to many of us are as innocent and perfect as that character. It seems you need to be at times in order for anyone to truly pay attention though. That's sad! lol its also a different aspect of what I want to write about today!

It just seems strange how we can understand the feelings of rejection and NOT trusting of the step family in the Disney films, but can't relate that to real LIFE! How this is magically different once you marry, and we will give you the magically spiritual pixie dust (instead of tinkerbell's) to use for your 'happily ever after' part. We are humans and NOT Disney characters!

cold heart love dare fireproof


Caleb's heart is cold and closed in the movie. He will tell you there is no doubt in his mind he is the victim of this WIFE that won't cooperate. He doesn't give in the marriage, but expects to take!

To God that man needs a heart change! He is NOT living scripture as God instructs in marriage. Caleb was lucky enough to have a father and coworker to get him to drop his victim status for a moment, and try the love dare. His selfish heart shows in his frustration when she doesn't respond the way he wants her to.

He throws his hat in the ring, and gives and gives. He puts her first - so he thinks. She doesn't respond. Her heart is closed due to the past experiences with him. From what I have seen in the church that is the part people don't get. They concentrate on wanting that 'happily ever after' from the Disney films, and go to her and say "HE IS TRYING! How about giving a little back!"

Their focus is on the fantasy part, and not the real world. If you want a true heart change - its NOT dependent on that! Heck it shouldn't even be a factor at ALL at first!

You can't force this process, and yet you see the encouragement to do so WAY to often! You hear abusive people state, "I want to change, but you need to stay and help me!" If they don't say that - the attitude is there. People have a real issue with letting the heart change happen with consequences of rejection, and encouraging them to work HARDER like Caleb did in the movie.

Caleb was allowed to get past his 'anger and resentment' that she wasn't going along with his program...and HELP to work the process! That early attitude clearly showed his attitude of the past was still present. The heart change hasn't happened yet. It wasn't until he was completely broken, and grasped the heart change was for God first did things start to turn around. Strange how the wife at that point actually started to feel it as well.

The concentration wasn't on her to HELP, and give him a chance! The concentration was allowing him to be broken, feel broken, and for God to take the wheel at that point. To live as God would wish him to even if she NEVER responded. Keep treating her as God would ask you to do, because that is what God would want.

We can say WELL the abused person should do that also! Personally? I think his rejection helped in the heart change, and its very much what was needed in this case. Her giving in to soon? That would NOT be to his benefit, and he wouldn't have clearly grasped the concept due to his selfish nature. She had a heart change on her own, and that was AFTER his complete turn around that God wanted for him.

"BENEFIT of the DOUBT" isn't a good choice with this type of attitude. It enables them to NOT work for what God would wish them to. I mean where would the incentive to truly change be? He has it made! I will try a little, and then people will pressure her to DO HER PART! That 'I get to take' attitude doesn't change then does it? No incentive for complete transformation like you saw in the movie.

In most cases STRONG forces of selfishness don't change unless they feel forced to. They want the easy road - they have always had - realizing it will be a different version. You hand it to them, but do they truly get it? TRULY grasp the heart change? No.



I read and hear all the time people asking spouses to concentrate on the GOOD qualities of their spouse to help deal with the pain of abuse. Why? I guess to them it will keep them in the right mindset. It will be easier to receive when their spouse gets around to actually giving. Okay then. To me they are asking you to manipulate yourself into thinking that what isn't there - is clearly there if you just look at it different! WHY they are surprised it doesn't work? Denial I suppose.

Just like all of us we can look and maybe state some GOOD qualities about anyone. That isn't going to change their heart is it? That WON'T bring about the heart change that God would wish all of us to have! He wants us to change our heart no matter what! Do it despite the barriers and obstacles. THAT shows the real heart change, and the pressure to 'pat them on the back' from the one they hurt to early?

We aren't stepping out of the way, and allowing God to do his work!

God wanted to change Caleb completely, and in most cases within the church? We are all guilty of throwing barriers in the way due to our own fears in order to help that along.


Look he is TRYING!

Make sure you MARK that good behavior in your book so you don't forget!

He attempted so you need to respond!

Did you see ANY of those statements in the movie towards her? During most of it you didn't. Did you see people rushing to shame her for NOT responding properly? Caleb tried, but the rest of the characters didn't go there. They allowed the process to happen, but the church in their fear of the "D" word just can't keep their fingers out of it like that.

Can you imagine what Caleb's response would have been if they HAD said some of the things I had mentioned to her? Talk about making him feel justified! Would that have helped him? Hardly!

pixie dust Pictures, Images and Photos


What is sad about the love dare movie to me is that there are alot of people in this world that will REFUSE to go as far as Caleb did. Instead of trying to work with that person - people instead tell the other spouse to NOT lose faith in them instead of stepping up themselves!

Its easier to pressure the abused spouse than it is to keep on top of the frustrated, angry abuser! Personally?

Its very wimpy of them as well!

They are MORE than willing to tell the abused spouse to 'work it' according to their definition, but frankly the commanders aren't willing to 'work it' according to God's!

WHO has the lack of faith?

If you look again at the Disney films it would be quite clear to everyone that changing the step families heart will be the challenge. Its quite clear they are the ones that need the change. It would be God's vision for them don't you think?

When the step parent won't go as far as Caleb did in Fire Proof movie the church goes to Cinderella to tell her to NOT to LOSE faith! YOU work the love dare on them! Its YOUR job! FORGIVE them good enough so you forget about those life lessons living with them, and do it anyway! We are tired of working with the step parent in other words. Someone has to do something, and it won't be the step parent so it has to be YOU!

They would tell Cinderella to give, because then they don't have to! They gave up on the step family, but tell Cinderella that SHE can't!

You hear all the time people blaming divorces on humans refusing to live life with God's will in mind! Its strange how they can't see things from the other direction!

They are good at quoting scripture, but living it? Nope.

When the going gets tough - tell Cinderella to get with the program! Step mother is WAY to hard for us to deal with! She needs to do it! SHE gets to deal with the heart change - we are OUT OF HERE!

To me it seems the Fire Proof movie, and the Love Dare books are more for the party that HURTS others, and those that are willing to keep their feet to the fire.

Much to often do I see people getting lazy, and not willing to help them with the challenge. They want the victim to do their job so they don't have to.

That's not what happened in the movie.

Cinderella might have gave and gave and gave before this wonderful BOOK! It doesn't matter! Do the book Cinderella! DO THE BOOK!

Sigh! People are so clueless!

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Waneta Dawn on 11:15 AM said...

Thanks, Hannah for your comments on this. You point out a side I did not--that the movie writers are correct to say that a more realistic way of dealing with a broken down marriage is to put pressure on the abuser and porn user to change and genuinely love his wife, and that a wife should hold out until she can actually trust her husband again. Without the pressure in the right place, which is on the abuser, the marriage is doomed to failure. Oh, the wife may be too embarrassed to seek divorce after she has already left and returned once or multiple times, but even though the couple stays together, they will live out their days divorced at heart. A church who puts the pressure on the abused wife, ends up teaching her to sin by covering up her husband's sin.

As you point out, Hannah, the movie does show that couselors, both professional, pastorial, and lay counselors, must stop telling the abused wife to immediately trust or take him back as soon as he shows the slightest positive change. In this aspect, the movie is more correct. The abused wife must stick to her guns until the abuser has had a complete heart change.

You said:
"In most cases STRONG forces of selfishness don't change unless they feel forced to. They want the easy road - they have always had - realizing it will be a different version. You hand it to them, but do they truly get it? TRULY grasp the heart change? No."

This is so true. And the movie shows that Caleb would do the bare minimum to get his wife to switch back to doing all the giving, so he can do all the taking again. He had not had a heart change until AFTER he had been doing "nice things" for her (if you can call a scraggly bunch of flowers from a man with plenty of $ "nice,") for 20 days.

I can't emphasise this enough. Those of you who counsel abuser's wives. Please stop pushing the wife to reconcile. When her husband's love is genuine, she will know it. When it is safe for her to trust, her doubts will flee. Please, please, do not push her to reconcile before it is safe for her to trust him. Trust is a decision SHE must make, and it is based on faithfulness and genuine cherishing from her husband, not on wishful thinking or shoulds. If she has ANY doubts, he is still not safe to trust.

In every case I have seen, the wife has returned to her abusive husband too early. Within a short time, he began resuming the chewing out, the verbal assaults, the demand that she must submit, that HE is the HEAD, the AUTHORITY, and she must do what he says. So sad. And the children have to find a way to "handle dad" when he assaults them.

Hannah on 9:26 AM said...

'''I can't emphasise this enough. Those of you who counsel abuser's wives. Please stop pushing the wife to reconcile. When her husband's love is genuine, she will know it. When it is safe for her to trust, her doubts will flee. Please, please, do not push her to reconcile before it is safe for her to trust him. Trust is a decision SHE must make, and it is based on faithfulness and genuine cherishing from her husband, not on wishful thinking or shoulds. If she has ANY doubts, he is still not safe to trust.'''

To me that is when I see the fear in the church. They fear in a way to place pressure on a relationship. Its like they feel she is unable to see anything GOOD, so lets point it out to her. LOOK he did this, that or the other! They don't want to see the intent or the motive - they only want her to see the actions so we can put this to bed and move on.

To me a truly reconciled relationship has a firm foundation in trust. Trust is given when they prove they can be trust worthy. You don't place a time line on that. You can't! I see to often people placing this time line up, and saying YOU MUST make a decision woman! Are you committed to make this work or not? Kind of a screwy thing to ask if the foundation has not been put in place yet. Its fear that drive them, and not the intent of a truly reconciled couple. They add to the divorce rate when they do that.

They say things happen in God's time, but I truly don't think they believe it. They can't if they push like that. They want to control things, and not allow God to change things in his own way.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you can do everything right and an abuser still may not change. That moment of regaining trust may not ever occur with some abusers.

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