Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love and Respect: Part 2

From Andrew & Allison's wedding this weekend at Virginia Tech.
As promised, I am continuing my five-week Love and Respect series (a book and video series on marriage that Jeff & I are participating in on Sunday nights) this week.  (If you missed Part 1 on "The Crazy Cycle", click here.  Today's post will make a lot more sense in light of that one.)  This week, the course focused mostly on how men can love their wives... So, you may want to grab your husband for this one!  But, don't worry, next week we will move on to challenge and instruct the women.  Get ready!

Part 2: The Energizing Cycle

So, how exactly do we stop the "Crazy Cycle" in our marriages?  Simple.  By shifting into what Eggerichs calls "The Energizing Cycle."

This seems easy enough.  Except, it's not.  In fact, LOVE doesn't come naturally at all for men.  And, likewise, RESPECT doesn't come naturally at all for women.

... I think this is important (especially when I think about raising a little boy):

For the last 40 years, the Christian community has MISSED it.  It IS NOT all about LOVE.  We've told men to get into their "feminine" and emotional side; but we don't ask women to become more masculine.  MEN SHOULD BE MEN.  They were made differently.

That's why marriage is WORK... It requires some sacrifice and changes on each of our parts; NOT because it will be easy, but because we value our relationship enough to do what is completely UNNATURAL for us in order to meet the needs of the other person.

So, (husbands, here's where you can take notes) what spells love to a wife?  


C - Closeness.  A wife feels loved by a husband who is physically close.  She wants to be with her husband face to face (and eye to eye). Women feel secure when they know they can expect and count on this.  Consider setting aside 15 minutes a day to just be together.  Or, a date night once a week.  Make one-on-one time with your wife a priority - even above your kids, job, etc.

O – Openness. When a husband isn’t secretly mad at her.  A wife feels very unloved when her husband appears mad at her, closes her out and refuses to open up.  The message that is sent is “I’m angrily stonewalling to teach you to treat me more respectfully,” and that message rarely gets through.  Instead she feels unloved and misses the signal that her husband is trying to send.  Try "let's talk" instead.  She'll swoon.

U – Understanding. When a husband empathizes with her.  Like a teapot that comes to a boiling point, a wife can experience an emotional overload and need to ventilate to someone who empathizes.  That said, we don't always need solutions, sometimes just a truly focused listening ear.  It's OK to ask which one we need when.

P – Peacemaking. When a husband resolves and reconciles with her.  “Will you forgive me” are very powerful words. 

L – Loyalty. When a husband is completely committed to her.   When a wife asks “Do you love me?” what she is asking for is reassurance, not information.

E – Esteem. When a husband treasures her above all others.  Women have a different point system than husbands when it comes to this point.  What may seem like an insignificant action could be a very big deal to the wife.  

All this sounds great; but here's the reality: (Proverbs 24:17) You WILL mess up.  Eggerich talks about making "deposits" (good times) and "withdraws" (bad times/arguments) in your relationships.  The key is not to totally avoid withdraws; but ultimately, to have more deposits than withdraws.  Be easy on your husband with the above  changes -- I spent way too many years of our dating and early marriage relationship DEMANDING things of Jeff, rather than simply acknowledging his efforts. Remember, it is totally UNNATURAL for him to love you in this way, and his attempts are strictly because  he cares for you and recognizes that your needs are different from his.  An HONORABLE man will attempt to do these things, not because he necessarily "feels" it; but because of he cares for his wife.  Many of us, myself included, need to learn how to appreciate this more.

So... What do you think?  Do you think Eggerich is right on with this?  How do you feel loved by your husband?  Husbands, I'd love to hear from some of you too!

Stay tuned for Part 3 next week... and check out the Love and Respect Ministries website if you are interested in more info.
 Some of the above info also came from this blog.  (FYI.)


  1. Again...just what I needed to hear today. I shared it with Joe. The thing is, I am 100% in support of what HE needs to do. It's the part where I have to change/adapt that is tough. Because I thought I was perfect :) But seriously...this is soooo good to read. Such a great reminder, and if both people are not accountable and willing, then it will never work.

    Thank you!

  2. our small group at church is going through this study! we love it! :)


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