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Love & RespectSample

Love & Respect

DAY 1 OF 5

The Love & Respect Connection vs. The Crazy Cycle of Misunderstanding

Imagine this scenario:

Wife: “Did you fix the faulty porch step for our Thanksgiving gathering?”

Husband: “What? I don’t remember there being an issue with any step. It’ll be fine. Too many other things to get done before then.”

Wife: “Of course you know about the step! You watched me trip down the stairs when the board gave way only three weeks ago.” 

Husband: “Oh, I thought you tripped because you had too many things you were carrying and lost your balance. Sorry. What stair was it you said was faulty?”

Wife: “Seriously? We’ve already had this conversation. Forget it. I’ll call a handyman.”

Husband: “Wait! I said I’d fix it.”

Result: Wife feels unheard and unloved. Husband feels dismissed and disrespected.

Does the dialogue above point to similar types of interactions in your marriage? If yes, you are not alone. It’s true that men and women have different communication styles and needs. Mark 10:6 says, “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female” (NIV). When this fact is acknowledged, then a shift toward productive and positive communication can start to radically transform your marriage. 

First, what do women most need to feel from their husbands? LOVE. Sounds simple, but a woman perceives love from her man in specific ways that he might not understand . . . yet! Next, what do men most need to feel from their wives? RESPECT. Unfortunately, in this modern age, the word respect has many women bristling with disdain simply because they do not understand the biblical concept of the word. This dual misunderstanding of love and respect creates a sharp edge within marriage. But God longs for us to call a truce with our spouse, to be humble and teachable. When properly executed, Eggerichs calls this the Love and Respect Connection. When this connection is broken, it leads directly to what he calls the Crazy Cycle: “Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love.” 

Attention women! Did you know that your husband always knows deep down that you love him, no matter the argument? But he is not nearly as confident and assured in your respect for him. This is why men don’t “need” love as a priority; they already feel they have it. Rather, when in conflict with you, their wife, they need to be assured of what they feel is at risk: your respect. As a result of not receiving respect, men often stonewall or withdraw. These patterns of actual or perceived disrespect can change, but it takes trust in his love for you and humility to let your guard down and recharge him with feelings of respect and honor.

Attention men! Your wife fears losing your love. Therefore, the more she communicates (aka “talks”), the more she believes she can resolve the dysphoria within herself and maintain your love. The frequent “diving deep” into your thoughts and feelings is for her to stay on top of any disharmonious feelings between the two of you and keep the lines open. When you feel critiqued and then shut down, she truly believes you are abandoning the unconditional, unending love you promised her. 

Whew! Talk about miscommunication . . . 

Remember what Eggerichs says: “Men hear criticism as contempt; women feel silence as hostility.” When each of you can understand the miscommunication and take a moment to reevaluate and readjust your behavior (verbal or nonverbal), you come closer to living in the Energizing Cycle with each other. The Energizing Cycle says: “His love motivates her respect. Her respect motivates his love.” Doesn’t that sound so much better than the Crazy Cycle?

Questions for you and your spouse:

Recall a recurring Crazy Cycle in your marriage. Reframe it with the Love and Respect Connection and see it from your spouse’s point of view. 

Is some of your resentment diffused? 

Can you commit to stopping the next Crazy Cycle in its tracks?

Read 1 Corinthians 7:33-34. These verses are about the desire to please one another. Ask your spouse to share ways you could better love her or show respect to him. Have an open heart and open mind when doing this exercise. But do not offer to them an unsolicited list of ways they could better love or respect you. They may ask for it in return, which you could then carefully respond. But do not enter this exercise with the intention of making it about you and your needs. Rather, keep your focus on how you can better love and respect your spouse.

Lord, You created male and female to be different yet still compatible. Help me accept the differences and open my heart to a deeper union. This requires a willingness to give something I’ve been withholding. Help my generosity toward my spouse be greater than my desire to obtain something for myself. Amen.

 

Day 2

About this Plan

Love & Respect

Whatever role you are in with your partner (the Brokenhearted, the Enricher, or the Newly Married), Dr. Eggerichs has a method for creating understanding and acceptance toward your spouse and infusing your marriage with ...

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We would like to thank HarperCollins/Zondervan/Thomas Nelson for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: http://www.LoveandRespect.com

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