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“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33
I am learning that the difference between a good marriage and a great marriage is how well a couple accepts and obeys the Biblical commandment of love and respect. If I am ever going to have a great marriage, and not just a good one, I am going to need to learn to love my wife no matter how disrespectful she acts toward me. God has command me to love Ann, and He has commanded Ann to respect me. This is because God knows that Ann needs love like she needs oxygen, and I need respect like it’s food and water.
So often I will say something unloving to Ann and she will respond by saying something disrespectful. Then I get quiet and leave the room, and she will pursue me with criticism which then pushes me away even more. The cycle escalates and continues. Without love she reacts without respect and without respect I react with out love. It’s called the Crazy Cycle! Round and round it goes. And we are dizzy from it.
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book “Love and Respect” carefully unpack the needs of a man and woman. He teaches couples how to quickly get off the crazy cycle and how to instead get on the Energizing Cycle, a cycle in which a man and a women offer love and respect to one another. I thought I would share it with you.
Here is a list of questions from “Love and Respect” that help me get on the Energizing Cycle:
1.) Closeness – Am I always remembering to move toward her and accept her need to talk and connect with me to be reassured of my love?
2.) Openness – Do I share my thoughts with her, and am I sure I’m not resisting her efforts to draw me out?
3.) Understanding – Am I careful not to try to “fix” her every time she talks about one of her concerns or problems? Am I remembering that she is an integrated personality and whatever happens affects all of her, especially her emotions?
4.) Peacemaking – Am I always willing to resolve issues, and am I careful to never say, “Let’s just drop it and move on”?
5.) Loyalty – Do I constantly look for ways to tell her that I will be loyal to her forever – that she’s the one love of my life, the only woman for me?
6.) Esteem – Do I always let her know that I treasure her and put highest value on her as a person? Do I let her know that what she does and thinks are important to me? Does she know I couldn’t possibly do without her?
Here is a list of questions that Ann asks that get us on the Energizing Cycle:
1.) Conquest – Am I always standing behind him and letting him know I support him in his work and endeavors in his field?
2.) Hierarchy – Do I let him know I respect and appreciate his desire to protect and provide for me and the family? What have I said recently to communicate this?
3.) Authority – Have I gone on record that, because he has the primary responsibility for me (even to die for me), I recognize him as having the primary authority? Do I let him be the leader? How have I helped in that regard recently?
4.) Insight – Do I trust his ability to analyze things and offer solutions and not just depend on my “intuition”?
5.) Relationship – Do I spend shoulder-to-sholder time with him whenever I can? Do I let him know that I am his friend as well as his lover?
6.) Sexuality – Do I honor his need for sexual release even when I don’t feel like it?
These simple concepts are really helping our marriage. We also want to give a big thanks to those folks that have been cheering us on and encouraging us along the way!