In Part One of Love & Respect, Dr Eggerichs describes The Crazy Cycle:
Without love from him, she reacts without respect;
without respect from her, he reacts without love.
In our society we are raised to believe that men are to love their wives unconditionally–which is true according to the Bible. But what we are not taught is that women should respect their husbands unconditionally. What does the Bible say about that?
“…Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Dr. Eggerich says:
“5 out of 10 marriages are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Love is vital for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband’s need for respect. “Love & Respect” is all about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs: respect.”
After reading this book I agree but I admit that it is hard for me to put into practice because I rarely see someone who is respectful to their husband all the time. I often feel that Shane doesn’t deserve respect because I don’t always feel valued by him. The Crazy Cycle is a frequent occurrence in our house.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:28:
“…Those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”
I never expected a perfect marriage. I grew up around too many broken marriages to know that perfection is not realistic. I did expect to have a good marriage which for the most part has not been the case. Dr. Eggerich says, “all married couples take a spin on the Crazy Cycle from time to time.” Fortunately, Shane and I have a God who has brought us through our trials and has keep us together. Especially in the past year, he has helped us move toward a better marriage.
In the book, Dr Eggerichs talks about a situation where he responds to his wife’s criticisms by saying “Sarah, you can be right but wrong all at the top of your voice.” Since Shane and I are yellers (more so me), I can definitely relate. Even if I am right about what we are talking about, I become wrong as soon as I let my anger take control of the conversation. When I yell, it causes Shane to become angry and yell back, which causes me to get even more out of control–and the Crazy Cycle continues.
In our marriage, when the positive turns negative, we tend to stay negative for a long time. I generally keep going until I break down and cry. He keeps going until he starts swearing. I don’t think either of us feels loved or respected during those times. Paul clearly wants me to be respectful all the time even when I feel like Shane doesn’t deserve it. I am always disrespectful–sometimes intentionally and sometimes without realizing it. It is a bad habit that I need to break (with God’s help) and I need to start good habits so that I can learn to respect unconditionally.
I respect Shane when I encourage him when he is down about something or when I support him when he is excited about something. More recently I have tried to show my respect by letting him make more decisions without causing a huge argument over it (I have not been very successful). This is hard for me because I usually look at the bigger picture and he usually sees the immediate.
Dr Eggerichs and his wife have made a “life-changing decision.” It is explained in the Love & Respect Workbook:
“He has decided to believe that no matter what Sarah says or does, she does not have evil intentions. She might have a nasty or peevish moment but deep in her heart she intends to do good. She may come across in a way that seems disrespectful to Emerson, but that is not her real purpose. And Sarah has decided to believe that, no matter what Emerson says or does, he does not intend, deep in his heart, ill will toward her. He may come across in an angry way, and give her a cold stare that seems unloving, but his real purpose is not to be uncaring.”
I really want to continually look at Shane this way. I know that he doesn’t intentionally try to hurt me but in the heat of the moment I get defensive anyway. Unfortunately, I usually am the one who keeps the Crazy Cycle going because of my anger.
Homework: Start to think and pray about a woman’s deep need for love and a man’s deep need for respect. Consider how the “life-changing decision” (described above) applies to you.
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By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs / Thomas Nelson
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories if you are married!
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You can find links to all posts in this series on the Marriage Series Index page.