Unloved or Disrespected?

(While on vacation…I’m posting some of my most popular posts. Here’s one about the crazy cycle…are you in it?)

Which one are you feeling? If you’re married and you’re struggling it’s probably one of the two. During marital conflict, men most often feel disrespected while women most often feel unloved. A few years ago, my husband and I did a book study with friends based on the national best-seller, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. The foundational principles in the book are absolutely enlightening.

A friend emailed me last week asking me some questions about showing respect to your spouse and I immediately thought of the Love & Respect book. So I thought I’d outline the principles in a post and I highly recommend the book if you want more details. (Caveat here: As an author I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a terrible non-fiction reader. I rarely finish non-fiction books and I’m more likely to skim them than read them word for word. So, that being said, I skimmed the book and absolutely loved the principles outlined. But I have no recollection of the writing style or ease of reading the book. Still…whether it’s an easy or hard read, it’s worth learning what he has to say.) Now I’m going from skimming memory, so bear with me. The basic idea is that while we all need both love and respect, women feel the need for love more strongly and men feel the need for respect more strongly.

This becomes a problem because, in general, women show love to their husband more naturally than they show respect, and the opposite is generally true for men. So in a marriage relationship we often get caught up in what Eggerichs calls “The Crazy Cycle.” When a woman feels unloved, she responds by disrespecting her husband (making him feel unimportant or unworthy and not appreciating him for who he is). And when a man feels disrespected, he responds by being unloving (silent treatment, lack of response to emotion, etc.). And now we’re back to where we started with the woman feeling unloved and therefore acting like she doesn’t respect her husband, etc., etc,. etc. Does this sound familiar? It really doesn’t matter if the chicken or the egg came first (did he act unloving first or did she act disrespectful first?). The point is that someone has to stop the cycle.

Here’s how: If it’s the wife, she has to show respect to her husband (even if she doesn’t feel it yet) even if his behavior doesn’t inspire her to do so. This is hard. No question. But it works. And if it’s the husband, he needs to be loving toward his wife, even if she makes him feel disrespected. Someone has to get them off the crazy unloving/disrespecting merry-go-round they are caught on or they will likely spiral into a national statistic.

Eggerichs bases his ideas on Ephesians 5:33- “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Until I read his book I had never noticed the distinction in that verse. If you’d asked me to quote it from memory I would have told you I thought it said that we should love each other like we love ourselves. Nope! It tells the husbands to love and the wives to respect. Now does that mean that wives don’t need to love and husbands don’t need to respect? No. It’s just that women, in general, tend to be nurturers so loving comes more naturally and men tend to have an inborn sense of honor so respecting can come more naturally. This verse is addressing us in our respective weaknesses.

Don’t believe it? Think about it. How many times have you seen a wife publicly dis her husband? When I was a young wife I used to feel awkward when I’d go out with a group of women because it seemed that the topics often turned husband bashing and I didn’t want to do that. I would just stay quiet cuz I didn’t want to be like, “Well, I don’t know about you but my husband is awesome.” (Although it would have been a nice thing to do for my husband, I didn’t have the courage and was worried I’d lose friends!)

Think about TV commercials…how often are husbands painted as complete idiots that couldn’t find the front door without their superior wife’s help? And on the flip side, how often are women painted as objects of lust, not love? It’s not popular to cherish a woman. It’s popular to judge her merits based on her cup size. Not loving.

So the scripture is aimed at getting us to do that which doesn’t come naturally. And it’s not easy. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure it’s possible without God’s help. But He’s willing to help us and it is so worth it. Doing what this verse says breaks the crazy cycle and creates a positive cycle that goes something like this. He starts acting loving to her even though she’s been belittling him. She may not trust it at first, but the more he shows her love, the more she begins to show him respect. She appreciates him and even begins to tell him so. This makes him feel respected which makes him more determined to be loving to his wife, etc., etc., etc.

The other thing that practicing this way of communicating does is it automatically shifts our focus from ourselves (“He’s not treating me right, she’s doesn’t appreciate me.”) onto the other person. This goes against our natural instincts. We want to protect ourselves and not be vulnerable. But the irony is that the more we focus on our spouse, the more they usually respond and act the way we’ve wanted them to all along. Now, there are exceptions to this and I must  include that if you are in an abusive relationship, this is not for you. You need to get out and get help. But if you are in a marriage where both people truly want to make it work but don’t know how, reading this book and putting the principles into practice could be life changing.

How about you? Are you stuck in the crazy cycle or have you found your way out of it? If you have any suggestions about how a husband can be more loving or a wife can show her husband she respects him, please share in the comments section below or on Facebook. If enough of you share, I may do a follow-up post giving people concrete ideas of how to put the Love & Respect principles into play. Thanks!

Oh, and after I wrote this I saw a beautiful little video posted on Facebook that highlights an amazing selfless love. If you’d like to see it you can click here.

 

Love,

rebekah

Love & Respect is available on Amazon.com here. (I am not on commission, btw ;))

To access the Love & Respect website click here.

 

 

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A Wedding Album- 21 Years Ago

You are invited! To look at some of my wedding album, that is!

I said yesterday that today’s post would be the flip side of yesterday’s post about judging. And I have that post for you…but not today. I wanted to celebrate my anniversary with you all, so for the next post we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming. For now, I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane with me. (Get ready for some 90’s hair!)

Yes…21 years. Of course, getting married at 10 years old was a hardship but…ya know, it was a different time back then.

Did I have the cutest flower girls or what? Yep, that's my little sisters Leah & Sammie

It was a gorgeous (a-little-too-hot-but-better-than-rainy) June day. All our dresses were homemade. My aunt Mary did mine and my beautiful and precious friend Tam, maid of honor (not matron…that sounds old) made three of the dresses (maybe the little one’s dresses?) Mom did some sewing, I think. Or maybe aunt Mary did all the rest. She’s amazing…so she probably did. But I can’t imagine how long each of those little rosettes took to make!

Brother Jon & the girls. Too cute!!

Before we started dating, Bill was a youth worker and he’d come over to play video games (surprise) with my brother Jon. Years later, Jon said he was crushed when he realized he’d been used. Haha.

 

My sister Sarah...only 14 years old. Aww...pretty girl 🙂

Funny, I don’t remember us all being so young!

 

Well...Hans & Franz were just a big part of our lives back then. Mike "Chief Bald Eagle" was Bill's best man.

Yeah, so the SNL skit “Hans & Franz” with Arnie and Dana Carvey was repeatedly mimicked in our circles. It was only appropriate to have a shot or two in the album. I’ve spared you all the shots. We’ll let this one be the representative. For a laugh, next time you see Bill, you should ask him to do his Hans & Franz imitation 🙂

 

Bill with his mama. No, her fro was not that big...it's a shadow!

Bill’s mom, Sherry, is the best mother-in-law ever. I’m just sayin.

 

Me and my Mama...she was only around 35 years old here! Wow.

Seriously? Can you imagine being “Mother of the Bride” at 35? Well, 35 seemed much older to me then than it does now…can I get an amen?

 

Bill and his daddy, John.

Fun fact: Three of John’s grandkids (all from different children) are born on May 18th. What are the odds of that? Well, John has told me before…it’s in the million to one category but the exact number escapes me.

 

Me and my daddy. You can't really tell but he has a pony tail here. ahaha...Old Hippie!

Well…he wasn’t too happy about his baby girl getting married at 18. But he handled it graciously. I think he started talking to Bill again by our 10th anniversary. 😉

My handsome man!

Love those dimples!

Classic bridal shot...and I wasn't really 10...I was 18

Now, my friend Sue, who took all our wedding pics (with her hubby, Dave) as a wedding present to us (awesome), used very advanced techniques here. She breathed on the lens and took the shot as it cleared. Haha…it was effective tho! (The real shot looks better…this is more blurry cuz it’s a pic of a pic.)

 

We were married already...it was legal!

Mhmm. This speaks for itself.

 

What's wrong with this picture?? Got it yet? Anyway, here's Leah & Sammie in front, then from left: Heather (bff ), Sarah, Ellen, Julie, Tammy, Me & Bill, Mike, Doug, Mike, Tom & Don

How are you liking the 90’s hair?? What awesome friends we had. If any of you are reading this, thanks for sharing our special day with us. We love you and miss you!

 

My Papa. We repeated our vows in front of him at the hospital.

My Papa had been sick in the hospital. He was released just a few weeks before the wedding so we were so glad he’d be able to come. But then he got in a car accident and landed back in the hospital. So we decided if he couldn’t come to the wedding, the wedding would come to him. We all traipsed through the hospital in full wedding attire. The comic relief came when a little old lady wanted to shake Mike’s hand (best man). He shook her hand and as we walked away he discovered some sort of mashed banana substance all over his hand. It was awesome.

 

 

With this ring...Best day of my life.

Dear Bill,

You are the love of my life. I couldn’t have made a better choice even if I had been ten years older! (I was wise beyond my years, you know ;)) I never understood why you took a chance on a young, quiet girl when you had your pick of girls. But I’m forever grateful.

God gave you to me as a gift. You and I declared then that we would be like iron sharpening iron and that we were a triple braided cord…You, Me and God. Through the ups and downs, we have always been there for each other. There’s no one I’d rather be “braided” with. Haha. I love you babe. Happy 21st!

~reb

 

 

 

 

 

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