Bringing New Life to Your Marriage
It often starts with something small. Maybe she arrives home from
shopping to find that the kids aren't in bed yet. She thought her
husband would have realized that the family needed to get up early,
so the kids needed to go to bed early.
He didn't think it was a big deal. Besides, he was playing with
them and they could take a nap the following day.
She is upset and communicates this to him, but before
too long, she can tell that he is upset with her for being upset
When she speaks up, he rolls his eyes. He thinks she’s about
to nag, and she thinks he’s very insensitive. And so it
goes . . .
Like many couples, they never saw it coming. But such seemingly
minor conflicts are like termites, silently eating away beneath
until one day the foundation crumbles.
Trouble is, this disagreement isn’t only about the children's
bedtime. It goes deeper than that. According to author and marriage
expert Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, the wife isn’t just looking for
a resolution on bedtime. At a certian point, she begins to feel unloved
thinking, "If I mattered to him, he'd be more attentive and
would definitely talk to me." The husband, meanwhile, interprets
his wife’s "need to talk" as another situation that
will result in him feeling disrespected as a person and thinks, "I
can never be good enough."
"A husband needs respect like he needs air to breathe," Eggerichs
explains, "while love is by far a wife’s greatest need."
Eggerichs, who co-wrote Motivating Your Man God’s Way with
his wife, Sarah, says this concept is the secret to a better marriage.
Without it, couples can easily get caught up in the constant back-and-forth
of complaining and stonewalling, action and reaction. Eggerichs calls
it the "crazy cycle."
The Bible states in Ephesians 5:33 that husbands are to love
their wives, and wives are to respect their husbands. Seems
right? But this commonly cited verse makes a point that’s
often overlooked, a point that is central to the crazy cycle:
Men and women
differ when it comes to their deepest relational needs.
If a husband’s deepest need (respect) and a wife’s
deepest need (love) are fulfilled, their relationship is
able to flourish.
But when these needs are unmet, the cycle begins.
So, why this craziness? When a woman feels unloved, Eggerichs
explains, she reacts in a way that may seem disrespectful
to her husband.
He then reacts to this disrespect in ways that feel unloving
wife. The more she complains and criticizes, the more he
shuts down and stonewalls.
"The message she’s trying to send is that she feels unloved
at that moment," Eggerichs says. "But she will
react in very negative ways that, in the male arena, feel
isn't trying to be disrespectful, but is feeling unloved.
Sadly, he may not decode that."
So, how do you stop the "crazy cycle" once it’s started?
Eggerichs says it’s as obvious as it seems: Mutual
understanding begins when wives respect their husbands and
husbands love their
wives. His goal is to help couples better understand how
to do that, putting an end to their crazy cycles.
As any married couple eventually discovers, romantic feelings
don't exist everyday. It takes effort to keep a marriage
strong, to keep
minor disagreements from becoming major ones, to favor
sweet words and tender glances over harsh comments and
"In Ephesians 5:33," Eggerichs says "God invites every
married couple to make a conscious decision about how they
appear to the
other. A wife can feel unloved, but appear disrespectful;
a husband can feel disrespected but appear unloving. This is
why things get
crazy! Our negative appearances work against us. God's
Word protects us from that mistake."
He continues, "Really, all you have to do is learn this crazy
cycle, and when you see the spirit of your spouse deflate, trust
. . . that you’ve said something that appears unloving
or disrespectful. Then go back and say, 'Did I come across
I'm sorry, will you forgive me?' That works almost every
Eggerichs has seen firsthand how marriages are transformed
when husbands and wives put this fundamental concept
into practice. To that end,
he and his wife started the Love and Respect Marriage
Conference, and the testimonials from those who have
At the conference, they illustrate in detail how to
spell "love" to
a wife and "respect" to a husband.
The conferences promote the same message as the Eggerichs'
book: When unconditional respect and love are demonstrated
tone, facial expression and word choice, the spirit
of our spouse re-opens.
"We're going to have conflicts over bedtime-type issues. We're
going to get upset," Eggerichs says. "By dealing
with marital conflict God's way, we can stop the crazy
If things get out of control, we can halt the craziness.
God's Word works."
:: back ::