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Get Your Loves In Line

So today is Valentine’s Day (my first as a married man…should I feel extra pressure???)   Today many of us will talk about and show our love to who is important to us – if we’re really bold we might even ask them to be our valentine – those pressure packed days in grade school were killers!

I’m not really for or against Valentine’s Day; part of me thinks it’s alot of fun – going out to an extra nice dinner with my wife, eating chocolates, drinking wine, giving gifts, etc, but another part of me reminds myself that it shouldn’t take a day pimped by card companies,  flower stores, and jewelry stores to show my wife that she is special and loved. I hope she knows that by me showing it to her daily – although I know that I am not perfect in showing her my love like I should all the time.  So actually, I guess I’m glad there is a Valentine’s Day because it is fun…(I just wish it didn’t fall on the same day KU plays our hated, over-hyped rivals, KSU in basketball, like it does this year – – – good grief (get it?…’good grief’…charlie brown…I digress).

Here’s a(nother) post from  Mike Metzger, String Theory, speaking about where we place, and how we order our desires and our delights – our loves.  With a little self-examination it can show how this even plays into the ones we love and how we love them. Metzger explains that it is ok to love everything we do in life, but if we love something too much it is idolatry; if we love something too little it’s ignorance because everything is created by God and is good (I Timothy 4: 4, 5). What matters is how we order what we love because what we love leads us to make the decisions we make every day.

“For when there is a question as to whether a man is good, one does not ask what he believes, or what he hopes, but what he loves.” – St. Augustine

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in marriage, theology, Uncategorized

 

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All You Need Is Love…is only half right.

Ok, so I’ve tweeted about this book several times over the past month and I’ve even been unfollowed by some people because of this topic (note: one of the unfollowers was a self-proclaimed feminist so I’m not sure if there’s necessarily a correlation there or not – my brother-in-law made a funny comment about the correlation which I will not repeat 😉  I’ll blog more of my own thoughts on this topic/book soon but I wanted to at least post a snippet of what this book is about in order to give a bit more of an idea what I have been tweeting about.

Tracy and I read “Love & Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs and also went through the work-book for “Love & Respect” during our pre-marital counseling.  Before we started our pre-marital counseling I was honestly dreading having to do it.  From what I had heard from others pre-marital counseling is the time where the soon-to-be married couple gets together with a pastor to hear about how much guys suck in loving their wives and that all the couple needs is love, and more love, and more love.  That sounds awesome doesn’t it?  Sign me up!  Ok, so honestly that is not exactly compelling nor motivating to me as a guy, and also probably not a realistic representation of what goes on in most pre-marital counseling sessions. (sidenote – please do not misunderstand me, love is ABSOLUTELY needed in marriage.  I love cherish and absolutely adore Tracy, she is undoubtedly a gift from God to me and more than I deserve.)

Continuing on…we are all familiar with “unconditional love” (his love blesses her regardless), but “Love & Respect”  introduced a new phrase to Tracy and me, “unconditional respect” (her respect blesses him regardless).  After we started reading this book, I honestly could not put the book down!  It was showing me how to love her more and interpret different actions that were maybe an irritant to me initially but I did not understand it was her attempt to draw closer to me.  We were reading about different motivating factors and how not to view this quote as selfishly but that, “The rule that never changes is: you can’t get what you need by depriving your partner of what your partner needs.” It seems so simple but showing my love to her motivates showing her respect to me and it’s a cycle that just feeds off of each other.  We were also reading about “unconditional respect” – it almost seemed like a new scientific discovery.  Being showed respect is an action or feeling most guys want and need but this book articulated it unbelievably clear and I was underlining every other line in the book, and putting brackets around paragraphs and stories, and writing in the margins all over the place.  I was eating it up because it was compelling about what really drives me in my relationship with Tracy.  I found myself nodding my head incessantly just like if I was listening to some smooth Eric Clapton. I was also reflecting on our relationship and recognizing the motivating factors spelled out in the book – remembering times when we were motivated by each others’ actions and other times when we were not.

“The Gladiator” and “Braveheart” speak to me differently than how “Sense & Sensibility” and “Anne of Green Gables” speak to Tracy. I’m not saying “The Gladiator” does not speak to Tracy but that it speaks to us differently and we interpret it in different ways. (thus showing, men and women have different lenses, and worldviews, and motivators.)  I know Tracy loves me (I do not take that for granted) but what really motivates me as a guy is when I hear how she appreciates my work and what I provide for us as a soon-to-be family.  It inspires me when she tells me she appreciates my insight and the different perspective I have for our relationship.  I am energized when she allows me to dream about what can be done to our house, knowing that it might not ever happen but that I like to dream.  There are many other ways that she shows me respect.

Personally, I know this book has meant alot to Tracy and I in our pre-marital counseling.  We’re trying to navigate the merger of two lives and we have had plenty of stressors along the way in buying a house, moving our stuff, merging our stuff (please note we still live in separate houses and will until our wedding day) organizing our stuff, painting the rooms in our new house, all the while trying to plan our wedding – which is now only 19 days away!  I understand there are always exceptions to generalities.  {If you are a feminist you will not appreciate this next part} I truly believe there are created differences between men and women and that we are hard-wired different but if you don’t agree with what I wrote – hey, that is ok.  But from my tweets and in speaking with other people I have heard many times how this book resonated with many different people and spoke individually to the husbands and wives in a new refreshing mutual manner. As a churched-female you also may still be shaking your head in disbelief about all this “respect stuff” but you know what maybe it would not be such a bad thing to talk with your husband to find out what truly motivates him.  You might be surprised by going through this book.  Also, I only wrote about the motivating factors of husbands which is half the book…the other half is for the husbands about the wives.

Some tidbits:

Love and respect are not the same thing.  As male and female we are created with different deep desires.

The “crazy cycle” that most people will get into at times: “Without love from him she reacts without respect; without respect from her, he reacts without love.”

How the two connect together: Unconditional love: His love blesses regardless of her respect. Unconditional respect: Her respect blesses regardless of his love.

The energizing cycle: His love motivates her to respect him even more. Her respect motivates him to love her even more.

The rewarded cycle: His love blesses regardless of her respect. Her respect blesses regardless of his love.

If so inclined here are a couple links on their website:

Love & Respect

My Husband Is A Mysterious Island Around Which I paddle – I pasted this article from their website below because I thought it was such a great snapshot.

My Husband Is a Mysterious Island Around Which I Paddle

“Talk to me!” commands the wife. She and her husband are having a conflict.

The husband retorts, “I don’t want to talk about it.” He exits the room.

She follows him to talk. He does not give her access to his heart. He closes her off.  It is as though he is an island around which she paddles but he does not permit her to land.

She is in disbelief.  She is seeking to do the loving thing by communicating but he lacks interest in responding.  She thinks, “How can he be so unloving?”  She is hurt, confused, angry and frightened.

This wife’s motivation is to increase the feelings of love between them.  This is her ultimate goal.  But her husband does not seem to be motivated by her loving efforts in the way she expects.

A wife emailed me, “My husband’s stonewalling and angry withdrawal had gotten so bad that I was ready to just walk away from the marriage so that in the last days of my life I could have some peace.”

Did you know women are divorcing their husbands two to three times more than husbands are divorcing their wives?  The walk away wife is real, and for many who don’t leave, they dream about it.

The Secret to Motivating a Husband

I discovered a secret – a secret hidden in plain sight!  A husband does not lack the knowledge that he is to love his wife.  She tells him that she needs to feel his love. What he lacks is motivation.

The secret is this:  A husband is motivated to love in response to a wife showing him unconditional respect.  That’s a big truth hidden in plain sight.  After hearing it, it still seems foreign to many!

Peter reveals that a wife’s “respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:1,2 NASB) motivates a husband – even an undeserving one – to open his heart to God and by implication to his wife.  “Even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your… respectful behavior.”

Paul, as well, shares God’s secret.  “The wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33b NIV).  This is his summary statement on marriage to the wife in the most significant treatise on marriage in the New Testament.

Did you know that God does not command a wife to agape-love her husband?  Only the husband is commanded to agape-love (Ephesians 5:33a).   Agape-love is that God-like unconditional love.

The Mysterious Island

Why is a wife not commanded to agape-love?  God designed a wife to love.  She loves to love.  For this reason, a husband does not doubt his wife’s love.  What he doubts is her respect for him.  During an argument, if she shouts, “I love you a ton but don’t feel any respect for you!” he’ll become an island unto himself.  A mysterious island.

That is equal to a husband shouting, “I respect you more than any other human being, especially since you received a million dollar inheritance from your old man, but I don’t love you, never have.”  What wife will jump in the air and click her heels over that comment?  She is devastated and would never get over it.

As a wife needs love like she needs air, so a husband needs respect like he needs air.  He is devastated and never gets over the declaration, “Nobody could ever respect you.”

Why a Husband Loses His Fond Feelings of Affection

The key to motivating any person is by meeting that person’s deepest need.  A husband is best motivated when his need is met to feel respected for who he is apart from his performance.

When a wife comes across as despising who her husband is as a human being he loses his fond feelings of affection for her.  He loses energy to emotionally connect.  This is similar to a wife losing energy to positively respond when her husband is harsh, angry and unloving.

One wife applied respect to her husband.  He wrote me, “We have been married for over 25 years… But after (my wife) received this message and practiced it on me, it has been so much easier to love her. She says a light bulb went on… She can say just about anything to me, because she has learned how to speak it with respect. I don’t feel so defensive. I don’t feel the need to withdraw and avoid. It’s much easier to engage.”

For more information on how to reach your husband with respect, check out the 2-book series, Motivating Your Man God’s Way, which is available in our store on this web site.

Copyright 2010 Love and Respect Ministries Inc. Emerson E. Eggerichs Ph.D.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in culture, marriage

 

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