One of my absolute favorite relationship books on the market is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. One of the reasons I LOVE this book is because Eggerichs takes seemingly common sense concepts and teaches them to us in an applicable way. Wait, if the concepts are common sense, why do we need anyone to teach them to us? Well, after he demonstrates a woman’s desperate need for love and a man’s desperate need (yes, need) for respect and you start applying them, then the concepts begin to feel like common sense.
Before reading this book, I had no idea how essential respecting my husband was to my marriage. We hear about love, love, love everywhere and I had no trouble loving Eric. And, like many women, the idea of unconditionally respecting my husband seemed completely against everything I’d ever been taught about respect. “Respect has to be earned.” “If he wants my respect, he’s going to have to treat me the way I want to be treated.” “Men want respect because they’re macho-chauvinists.” However, the book is one of those easy-to-read, simple-to-understand, and completely eye-opening books that leaves you saying, “Wow. These concepts are straight from God’s Word. Why was I not taught this before now?”
Eggerichs’ book is divided into three parts: the Crazy Cycle, the Energizing Cycle, and the Rewarded Cycle. Today, we’ll discuss the Crazy Cycle.
Around and Around We Go
How many of you have ever gotten into a spat with your spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend? Perhaps you remember knock-down, drag-out arguments from former relationships? One huge takeaway I got from reading Love and Respect was how to spot when Eric and I starting getting on and were revolving around the crazy cycle. Since ladies desperately need love from their gentlemen and gentlemen desperately need respect from their ladies, it’s easy to jump onto an angry, emotional rollercoaster when those needs aren’t valued by the other person.
For example, let’s say John comes home from a horrible day at the office only to trip over Mary’s shoes… again. So he yells through the house, “I thought I told you to stop leaving your shoes in the doorway! Are you trying to kill me?!” Completely caught off guard and feeling unloved, Mary responds, “Well, when you start doing anything I ever ask you to do, then maybe I’ll consider listening to your barrage of demands, King John!” As heat starts rising from his neck to his cheeks, John, feeling very disrespected, responds “No man wants to listen to constant nagging!” And the crazy vortex of terror continues until one person stomps off in a bitter rage.
In short, the crazy cycle says: “Without love / she reacts / without respect / he reacts…”. This should be read: Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love.
Why Did We Get On This Ride?
This fight didn’t happen because this couple normally despises each other. Chances are, they care very deeply for each other on a regular basis. First, he felt disrespected because she left her shoes in his pathway again after he’d told her to stop multiple times. I don’t know any man who doesn’t desire basic courtesy from his wife. Because he felt disrespected (and likely exhausted from work), it paved the way for him to react unlovingly towards his wife. Feeling completely unloved, she reacted without respect for her husband… and the nauseating tea cup ride ensued.
This entire fight could’ve been avoided if he had simply stopped, caught his breath, and said, “Honey, I would really appreciate it if you would please find another place for your shoes. I almost tripped again.” Or, if she had caught her breath and said, “John, I’m sorry. I’ll try to remember to move them from now on.” Answers like these nip arguments in the bud.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (ESV)” Such responses don’t seem natural because our humanness wants to be in control. We don’t want to feel stepped on or unimportant. Choosing to treat her with love and him with respect does not make John less of a man or Mary less of a woman. It’s a conscious choice to deem each other, and the health of the relationship, as more important than winning a fight. When arguments turn mean and hateful, no one wins. Sure, one person will have the last word, but that doesn’t mean he or she won. Hateful fighting wounds the team and your team is only as strong as its weakest player.
Get the Book…
Emerson Eggerichs makes learning these concepts effortless and he has a way of driving home his points so his readers don’t easily forget them! Do you ever read a book and then days later can’t remember much about it? If so, I’m quite certain you will not have that problem with this book. Not only that, but this book encourages action. After reading it, you will be clear on how you can implement the principles into your relationship!
Have you and your sweetie ever found yourself on the crazy cycle?