Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love and respect: deepest needs of husbands and wives

There’s a joke that goes this way: A young girl came home after school. When asked by her mother what she learned that day, she excitedly began talking all about their lesson on Snow White, the seven dwarfs, and the handsome prince. Since the mother had a lot of things to do and already knew the story, she interrupted her daughter and asked, “And so what happened, did they live happily ever after?” The little girl answered, “No, that’s not what happened. They got married!” 

Okay, okay, I know some of you are wondering what the joke about Snow White and her prince is all about. Despite the dreary statistics on live-in relationships and annulment cases, 95% of today's singles still deeply desire to be married, as Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott report in their book “Relationships.” As John Eldredge put it in his book “The Journey of Desire,” men and women were created for intimacy. Or as the Bible puts it, “Marriage is honourable unto all.”

What the world needs now is love ... and what else?

For those of you getting married this month or contemplating marriage sometime soon, I highly recommend the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Emerson was a pastor for some twenty years but has since 1999 been conducting, with his wife Sarah, seminars on marriage for audiences worldwide. The thesis for his book and seminars is found in Ephesians 5:33 which says, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” As Emerson explains in his “Love and Respect” website,

”You may remember how the Beatles sang, ‘All you need is love.’ I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband's need for respect. This Love and Respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs -- respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs -- love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!”

Without love, she reacts without respect; without respect, he reacts without love

What Emerson teaches based on Ephesians 5:33 is that love is the wife’s deepest need and that respect is the husband’s deepest need. But the problem couples encounter in their marriage is what Emerson calls “The Crazy Cycle.” Without receiving love from her husband, a wife reacts without respect. Without receiving respect from his wife, a husband reacts without love. And “The Crazy Cycle” goes round and round …

Emerson’s website offers two videos explaining what the Crazy Cycle is all about. You can either download it to your computer or view it in your browser.

Breaking out of “The Crazy Cycle”

Emerson discusses in his book two other cycles which he calls “The Energizing Cycle” and “The Rewarded Cycle.” In “The Energizing Cycle,” he advises husbands and wives that “his love motivates her respect, and her respect motivates his love.”

In the “The Rewarded Cycle,” Emerson states that a husband should love his wife regardless of her respect (or lack of it), and that a wife should respect her husband regardless of his love (or lack of it). Okay, okay, I know “The Rewarded Cycle” sounds like Mission Impossible to you. Well, just read Emerson's book and find out how a husband can truly love or how a wife can truly respect regardless of what his or her partner is dishing out.

Acronyms for a great marriage

In several chapters of his book, Emerson discusses his acronyms for a great marriage: C-O-U-P-L-E-S and C-H-A-I-R-S. The C-O-U-P-L-E-S acronym is meant to familiarize men with what their wives need and how to show love to their wives. It stands for Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty and Esteem.

On the other hand, the C-H-A-I-R-S acronym sums up for women how they can show their respect for their husbands, and stands for Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship and Sexuality.

Emerson’s website also offers several i-Pod downloads and free web videos like How Can I Respect That?, I Can Never be Good Enough, Pink & Blue, Cracking the Code, Tough Love, and He doesn't Deserve It!

Emerson’s book (reprinted in the Philippines by the Church Strengthening Ministry and readily available in OMF Lit, Back to the Bible Bookstore, PCBS and National BookStore) is a little bit expensive at 350 pesos, but hey, if you want a great marriage, 350 pesos is nothing, right?

So if you are getting married sometime soon, I suggest that you go and buy Emerson’s book and browse his website, so that you can live happily, even after marriage, okay? okay?

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