Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Language of Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

This is another book I have been reading for a book review for Thomas Nelson Publishing. Over the next few days I will be writing about it. I highly recommend it!!!

Dr. Eggerichs says that couples fall into one of three cycles in a relationship: the crazy cycle, the energizing cycle, or the rewarded cycle. The crazy cycle is summed up like this: without love she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. Therefore love and respect is based on our reactions. The crazy cycle happens when spouses focus on their own needs and overlook the needs of the other. Each spouse needs to commit to unconditional love for each other no matter what. The energizing cycle is summed up like this: His love motivates her respect. Her respect motivates his love. This can be accomplished when couples are on following the love and respect principles which are laid out in this book and summed up in the acronym c-o-u-p-l-e for the wife and c-h-a-i-r-s for the man.

C- closeness. O- openness. U- understanding. P- peacemaking. L- loyalty. E- esteem.
C- conquest. H- hierarchy. A- authority. I- insight. R- sexuality.

A check-up questionnaire that each couple can use to keep themselves in check is as follows.

For the husband:
C- closeness. Have I been moving toward my wife or away from her? Realizing her deep need to share with me, have I set aside time to talk to her face to face? Do I tell her on a regular basis that I love her, admire her, and appreciate her- or do I save those remarks for when I want sex?
O- openness. Do I share my thoughts and problems with her, or do I keep things to myself to prove I am strong and capable? Do I come across as irritated or angry when she tries to draw herself out, or am I open and transparent when she shows concern or curiosity? Do I turn my spirit more toward TV and the newspaper than toward the heart of my wife?
U- understanding. When she shares her concerns and problems, do I tend to listen and let her talk, or do I try to "fix" her or what is wrong? Do I see my wife as made of porcelain or other fine china, or do I treat her like she is made of cast iron? Do I increasingly see that "just talking" is key to making her feel understood? Do I understand that talking is as important to my wife as sex is to me?
P- peacemaking. Do I tend to talk things through and resolve issues, or do I tend to say, "Let's just drop it and move on"? When my wife expresses hurt or anger, do I easily say, "I'm sorry. I was wrong."- or do I tend to get defensive, and express hurt and anger myself? Do I really understand how saying "I'm sorry" touches her deeply and makes her feel connected like few things do?
L- loyalty. Do I look for ways to express my loyalty to her alone, or do I tend to think, "She knows I love her. I don't have to remind her constantly"? In this "swimsuit issue" world, do I openly admire pretty women because I know my wife is secure and can handle it, or do I save my admiration for her alone? My wife is a one-man woman, but is she absolutely sure I am a one-woman man? Do I understand that assurance of my loyalty calms her soul like few things can?
E- esteem. Does my wife feel treasured, like most loved women on earth, or is there work for me to do in this area? Do I take my wife's efforts with the family for granted, or do I often let her know "Thanks for everything you do for me and the kids. I could never, ever do your job!" Do I always remember how important birthdays and anniversaries are to my wife, or do I sometimes get busy and forget? Do I remind myself how energizing it is to her to be referred to as my equal?

A wife can ask herself the following questions on a regular basis:

C- conquest. Does my husband know I am behind his desire to work? Do I support him in his endeavor? Do I really understand how important his job is to him- that is the very warp and woof of his being? Do I realize that my recognition of the significance of my husband's work energizes him and how fond feelings of affection for me arise in him in response to this recognition?
H- hierarchy. Do I express my respect and appreciation for his sense of responsibility for me, or do I either openly or subtly resent the biblical concept of the husband's headship, feeling that my husband views headship as a right over me, not a responsibility for me? Am I willing to send my husband a card or note to tell him how much I respect him? What would I say to thank him for his desire to take care of me? Do I fully understand how such a statement of respect for his commitment to protect me can touch him deeply?
A- authority. Do I let my husband know that, because he has the responsibility to protect and provide for me, I recognize he also has primary authority in our family, or do I insist on an "egalitarian" marriage where we both have equal authority, yet I contradict "egalitarianism" by expecting him to be primarily responsible? Do I recognize my husband's desire to be the leader in relationship to me? Do I allow my husband to be the leader, or do I take the lead because, frankly, I am better at a lot of things than he is? Am I on record with my husband that, because he has 51 percent of the responsibility, he has 51 percent of the authority?
I- insight. Do I tend to turn to him for his opinion and analysis, or do I tend to depend more on my intuition? Do I realize that we are a team-that our marriage needs my intuition and his insight? Do I regularly ask for my husband's advice? Do I follow it? If my husband offers ideas or opinions that are contrary to mine, am I open to changing, or do I reject out of hand his wish to offer insight? Do I often see my husband as wrong, sinful, and in need of correction and myself as right, good, and correct? Do I sometimes try to be my husband's Holy Spirit?
R- relationship. How much shoulder-to-shoulder time do I spend with my husband? Do we do things together as friends and companions? Do I ever just sit with him-to watch a ball game or a TV program- because I understand his desire for me to be with him? Do I ever just sit and watch him work on something without having to talk?
S- sexuality. Do I understand that my husband's need for sex is really and indication of his deeper need for respect? Do I sometimes deprive my husband of sex because I don't feel he meets my need for intimacy and love? Do I think we need to be close before we can share sexually, or do I see having sex with him as a way to feel close? Am I willing to give my husband the sexual release he needs even when I am not in the mood?

As I type this entire set of questions for women I am convicted that I have been guilty of not giving my husband the respect he deserves and I need to ask the Holy Spirit to faithfully obey the Word of God concerning this issue in my life. I hope that as I read and post more about this book that it will be as big of a help to you as it is to me.

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