- The L/R Dynamic
- Blue and Pink Glasses
- Putting It All Together
For the month of December, I will be relieving Cynic of duty to cover a book I’ve been reading called Love & Respect. This book was suggested to me by a Twitter friend, Tex. Before I went out and bought the book, I decided to listen to some sermons centered around the message of Love & Respect and was so impressed I went out and bought it the next day.
This site is focused on men, but this series is something I encourage you to print out and share with your wife as she will obtain many great insights from it as well. If you like what I’m presenting, I would greatly encourage you buy the book as it will go into much greater detail than I will.
We’re going to start part 1 of this series by reading the passage from the Bible that this whole book revolves around. For many of you, this is a well known piece of scripture and is often glossed over. However, if you really dig into what the Apostle Paul is instructing us to do, you will realize that this hits at the very core of how men and women operate.
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”-Ephesians 5:33
Men, you are to love your wife as you love yourself. So how should you love your wife/yourself? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 provides us with that answer:
“Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.”
If you are a temple for the Holy Spirit and are to love yourself in a way that brings honor to God, so should you love your wife in the same way.
Now for women, you are to show reverence for your husbands. Reverence is a deep respect for another person. Many women will scoff at this notion of respecting their husbands. Sadly, it’s a sign of the times where society has so degraded men and traditional marriages that many misunderstand why this respect should be given and what it even means.
When you tell the average woman that she ought to respect her husband, you’ll likely come across a few cookie-cutter responses:
- “He’s not better than/above me.”
- “He has to earn my respect.”
- “Only an arrogant S.O.B. would demand I respect him.”
What these women don’t understand is how men operate on a deep, subconscious level. Men are programmed to value things like honor, duty, and respect and when we believe we aren’t being shown the proper respect, it strikes straight to our psyche. The book Love & Respect tells of studies where over 7000 couples were surveyed and in those surveys they found that approximately 84% of men will tend to react more strongly to a show of disrespect than a lack of love.
To the women reading, this is the key to understanding what drives your husbands. If things aren’t going well in your marriages, take a step back and assess if you are fulfilling one of his most basic needs, the need to be respected.
So what about the other side of the coin? The astute men in the audience will have already realized that at the deepest levels of a woman’s psyche, she needs to be loved and the same studies cited in the book confirm this. Whereas men will more likely lash out at an affront to their character, women are more likely to lash out if they feel unloved by their husband.
To help illustrate this, let’s take the above cookie-cutter excuses that women might use for not respecting their husbands and flip the script on them:
- “Why should I love her?”
- “She has to earn my love.”
- Only a needy bitch would demand I love her.”
Any woman being honest with themselves would admit that these phrases would devastate them if uttered by their husband. They’re insults that strike to a woman’s core.
The next question that arises is what happens when a man feels like he isn’t being shown the proper respect and a woman feel unloved? It’s really quite simple.
When a man feels disrespected, he naturally withdraws his love and when a woman feels unloved, she withdraws her respect. This creates what the author calls “The Crazy Cycle” illustrated below:
This little graph is really quite brilliant in its simplicity. As you can see, as soon as either the husband does something perceived as unloving or the wife does something perceived as disrespectful, the cycle begins and intensifies until either the husband or wife puts on the breaks. Depending how far down the Crazy Cycle, you’ve gone this becomes increasingly difficult to do as you’ve both become more and more emotionally committed to the dispute.
How do you stop the Crazy Cycle? Simply stop withdrawing your love/respect.
A question that’s generally brought up during this discussion about love and respect is “Don’t women also need respect and men also need love?”
Of course they do! That being said, respect doesn’t impact a woman’s psyche nearly as strongly as love does and vice versa for men.
So why doesn’t the Bible also tell women to love their husbands and for husbands to respect their wives? Quite honestly, because it would be redundant. Men naturally show respect to others. As I said before, it is programmed into our code. The same applies to women with love. Women are naturally predisposed to show love and affection so why would the Bible tell them to do so? It’d be like telling a fish to use their fins to swim. No duh!
- Men need respect from their wives.
- Women need love from their husbands.
- When men don’t feel respected, they withdraw love and when women don’t feel loved, they withdraw respect (see The Crazy Cycle).
- The Crazy Cycle ends only when one spouse begins returning the love/respect.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment on this series, Blue and Pink Glasses.