Well, we’ve reached the end of our Love and Respect series. We’ve discussed a lot of topics and hopefully you’ve all gleaned some valuable information to help improve your marriages.
Today, we’re going to wrap this series up by discussing a few topic that will help you make the Love & Respect lessons work for you and your spouse. Some are helpful pointers while others will be necessary for this all to work.
Unconditional Love & Respect
For as many of you that are in strong, healthy marriages, there are many more who’s marriages are struggling. Maybe you’ve read the Love & Respect series (and book) and are on board, but your spouse isn’t. What do you do?
You speak their language, be it blue or pink, regardless of their reaction and whether you feel like it or not. You’re not doing this for them. You’re doing this for yourself and, if you’re religious, you’re doing this to honor God as commanded in Ephesians 5:24-25.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
This isn’t a game of tit for tat or quid pro quo. This is about serving your role as a devoted spouse with faith that your love/respect will touch the heart of your spouse.
Now the next question that most people ask is “What’s the guarantee that this will work?”
The honest response is, there is no guarantee on whether it will work or how long it will take to work. The Love & Respect book tells many firsthand accounts of the spouse finally coming around after being shown unconditional love/respect. Some began seeing the light in a few weeks, others after a few months.
There’s no easy answer to give on this issue, but if you have shown 100% devotion for a full year to your spouse, have invited them multiple times to take part in the Love & Respect series, and have tried opening up to them about improving your marriage with zero change from them, then perhaps it’s time to move on. This is an easier decision if you don’t have kids. If you do, then it’s my personal recommendation to stick it out at least until the kids are moved out of the house. Take that for what you will. Who knows, maybe your spouse is a slow learner and it takes them over a year to finally get it.
Where there’s at least one spouse who hasn’t given up on the marriage, there’s still a glimmer of hope to save the entire marriage.
Spouse With Good Intentions
A lot of issues arise because a husband or wife believes their spouse does something specifically to get under their skin. We’re all victim to this phenomenon from time to time without even consciously realizing it. Many things that may come across as incredibly -and intentionally- unloving or disrespectful may have been a simple mistake on the part of the perpetrator.
Perhaps they hand a long day at work and their brain is already shut off for the day.
Maybe the kids have been running them ragged all morning and they accidentally snap over something trivial.
We may see them as intentionally starting drama, but that may not be the case at all.
Let me ask you and your spouse a simple question: Do you believe your spouse wakes up in the morning and thinks “What can I do to annoy or disparage my wife/husband today?”
I highly doubt the number is higher than 1%. Most people have good will and intentions towards their spouse even though they may not always show it. As such, if your spouse does something that grinds your gears, give them the benefit of the doubt and ask them if that’s how they meant it to come across.
Love & Respect and The 12 Levels of Dread
Some of you may be wondering how these two series tie together. They seem pretty unrelated at best and maybe even contradictory at worst. If you’re following my revised 12 Levels of Dread, then that’s really not the case. The first six levels actually help with one facet of the Love & Respect dynamic.
While your wife SHOULD be respecting you unconditionally, we don’t live in a world of should’s. We are all human and, as such, regularly fall short.
The first six levels help by giving your wife a gentle nudge. When you’re dressing nice, in shape, asserting yourself, and leading the family from the front, it’s a lot easier for her to show respect to you than if you were some weak couch potato slob.
- Love/Respect your spouse unconditionally whether they deserve it or not, not for their sake, but for yours.
- Assume your spouse has good will/intentions and isn’t intentionally trying to slight you.
- Being a man worthy of respect makes it easier for your wife to show her respect towards you.
- On the flip side, being a woman worthy of love makes it easier for your husband to show his love towards you.