Do you want your marriage to change? If honest, most of us could find SOMETHING we’d like to change in our marital relationship. If so, please continue to read.
There’s a marriage conference Cindy and I have had the privilege of attend that can cause a “good marriage to become better and a poor marriage good.” It’s called, Love and Respect given by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. It’s a great conference that we highly recommend.
It’s difficult to do justice to the powerful truths they present in one Marriage Message, but we’ll do the best we can, giving a brief synopsis, hoping you’ll find it beneficial. The entire conference is based upon the one scripture: Ephesians 5:33:
“Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let his wife see to it that she respects her husband.”
Dr. Eggerichs teaches a few simple premises: First, most men and women don’t enter into marriage plotting to destroy the other person or ruin the marriage. As he said we’re basically people of good will. “If good will exists then most conflict is due to a MISUNDERSTANDING of each others core value.” A wife’s core value is LOVE and a husband’s core value is RESPECT.
Dr Eggerichs points out that nowhere in God’s word is a woman specifically commanded to love her husband. That’s because, God created the woman to love. He never has to command someone to do what it was already created to do. But, she is commanded to respect him.
On the other hand, God created us men with the capacity to love, but it doesn’t come as naturally. It’s something we have to work at. I (Steve) think that’s why in Ephesians 5 God tells us several times that this kind of love requires great sacrifice.
Through a lot of study and counseling of couples over the years, Dr. Eggerichs has come up with his second premise: “When there’s a breakdown in the marriage relationship it’s because couples get on ‘The “Crazy Cycle.’”
Simply put, the “Crazy Cycle” is where a couple goes round and round arguing in a circle. This happens when a husband acts towards his wife WITHOUT LOVE. She in turn reacts WITHOUT RESPECT. When she reacts WITHOUT RESPECT, he then reacts WITHOUT LOVE. And, so the cycle continues round and round until they either destroy the health of their relationship or they realize this isn’t healthy and start to practice Ephesians 5:33.
While Emerson says the principles are simple he also admits they aren’t easy. Why? Because our human (sinful nature) wants its own way. Sacrifice is never fun and neither is putting our spouse’s needs ahead of our own. But, when just one of us in the marriage is willing to get off the “Crazy Cycle,” Dr. Eggerichs says we can both win.
When asked, “Who’s supposed to start this? Emerson says, “The more mature one in the relationship.” There’s also no “loop-hole” or “escape clause.” This means a husband is always supposed to show HIS LOVE even if his wife doesn’t give HER RESPECT. Likewise, a wife is supposed to always give HER RESPECT even if her husband isn’t showing HIS LOVE to her.
Our natural inclination is to say something like, “I’ll show her LOVE when she starts treating me with RESPECT,” or “He’ll get my respect when he earns it.” The problem with this way of thinking is it is conditional and God’s word shows us true Love and Respect is unconditional.
UNCONDITIONAL RESPECT IS SOMETHING GOD EXPECTS. The Bible says, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free” (Ephesians 6:7-8).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for the deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS ALSO SOMETHING ELSE GOD EXPECTS. On this subject the Bible says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)
“And if you love those who love you, what credit is [that] to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same [amount.]“ (Luke 6:32-34).
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20).
Additionally, giving unconditional respect and love to each other deepens and demonstrates our love and reverence for Christ as we do this “as unto Christ.” It’s the “You did it to me” principle. The Bible says, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them,] you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:37-40).
It also says, “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’” (Matthew 25:45).
We’re to be people of honor, doing what’s difficult —to love and honor each other unconditionally because God said to and it’s the right thing to do. It’s also a way to get off the “Crazy Cycle.” We need to leave a legacy to our children that we did what God said to do even though it was difficult —even though it isn’t what comes natural or is “popular” to do in today’s self-absorbed society.
If we want to change our marriage we’re each responsible for changing ourselves so that God’s design for marriage is seen. Emerson sums it up this way:
“The best way to influence or motivate a spouse isn’t to withhold love or respect. Let’s face it —an unloving demeanor doesn’t energize a wife to display a respectful countenance. It’s to meet their deepest need, especially in conflict.
“As a husband, your love best motivates your wife to respond to you showing respect. As a wife, your respect best motivates your husband to respond to you with love, especially during conflict. If you choose to ignore this, what other option is there, but to get back on the crazy cycle? Craziness is when we keep doing the same thing over and over again with the same ill-effects.”
That’s a cycle we need to get off, and do things God’s way!
We highly recommend the Eggerichs’ teaching on this subject. We found it to be very sound, inspiring, and helpful—no matter how long you’ve been married! You can find recordings of the entire weekend seminar along with the syllabus for sale on at their web site at Loveandrespect.com.
Steve and Cindy Wright
— ALSO —
A few additional blogs where you may learn more of these principles from, are written by Emerson Eggerichs and can be read by clicking onto the Emersonandsarah.blogspot.com links below:
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Filed under: Marriage Messages