Love and Respect: Chapters 22-24

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 22 Observations and Quotations

This chapter is a summary of moving in the opposite direction of the Crazy Cycle and instead engaging in the Energizing cycle. His love motivates her respect. Her respect motivates his love. Rather than withholding what your spouse needs most in response to your own needs not being meet this theory is about reaching beyond how you feel and choosing to offer one another love and respect. Through this act of humble submission one to another, we find that our spouse is then naturally motivated to give us what we need.

Do you agree with this theory? Does it work this way in your home?

Chapter 23 Observations and Quotations

On page 266 we are presented with a new aspect to the Love and Respect principle. The Rewarded Cycle. “If you get no results from practicing Love and Respect, why bother? The Rewarded Cycle gives you the answers to these questions.”

One thought that I had as I read this chapter was, “If we are choosing to be respectful out of a motivation for our husbands to be more loving, is that authentic? Should we be surprised if it doesn’t work? For me this book has been most helpful in establishing the value of unconditional respect. So even if you don’t have a book-worthy testimony of how these principles work in your marriage, hold onto what the Lord has taught you. He will harvest good things in your life from it.

The Rewarded Cycle “His love blesses regardless of her respect. Her respect blesses regardless of his love.”

I think the balancing act in all of this is negotiating between unconditional respect and not enabling bad behavior. If we are not aware of it, we could end up erring to one side or the other during conflict.

Chapter 24 Observations and Quotations

Page 284 “No matter how depressing or irritating my spouse might be, my response is my responsibility.” For many of us this is not a new concept, but the opposite sure feels true sometimes. It’s very easy to fall into accusations of, “You made me…” How do we truly let go of the belief that other people are responsible for our reaction?

I liked the grain of sand illustration on page 285. Did it resonate with you as well?

The key in all of this, the hinge point for how our godly response to our spouse impacts our marriage is Jesus. I was glad the author included this. The kingdom of God come into our lives makes all the difference.

Page 290 “The Rewarded Cycle offers still more because the mature husband or wife does not go unnoticed by his or her children.” This is so true. I have seen it over and over again, as I am sure you have too. Our kids watch us so closely and they are learning how to relate with the people in their world as they witness our relationship with them and one another.

So how was this book meaningful to you? What are the key points you are taking with you? Would love to hear how you have been blessed and challenged by reading it.

Love and Respect: Chapters 18-21

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 18 Observations and Quotations

Authority – In this chapter the Eggerichs presents the value men have to serve and lead their families. To be honest this is a difficult point for me. You have to understand that I grew up with a father who was a disgrace. Perhaps because of the many years that I witnessed an abusive, sacrilegious, unkind “head of the family,” I have a hard time perceiving the concept of a man automatically being given a place of authority in the home. Certainly my mother, though even she herself would not claim to have been perfect, showed significantly more wisdom and spiritual direction in our home. And yet I have to wonder if all those years are actually a witness to the reality of how much authority a husband has in a home. Perhaps it was his lack of wisdom in wielding what he had been given that caused so much pain for the rest of us in the family.

All that to say, I can not wrap up my thoughts about this chapter into a neat little bow and say I have it all figured out one way or the other. But this I can say, together my husband and I stand strong to resist the attacks of the enemy on our home. Does he have more authority against it than I do? Sometimes it seems so. Sometimes it doesn’t. When we are at a stalemate in a decision, we tend not to make any change at all until we reach unity in prayer. I am rather of a submissive personality anyway so when I present an idea and my husband doesn’t like it, I don’t tend to get upset. I leave it with him and most of the time we end up doing as I suggested anyway. I don’t do this because I have in mind that he has authority over me. I do it because it is in my nature to do it without thinking about it. So in my mind I would say that I don’t like the over all generality that men have higher authority, but in my natural interactions with my husband, it does come out that I yield to him most of the time.

Chapter 19 Observations and Quotations

Insight – This chapter rang very true for me. My husband loves to think things through with me. He is a very wise man and I appreciate hearing his perspective on things. If I need to send an important email to one of my business contacts, I will often read it to him and he always has a helpful perspective. If I have a problem and I don’t actually want him to offer suggestions on a solution, I need to preface what I say with a blatant comment that I am not looking for ideas on how to fix it. If I do not make this preface, his natural desire to offer analysis of the situation will kick in and I’ll end up frustrated since I wasn’t looking for him to solve it for me.

Page 231 “A marriage needs her intuition and his insight.”

I really agree with this. In my own relationship with my husband our blend of intuition and insight often ends up in us making very good decisions together. Is this indicative of your marriage too?

Chapter 20 Observations and Quotations

Relationship – I was surprised that any women would even questions this as I haven’t noticed it as being a predominantly male value. I think a lot of men and women enjoy the friendship they have with their spouse. I certainly do. The author’s point seems to be that men like to be together without talking and women like to be together and talk. I don’t see this predominantly true of my husband and I. My husband and I have both enjoyed dates that involved very little talking (sitting quietly at the library looking through magazines we don’t usually buy) or a great deal of talking (our coffee dates). We both love to spend our evenings in the same room, but we are often doing different things. Right now I am sitting on the couch writing this and he is watching TV and we a sharing a bag of Doritos. This is a perfect and normal evening for us.

Chapter 21 Observations and Quotations

Sexuality – While I do not agree that every man fits into the stereotype of being a sexual aggressor, I think a great many men do. I have heard from enough women who are living with refusers that lack passion and desire to know that its very common for a husband to not fit into this mould. Having said that, I believe that what we can take from this chapter is that if you are married to one of the many men who IS highly sexual, offering yourself to him sexually is going to communicate to him that you value him.

I loved the story of the mother who confronted her daughter about withholding sex. Truly, even if you are not a highly sexual woman, it really does not take a lot of effort to engage with your husband sexually throughout the week. That doesn’t mean it won’t take some time to figure out issues like frequency and what goes on in bed, but generally being free with your sexuality towards your husband is an important part of respecting him and showing him that you are committed to him.

Love and Respect: Chapters 15-17

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Today we wil shift our focus to the needs of our husband. The next set of chapters focuses on what many men need in order to feel respected. Some of it may or may not apply to your husband, but the ideas presented are applicable to a lot of men. The acronym that the author uses is CHAIRS; Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality.

Chapter 15 Observations and Quotations

The first thing that I took particular notice of was on page 188. Here the Eggerichs suggests that in looking to affirm that you respect your husband, rather than looking at how he performs, look at how he desires to serve you, your family and the other people in his life. That shows his character more than how successful he is at doing all that he wants to do. Since my husband often operates in the Spirit with the gift of helps, he is naturally prone to desiring to serve others. So that is where I put my focus. I know he loves being able to help friends or family when they are in need and so that is where I place my respect.

On page 190 the author presents the reason for using the acronym CHAIRS. He says that for many typical men, they see themselves as the ones who should “chair” the relationship. Setting aside the fact that this is a point of contention for a lot of people I want to ask if you have found that in your marriage, this is true of your husband. Does your husband show a desire to “chair” your relationship?

Chapter 16 Observations and Quotations

Conquest – A lot of men have a strong desire for action and achievement. My man certainly does. In general, men are compelled to be active and moving. Many men find it hard to sit in church for this reason. It can be a very passive experience, and it’s the reason my husband is often standing at the back of the room during church doing something. Something of the kingdom, but more actively engaged in what is happening during the service.

Now, when a man succeeds at something this often results in… very good sex. Very active and passionate sex. It’s a great time for more exciting positions and techniques. It will add to his feeling of success when he comes home to a wife who affirms in bed that he really is a MAN.

On page 195 the author expresses that there is a shift that happens between courting and marriage. He says that before marriage, the wife is affirming of what her husband want to do and who he wants to be, but after marriage her attempts to help can come across negatively. Do you agree with this? If so, what do you think would cause it?

Chapter 17 Observations and Quotations

Hierarchy – What does this word mean to you? To me it means different levels of prominence and importance. For that reason I can not relate to the word Eggerichs uses to describe this need in a man. I can not relate to a number of the terms used in this chapter. I do not think the man is ordained to be more prominent or important in the relationship. Having said that, I do agree that most of the men I see desire to protect and provide for their family which is the essence of what the author is trying to express in this chapter. I agree that the Lord has called my husband to be the head of our family, but do not believe that it means he is on a higher level of significance. What I believe it means is that God has given my husband a unique commission to be a covering of protection for our family. I willingly submit to that because I trust my husband’s discernment and care for us as though it were my own.

On page 208, Eggerichs presents the issue of how our culture has shifted so much and that a lot of couples encounter contention because of these shifts. What seemed simple in the Bible, seems complicated now. “She does not want him to dominate her, and at the same time, she doesn’t want her husband to have to depend on her either.” Can you relate to this?

One page 209 the author shared a story about the wife who told her husband that he needed to get a second job after taking a tour of a new home that she, to call a spade a spade, had become covetous of. I can really identify with being cautious about making sure that I don’t say things which cause my husband to question that appreciate how hard he works for our family in and away from our home. I can only imagine how that comment must have shot her husband through the heart. If I’d said that to my husband, I know he would have been thinking, “Don’t I provide for you well enough?” And it’s really a reflection of her own sin of discontentment. She wasn’t thankful for what God had provided for their family. The reason I can say this is because I can identify with temptation in this area. I have been known to lose my focus and turn my eyes towards wanting things that God has not freed me to.

Love and Respect: Chapters 11 – 14

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Just like last week’s book study, since the following chapters are intended for men, I invite you to reflect on the ideas and share if you can relate to the examples and stories in each chapter.

Chapter 11 Reflections

Understanding – In this chapter I can really identify with the need for my husband to just listen sometimes and not necessarily give me any “help” if I am having a problem. I have actually come to the point where I will preface a conversation about a frustrating situation with a comment like, “I don’t need you to fix this, but I just wanted to share what’s going on.” It been a very helpful communication tool for us.

Chapter 12 Reflections

Peacemaking – One comment that bothered me in this chapter was on page 156, ” I learned that God intended for some conflict to exist in marriage.” He based it on 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, but I do not see how this verse supports that statement and it is contrary to what the Lord has been teaching me in recent years about pain and suffering in general. I do not agree that God intended conflict. I believe he intended complete unity, but humanity’s fall brought conflict into our relationships. Now that conflict exists, I believe God uses it all to His glory. It’s the miracle of his redemption. He uses the conflict in our marriages to make us holy and to bring us closer to one another, but I do not believe that it was part of his original plan for us.

Chapter 13 Reflections

Loyalty – Having come from a home with a habitually adulterous father, this is something I entered into marriage having fear about. God has brought me incredible healing over the years and I am thankful that I have a husband who is so committed to me and our marriage. As Eggerichs quotes on page 167, my husband agrees with the biblical statement “I have made a promise with my eyes. I promised not to look at another woman with sexual longing.”

Chapter 14 Reflections

Esteem – As expressed on page 181, although I can identify with feeling esteemed when my husband thanks me for things (as he does when I express thanks for we both have Words of Affirmation as high level love languages), I can not relate with the desire for my husband to read my mind (page 179). Well, perhaps I sometimes wish he was able to, but I certainly do not expect it. When I have a preference about something I am certain to express my opinion and when I genuinely do not have a preference, that is when I tell him to go ahead and decide. Sometimes he does the same with me, asks me to make the decision.

Please share you reflections below and be ready next week to discuss chapters 15 through 17.

Love and Respect: Chapters 8 – 10

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 8 Observations and Quotations

1. Eggerichs calls The Energizing Cycle a proactive, positive and preventative way of staying off the Crazy Cycle. We begin in this chapter to consider how love is best communicated to a woman. The intent of this section of the book is to teach men how to love their wives in a way that is meaningful to them. Eggerichs has chosen 6 relational qualities that he has observed as a need in the women he has counselled. Together they make up the word “COUPLE” and are listed as follows. Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty and Esteem. Before we go into detail on each of them, generally speaking, can you identify with these things?

Page 120 [A pilot] learns that if his instrument panel tells him he’s upside down, even if he feels he’s right side up, he should listen to the instrument panel and turn the plane right side up, no matter how he feels.

2. This quote is an encouragement to men to trust that if they follow the guiding principles set out in COUPLE, even if it feels wrong, they will find that they stay off the Crazy Cycle more easily. Can you relate to this? Are there things in your life that you do because you know they are right even if they feel wrong?

Since the following chapters are intended for men, I invite you to reflect on the ideas and share if you can relate to the examples and stories in each chapter.

Chapter 9 Reflections

Closeness – I can relate to finding pleasure in my marriage through closeness. My husband and I love to sit next to each other on the couch in the evenings. Our focus isn’t usually on one another, but we like to just be near each other. I can’t say it is a stronger need in me than it is in him, but it’s definitely present. As I write this, movie credits are rolling over the TV screen from the show we just watched and he is working on something on his laptop next to me. This is how many of our evenings are, and we love it.

Chapter 10 Reflections

Openness – I can really relate to the analogy on page 136 of the circuit board. Without a doubt, stereotype or not, in my marriage our issues definitely all feel connected to me and for my husband he can keep them separate. Later on page 143 Eggerichs mentions that if a man is forceful in sharing his opinion it can sound harsh and unloving to his wife. This I can relate to as well. My husband and I express ourselves very differently and even when he does not mean to sound harsh, I have felt what Eggerichs refers to as “my air hose being clamped down on.”

I would love to hear what insights you found in these chapters. I’d like to have some discussion on them if there were certain points that were particularly helpful, even though the chapters are directed towards men.

Please be ready next week to discuss the remaining chapters covering the COUPLE acronym. Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty and Esteem.

Love and Respect: Chapters 5 – 7

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 5 Observations and Quotations

1. When a husband and wife are in the Crazy Cycle, who should be the first to turn things around? For Eggerichs, the Lord lead him to this conclusion: the one who sees himself or herself as the most mature. My immediate response is different. I believe that the one who first recognizes that they are on a cycle of disrespect and a lack of love should be the first to make a change. What is your conclusion?

Page 76 Some wives fear that taking a respectful attitude during conflict with their husbands will render them powerless. These women do not believe a husband will change into a loving man unless he is awakened to his flaws. And the only way he will awaken to his inadequacies and faults is to hear his wife’s grumblings, corrections and contempt.

2. Do you think it is possible to mention flaws that you see in your husband without grumbling and contempt? In other words, can you maintain respect and also bring correction at the same time? I can. I think a wise woman can pick her timing and create an atmosphere of humility so that correction can be given and received.

3. Do you identify with the suggestion that when you get angry and lose your self control, that it comes from a place of wanting to be loved? While I agree with it in part, I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. I think a lot of variables influence our emotions during conflict.

Chapter 6 Observations and Quotations

1. As mentioned in this chapter, do you feel a tension between unconditional respect and being a hypocrite? How does your heart respond to respond to the idea of respecting your husband even when you are not feeling like it?

Page 90 I am asking the Lord to show me ways to show [my husband] genuine respect. I have definitely seen a difference in his attitude toward me. 

I believe this is the key. The Lord knows you. He knows your husband. He knows how you can show genuine respect in your marriage in a way that will be authentic for you and meaningful for him.

Page 91 Showing respectful behaviour when we don’t “feel respectful” is evidence of maturity, not hypocrisy.

So true. Amen?

2. On page 92 Eggerichs presents some verbiage that helped him more clearly communicate with his wife. “Honey, that felt disrespectful.” This is the sort of language that allows you to express yourself honestly without it becoming an attack on your spouse. What other phrases have you used with success?

Chapter 7 Observations and Quotations

1. On page 110, an excerpt from a letter recounts how God brought breakthrough to a marriage by softening the man and woman’s heart. I believe that any time we can humble ourselves and maintain soft hearts, there is going to be good fruit in our relationships. It has certainly been that way in my home with my husband, but also between us and our children. Have you experienced this good fruit?

Please feel free to share your own insights and questions below. Please be ready next week to discuss chapters 8 through 10.

Love and Respect: Chapters 3 and 4

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 3 Observations and Quotations

1. One of my motivators for wanting to read this book was that I wanted insight into how to be respectful even when my husband is not acting in a way that is worthy of respect so I really appreciated the focus in this chapter on unconditional respect.

Page 43 A simple application is that a wife is to display a respectful facial expression and tone when he fails to be the man she wants.

Do you agree with this? What about our hearts? Is it respectful to have a smile on our face and contempt in our hearts? I think it’s fairly easy to hid contempt by putting on a “good Christian girl” mask. What is a respectful facial expression? Is it just making sure you always have a pleasant look on your face? Can you be angry and respectful at the same time? These are important considerations for us if we want to respect our husbands as the Lord commands.

I loved this quote from page 44: When the wife flatly says her husband will have to earn her respect before she gives him any, she leaves the husband in a lose-lose situation. Now he’s responsible for both love and respect in the relationship. He must unconditionally love his wife and he muss also earn her respect.

This makes so much sense to me. While I believe that unconditional love and respect ought to both be present in the heart of a husband or a wife, as specific commandments to husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands, this quote is a good reminder that love and respect in marriage is not to be earned. It is to be freely given with confidence.

I think we have spent so long hearing messages about unconditional love, that unconditional respect seems less honourable. It seems reasonable for us to love one another unconditionally, but to respect each other unconditionally doesn’t seem worth acquiring. What do you think about the notion of unconditional respect? Do you think this transfers over to how we treat one another in the kingdom of God?

2. On page 47 Eggerichs points out that even though both men and women need love and respect, there is a primary drive in each sex that a man’s higher need is respect and a woman’s higher need is love. Do you agree with this? Personally speaking, I think I get more triggered negatively when people treat me disrespectfully than when they treat me unlovingly. Many of my hurt feelings in my marriage were caused because I felt disrespected. I can not relate to the idea that I seek to be loved more than I seek to be respected. I really value them both, BUT I do value frequent reminders that my husband loves me over reminders that he respects me.

3. I am confused by the references in this book like the one on page 49 that typical wives are “lovingly critical and complaining.” Is this confusing to anyone else? I certainly know a lot of wives AND husbands who are like this, but I would say that it is far from typical. Most of my friends treat their spouse with a lot of kindness. “Lovingly critical” seems like a great oxymoron to me. Do you know people who criticize out of love? I do not.

4. At the end of the chapter Eggerichs takes the time to address the concern that some women have that if they offer unconditional respect to their husbands, they will become victims of abuse. If a woman fears this it is even more important that she reflect on the questions I posted above about what it actually looks like to be respectful because I think that it is possible for a women to respectfully put up boundaries about how she is treated. I think it is possible for a woman to be angry and respectful at the same time. As Eggerichs points out, husbands and wives are equals. While the husband is called, even to the point of death, to protect his wife, neither one is above the other.

Chapter 4 Observations and Quotations

Page 58 Men need to feel respected during conflict more than they need to feel loved.  

1. This quote was Eggerichs’ response to a survey question that during conflict most men or more inclined to feel disrespected than loved during a conflict. How does this knowledge influence how you approach conflict with your husband?

2. On page 60 the author shares what he has observed in a lot of couples. I can not relate to it as my husband and I are completely opposite so I am curious how this has played out between you and your husband. Eggerichs says that a wife sees tense exchanges as opportunities to potentially increase love between them so she presses in, but the husband finds the conflict to be an argument that he wants to escape from so he becomes quieter. What has been the pattern in your marriage? I found the end of this section particularly negative towards women and not overly helpful. Telling women that they are complainers and that if they keep it up the marriage will probably end in divorce isn’t a good way to motivate them in my opinion. What do you think?

3. On page 65 Eggerichs says that he has asked a lot of businessmen if they would prefer that their associates love them or respect them and they all say that they want respect. As a businesswoman myself, I think this is more a reflection on the context of business rather than a reflection of their core need for respect. In business, respect is always more important that love. Do you agree?

Page 69: When a husband feels disrespected, it can provoke him so quickly he doesn’t see his unloving reaction, which would be obvious to any woman.

4. When your husband responds to you in an unloving way, what strategies have you found most helpful in quickly getting the two of you back to a place of unity? How do you effectively restore love and respect?

Page 72: I’m not trying to hammer wives – I’m trying to help them, because I know how pivotal the wife’s respect can be in slowing down the Crazy Cycle. Yes, many men are unloving clods to one degree or another, but they can change. In fact, many of them want to change, and the best way to get them to change is treating them with unconditional respect. 

5. I am really confused by this. WHY is the author putting so much more emphasis on disrespectful wives, while so quickly excusing their “unloving clods” for husbands? It seems that he believes men desire to learn to be loving, but women do not desire to learn to be respectful. I just do not understand the communication efforts of the author at this point.

Your comments are welcomed. Please be prepared to discuss chapters 5 through 7 next Monday.

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