If you recall a few weeks ago I mentioned that Ron and I were going to renew our vows next summer for our 25th wedding anniversary. We decided to do a Bible Study together as a part of that process as well. We chose the book Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. There is an accompanying workbook. We will each work individually throughout the week and then on Wednesday nights while the kids are gone to Youth group he and I will go over our study. My plan (which doesn’t always pan out the way I intend for them to) is to write about the what the book covers prior to our study each week. Just to clarify, I will not be sharing what he and I discuss in our study. I’m even planning to write the entries prior to doing the pages in the workbook. So, the posts will contain the gist of each chapter along with my thoughts on that chapter. A number of you have asked me to share about the book. A lot of you have mentioned that the book is on your To-Be-Read list. I hope this will be something that you can use in your marriage and in how you relate with your spouse.
The book is based on Ephesians 5:33 – However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV) Dr. Eggerichs has put together a series of marriage seminars based on this book. He shares about his marriage with his wife Sarah and what the two of them have learned in developing a Cycle plan to bring light to the basic cycle a marriage travels in relating to one another.
First of all if you ask married couples anywhere you will find out that what the woman needs more than anything else is to feel loved by her husband. And what the husband needs most is to be respected by his wife. Yet very often our interactions with one another work against that plan. Paul writes very clearly in Ephesians 5:33 that a man MUST love his wife and a woman MUST respect her husband. It doesn’t say or even imply that a man only needs to love his wife IF she respects him or vice versa. It is a Biblical commandment. Those are not optional. Just as we do not love our children IF they obey us. We love them unconditionally in spite of what they do or say. Love and respect in a marriage should be no different. We’ve all heard about unconditional love but have we heard about unconditional respect?
I can almost hear you mumbling now “but my husband gives me no reason to respect him”. Well, according to Paul giving you a reason to respect him is not something that we have to wait for. We should respect him simply because he is our husband and God tells us to. He may say or do something to make you feel unloved which then makes us respond in a way that makes him feel disrespected and so on. Dr. Eggerichs calls this The Crazy Cycle. It’s like one big circle. The sooner we come to the understanding that we are actually IN this cycle and can recognize it for what it is then we can change direction thus breaking the cycle and give our relationship a chance at a healthy bond.
The next chapter talks about how to communicate and decipher the code necessary to change the cycle and our response to it and to one another resulting in a stronger marriage and a tighter bond. I foresee a lot of lessons to be learned along the way.