C.H.A.I.R.S. - Advice For Wives

The next cycle in the book I'm reading ("Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs) is called the "Energizing Cycle". The firt cycle, if you'll remember, was the "Crazy Cycle" - please see my previous post on the Crazy Cycle.

The Energizing Cycle can start with just one spouse following the command in the Bible to either love their wife or respect their husband. If one person in the relationship does this then it's more likely to bring about a loving or respectful reaction from the other spouse. The book calls it the energizing cycle because it says if the wife is respecting her husband it "energizes" him to treat her in a more loving way, or if the husband is loving his wife it will "energize" her to react in a more respectful way.

What I liked about this chapter is that it actually gave practical advice to husbands and wives on how to get on the Energizing Cycle in the form of acronyms. I kind of skipped through the section for husbands on loving their wives (though I may go back through and actually read it), but I was more interested in reading the chapters written for wives on how to respect their husbands.

The acronym for wives is C.H.A.I.R.S.

The "C" stands for Conquest, because a man is wired to work and achieve. We ladies aren't wired exactly the same way, but this chapter talked about how a man's job is very important to him. Derek once made a comment to me about how he wouldn't understand it if we didn't have any kids and I didn't want to work at all. At the time I felt a little unsupported - I'm the type that I would want to work just to have something to do, but I wanted his hypothetical support if I would someday decide that I didn't want to work. He kept saying that he would support me, but he wouldn't understand it. Looking back on that discussion of ours I realize perhaps why he wouldn't understand that. Working and achieving and "conquering" are so tied into who men are at their core, that I'm understanding a little better why he would have a hard time with me not wanting to work (if we have no kids at home - he totally understands me not wanting to work when we have kids).

The chapter also emphasized how crushing it is to a man if you even indirectly belittle his work. And it gave practical advice about how to be supportive - I can't tell you everything though, you'll just have to read the book yourself.

The "H" stands for heirarchy and it discussed how we women need to appreciate our men's desire to protect and provide for us. Men are called to be the "head" in the relationship. That doesn't sit well with the feminist idea of the world we see most today, but it's what the Bible teaches. One line that I appreciated in this chapter was "The problem many women have today - including Christian wives - is that they want to be treated like a princess, but deep down they resist treating their husbands like the king." And apparently one does follow the other - when we treat our husbands with the respect they deserve as the head of our households, they are more likely to respnd by treating us like princesses. And what wife doesn't want that?

The "A" stands for authority. This chapter also talks about how a man is to be the leader of his household and serve his family by leading them. We women need to respect their authority - there needs to be a distinct leader within any organization, and according to God's Word, in the family the husband is it. We women are called "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." (Titus 2:5).

"I" stands for insight, and this chapter talks about how our husbands desire to help us by analyzing and giving us counsel. And we need to be willing to take their advice to heart - they look at the world from a different perspective, and they often react to situations in a less emotional way. They are able to give us wise advice from a man's perspective, and we would be wise to heed their advice, and not belittle their thoughts or counsel. Once again, this is easy to do inadvertantly, so we wives need to constantly be on our guard and look at how something will come across to our husbands from their point of view.

The "R" is for relationship. This chapter talks about how men and women are different in ow they form meaningful relationships. Women like to talk and discuss what they think about this and that, and talking makes us feel closer to our friends. But men are different - they don't form bonds through talking so much as through shared experiences.

Has your husband ever asked you to just sit with him and not talk? This is a question the book addresses, and at first I didn't think Derek had ever wanted me to just sit there with him. But then as I thought about it I realized that he did once suggest that I come downstairs and watch him work on the desk he's making me. But I didn't really want to because there were other things I wanted to do. I realized that when Derek suggested that he wanted to build that "shoulder to shoulder" friendship with me.

The book talked about how your husband will feel closer to you if you have some "shoulder to shoulder" time without talking. I decided to test this concept, so I tried it yesterday and here's what happened.

Derek had gone outside to chop some firewood for us. I let him be out there for a couple minutes alone, then I grabbed a chair and took it outside. I plopped the chair down close to where he was chopping and sat on it. Derek smiled at me and asked if I was coming out to read, and I said "Yep, and to watch you." He joked about being nervous at being critiqued, and I told him I wasn't going to critique him, I just wanted to watch.
He proceeded chopping wood, occasionally grinning at me - I smiled back. You have no idea how many times I wanted to say something, or comment, or ask a question, but I exhibited amazing self-control and kept my lips sealed. After about ten minutes he looked at me and said "Are you sure you aren't bored just watching me?" I said no, because I really wasn't. He grinned and said "Well, good. I would just think it would be boring." He chopped for a couple more minutes, then set his ax down and walked over to where I was sitting. Without a word he bent down and kissed me. Then he went back to work for a few more minutes, then turned and grinned again and said "well, I'm glad you like watching me." I nodded and smiled, saying as little as possible (it was so hard). He came over and gave me another kiss a few minutes later. After a while he said he needed a break and came over to sit next to me. Then he just started talking about how we should go to the museum (he knows I love the museum, even though he isn't as crazy about it) or at least we should go out to my favorite restaurant for dinner and a movie!

I could really tell that Derek just really enjoyed having me sit there and watch him, and just be with him. Not only did my watching him fulfill that shoulder to shoulder friendship need, but I think it also showed him that I still admire him, and I'm interested in what he's doing. That's a big part of showing him respect - and it resulted in him showing me love by suggesting we go on a date!

Finally the "S" stands for sexuality. I never thought this would come up in a post (my cheeks are turning red as I type)! This chapter talked about how we wives need to appreciate our husband's desire for sexual intimacy and not withhold that blessing from them because we're just "not in the mood" or whatever other excuses come up. I never really had a problem in this area, at least not so far, because my mom advised me before we were married that it was important to fulfill that need of your husband's. If they want to, do it with a cheerful attitude (even if you're tired), and they will often respond by showing love to you. Being the wise daughter that I am, I took my mother's advice, and I've found that she was right!

Like I said, I didn't really read the acronym for the husbands, but I'm sure if I go back to it later there will be many pieces of wisdom there too. But as I'm lady, and I'm writing this series of posts to all you ladies out there, I'm just going to cover what we women need to focus on mostly.

The next post will be on the last cycle it discusses in the book. I was tempted just to do posts on the first two cycles, but when I read the first part of the last section it said the third cycle was very important, so I figured I better not skip it! I'll read the rest of the book and report back as soon as I can!
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Jenene said...

Okay, okay, I am very much definitely going to read that book.

And I like the new layout!

Callie said...

Thanks Jenene!

Amber said...

Thanks for both this post and the previous one! I'll have to check out that book. I can't think of a time Corey has asked me to just sit with him and not talk...I'll have to try it and see what he does. He'll probably think I'm acting awfully strange...Haha.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you are talking about this is kind of funny. Last night at cell the 2 girls who are married were telling us how important it will be for us to respect our husbands, so we should practice it already. They also mentioned that it shows respect when we just sit there and watch them do whatever they are doing. I think that's so interesting, actually.

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