Please, Stop the Craziness! (To Be Continued . . .)

It has been quite a week. I feel like I've had hardly any time at home the last few days, and I'm so glad I don't work this much regularly. I'm telling you, dental hygiene is a difficult job, because your entire day is crazy - there are no slow moments. That can be a good thing, but sometimes those slow moments can be nice; so don't take them for granted!

Lately I've ben reading a book called "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. It's a marriage book that Derek and I got for our wedding. I'm sure you've heard of it! If you are married and haven't read it, you should go buy it and read it ASAP.

I'm still in the middle of the book, but I've learned alot from it. The basic premise of the book is that a man's basic need in the marriage is to be respected, and a woman's basic need in the marriage is to feel love. It seems so simple, right? Before I read the book I had heard that men value respect over love, and I tried to show my husband respect, but I wasn't really sure how that works in a marriage, besides obviously trying to respect and love each other.

The book breaks it down very nicely.

I think I'm going to do three posts within the next few days on the three "cycles" that married couples go through, according to the book. I'm doing it this way mainly because I haven't read about the last cycle yet, and I don't have time over my lunch break here to read the rest of the book and post. So the first cycle is aptly named:

The Crazy Cycle

Basically the crazy cycle is when things are going crazy in the marriage. He doesn't feel respect which is what he wants most - he knows his wife loves him, but he needs to know that she respects him. Likesise she's not feeling as if her husband really loves her. The clincher in this section is how they explain that the wife feeling unloved and the husband feeling disrespected are interconnected. If the husband isn't feeling respect from his wife, he'll shut down and not talk, or perhaps yell, or react in any number of unloving ways. The wife feels unloved, which in turn may cause her to criticize her husband, perhaps yell, nag, or react in other disrespectful ways, which makes the husband feel even more disrespected. And round and round it goes!

The first part of the book may feel like the author is coming down hard on us women, but try to look past that. I don't think that's what he's trying to do, I think he's just trying to emphasize how almost every marriage talk you hear focuses on how you need to love each other more and in better ways, etc. Let's face it, these messages are mostly for men - we women may not always act in loving ways, but we are wired that way, so it comes easier to us. But there are not very many messages out there about wives showing respect to their husbands - and I think the author is trying to establish that this lack in instruction for us in this area is a major reason why marriages today have gone crazy and are breaking up all over the place. He'll make you feel guilty, but I don't think he's trying to, so bear through this because the book gets better.
As I read, to my astonishment I realized that Derek and I have already had a few revolutions on the Crazy Cycle! What, I thought, shouldn't newlyweds be exempt? It should take at least five years to get to the craziness, right? Ah, wrong! In the process of living with our husband for a few months, we wives realize that our husbands are not perfect. They leave toothpaste in the sink. They don't wipe their dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. They unwittingly leave the house a mess. And what do we do? We ask them to please clean this, put that away, etc. At least that's what I did. I thought I asked very nicely, but I recently realized I was pointing out the things that he wasn't doing too much, and Derek was starting to feel disrespected, because I wasn't appreciating the things he was doing (and he does alot for me! I don't deserve that man).

That was just for every day life - our arguments were a completely different story. When we were in the middle of an argument I realized some of the things I had been saying - and as I tried to look at them from Derek's point of view, I realized how disrespectful that sounded. Sure, I was feeling unloved, but did that give me the right to disobey God's word and react in a way that showed disrespect for my husband? Here is where the guilt from the book comes in.

Yes, I guess it is possible to be in the Crazy Cycle this early in our marriage. We had one week that we argued practically every time we were together, and I started to realize just how much of that was my own fault (I can get rather self-righteous during an argument - does anyone else out there struggle with that?). Because of my sporadic reading of this book I was trying to show him more respect in ways that made sense to me - like sending him notes telling him why I respected him. It was a good idea, a good start, but I needed to not just say "I respect you". I needed to show it in my everyday manner, and especially in our arguments. Ah, the epiphany! I've been trying, but it ain't easy.

So I've been reading this book more lately. Thankfully the next section gave solid advice on which areas Derek needed to feel respected in, and how I can do that! Thank goodness, there was finally a solution!! I'll cover that in my next post.

"Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
-Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)
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Brittney Galloway said...

Ooh, I'll have to check that book out! Funny though, I am actually reading through "For Women Only," a book about the men in our lives. The chapter that I just finished last night was on that same thing! It's been giving me alot to think about and practice on. Sounds like your entire book is an expansion of my itty bitty chapter- I'd love to read it!

Jenene said...

For Women Only and For Men Only also touch on the love/respect thing, and are both very good books as well.

We actually got Love and Respect as a wedding gift, but I haven't read it yet. I keep forgetting that we have it.

And here I've been complaining that I don't have anything to read!

OlyviaNoel said...

Seems like a great book! It's always good to be reading a book about marriage and how to make the relationship better. It can be difficult reading at times, especially when you feel convicted, but I do like that it makes me think and reflect on thoughts, actions, etc. I'll have to check it out!

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