Monday, July 18, 2011

love and respect: putting theory into practice

A few weeks ago, Robert and I started meeting with a group of people and walking through a dvd series based on the book Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge.

One of the first questions we were asked was "Do you think marriage is hard?"
We talked about it in the car on the way, and Rob's answer was no.

Five minutes later, I was crying and we were arguing.

I really think marriage is hard, and that's ok.
You take two people who are (sometimes completely) different, have them live together and share all aspects of their lives, goodbadandugly.
Things are going to get hard. And that's not a bad thing.
I think we all know by now that life is not all rainbows and sunshine.
But I think that if you can find the heart of an issue, you can solve the problem. 

Last night, Robert wanted to play video games and I wanted to spend time with him...not playing video games.
Round 1: I realize he is not going to fight for me. I may have told him it's ok to play his game, but now I'm pouting because he didn't object. Now we're both mad for reasons that don't really make sense.

Round 2: I sit and think for a minute. I realize that I've read about this a dozen times in the book Love & Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs. I felt unloved by his willingness to disengage from me. I was hurt by his decision even though I opened the door for him. In return, I acted disrespectfully and stomped off like a child dishonoring a parent. He responded with an unloving comment about me being immature. So on and so forth, in the "crazy cycle" as Eggerichs calls it.

So after thinking about it, I tried to explain to him how we went from happy to frustrated in a matter of seconds. It feels so silly to explain "well I felt unloved by that, so I acted disrespectfully." I don't know why, it just feels silly to just...say it. But it just makes life so much easier when I can see the heart of what's really going on.

So ladies, the next time you react in a disrespectful way, think about why. Is it because you're just too emotional or quick to react? Or is it because for a moment, you felt unloved, and the only way you could think to react was in disrespect.
When your husband/boyfriend/brother/male acquaintance says something surprisingly hurtful to you, is it because he's a misogynistic jerk? Or is it because he felt disrespected and belittled by what you said and his quickest reaction is to strike back with unloving words?

For me, at least, the sooner I realize why my husband and I react this way, the sooner we can break the cycle and spend more time doing enjoyable things, such as...not fighting.


  1. I need to remember this in fights with my sister. Ha.

  2. Yep...that sounds like us too! It IS really hard to put the love and respect principles to use, for some reason it feels stupid to have that conversation about why you feel unloved. I didn't do a very good job of that last Friday...I know Brian says marriage is easy and I say it's hard. I think it's because he forgets about our fights three seconds later, and I, well, don't. :) Thanks for encouragement to apply the principles from that book better!