Honestly I thought I had a handle on how to love my husband. As an advocate of the Five Love Languages, I had his love languages down and when his tank was empty, I knew just how to fill it back up. It turns out though I think I only had half the equation. A band-aid, almost. Yes, I know how to love him but it turns out the other BIGGER half of the equation for men is respect.
If you would have asked me before reading Love & Respect I would have said respect is not being sassy and not putting him down in front of people. And it is those things but it’s so much more. Eggerichs introduces the book by discussing the difference between love and respect and why women need love and men need respect. My eyes were open when he talked about The Crazy Cycle. It’s when he quits loving so she gets disrespectful and so he gets even more unloving and the cycle goes on. I have often said to people, you know, our marriage is usually really good or really bad. I recognized that when one of us decides to love/respect, the other responds in kind. I loved the Eggerichs put a name to it and I can 100% attest to it! The problem Scott and I have always had was who takes the first step? I have always argued with Scott as the leader he should. But Eggerichs suggests whoever is the most mature! The point is if you want off the Crazy Cycle, you have to do something about it instead of waiting on the other person!
My eyes were also opened to something I’ve noticed with Scott. When we fight, I want to talk it out. If he’d just see all my points, he’d see his faults and he could improve (and mine as well). Well, I’d just have to say one point, and he’d be like, “OK, I don’t want to talk about it,” and walk away. I always assumed he was being rude and unloving to me by not trying come to a resolution but guess what? Men don’t think the same way! I realized that he was trying to do the loving, honorable thing by not getting in a fight with me. He already knew he had failed and really didn’t need me to guide him through every point!
Eggerich spends the second part of the book with specific ways women need loved and men need respected. Men have six areas in which they need respected, or more simply, appreciated.
- Desire to protect
- Desire to lead
- Desire to analyze
- Shoulder-to-shoulder friendship
- Sexual intimacy
I can’t go through each one but I have found my eyes open in several areas where I haven’t been downright mean, but have not been appreciating these needs. One funny one I must share.
Men have a need just to be shoulder-to-shoulder with their spouse; they like doing things together, even if you don’t say anything. I can’t count the number of times Scott has asked me to come sit with him. Usually he is playing his game or watching a (boring) show. It happened just yesterday. Scott was playing his game and he said, “Come sit with me.” My prompt response was, “I don’t want to just sit there and watch you play your game!” I was thinking of how much I had to do…plan dinner and funny enough, sneak in some time to read Love & Respect. I hadn’t read this section yet so I didn’t go sit with him (shame on me) and went back to read this exact section:
When your husband says, “Hey, honey, come in here and watch Discovery Channel with me,” what happens? You come in and sit down and he, indeed, does watch Discovery Channel, possibly commenting now and then about “the size of those elk” or “look at the teeth on that crocodile.” But most of the time he’s fully absorbed in what he’s doing: watching TV. If you are a typical wife, you will sit there thinking, I’ve got laundry to fold, I have to make dinner, the kids’ lunches for tomorrows still aren’t packed…You’re not communicating, so how could this be building the relationship. But wives continue to report that that is exactly what happens.
I laughed so hard! This had JUST happened almost word for word. I didn’t have time to sit with him because I needed time to go read how I should be sitting with him!! And yes, I put the book down and spent time with him! I always thought it was just a Scott thing that he was trying to fill his “touch” love language by me sitting with him. Yes, it is that, but it is so much more.
These few examples are just a smidgeon of what I took from Love & Respect. I so wish I would have read this years ago and would highly suggest that EVERY couple read this and really, even single women would do well just to understand men in dating.
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