‘Love & Respect’ offers keys to successful marriage

As its title indicates, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ bestseller, “Love & Respect,” focuses on the two main ingredients for a successful marriage: love and respect. The book emphasizes Ephesians 5:22-33 and I Peter 3:1-7.

Eggerichs writes about two cycles: the “crazy cycle” and the “energizing cycle.”

The cycles are best seen as spirals—down in the crazy cycle with Jesus absent and up in its reverse or antidote, the energizing cycle, centering on Jesus.

The crazy cycle is a hopeless closed loop: husbands lovelessly react to their wives who disrespectfully react to them. They futilely push each other’s buttons to goad their spouses to act better. They mutually reinforce each other’s worst impulses in a lose-lose, doomed death spiral.

To get out of this cycle they must recognize that each has goodwill at heart and no disrespectful or unloving intentions. Each must cut the other some slack. Usually wives lead in breaking this cycle—by starting to respect their husbands.

For husbands: go out of your way to help her; give her priority with your time; do date nights; attentively, empathetically listen without interruption to her feelings, concerns and opinions while gazing into her eyes—fixing things is usually unneeded; show you understand—repeat back some comments; pray with and for her; say how you appreciate all her efforts; quickly apologize for wrongs and forgive wrongs she confesses; praise her when alone and before others; keep her in the loop on your plans.

In the proactive energizing cycle: he loves her unconditionally and she respects him unconditionally—serving Jesus who will reward them—even when a spouse is unresponsive.

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