Each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.The author, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs says this verse as the secret to a successful marriage. Women find it much easier to react with respect to a loving husband, and men find it much easier to react with love to a respectful wife. However when either spouse is not obeying God's command, the opposite occurs and 'the crazy cycle' begins: "--> Without Love--> She Reacts --> Without Respect--> He Reacts-->" And on and on the cycle goes.
Eggerichs says that the crazy cycle is something that every marriage goes through. Even 1 Corinthians 7: 28 says that "those who marry will face many troubles in this life." We need to recognize we are on the crazy cycle and know how to stop it using the the keys in Ephesians 5:33.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Wow! Let's just say that some of the situations he describes in his book could be a video tape from my marriage. Just silly little arguments that cause more hurt than they are worth and get us going on this "crazy cycle". Eggerichs points out that Ephesians 5:33 is a command to both the husband and the wife, and each are required to obey the command despite the actions of their spouse. Yeah, that's a tough one, because as the cycle shows (and I can testify to it's truthfulness) it is not easy to react in a respectful way when I don't feel loved. So my first course of action is to take responsibility for my own actions and stop being so concerned with my husband's actions, not that it makes it ok for him to act unloving (whether consciously or not), but I can no longer let his actions determine my reactions.
Eggerichs also points out that most of the time the spouse has general good-will toward their mate, and are not purposely trying to be unloving, or disrespectful. Thinking about this statement these last couple of weeks has already helped me out in a few situations. One of them being my response to the soda cans left on the counter. I have to admit that in the past I have become disgruntled and hurt when I find my husband leaving his soda cans on the counter. My thoughts were, "he doesn't even love me enough to see that my hands are already full, and just adds to my already full hands the annoying little task of putting his cans in the recycling bin so he doesn't have to." I let myself get hurt over such a silly little thing. So lately I've been thinking about it and deciding that he probably isn't doing it to make me miserable and add to the many household tasks that I already do. He's just focused on different things than I am so he doesn't even really realize he's doing it. This helped me to not be hurt by his actions and not react in a grouchy manner(which he probably sees as disrespectful according to what I've been reading in Love & Respect), and thus avoiding an argument and a ride on the crazy cycle which, I admit, has happened in the past because of the very same situation.
Well, lots of good things to think and pray about and put into practice in this chapter. Thankfully I have the precious Holy Spirit to help me. I know that I'm not good at this kind of stuff if left up to myself. But God is good and He doesn't leave me to my own devices. Thank you, Lord!