Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love & Respect: Chapter 2

 Chapter 2: To Communicate, Decipher the Code

Eggerichs points out in this chapter that God "made them male and female" (Matthew 19:4). We are different. God created us that way. Eggerichs says that when men and women communicate it is as if men are wearing blue hearing aides and look through blue sunglasses and women are wearing pink hearing aides and look through pink sunglasses. We see and hear things differently. Because of this we 'speak' a different language. For example, when a woman says she has "nothing to wear" it means she has nothing that makes her feel good/pretty. When a man says he has "nothing to wear" it means he has nothing clean. It's the same statement but two very different meanings. If a woman said that within a group of other women they would probably say "Honey, we need to take you shopping and get you something cute." If she were to say that with her husband he would probably look at her and say, "Honey, you have a whole closet full of clothes."

Men and women speak in their own code, and quite often what is being said isn't really the true issue. "Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of he other person. The wife needs love; she is not trying to be disrespectful. The husband needs respect; he is not trying to be unloving." (p. 32) "Husbands and wives keep spinning on the Crazy Cycle because they don't understand that what seems to be the issue isn't the issue at all. The real issues are always love and respect. Everything else is just filling in the details." (p.38) In order to prevent or stop the crazy cycle we need to learn to decipher these codes.


One particular section in this chapter really hit home for me.

Men Hear Criticism As Contempt; 
Women Feel Silence As Hostility
Let me ephmasize to wives that when men hear negative criticism, it doesn't take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men.  Remember, the man is wearing blue hearing aids.  When his wife sends out those pink but very pointed messages. . . he soon says to himself, I don't deserve this kind of talk.  everybody respects me except you.  You're just picking a fight.  I wish you would just be quiet.

When a husband can take it no longer, he gets up and walks out without a word, and that is the coup de grace.  He might as well have screamed at the top of his lungs, "I don't love you!"  The wife is dazed.  First, she has been treated unlovingly.  Second, she has tried to move toward her husband by doing the loving thing.  And now he has shown her he is the most hostile, unloving human being on the planet by just walking away and leaving her there!  . . . 

Often both spouses have goodwill but are not deciphering each other's code.  She criticizes out of love, but he "hears" only disrespect.  He distances himself to prevent things from escalating, which is the honorable thing to do, but she "sees" only his failure to be loving! (p. 38-39)

Let's just say that I really needed to read this.  I tend to be a lecturer. . . I do it with good intentions, but after reading this I see how my good intentions can get viewed as criticism and contempt, and I understand a little better how my husband feels when I do this.  I'm praying that God will help me to be a more respectful communicator.

I also pray that God will help me not be so absorbed in  my own needs that I forget that my husband has needs as well.  I have a tendency to be so self absorbed that I not only overlook my husband and his needs, but I also forget there is a whole world out there full of needy people.  Over the last year God has opened my eyes to this tendency of mine.  I've been trying to be more aware of other people's needs,  to practice hospitality, to be an encourager, and show myself friendly.  The points made in this chapter fit in perfectly with what God has been teaching me.  God is such a patient teacher!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not Going to Make my Goal

My goal for this evening was to post blogs on the first 2 chapters of Love & Respect.  Well, sorry folks.  That's not going to happen tonight.  Chapter 1 took longer than I thought it would and it's after 10 p.m.   If I want to continue my success of getting up at 6 a.m. then I'm going to have to go to bed.  Hopefully I'll be able to work on it more tomorrow and get Chapter 2 finished up.

Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite!

P.S. After discussing bed bugs with my pest killing brother-in-law, just mentioning them totally gives me the willies. ICK!

Love & Respect: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Simple Secret to a Better Marriage

Ephesians 5:33 
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!

Good News and Bad News

 Well, the good news is that I've been faithful about getting up every morning at 6 a.m. to exercise and spend time in God's word.   The bad news is I have been very unfaithful about blogging about it! Okay, well I'm going to blame this on my transplant.  I have so much energy to do other things these days and sitting at my computer just doesn't hold the same appeal that it used to when I didn't have the energy to do much else.  I would rather be cleaning, making my house look cute, spending time playing with my kids, snuggling with my husband, knitting, making cards, baking, reading, gardening, exercising, singing, etc, etc, etc. . .   Life is so good!  Not that it's always easy, but God is giving me so much joy in everyday things and everyday relationships.  

Tonight, however, I have set a goal of completing a couple of blog posts covering the first two chapters in Love & Respect and what God is teaching me these days. With that said, off I go to work on it. . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Study: Love & Respect.

I'm going to start a weekly book study on this wonderful book my sister-in-law got me for Christmas.  The title is "Love & Respect"  by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.   Here is the short description of the book found on the back cover:

A wife has one driving need--to feel loved.  When that need is met she, she is happy. A husband has one driving need--to feel respected.  When that need is met, he is happy.

When either of these needs isn't met, things get crazy.  Love and Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily and biblically. 

I may not be on the verge of divorce or anything, but there is most definitely room for improvement in my marriage.  I'm looking forward to digging into this book and the scriptures that go along with it and drawing closer to my husband.

I actually began my study this morning.  I set my alarm to go off an hour earlier in an effort to get that extra time of peace and quiet so I can spend some time in God's word, as well as this book, plus get some exercise in before my kids get up.   I guess you could call it my new years resolution. . .   I've been slacking lately in both my spiritual exercises and my physical exercises and it shows!  My hope is that my blog will hold me to my resolve.

P.S. I'd love to have you follow along, or even better, participate!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Precious Moments

After dinner last night Tom, my husband, got out an old strobe light he had and plugged it in for the kids.  The were giggling and full of wonder at such an amazing thing.   We turned off all the house lights and showed them how it makes it look like you are moving in slow motion.  Then I turned some fun music on and we had our own little dance party in the living room.

Moments like these are so precious!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do. . .

My Grandma gave me this little booklet called "The School of Manners." written for children in London in 1701. It's been an interesting little book to read. To say they were strict is putting it mildly. I wonder if they ever let their children be children? However there is one statement in the book that really provoked some thought. It says in reference to parents dealing with character defects in their child that "children have their own (as in the parents) image in mind as well as body."

I find that to be so true. My children don't just look like me, they also tend to act like me. They are little monkeys. I can talk to them about doing what they should until I'm blue in the face, but in the end it's the way I act that they copy. They see me do good things and then they go and do it, and I have to admit that I've also found them doing not so good things that they have also learned from me. I see character flaws in my children that have opened my eyes to the same character flaws in myself. It is a very humbling experience.

Quite often this issue is the subject of my prayers at night when I lay on my bed thinking over my day. I wonder how I can raise my children to be God-fearing, kind, and generous people when I, the one who is supposed to be teaching them, am so flawed. I realize that it is only with God's help that I can tackle such a daunting task and I pray that He guards their little hearts from my failed attempts.