In the same way that a woman longs to be loved, a man longs to be respected. In fact, if a woman feels loved she will likely respect her husband. And if a man feels respected, he will naturally show love to his wife.
But the opposite is true, too. If a woman does not feel loved, she will respond to her husband with disrespect. And if a man doesn’t feel respected, we can easily respond to his wife in an unloving manner. Then she feels unloved and is disrespectful again and he feels disrespected and responds unlovingly. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book Love and Respect calls this dynamic “the family crazy cycle.”
The bad news is that it’s a challenging cycle to stop. The good news is that it is possible to stop. Doing so happens one decision at a time, catching yourself reacting in an old pattern and replacing the reaction with a loving or respectful response. It’ll feel odd to do this at first, because it’s new for you! But the changes it can bring about in your marriage are worth it!
How does a woman show respect to her husband? Try some of these ideas:
o Invite his opinion where you might have made a decision without him in the past.
o Affirm him, tell him how much you appreciate his strengths.
o Speak well of him to others.
o Believe in him. Believe the best about him.
o Need him. Let him know that you need him in your life.
o In conflict, speak respectfully to him even when you disagree. Reflect back the words he has communicated to you to let him know that you have heard him.
How does a man show love to his wife? These are a good place to start:
o Touch her lovingly and non-sexually on a regular basis.
o Talk to her daily, listen to her heart and her feelings.
o Listen to her without trying to solve a problem.
o Speak lovingly of her to others.
o Stay in touch with her throughout your day with an occasional text, email, or phone call.
o In conflict, affirm your love for her and reflect back the words she has communicated to you. This will help her feel heard.
Even if your spouse hasn’t caught on to the need to change the way he/she responds to you, you can begin to stop the “family crazy cycle” today by choosing different responses yourself. And if one person changes in a marriage, the marriage begins to move in the right direction.
What about you? Have you ever found yourself in the “family crazy cycle?”