On a scale of 1-10, with one being low and ten high, how would you rate your relationship with your spouse? Is it what you imagined when you married? Aside from the normal ups and downs, would you say you have a great relationship, average or it’s just not what you had hoped for? If it’s not what you want right now, that can change. You may be caught in the love, respect cycle. Let me start with a story.
Susie and Warren were at it again. This time the blow up happened after Warren accused Susie of bad-mouthing him to her friends. “She tells them everything bad about me but none of the good that I do for her”. Susie responds with “What good do you do for me”?
Susie feels very much unloved by Warren; she can’t remember the last time he took her out on a date. In fact, she can’t even remember the last time they really talked. She feels ignored and unimportant to him. All he ever does is work and when he does get home, all he does is watch TV.
Warren on the other hand says Susie is the reason he is always working. He wants to provide well for her and the kids. When he gets home, he’s tired; can’t a guy have a little relaxation?
Women crave love, they want to be chosen by a special someone and they want to feel like the only woman in the world to their beloved. “He only has eyes for me”. Men on the other hand crave respect. They want to be respected and stood by above all else. They want to know they are enough and are approved of. So women want to be loved and men want to be respected…not that both sexes don’t need both love and respect but women crave love more than respect and men crave respect more than love.
Ephesians 5:33 says:
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What’s happening here is Susie does not feel loved so she does not give Warren the respect he longs for. Warren does not feel respected so he does not give Susie the love she is longing for. And the cycle goes on. If Warren could decide to return to the way he showed love for Susie when they first met, she would feel special and be eager to respect him. If Susie could show respect like she once did in the form of making him feel like “He’s the man”, he would be more willing to show her the love she is yearning.
This cycle needs to be broken so that both partners are receiving what they were designed by their Creator to receive. When a woman feels loved and adored, it is extremely easy for her to give respect to her man. When a man feels like he is more than enough, his love for his wife is overflowing. So how does a couple return to meeting the needs of their spouse in this area?
One of you needs to make a decision to give their spouse what they need and then rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to help you. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” One of you needs to break the cycle before it breaks you. Men, ask your wife out on that date and then be all ears. Women, look for the good in your man and let him know you appreciate him. These are not to be one-time behaviors; this should become the way you choose to treat the one you chose. Find out what makes your wife feel loved. Is it quality time? Does she enjoy a gift for absolutely no reason? And women, what makes your man feel respected? Is it words of affirmation? Sometimes the cycle is very hard to break. If things are really difficult right now, I would recommend some coaching to help you break the cycle. My husband and I at one time were stuck in this cycle so I understand the dynamics. I would love to hear your comments and if you are stuck in this cycle, let’s make a plan to get you unstuck. Let’s get you dreaming again of how you want your marriage to be, let’s look back at why you chose each other in the first place…I’ll help you return to your first love for each other.