Friday, November 11, 2011

His Desperate Need & Her Greatest Desire

It was the end of a very long day, filled with back-to-back counseling sessions.  Before me sat a Christian couple, well-esteemed in their community and active in serving Christ.  And the things my ears were witnessing were enough to make my eyeballs pop out. 

Venomous words. 

Aimed to wound. 



Each well-aimed lob had it's desired, devastating effect.  Hardened faces reflected pain-filled, wounded hearts.  The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

"Oh God," I silently prayed.  "Enough already.  Where do I go from here?"

{We do alot of silent praying in the office ...}

The Spirit whispered, "Grab that LOVE & RESPECT book behind you."  Sitting near the bookcase, I spun my chair around and took hold of the volume that I had only paged through, but somehow knew would be a tool that just might offer this couple in crisis some hope.

Because what I was witnessing bore truth to the two realities that we repeatedly see over and over as we talk with couples:

Women can be incredibly disrespectful to their husbands.
 And men can be incredibly unloving to their wives.   

And thus begins the crazy cycle that defines so many marriages in crisis.

Author and counselor Emerson Eggerichs writes, "We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts when feeling disrespected and a wife reacts when feeling unloved. We asked 7,000 people this question: when you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected? 83% of the men said 'disrespected.' 72% of the women said, 'unloved.' Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict."

God designed and shaped us and knows exactly what we need.  So it should be no big surprise to find His wisdom tucked into a little verse at the end of the 5th chapter of Ephesians.

"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband."

I'll be the first to tell you that all our clients are not bursting into applause at the reading of this verse.  We do alot of honest wrestling as to the nuts and bolts of its implications.

But these biblical truths have hit home for more than a few couples.  We've seen more than one relationship turn upside down and inside out within a week or two of beginning to read this helpful guide.  With permission, I share a client's thoughts:

Thank you so much for lending us the book. I started reading it today and I already feel convicted to change how I respond to my husband.

5 weeks later she wrote again: 

I can't thank you enough for recommending my husband and I read Dr. Emerson Eggerichs' book, Love & Respect. It opened my eyes and my mind to a whole different way of communicating with my husband. Once I made the decision to get out of 'the crazy cycle,' I realized that I don't want to go back! Using Dr. Eggerichs' techniques, the results were almost immediate. It has changed our relationship for the better. I feel like I'm falling in love with my husband all over again!

Another client wrote:

I just want to send this email as I'm LOVING the LOVE & RESPECT book ... wow ... I think my husband is as well ... just been through the first chapter - and most of the workbook lesson for chapter 1 ... I'm sure I have lots more thoughts to share ... I will as they come ... thx!

I invite you to invest 10 minutes and find out what true love and deep respect is all about.  You'll love the father/daughter dynamic as Emerson chats with his daughter, Joy about her conversations with women who wrestle with the whole love/respect concept.   Bottom line?  Choosing to meet the other person's deepest need has the huge potential to turn a relationship into what you've always longed for but couldn't quite name ...

Joining my clients in being thankful for this life-altering resource ~


  1. "Love and Respect" is such a great resource and guide and the crazy-cycle really pinpoints trouble where it happens, Linda. I'm so glad to hear that you've used this resource and that the couples you work with have appreciated the help it provides. It makes sense the the God who created us would know exactly how we "tick" and what can get us back on course. Thanks for linking up and for sharing your experience here. It's always encouraging!

    1. Yes, Beth, this is good stuff. A real eye-opener for couples ... lots of 'aha moments' ... and the concept works. It truly does.


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