The Poison of Unconditional Love and Earned Respect

The wife just doesn’t get why her fat-lazy husband never picks up his clothes. She has berated him over and over about cleaning up after himself and she is at the point of treating him like an over-grown child. The husband on the other hand hasn’t been attracted to his wife ever since she became a frazzled-OCD soccer mom who reminds him of his naggy mother. The closest they get to intimacy now is accidentally touching hands when reaching into the popcorn bowl while watching reruns of Big Bang Theory. This is a fairly common occurrence among married couples and it comes down to two major problems-the wife doesn’t feel loved and the husband doesn’t feel respected. This conundrum was the subject of my most recent book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I really enjoyed this book because it gives a different message then the usual rhetoric of, “…you need to unconditionally love each other and pray and kiss and have your penis inverted :).” The focus that love is the primary thing men and women desire is just flat out wrong. Dr. Eggerichs uses the acronym C-O-U-P-L-E to describe the love women need for a healthy relationship: C is for Closeness, O is for Openness, U is for Understanding, P is for Peacemaking, L is for Loyalty, and E is Esteem. Men in general desire respect and the acronym for this is C-H-A-I-R-S: C is for Conquest, H is for Hierarchy, A is for Authority, I is for Insight, R is for Relationship, and S is for Sexuality. Now obviously both genders desire love and respect but in general they find one more important than the other. The point Dr. Eggerichs makes is that women need to change their thinking that respect needs to be earned while love is unconditional; both need to be unconditional to get out of the crazy downward spiral of fighting and misunderstanding. The cycle goes like this-without love she reacts and doesn’t show respect which then makes him react and not show love. This goes round and round and usually ends with the wife thinking “he doesn’t love me,” and the husband thinking “she is not the women I married.”

A healthy relationship has the energizing cycle-with his love she is motivated to show respect and her respect motivates him to show more love. Alright, how do you get on the cycle of true marital bliss. Well, first off, you have to be patient and be the mature one in the relationship to start showing love/respect even if it is not immediately reciprocated. If you are a wife I suggest going up to your husband and saying “…honey I respect you because of (fill in blank).” I bet your man will be surprised and feel great after this comment. If you are a husband go out and buy a card and write one thing you love about your wife. Place the card somewhere she will find it and booyah your wife will feel pretty awesome. Keep up the love/respect attitudes and like a snowball that is rolling down a hill it will grow into a perpetuating cycle of positive feelings. For husbands this may be difficult because your wife is a fat devil and treats you worse than a dog. For wives this may be difficult because your husband is a moron and only associates love with eating chicken wings at Hooters. Alright, you need to step up, be mature, and know that God will be with you through the process. Women, you may have to fake respect for a bit but stick with it because if your husband is good natured he will eventually reciprocate love. Also for those strong willed women out there, it is not chauvinistic or anti-feminist to let your husband make the decisions. A husband will feel immensely respected knowing that you trust his judgement. Think of the power in a relationship as 50-50 with the final decision going to the one who desires respect the most. Let’s all try to improve our relationships with this knowledge. I am going to lift Christina up by giving her kisses and hugs whenever she wants them-even when she puckers her lips half way across the room. Christina is not going to bash me in front of other people because I’m a cheap fricker. Remember, love comes slow but it can be destroyed in a second. Cherish your relationship and treat it as your most valuable possession on this earth.

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

-Ephesians 5:33

2 thoughts on “The Poison of Unconditional Love and Earned Respect

  1. Pingback: The Quirks of Love | SAPERE AUDE

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