The Air We Breathe
by Emerson Eggerichs
Kelly wondered if her husband, Steve, would remember their 10th anniversary. Some years he had forgotten.
But, this year, he remembered. He had found just the right card, and he was sure it would be a great anniversary. When he handed her the card, she beamed from ear to ear. But when she read it, her countenance turned sour and dark. "It’s not bad… for a birthday card," she scowled.
Steve stiffened at her anger. He meant well. What was written on outside was great, but he had failed to read the inside. "Hey, an honest mistake. Give me a break."
"An honest mistake? You just don’t care. You are so unloving..!" "You buy me a birthday card on our 10th anniversary, and you expect me not to be upset? I’d rather you hadn’t bought me any card at all!"
Feeling disrespected, he coldly said, "Fine. I’m going to the office."
Love and RespectThis conflict isn’t unique. Kelly felt unloved, and Steve felt disrespected, even contemptible in his wife’s eyes.
When Decision Analysts, Inc., did a national survey on male-female relationships, one question for men read: "Even the best relationships sometimes have conflicts on day-to-day issues. In the middle of a conflict with my wife, I am more likely to be feeling:
a. That my wife doesn’t respect me right now.
b. That my wife doesn’t love me right now.
Not surprisingly, 81.5 percent of men chose "a."
Colossians 3:19 commands a husband to agape-love his wife (love unconditionally). Obviously, she needs to feel loved.
Imagine that the wife has an air hose that goes into a love tank. She needs love like she needs air to breathe. When her husband stands on her air hose—buying a birthday card for their anniversary—she’ll react negatively!
When the husband sees the spirit of his wife deflate, he should realize he’s stepping on her air hose and get off it. Though she may react in a disrespectful way, she is crying out, "I feel unloved right now. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me." If, in response, the husband heads to the "office" she’ll feel even more unloved.
Likewise, the husband needs respect, just as he needs air to breathe (1 Peter 3:1-2). He, too, has an air hose to a tank labeled "respect," and as long as the air (respect) is coming through, he is just fine. But he deflates when his wife steps on his air hose by saying things like, "You don’t care! You are so unloving!" If she shows disrespect in an attempt to motivate him to be more loving, it hinders the relationship. A destructive cycle of feeling unloved and disrespect easily starts.
Husbands and wives must learn how to recognize when they are stepping on each other’s hoses and respond appropriately… When a wife is careful to show respect—in obedience to God—her husband will stay connected and teachable. When a husband shows his wife love, her spirit will be reaffirmed. Then they will both have the air they need to breathe.
Six Fundamentals of Love & Respect
1. Though he blunders, believe in his good will.
2. Don’t display or speak with contempt or condescension.
3. Ask, "Will my words sound disrespectful to him?"
4. Say, "That felt unloving" not "You’re unloving."
5. Take responsibility for your part of the blame and say, "I’m sorry."
6. Show admiration.
1. View her negativity as a cry for love.
2. Though you’re offended, reassure her of your love.
3. Don’t defend yourself; she’ll feel blamed.
4. Take responsibility for your part of the blame and say, "I’m sorry."
5. Energize her by succeeding where you failed.
6. Show affection.
This article is quoted from the Focus on the Family magazine (Oct/Nov 2004). Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is the author of Love and Respect and Cracking the Communication Code: The Secret to Speaking Your Mate’s Language.
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"Barefoot Contessa" Blog Scavenger Hunt
Here's a little extra fun for all Marriage Monday blogroll members.
If you’re new here, you’re invited to play too. However, in order to be eligible to win, you must join the blogroll. Please click here for some easy instructions.
The Challenge: Visit as many bloggers on the Marriage Monday blogroll as it takes to locate three items you would find in a kitchen. Hunt for culinary words, food photos, a kitchen graphic. Whatever! Challenge deadline is Monday April 28, 2008.
The Prize: In the comments, list the three items you found and where you found them. I’ll enter your name in my drawing to win a box of the Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownie Mix.
The next time we meet for Marriage Monday (May 5, 2008) all "Barefoot Contessa" Blog Scavenger Hunt participants will be announced, and I’ll award the prize.
Mingle and have fun!
Photos: rocketship (A,B & C); SiFu Renka (Flickr)