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The findings are in. Love and Respect is the key to a successful marriage!
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 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. For example, when a woman feels unloved during conflict, her natural reaction is to respond disrespectfully. And when a husband feels disrespected during conflict, his reaction is to respond unlovingly. We call this the Crazy Cycle: “Without love a wife reacts without respect, and without respect a husband reacts without love.”
The message the wife is trying to send in her negative reaction
(criticism/contempt) is, "I don't feel loved by you right now." The
message the husband hears is, "I don’t respect you, buster, unless you
change immediately." When he reacts either in anger or by stonewalling,
the message the wife hears again is, “I don’t love you.”
Things get crazy because this feeds itself. Her disrespect feeds his lack of love. His unloving reactions feed her disrespect. Round and round it goes.
The good news is that this cycle can be broken.Isn't this exciting? What couples want is love and respect, and the key to long-term marriages is the attitude and action of love and respect.
The Bible announced this 2000 years ago. We read in Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."
You can read more about this key to marriage as God intended in the book Love and Respect found on this web site. To really dig into the biblical principles, study it with the companion workbook by the same title.
Copyright 2010 Love and Respect Ministries Inc. Emerson E. Eggerichs Ph.D.