I am reading Love and Respect, The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs. It is written from a Christian point of view. The author used to be a minister. He developed his ideas during many years of doing marriage counseling. While he does quote from the Bible, I found his tone even and compassionate. He shares a some very important points that resonated with me.
He talks about “The Crazy Cycle” – Without Love, She Reacts -Without Respect, He Reacts. This reminded me of my marriage,which ended after 16 years. I remember my husband demanding my respect and me feeling confused about how to show it. At other times I felt he didn’t deserve my respect. At the same time I often felt unappreciated and unloved when my taking care of the kids, the house and working at my job received criticism or indifference.
Dr. Eggerich explains how women know how to love and want to give and receive love. Men understand respect and want to give and receive respect. So we keep giving what we want to receive and neither party is happy. The beauty is that women have the ability to teach men about love and men have the ability to teach women about respect. Once we understand this we can change our behavior and get out of the “Crazy Cycle.”
He points out that there is an acceptance of the concept of ‘unconditional love” but not one of “unconditional respect.” The concept of “unconditional respect” really resonated with me. Men need to feel respected for who they are no matter what they do, just as women need to be loved for who they are no mater what they act. This was an AH HA! moment for me. While love and respect are similar they each have a slightly different quality. I could see that this is a very important bit of knowledge that I have been missing. I have been giving men love when they wanted respect and they have been giving me respect when I wanted love.
Once you learn how to get out of the “Crazy Cycle” He shares tools for creating what he calls the “Energizing Cycle.” I will be sharing about that soon.