By far, the most rewarding part of Love and Respect Ministries over the years has been the countless stories I have heard from others whose lives and marriages have been impacted greatly by the books, the studies, the conference, or some other part of the ministry.
It is truly humbling to see how multiple generations within families and churches are being touched by the Ephesians 5:33 message of Love and Respect.
Stories such as this one warm my heart:
“Okay, Emerson,” you ask. “How do we keep the Crazy Cycle from spinning after one or both of us has said things that are getting it started?”
The Crazy Cycle is: Without love she reacts without respect and without respect he reacts without love.
Here are some basic steps:
Couples in Bible times didn’t use terms like Crazy Cycle, decoding, and air hose, but they still faced the same kind of communication problems people face today. And these women and men had the same basic needs for Love and Respect.
One incident from the life of King David is a classic illustration of how a wife can stomp on her husband’s air hose. When King Saul gave David his daughter Michal to be his wife, the marriage appeared to start out well. First Samuel 18:20 tells us, “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David.”
But did Michal respect David?
More times than I can recall, a wife has attended our Love and Respect Conference and connected the dots that applying respect to her son has also been deeply needed at home.
There is even a Crazy Cycle of its own that spins between a mother and her son: without respect a son reacts without love, and without love a mother reacts without respect. I have heard many testimonies like the one below that show the life-changing results that come when a mother understands and begins applying respect to her son as well.
My husband and I met you at Soulfest in Gilford, New Hampshire, a few years ago. At the time, I was struggling with my teenage son. I just wanted to let you know that a five-minute conversation with you (you were on the way to your car) changed my life.
After we spoke, I went back home and began treating my son with respect, even when we greatly disagreed. It was life altering in our relationship.
During the premarital stage for young couples, as well as the “honeymoon” stage at the beginning of their new life together, most couples receive a boatload of marital advice, from counseling, to books, to studies, to everyone and their mother giving them their best tips.
It is not uncommon for many of these young couples swept up by love to believe that they “get it,” that they are fully prepared, and that they completely understand all they need to know to have the most successful marriage.
But some things in life you simply don’t “get” until you “do.” And learning the Love and Respect principles of Ephesians 5:33 is no exception to that rule.
Read the following story of one woman who read Love & Respect at the beginning of her marriage and then again nine years and two kids later, and just how differently the two readings impacted her:
My husband and I have been married for almost nine years. We received the book Love and Respect actually as a wedding gift and I read it shortly after getting married. I thought it was a pretty good book, but to be honest I didn’t quite get it.
The Crazy Cycle can be explained as the following: Without love, she reacts without respect; without respect, he reacts without love.
But what about “independent” and “self-confident” couples, who perhaps marry not as young as others and claim that their self-reliance will be an ally in their marital happiness?
She doesn’t believe she actually needs him, which works out well for him, because he doesn’t want to be responsible for her. Could this actually be a loophole for staying off the Crazy Cycle? Without love, she continues on just as fine as she always has. Without respect, he pays the bills and tries to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Hear this story sent to me about two people who realized there was no avoiding the Crazy Cycle:
Ecclesiastes 10:10 states, “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.”
Some of us are exerting a lot of effort to make our marriage successful but we are tired. We feel exhausted. Basically, we are attempting to chop down an oak tree with a dull axe that is in dire need of being sharpened.
For example, during an argument with our spouse, we demand that they understand our point and acknowledge our feelings. This seems reasonable to us. After all, when they do this, we feel good and it betters the marriage, especially when they adjust to our concerns. However, it doesn’t seem as though we get through to our spouse as often as we expect, at least not on the startup of the argument.
Many couples use this simple exchange successfully when there is a sharp disagreement, and one spouse has stepped on the other spouse’s air hose. They have bought into the need for unconditional Love and Respect to the point where they are comfortable with this terminology.
Here are two typical reports: