The Marriage Mindset

Do you believe that if you have natural talents and passions in a specific area then your development of that gifting and pursuits of that interest should be a piece of cake?

Or, do you believe that even though you have God-given abilities and deep-seated curiosities, you must exert time and effort because it won’t all be easy street?

The Marriage Mindset

For example, Michael Phelps and LeBron James had within their DNA, traits the rest of us envy. Are these superstars world renowned because what they did was a piece of cake for them, as a result of their God-given abilities? Or, though genetically they might be considered freaks of nature, did they work hard at developing their talents?

Put another way, could there be dozens of Michael Phelpses and LeBron Jameses out there (freaks of nature), with a similar genetic makeup, but they crawled out of the pool never to return or left the gym for good because it demanded too much work?

Many people have the mindset that if you are a science geek then doing science will be easy. Others believe that if you have natural talent as an artist, then painting will be a breeze. For the naturally gifted, according to many, there will be no obstacles or exhaustion when they set out to develop what God has already given them a propensity for.

He is Resurrected!

I once stayed in the home of Bernhard Langer, two-time winner of the Masters, one of the PGA Tour’s four major tournaments. As a result of the positive effect my Love and Respect ministry had on their marriage, he and his wife, Vikki, asked me to spend several days at their home, and during that time, he shared his personal story with me.

He is Resurrected!

In 1985 when he won the Masters for the first time at Augusta, Georgia, the announcers ushered him into the infamous cabin where one of them asked him, “Did you look at the leaderboard?” Bernhard replied, “I was trying not to look, but I saw it for the first time at the ninth; and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, I am playing well, and I am four shots behind!’”

Using the Lord’s name in vain prompted hundreds of people to write him letters complaining to him about such language. At that time, he had no idea what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To him using Christ’s name was a mere expression, not a curse. Though he considered himself a believer, because he was raised in church and had served as an altar boy, he admits he didn’t understand the message of the New Testament.

How A Wife Can Feel Loved But Disrespected

Years ago, the topic of Love and Respect and all it has led to stemmed from this one question to 7,000 people: When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved at that moment or disrespected? In response, 83 percent of the men said they feel disrespected and 72 percent of the women said they feel unloved.

However, I am always quick to point out two caveats regarding these statistics. One, we are always talking about a bell curve here. Certainly, every man and woman is different and do not necessarily respond to conflict in the exact same ways. Two, both men and women need love and respect equally.

Despite what the numbers overwhelmingly say about the felt needs of men and women when in conflict, God has designed everyone to need both love and respect, especially from their spouse.

How A Wife Can Feel Loved But Disrespected

Yes, Ephesians 5:33 does say, “Each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” But we must be careful to not infer that this instruction to love your wife and respect your husband negates our needs to also respect our wives and love our husbands.

Does Premarital Sex Undermine Communication After Marriage?

When we surveyed a 1,000 people who had had premarital sex with the partner they eventually married, we found that the degree of sexual involvement directly correlated with dissatisfaction in communication.

Does Premarital Sex Undermine Communication After Marriage?

The more sexually involved the couple was prior to marriage, the more they now feel:

  • disregarded in their views and opinion by their spouse.
  • judged by their spouse.
  • controlled by the spouse.
  • interrupted when talking to their spouse.
  • dishonesty in the marriage.

Likewise, the more sexually involved they were before marriage, the less they feel:

  • their spouse makes time for them and cherishes them.
  • they can calmly discuss something in the marriage.
  • they can share anything with each other.
  • they share a deep sense of trust and understanding in the relationship.
  • they always encourage each other.
  • they guard themselves from bitterness and anger in the relationship.
  • they resolve their problems quickly.

Why would premarital sex correlate with the above?

God’s Favor Toward His and Her Submission, Part 1: God’s Favor to Wives

Let’s address this controversial topic of submission in marriage.

In Ephesians 5:21 we read of mutual submission: “be subject to one another.” Paul then goes on to instruct wives to submit to their husbands (5:22-24) and husbands to love their wives (5:25-29). He then summarizes the passage on marriage in 5:33 with the command for husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands.

If a wife’s submission is central, why does Paul say nothing of submission in his summary verse, calling wives instead to respect their husbands? Simple. A wife submits by meeting her husband’s need for respect. A husband submits to—or is “subject to”—his wife’s need for love.

Don’t worry, ladies. In part 2, we will deal directly with husbands and God’s call on them to submit as well. But right here, let’s address the controversial and sometimes uncomfortable topic of the wife’s submission.

God’s Favor Toward His and Her Submission

What Came First—the Chicken or the Egg?

In marriage one spouse tends to assign blame to the other for starting the marital troubles. 

For example, in courtship the husband was very talkative but after marriage he talked less, even withdrawing and stonewalling during conflict. 

From the wife’s perspective, this was a bait-and-switch trick. He tricked her into thinking he was a communicative person but after marriage refused to meet her emotional need to connect  via sharing hearts and feelings.

What Came First—the Chicken or the Egg?

Looked at another way, however, could it be that his “closing down” after marriage is simply because of him not fully understanding how to love properly? Even as a goodwilled husband, could it be that he was unaware (though willing to learn) that his wife needed this emotional connection through talking? 

The Biggest Problem In Marriage: Communication

In a survey conducted by Focus on the Family for the Love and Respect Ministries, respondents were asked, “What was (and possibly still is) the biggest problem affecting your marriage?” For men and women the biggest problem by far was lack of good communication.

The Biggest Problem in Marriage: Communication

Why do you think communication problems in marriage surface as such a gigantic problem?

In your opinion, what is the number one thing a couple should do to improve communication?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Both Men and Women Tend and Mend People With Problems But Start Out Differently! Part 2

In part 1 we discussed many of the different gender traits in men and women, proven by science and recognized by most, including Hollywood. These differences are the core reasons why men and women approach problems differently, in the way they tend and mend others.

But is it possible that these differences can actually complement each other, rather than conflict with each other, when it comes to men and women approaching problems together?

Both Men and Women Tend and Mend People With Problems But Start Out Differently! Part 2

When Men and Women Get Together

It has been said, when women get together with women, they talk about things important to them as women.

When men get together they talk about things important to them as men.

But when men and women get together as couples they talk about things that are of interest to neither! Though a joke, there is truth here because usually before the evening is over the three women are chatting in their huddle and the three men are interacting in theirs.

In marriage, most wives wish to connect with their husbands to give the report to build rapport, and that report consists of communicating her concerns about the people in her life. She enjoys doing this regularly with her husband. How many husbands can hardly wait to get home to give the report to build rapport? Fewer than women desire.

The Four Seasons of Marriage, Part 2 — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 119

Join Emerson and Jonathan for Part II of this three part series. Why is marital paradise lost? Why do couples feel they have left Eden and live in a jungle of sorts?  Since Scripture indicates couples will have trouble in this life why are husbands and wives unprepared?  The answer is simple: they do not anticipate and accept the four seasons.  In one way or another all couples will go through the four seasons.  Those who go through them without defeat do so because they anticipate and accept the process.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE, on Stitcher HERE, and on the Love and Respect App HERE.

Did you miss Part 1? Tune in HERE.

Episode 119 - The Fours Seasons of Marriage Part 2

Can We Come Across in a Way that Our Spouse Doesn’t See Our Goodwill?

This article is part 5 of 6 in the “What’s Really Going on Here?” Series. Over the span of six articles, I want us to take a look at twelve different stories and begin to ask ourselves, what is really going on in this story? Is the husband overlooking his wife’s need for love? Is the wife overlooking her husband’s need for respect? How can they ever get off of the Crazy Cycle?

Don’t Miss These Other Parts in the Series:

  1. She Needs Love, He Needs Respect
  2. Can Apparent Lack of Love and Respect Offend?
  3. God’s Simple Revelation to Stop the Crazy Cycle
  4. The First Sin after Adam and Eve Sinned

The Word: Can we come across in such a way that our spouse does not see our goodwill?

Can We Come Across in a Way That Our Spouse Doesn't See Our Goodwill?

Jesus said, in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Did you catch that phrase “in such a way”? Assuming one’s motive is good, then one needs to be mindful of how one is coming across to a spouse.

If as a husband your wife is personalizing your reactions “in such a way” that she feels you are unloving, you need to come across to her “in such a way” that she does not personalize like this. As a husband you need to ask, “Am I coming across to my wife ‘in such a way’ that the light of my love is clearly seen? Or, am I coming across ‘in such a way’ that she feels unloved?”

Can Apparent Lack of Love and Respect Offend?

This article is part 2 of 6 in the “What’s Really Going on Here?” Series. Over the span of six articles, I want us to take a look at twelve different stories and begin to ask ourselves, what is really going on in this story? Is the husband overlooking his wife’s need for love? Is the wife overlooking her husband’s need for respect? How can they ever get off of the Crazy Cycle?

The Word: Can the apparent lack of love or respect offend?

  Jesus said, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt. 5:23–24).

  When he said “your brother has something against you” that can mean one of two things. You in fact offended this person. Or, in this person’s mind you offended them. Either way, Jesus is saying with a “brother,” an intimate, you are to recognize what is happening and take the appropriate steps to remedy the conflict. In fact, this is so important this must be done before worshiping God. In other words, God is bothered when unresolved conflict exists between intimates. Horizontal harmony effects vertical veneration.

  A husband may not in fact be unloving, but if his wife feels unloved and offended, a husband is to recognize this and take steps to remedy the conflict.

  A wife may not in fact be disrespectful, but if her husband feels disrespected and offended, a wife is to recognize this and take steps to remedy the conflict.

Why Do I Rebel Against Being Kind, Loving, and Respectful? — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 112

Some of us declare, “It’s my life. I make the rules. Keep your nose out of my affairs.” At one level such independence is commendable and noble. But what occurs when you say to another, “If I wish to communicate what is untrue, unkind, unnecessary, and unclear to you, I will, and it’s none of your business”? No one responds to a person like that. But what if certain rules and principles are sacred? Join Emerson and Jonathan this week as they talk about the kindness rule and how inviting it can be in marriage and life.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE, on Stitcher HERE, and on the Love and Respect App HERE.

Episode 112 - Why Do I Rebel Against Being Kind, Loving, and Respectful

How to be Truthful Without Being Hurtful

Some questions from one spouse to another are nearly impossible to answer without causing heartache.

How to be Truthful Without Being Hurtful

For example, what is a husband to say when his wife asks, Does this red dress make me look fat?”

A good-hearted husband longs to be truthful without being hurtful, but that isn’t an easy rope to walk on. Most men feel totally trapped by this question, because they have learned, perhaps the hard way, that saying nothing or saying “I don’t know” actually means “you look fat.”

Have You Ever Been Overlooked? — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 109

Join Emerson, Jonathan, and their first guest, Joy Eggerichs Reed, on this week’s episode as they discuss what it’s like and what we can do when we are overlooked, when we go unpicked, or our efforts go unrecognized.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE, on Stitcher HERE, and on the Love and Respect App HERE.

Read the transcript HERE.

Episode+109+-+Have+You+Ever+Been+Overlooked-

Do Some Husbands Live By A Double Standard And Is That Ok Because They Can’t Help It? Part II — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 108

In Part II this week Emerson and Jonathan continue the discussion about some husbands habitually looking at other women and having a double standard. Knowing this double standard exists, what should a husband and wife now do about his looking at other women? Emerson and Jonathan attempt to answer this question.

Listen to Part 1 HERE.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE, on Stitcher HERE, and on the Love and Respect App HERE.

Read the transcript HERE.

Episode 108 - Do Some Husbands Live By A Double Standard And Is That Ok Because They Can't Help It - Part II