Many couples seem to spend most of their time on the Crazy Cycle, which is summed up like this:
Without love she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love.
Years ago as I reflected on God’s clear command (which is not a suggestion that we can take or leave) in Ephesians 5:33, I unearthed what I came to call the ‘Love and Respect Connection.’
In that verse, I am commanded as a husband to love Sarah. Why? I assume because she needs my love. In fact, she speaks love as her mother-tongue. Love is the language she understands.
In fact, she is continually saying to family and friends, “Love you!” But when I speak to her in unloving ways, appearing harsh, angry, or insensitive, this crushes her spirit and she deflates. At that juncture, she defensively reacts in ways that sound disrespectful to me. We jump on the Crazy Cycle and spin!
Sarah is commanded as a wife in Ephesians 5:33 to put on respect toward me. Why? I assume because I need to feel respected for who I am apart from my performance.
As with most men, I speak respect. This is my mother-tongue. I instinctively communicate according to the honor code. Respect is the language I understand. But when Sarah speaks to me in ways that sound disrespectful about who I am as a person (not just toward a certain action), my tendency is to react with unloving words. Few men have fond feelings of affection toward a wife who appears to despise who they are as a human being. Round and round we would go in a Crazy Cycle, each saying things that were the exact opposite of what was needed!”
Can you identify with the Crazy Cycle? How?