This overview will teach you the basic Love and Respect principles and show you how applying them can improve your marriage as you understand the 3 cycles:
In Part I, I showed you the Crazy Cycle: without love a wife reacts without respect and without respect a husband reacts without love. This baby can begin to spin out of control.
In Part II, I showed you the Energizing Cycle: his love motivates her respect and her respect motivates his love. Each is energized.
When this is the case, you can live on the Rewarded Cycle.
WHAT IS THE REWARDED CYCLE?
HIS LOVE BLESSES REGARDLESS OF HER RESPECT.
HER RESPECT BLESSES REGARDLESS OF HIS LOVE.
The Rewarded Cycle deals with the unconditional dimension. A husband can love his wife regardless of her respect. A wife can respect her husband regardless of his love.
Unconditional means there is no condition, situation or circumstance that can get you to show hostility or contempt toward your spouse. Though your spouse do not deserve love and respect, you will not become an unloving and disrespectful person in reaction to them.
A husband says,
“I will put on love toward you because I am really loving Christ. I will obey Ephesians 5:33 that commands me to love because I love the Lord. I am showing my love for God as I put on love for you.”
A wife says,
“I will put on respect toward you because I am really reverencing Christ. I will obey Ephesians 5:33 that commands me to put on respect because I reverence the Lord. I am showing my reverence for God as I put on respect for you.”
God blesses and rewards the person who trusts and obeys him.
The Rewarded Cycle is easy to learn and remember:
In His parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus teaches us to do what we do as if we are doing it to Him (see Matthew 25:31-40).
Ephesians 5:22 tells wives to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives “just as Christ also loved the church.” In these two verses, the apostle Paul teaches husbands and wives that, in marriage, the true believer is always conscious of Christ.
Why do I call it the Rewarded Cycle?
Ephesians 6:7-8 says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does,” (NIV).
This truth applies to husbands and wives. One day you can hear the Lord say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21 NIV).
The Rewarded Cycle will deepen your love and reverence for Christ as you render Love and Respect to your spouse as unto Him. Remember, in the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ.
Whenever you practice love or respect, your goal is not simply to slow or halt the Crazy Cycle, nor is it to motivate your spouse to meet your needs. Ultimately, you practice love or respect because, standing just beyond your spouse, you picture Jesus Christ. You envision the time when you will see Him face-to-face and realize your marriage was really His way of testing and growing you to have more love and reverence for Him.
In Part I, Part II, and Part III, we have answered 3 questions:
- Why do we negatively react to each other? The Crazy Cycle answers this question.
- How do we motivate each other? The Energizing Cycle answers this question.
- What motivates me when my spouse does not motivate me? The Rewarded Cycle answers this question.
This is the system of Love and Respect.