Faith, Relationships

What do Adventure, Respect and a Successful Marriage Have in Common?

Marriage is an adventure.

And by adventure, I mean sometimes you both are on a tropical beach sipping a fruit drink out of a coconut and sometimes you are being chased out of a jungle by cannibal pygmies with poisonous darts.  By adventure, I mean that sometimes you both are on the cover of Explorer magazine and sometimes you are trapped in an Indonesian prison with each other.   By adventure, I mean the long dry periods of research followed by the blissful travel on a merchant ship to places unknown.

Long term marriage is a terrific adventure even if I am being metaphorical.  It is not to be taken as an easy storybook romance.

One time when Husband and I felt as though we were trapped alone with each other in Antarctica, and were thinking of calling for rescue to take us our separate ways, I ran across a YouTube video that changed everything. I’m not using hyperbole here, this video changed how I viewed my husband, myself and my marriage.

The video talked about husbands and wives needing completely different types of expressions of caring.  Not in just a Mars vs Venus type of way but in a more visceral way backed by loads of science… and the Bible.

Dr Emerson Eggerich had an epiphany when he read Ephesians 5:33-

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

With that little verse, the skies opened up for him and he saw that for a successful marriage, women primarily need expressions of love and men need expressions of respect.

Now before you jump on me with, “we both need love and respect” or, “but my husband doesn’t deserve my respect”,  Eggerich writes in his book Love and Respect

“When I talk about respecting your husband, I do not mean being a doormat.  I do not mean burying your brains, never showing leadership ability, or never disagreeing in the slightest way.  I do not mean that he is superior and you are inferior in some way.  Nor do I want you to ignore your hurts and vulnerabilities”.

What he posits is a method to talk, communicate, express our feelings with respect.  Most men “would agree with the biblical proverbs that says it is better for a disrespected man to live in a corner of the roof or in a deserted land than with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9)

Was I a contentious woman?  You betcha’ because he deserved it – I thought.

But what if I changed my method?  What if I stopped viewing myself as a mother, always harping on what he didn’t do and started showing him respect?  Isn’t that what I do for my friends and employees? Surely I must respect him for something?

With regard to husbands, he teaches them how to show love to their wives.  Most men say that they would die for their wives so why won’t they help more around the house?  Because they don’t understand that housecleaning or _____________ (fill in your blank) can be a critical expression of love for a woman.

The idea hit me like a bolt.  I had become a shrew, and I disliked myself for it, but I didn’t know how to change our landscape. Husband and I were caught in what Eggerich refers to as the Crazy Cycle…I don’t feel loved so I disrespect.  He doesn’t feel respected so he treats me indifferently.  Then I disrespect.  Then he, well you get it.

I purchased his book, Love and Respect, then the DVD’s- a small sum for such a big reward. With words from the book, I started to express the minuscule respect I had buried deep inside.  The results were short of miraculous.  Conversation, real communication and the beginnings of change.

Of course, bad/sad marriages may not be fixed just by a video, a book, or a DVD but these things, with this particular message, can and did, put a marriage on a strong enough footing for repair to happen.

Like any adventure, one needs adequate tools, skills and equipment in order to get through the jungle or out of Antartica successfully and the message of the Eggerich’s is among the most critical of all three.

Married for decades and Still in Love,
Beth

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13 Comments

  1. Very interesting. I’ve been married almost 26 years and even though we love each other, and are each others best friends sometimes it feels like we’re in that same cycle. I think maybe I need to show him a little more respect for all that he does instead of always harping on what he didn’t do.

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  2. This is excellent advice! My husband and I have been together since 1971 and married since 1973. After so many decades, we had become stagnant in our relationship and were taking each other for granted. Now, we are closer than ever, thanks to a series of prolonged separations (by circumstance, not design). It’s true that you never fully appreciate what you have until it’s not there. We are now much more forgiving towards each other and less likely to complain about small things.

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    1. Beth Author

      Ok, you win the championship for long term marriages! I’m not sure which has been worse the occasional stagnancy or the building resentments. However, this program took away both for me and I really appreciate him for being in my life.
      I’m so glad that you stopped by,
      Beth

      Reply
  3. Great advice Beth! My husband and I have been together 24 years and have both been married before. Life has not been the one I saw through ‘rose-tinted’ glasses when we were first together. Combining families, coping with exes and the usual hurdles life sends us like triple by-passes and his aging parents. We have worked through all of this and have matured together. Love and respect are important in any relationship we just need to know our partner and understand their needs – which will be different to our own needs. Congratulations on still being in love – that is what counts.

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    1. Beth Author

      I still get those ‘rose-tinted’ glasses feelings but now they are more tempered by the realities of a blended family, physical challenges, and out own goofey-ness. Sounds like we are both climbing Everest, but in a good way.
      Beth

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  4. I read Love and Respect (and did a discussion group with it) To understand what your husband needs and to actually want to step up and provide that is such a turning point in a relationship. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus changed my view of marriage in my younger days and this book really helped later down the track. I’m so glad it helped you too Beth. (It’s also interesting that we both wrote about the midlife marriage fairytale for Valentine’s Day!)

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  5. It takes a lot of work to have a long and successful marriage. Great post and my oh my what an adventuresome life you have had – In a jungle being chased by cannibal pygmies, on the cover of Explorer magazine, in a prison in Indonesian, then Antarctica!!! Did I read into this too much or was that all for real? Thank you Beth for sharing this post at the #WednesdayAIM #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared it on my social media sites.

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    1. Beth Author

      Dear Grammy Dee, While I have had a wonderfully adventurous life, those were are metaphors for my much more adventurous marriage. Thank you for hosting such wonderful parties.
      Beth

      Reply
  6. Thats awesome. Marriage isn’t easy that’s for sure! I’ve done it twice. I read the five love languages and that made alot of sense too. I will be honest I actually learned alot about men from Steve Harvey’s books.

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