Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love and Respect: Part 2

Q. I saw last week's article about how wives can show respect to their husbands based on Ephesians 5:33. I am feeling very disconnected from my wife just like last week's reader was from her husband. Can you tell me how best to love my wife? I feel like we speak two different languages.

A. What a profound statement! "I feel like we speak two different languages" is a very true, valid feeling. Men and women do 'communicate' very differently. Ephesians 5:33 says, "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." We are told here to show affection for our spouse in two different ways. Husbands are to love their wives, and wives are to respect their husbands. What a perfect illustration of how we speak two different languages. Even Scripture points that out to us!

So how can we help you speak your wife's language? If you want to love your wi
fe in the best way possible, you have to show her love in very practical ways. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect, does a fantastic job of outlining how to show your wife love. He uses six categories of ways to speak your wife's language, based on the acronym COUPLE: Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty, and Esteem.** These categories are expanded below:

Closeness - Your wife wants face to face contact and to feel connected to you. (Go for a walk together; hold
hands; try focusing on what your wife is actually saying.)
Openness - Open up to your wife emotionally about what is going on with you. (Tell her about your day; pray with her; ask her how she is feeling.)
Understanding - Take time to listen to what she has to say instead of coming up with solutions. (If you see something that needs to be done, just do it; listen and repeat what she says to you; and don't make her justify what she is feeling.)
Peacemaking - Tension and sin will exist in marriage. Be willing to say, "I'm sorry." (Admit when you are
wrong; meet her halfway in a compromise; reassure her after a hurtful time that you are not angry any more.)

Loyalty - Reassure her that you love her and are in this for the long haul. (Compliment her in front of others; keep your commitments you make; avoid looking at or talking lustfully about other women.)
Esteem -
Show her that you honor her and treasure her. (Open the door for her; give her encouragement and praise
; talk about how you are proud of her and that you see the hard work she does.)**

If you do something in these six areas each day, your wife is bound to respond. Scripture says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, (Luke 6:31)". To begin showing your wife love - regardless of her actions - is to fulfill what Scripture calls all Christian men and women to do. Once you start to break the negative cycle of miscommunication and lack of connectedness in your marriage, your wife will most likely respond. Give it a try. Don't give up too easily either. It may take a little time for your wife to recognize you are now speaking her language and to come around.

If you do try something in all these areas and your marriage is still not where you want it to be, give a professional counselor a call. Don't wait too long to work on your marriage. It is better to resolve issues early before a great deal of resentment enters the marriage. You can show your wife you love her by taking the issues in your marriage seriously and recommending the two of you seek out professional help.
Remember, God will honor your hard work!!!

For last week's article for wives on how to show respect, click here.

If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: askanne@abchome.org or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

**Excerpts are taken from Eggerichs, Emerson. Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. Thomas Nelson: 2004.

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