By the way Emmerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah do have a website. It's called...drum roll please...loveandrespect.com.
So Emmerson identifies three possible objections that a man has about unconditionally loving his wife. I talked about being tired of 'just not getting it' last time. The other two which I'll address this time are: 'I get no respect' and 'nobody can love that woman'.
It's hard to read 'I get no respect' and not hear Rodney Dangerfield saying 'I tell ya, I don't get no respect' while he cocks his chin up and adjusts his tie left and right. By the way the line that cracked me up most in Caddyshack by Rodney was...I digress. :)
Here is where Emmerson calls the man to live out the gospel, to move towards his wife even if she is being disrespectful. He asks us men not to retreat and be silent. He has a more challenging idea,
Instead be a man of honor and move toward your wife even if you are receiving what feels like verbal deathblows. Call on that same sense of male honor that makes men willing to take a hit for their buddies in combat. Be willing to take a hit from your wife. You won't die (although at times that may seem more preferable).
I call this 'The Tasmanian Devil meets the cross'. As a man you stand there with arms outstretched while your wife spins around (Taz style--it's great finding marriage illustrations in a Bugs Bunny cartoon) in destructive chaos cutting and drawing some blood from your soul. Love your wife as Christ loved the church. These are the moments it is challenging and ultimately rewarding to live out this high calling.
When your wife is being extremely disrespectful Emmerson says this, "There is no question you have the 'right' to be offended. But as a man of wisdom you choose to conceal the dishonor.
This is where Emmerson reveals one of the most important phrases in the book for when a man is feeling disrespected. At times in his marriage he would feel disrespected. He wanted to tell his wife he felt that way. He was afraid to because he might hear her say that he didn't deserve respect. So he got angry and got silent. Remember that a woman generally interprets that as unlove. The crazy cycle is on.
Emmerson began to mature. He began to ask himself what it meant to live as a man of honor. There had to be a more courageous way than silently brooding. What he says when he feels disrespected is, "Honey, that felt disrespectful. Did I just now come across as unloving?" (He has a separate appendix in the book of other ideas of phrases to say and not say)
He shares about his own marriage,
I did not say, "Sarah, you are a disrespectful black widow spider using your venom to devour me!" Personal attacks never, ever work with anybody. The phrase, "That felt disrespectful," removed the personal attack. I was not saying she was a disrespectful person. I was only describing what I felt. My new approach allowed me to express my feelings without claiming Sarah was wrong and I was right. I could say to Sarah, " I'm not saying I am right for feeling this way, nor am I saying you caused me to feel this way. I am only saying that I feel this way." I was not necessarily confessing these feelings were sinful, nor was I saying Sarah was an angel.
The line, "Honey that felt disrespectful," has many possible applications. Sometimes I needed to grow up and not personalize things Sarah did or said as "disrespect." On other occasions, Sarah needed to be a little more positive about the man she married.
But the icing on the cake is when I would add, "Did I just come across as unloving?" This gave Sarah the benefit of the doubt, and often she returned the favor. Too many times in the past I had put her on the defensive. Countless times, Sarah had said in defeat, "It's always me. I'm always to blame. You are always right. You never do wrong."
My new approach gave Sarah a break. I didn't say I was always right and could never do wrong. I owned my part of the blame, and for her this was a breath of fresh air! Sarah quickly decided she loved hearing me say, "Honey, that felt disrespectful. Did I just now come across as unloving?"...If a couple wants to get off the Crazy Cycle, this speeds up the process.
OK, this line is so important that I changed the title of this post and will stop here and get to the final objection on the next post or maybe I'll just move on to the energizing cycle. But right now Bugs is on. Seeya.