I also want to let you all know that I am going to do my very best to have the post up by 9pm EST each night. That way you will all be able to expect when it is coming. It will give you time to make any preparations for the next day. Not all of you are night owls like me, so I apologize that the first few days have come late at night.
I haven't mentioned this before but I would like for you to keep the fact that you are doing this challenge a secret from your husband. We want him to see that you are changing & not just doing a lesson as a one time thing. We don't want him to feel like an experiment. I am not one to keep secrets from Adam & it is impossible for me to lie, which I am thankful for. If he asked me what color socks I had on & I realized later that I had a different color on, I would tell him. :)This is a good secret, like buying a present for someone. You hide it until the right time. I would never suggest keeping any other kind of secret.
Last night I revealed the book series that I am working from & tonight I want to explain a little the basis of what Dr. Eggerich's is teaching. If I asked you what the most important thing in the world is to you I would expect that most of you would say....
As a woman that is our greatest need. We need love like we need air to breathe. There was a comment posted today from Coach's Wife. She hit the nail on the head & Dr. Eggerich's teaches this. As women we want to keep our relationships up to date. Meaning that we feel like we need to talk about our problems in our marriage daily. Men look at it this way; If we are talking daily about our marriage problems, we have a major problem. Worse, if there is an argument, most of us run around the house chasing them to "clear things up". We are working out of love, but it doesn't come across that way because it seems nagging which makes us feel they are avoiding us & being even more unloving to us. Would you believe that when our husbands turn away from us, they are trying to do the honorable thing? Men do not like confrontation. When we chase after them to get them to "talk" they are worried that they will say something that will upset us & even make the argument worse. They know that they get angry & they honestly just want to calm down to save our feelings. We, as wives take this as they don't care & are being rude to us. Am I right ladies?
This was a major issue in our marriage. It is almost as if Dr. Eggerichs was using Adam & I as the example. Adam would always tell me that he needed to get away but I was very hurt by that. I didn't want to be fighting so I would literally follow him throughout the entire house trying to make things right. This would only anger him more because he felt like I was trying to control him. I couldn't understand that. Now I do. He isn't wrong for acting the way that he does & I am not wrong for wanting to fix things. This is how God wired us. Not wrong, just different. Once we started to understand that, we have been able to make the much needed adjustments.
So, if love is the most important thing to us as women....what do you think it the most important thing to our husbands? How many of you said love? I would have said the same thing 3 months ago. Of course men want us to love them but that is not what they NEED. What a man needs just like he needs air to breathe is....
God actually has commanded us to respect our husbands. In Ephesians 5:33 - "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband". God has wired us to love automatically. This is why he commands us to respect our husbands. Not doing this is a clear disobedience of His word. That was huge to me & it is now one of my favorite scriptures. I believe that the application of this verse can change marriages significantly. In turn, God commands our husbands to love us because he did not wire him to do it automatically.
God created our husbands with the need to take care of his family and to be the leader. If you ask most men if they would die for their families, they would say yes. They are our protectors. If you ask a man if he wants his co-workers to like him or to respect him, he will say respect. Men have this unspoken rule to respect other men. If they spoke to each other the way that we speak often speak to them, there would be a lot of trouble in the world. That is why their spirit is so damaged when we disrespect them. They can't imagine why we would speak to them in a way that other men wouldn't even speak to them. We are supposed to hold our husbands in the highest position in our homes. God commands us to respect our husbands unconditionally. Are you disobeying God? I was.
Entertain this thought for a second. If I asked you right now if you love your husband, what would you say? If I asked you if you respected him, what would you say? Unconditionally means that your husband does NOT have to earn your respect. You are to give it to him without question. How would you feel if you asked your husband if he loved you & he said not today. You don't deserve it. I personally would be devastated.
While Adam & I were separated, I emailed him at least 10 times letting him know how much I loved him. He didn't respond to a single one of those emails. He never doubted that from me. That was not our problem. He felt that I had disrespected him, time & time again. He was right. Once Lisa brought this to my attention, I sent him a short email apologizing for being disrespectful to him which she wrote for me. She ordered me to send that email the way that it was. Do not add additional words or feelings. This was unnatural & completely uncomfortable for me. I trusted her as I had no other options at that point. Would you believe that he emailed me back? It was at that moment that his feelings for me started to change. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't over yet, but the door was cracked just enough for Adam to begin seeing my changes & believing that they were not temporary & they were real.
In my efforts to show you how "normal" & "real" we are, I want to let you know that we fell victim to the crazy cycle just last week. Adam & I used to fight or at least pick at each other several times a week. We have been back together for 2 1/2 months & we have had one fight. Adam came home from work & he was unusually grouchy. I felt like he picked on the kids, he picked on me, he made a comment that made me feel like I was not keeping up with the house, etc. I had made a nice dinner that night & I hate when I go out of my way to do something & an argument or negativity takes away from my nice thing. So, my feelings got hurt. We started to argue. Adam asked me to go away & I did. I was proud of myself for taking my new knowledge & actually applying it. I played with the kids, put them to bed, & had time to myself before bed time. All the while I was getting more & more hurt & angry that Adam wasn't moving forward to speak to me. We have agreed since our separation that we would not go to bed angry & it was getting near that time. I went to bed & laid there as long as I could so that he had every opportunity to make a move. It never happened. I tried to once again practice what I had learned & I went to him. Dr. Eggerichs says that, "The person who feels that they are the most mature is the one that should move forward first." Well, of course I thought this was me so I did it. I knew that I was about to walk into a danger zone because Adam still seemed very angry. I tried talking to him in a way that I thought was right. When I saw that it wasn't working, I did everything that I shouldn't have. I told him how HE should be acting & basically disrespected him by telling him that he wasn't living up to his end of the bargain. I told him I would tell our counselor. He immediately jumped up & told me that I haven't changed at all. Obviously, this is not true & he will admit that today. He was angry & was reacting from his feelings just as I was. We got on what is called, "The Crazy Cycle." Without love, a woman reacts without respect, but without respect, a man will react without love. So who again is the one that will break the cycle? The one who feels that they are the most mature!
I left the room & emailed my counselor/accountability partner. He revealed to me what I had done wrong & how to repair it. I can see how clearly what I could have done differently. Again, it is very unnatural, so you have to train yourself to be this way. What I should have done as a good wife would have been to find out what was troubling my husband. Why did he come home so grouchy when he hadn't been lately? Why was he "picking" on us for silly reasons? Why was he quick to temper & take things personally? My partner suggested that I go into the other room & offer Adam a snack & a back rub. Of course, it is much easier to respond back in a negative way because of hurt feelings. The feelings follow choices lesson is one that will be used over & over. Unfortunately, I had gone to bed before I received his advice, so I wasn't able to practice it. However, I wanted to know how Adam would have received that gesture, so I asked him. As angry as he was, he told me that would have helped tremendously & would have made him feel like I cared about what was bothering him. It turns out that he was just in a crabby mood for no reason at all. Nothing happened. We just get in a funk sometimes. He felt as though we were not interested in him that night or what he wanted to say. Perhaps meeting him at the door would have avoided this entire situation. ??
Learning this information from this book series will not prevent you from getting involved in the crazy cycle. In fact, Dr. Eggerichs admits that he & Sarah still get on the cycle too. Training yourself to think differently will just teach you how to get on the cycle less & how to get off sooner.
Lesson #3 - Tonight make his favorite meal or dessert. (Or both!) Proverbs 31:15 says, "She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls".
You are making deposits into your marriage. During this two week period be prepared for your husband to do something unloving. You have greeted him, hugged him, & made his favorite meal, but later he yells at you for moving his keys. Ignore it. Don't throw your hands up saying, "Respecting you doesn't work. You are as unloving as ever." You are fasting from complaining for two weeks. Lower your expectations. You can't expect him to change in every area of his life because you did three nice things. Do this for God & not for your husband. God commands you to do this.
I invite you to take this one step further. As I sit here & type this I realize that I am guilty of something that I could do a little better. I am sitting in sweatpants, a tee shirt, no makeup, & messy hair. We would never have been seen this when we were dating. Thank God our husbands still think that we are beautiful when we are a mess. However, from time to time we should put a little extra effort into looking our best for him. I am going to be doing this challenge & all of the others along with you because I need to work on my marriage at the same time. I need to continue to strive to be the very best wife that I can be. I invite you to not only make his favorite meal or dessert but to also take a shower, put on a little makeup, set the table nice, & show him that you have gone out of your way to make him feel special.
"Lord, thank you so much for working in so many marriages so quickly. These stories are an inspiration to all of us. As we see you working in these families we are encouraged to try harder in our own lives. Thank you for all of the women that are following this blog. We are building an unbelievable support system for each other. Lord, please give each of these women the strength to push through each lesson. Give them a few extra minutes out of their day to be able to comment to all of us on their experiences. Lord, please allow us all to make a beautiful dinner for our well deserving husbands & please prevent any major kitchen nightmares. We ask that you please help us to wrap our brains around the principles of love & respect so that we can begin to apply them. Our culture has not always shown us that this is the true way to live. Lord, we want to honor Your word & not be disobedient to You. Please forgive us for not following Your commands in the past. Now that we are aware of what You want from us, we will be better. Thank you Lord for giving us this chance. Amen."