News Letter 5856-049
The 4th Year of the 4th Sabbatical Cycle
The 25th year of the 120th Jubilee Cycle
The 16th day of the 12th month 5856 years after the creation of Adam
The 4th Sabbatical Cycle after the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Middle of the 70th Jubilee Since Yehovah told Moses To go Get His People
The Sabbatical Cycle of Sword, Famines, and Pestilence
2052 Days until the Two Witnesses
January 30, 2021
Shabbat Shalom to the Royal Family of Yehovah,
It Was A Riddle Not A Command Audio
We are very pleased to announce that our book It Was A Riddle Not a Command is now available in audio format. And can be found in our store. It has been narrated by Sally Cave and we have cut all the costs to make this affordable to everyone.
This means we have done away with the expensive productions costs that Audible charges and the edits and all that goes into making this book 100% perfect. The normal going rate for an audible book that goes through this process is about $37 US or more. We are not charging that but we are asking for $5 donation to help us finance more translations in the future.
We hope you will listen to the teachings in this book while you drive or as you walk about with your phones.
Shabbat Zoom Meeting
There are many people in need of fellowship and who are sitting at home on Sabbath with no one to talk to or debate with. I want to encourage all of you to join us on Shabbat at 12:30 PM Eastern Time Zone, and to invite others to come and join us as well. If the time is not convenient then you can listen to the teaching and the midrash after on our youtube channel.
We hope you can invite those who want to keep Torah to come and join us by hitting the link below. It is almost like a Torah teaching fellowship talk show with people from around the world taking part and sharing their insights and understandings.
We start off with some music and then some prayers and it as though you were sitting around the kitchen back in Newfoundland having a cup of coffee and all of us enjoying each other’s company. I hope you will grace us with your company someday.
Sabbath Jan 30, 2021, will be a 1 PM Eastern. The room opens at 12:30 EST
Joseph Dumond is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Joseph Dumond’s Personal Meeting Room
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 350 585 5877
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Septennial Torah Portion
If you go to Torah Portion at our archived section, you can then go to the 4th year which is the 4th year of the Sabbatical Cycle, the one we are in now, as we state at the top of every News Letter. There you can scroll down to January 23, 2021, and see that this Shabbat we could very well be midrashing about
If you missed last weeks exciting discoveries as we studied that section you can go and watch past Shabbats on our media section.
Shabbat Kids Ministry
At our leadership meeting this week, it was suggested we begin to have Shabbat services specifically for the kids. As this sounded good to those at the meeting, the question came up, as to just how many would be interested in attending and what are the ages? And then who would be interested in working on this and developing this with us?
So I am now putting the question to you. If you are interested then please drop me a note and answer the questions in this link below, please.
Live Interview With Mark and Cyrus
Last Monday January 25, 2021, we did a live interview with Mark Webb and Cyrus Harding. I knew that both of them had information about certain things that would be of interest to the other one and myself as well as all of you.
Once we turned off the video and the mic, and we were just talking afterwards, then, they shared some things that were pretty awesome and I regretted turning off the video. You can watch our interview at this link.
Both of them wrote me and said how much they enjoyed our talk. So I asked them to come on again this Monday February 1, 2021, at 3 PM Eastern. We will again go live on Facebook, YouTube and Periscope. If you felt the last interview was great, then I think this one could just about stun all of us. I am very excited about what was said.
Join us live at 3 PM Eastern on Monday February 1 for this interview. You can subscribe to sightedmoon.com on YouTube so you do not miss the alert or follow me on Facebook.
The New Year Begins In Two Weeks
February 13 At Sunset
Saturday February 13, 2021 at sunset as the Sabbath ends will be the New Year. Are you ready? Have you been getting ready? It is now here.
Weigh the evidence for yourself and you and your family decide. You are going to be a King in the Kingdom of Yehovah. You could also be one the Priests in that Kingdom. It behooves you to know and to understand why we search for barley and what it represents.
It has nothing to do with the Equinox. It has nothing to do with calculating dates. It has everything to do with Gen 1:14 and letting Yehovah use the sun to warm the earth and mature the barley so that we have the very first fruits to offer as a wave offering on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath, during the days of Unleavened Bread.
You need to learn this and then teach others in your Kingdom why we do this.
This 12th month we are in right now will be a 30 day month. There will be no guessing about when the Holy Days are in the 1st month.
Friday, February 26 at sunset and Saturday February 27 will be the 14th day of Nisan. The Preparation Day for the Passover. The day Yehshua-Yehovah was killed paying the death penalty we should have paid with our own lives. He loved us that much.
Saturday after Sunset February 27, will be the start of the High Holy Day going into Sunday February 28. This is the first Day of Unleavened Bread and no leaven is to be found in your home. You are to eat Unleavened Bread for 7 days. So you will have to make some this year as I do not think there will be any in the stores this early. All leaven is to be out of your homes by this date as well. No leaven. No breaded chicken strips. No crackers, no storing it on your property until after. You are to remove all leaven. Throw it out or eat it before this day. Do not rob yourself of the potential blessings you could receive if you obey.
Saturday February 27 after the sunsets is when the Passover Lamb is to be eaten. You do not have to eat lamb but this is when the meal is eaten. It is eaten on the First high Holy Day. The High Holy Days of the first Day of Unleavened Bread begins at Sunset at the end of the weekly Sabbath and goes into Sunday February 28. This is also the same date for the Wave Sheaf Day.
March 5th at sunset to March 6 at sunset will be the 7th day of Unleavened Bread. After this you can then eat leaven again.
Here is Becca’s report about the barley. Judge and make your decision.
Becca sent me this video after I first posted this News Letter. She roasted the barley she has picked to see if it could be formed into flour for a wave sheaf offering.
Prophecy Unfolding Before You
“This cannot be who we are as a country,” he said. “These are not the values of our nation. We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people get evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act.”
Lev 26:23 And if you will not be reformed by Me by these things, but will still walk contrary to Me,
Lev 26:24 then I will walk contrary to you and will punish you seven times more for your sins.
Lev 26:25 And I will bring a sword on you that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant. And when you are gathered inside your cities, I will send the plague among you. And you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
Lev 26:26 When I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight. And you shall eat and not be satisfied.
Lev 26:27 And if you will not for all of this listen to Me, but will walk contrary to Me,
Lev 26:28 then I will walk contrary to you also in fury. And I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
Lev 26:29 And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat.
Luk 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in different places, and famines and plagues. And there shall be terrors and great signs from Heaven.
Luk 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.
Luk 21:13 And it shall return to you for a testimony.
Luk 21:14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand what you shall answer.
Luk 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Luk 21:16 And you shall be betrayed also by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends. And they will cause some of you to be put to death.
Luk 21:17 And you shall be hated by all for My name’s sake.
Luk 21:18 But there shall not a hair of your head perish.
Luk 21:19 By your patience you will gain your souls.
Take heed of the promise at the end there. Be patient and do not strike back even though you want to.
I do not in any way feel qualified to share this next teaching with you. In fact I am not qualified at all. My marriage has failed miserably. One of the things I hated the most was getting advice from people who were two or three times divorced.
No this next teaching was originally for me. I have read it many times before I decided to share it with you. Each time it brings tears to my eyes as I see the things that triggered me and the things I did in the examples that follow. And yet I know many of you suffer from the very same things discussed here in. But it is not just for Husbands and wives. It is also for Fathers and Daughters. Mothers and Sons. Male and female basically.
I know some of you won’t read this. That is too bad. I know being alone and spending my golden years alone is not what I wanted. But each time I read this, I am reminded of how my own marriage was derailed by my actions and by my wife’s, reactions to how each of us treated each other in our disputes. We both erred and now we both suffer because we could not figure out how to get off the crazy cycles we kept getting on.
May you not be as stubborn and pig headed as we were to change.
Love and Respect
We are about to begin 7 lessons dealing with Love and Respect. I have been looking at this subject in relationship to my marriage and its recent break up. I have known about many of these things for many years.
I contacted the author and asked if he would do an online teaching for us but our group size was not big enough. I most certainly do not feel qualified in the least to teach this subject to you. But I also know that to learn a subject well, you need to teach it.
There are many things that have been said to me and this ministry this year which showed me that many of you are lacking in these qualities. I have already admitted I am. So for all of our sakes I am going to share this 7 part series with you and perhaps, just maybe a few of you will get it. Maybe even me.
DO THE #1 THING IN A CONVERSATION THAT ACCORDING TO RESEARCH CAN MOST HELP YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
During Conflict, How Do You Sound in Your Marriage?
When the two of you first met, your conversations were carried along with a tone of love and respect toward each other that made your relationship meaningful.
Research on Tone in Marriage
After studying two thousand couples for twenty years a researcher said in the book, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, “Most couples . . . over the years, really wanted just two things from their marriage—love and respect” (p. 18). Elsewhere we read, “In our study of long-term marriages we recruited couples from a wide range of backgrounds who had been married twenty to forty years to the same partner. Despite the wide differences in occupations, lifestyles, and the details of their day-to-day lives, I sense a remarkable similarity in the tone of their conversations. No matter what style of marriage they have adopted, their discussions, for the most part, are carried along by a strong undercurrent of two basic ingredients: love and respect” (p. 61).
I predict you had this tone early in the relationship. But this raises the question: Is that tone of love and respect still present? When you talk to your spouse, do you sound loving and respectful? I am not saying they deserve to be talked to this way in light of something they may have done that deeply hurt you. I am only saying that the research reveals that when you sound hostile and contemptuous toward whom your spouse is as a human being, your spouse will not hear your deepest heart, not long term. This may not be fair but it is a fact.
Is this attitude and tone of love and respect really the key? The Bible said the same two thousand years ago in Ephesians 5:33, which is the summary verse to the greatest treatise in the Bible on marriage. There God commands the husband to love and the wife to respect. However, the Bible highlights a gender difference. Generally speaking, wives need love and husbands need respect.
Along with you, I wondered why, especially since wives need R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and few wives feel R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for their husbands.
Also, I knew everyone needed love and respect equally, so why is the husband commanded to love and the wife commanded to respect? Is this an antiquated worldview?
I found something fascinating. I asked seven thousand people this question: “When you are in a conflict with your spouse, do you feel unloved or disrespected?” Eighty-three percent of the husbands said they felt disrespected. Seventy-two percent of the wives said they felt unloved.
True Need and Felt Need
Stunning! Though everyone needs love and respect equally, the felt need differs among husbands and wives during conflicts. This was statistically significant.
Doesn’t a husband need L.O.V.E.? Absolutely, but apparently during conflict most husbands are assured of their wives’ love. Women love to love. Ask Harry, “Does your wife love you?” He’ll reply, “Yes.” Then ask, “Does she like you?” He’ll answer, “No, not today.” If the wife is listening she’s apt to chime in, “He’s right. I love him a ton, but right now I don’t like him nor feel any respect for him. He forgot my birthday and told me he cannot make our daughter’s piano recital. I am hurt and mad. He doesn’t deserve my respect. He hasn’t earned it.”
Doesn’t a wife need R.E.S.P.E.C.T.? Absolutely, but no movie ends with the hero embracing the rescued damsel and declaring, “I want to respect you the rest of my life.” Furthermore, there’s not one card in the whole card industry from a husband to a wife that says, “Baby, I really respect you on our anniversary!”
What’s my point? Generally speaking, most wives “hear” the unloving tones coming from their husbands. She knows that she cares (all research reports the female is the caregiver and this finding is off the charts) but she wonders, does he care as much as she does? Many wives have said to me, “I wonder if he loves me as much as I love him.” A wife can feel insecure about his love and filters his actions and reactions through the love grid. One of the most commonly asked questions of a wife toward her husband is, “Do you love me?” Or a common request is, “Tell me that you love me.” In conflict she interprets anger, harshness, or stonewalling as unloving. She “hears” it that way. The topic at hand is secondary to the fact that she is now feeling unloved. She won’t hear much else of what the husband is trying to say. Even if she feels disrespected week after week she’ll eventually land on love as her foundational need by exclaiming, “How can you say that you love me and treat me disrespectfully?”
In the same way, most husbands “hear” the disrespectful tones coming from the wives, and when they do, they won’t hear much else of what the wives are trying to say, even if the wife is expressing her love. In fact, some men get irritated while hearing her say, “I am saying these things because I love you.” He is apt to say, “I know you love me” but still shut down in hurt and anger. He filters her criticism as disrespect for who he is as a human and he pulls back emotionally. No husband feels fond feelings of love and affection toward a wife he feels despises who he is as a human being, even though he knows she loves him.
Are you newly married and wanting to make sure the marriage starts off on the right foot, are you eight years into the marriage and wanting to refresh the relationship, or are you in crisis and wanting to deal with the breakdown of trust? What I know is if your tone sounds hostile and contemptuous, no matter how justified you are in what you say, you will prevent good things from happening in the relationship. You will stall any forward progress. I am not saying your spouse will respond to a loving and respectful tone; I am only saying they will not respond to your hostile and contemptuous tone.
Though there is no absolute guarantee, I have seen good things happen again and again from the right tone while addressing issues. This is the case with a newlywed or a victim of adultery. This is never fair to the innocent but it is required for future success.
Even if you feel your spouse is 90 percent to blame for the marital tensions, I have found that when you move forward on your 10 percent, and determine to sound loving and respectful, something miraculous begins to happen. Most guilty parties start to soften and respond more positively. The removal of a hostile and contemptuous tone works wonders.
Today’s Question: Do you sound loving and respectful when upset or does your spouse hear hostility and contempt in your voice?
Today’s Action: Before speaking ask yourself, “Is that which I’m about to say (my conversational tone) going to sound loving and respectful to my spouse?”
2. APPLY THE 60-SECOND TEST TOWARD YOUR SPOUSE THAT REVEALS THE POWER YOU HAVE TO INFLUENCE THE RELATIONSHIP.
**Would you like a video version of the 15 Day Plan (the written and video are the same content but both are included with the video)?
Now back to #2 in the plan:
Do You Know How to Fill Your Spouse’s Emotional Air Tank?
Making Deposits Works!
God designed your spouse to respond to your expressions of love and respect. It works. Weekly I receive emails like these:
A wife writes, “I am sad that I have been married 22 years, and just now began to understand the respect message. I wrote my husband two letters about why I respected him. I am amazed at how it has softened him in his response to me. I have prayed for years that my husband would love me and speak my love language. But when I begin to speak his language, then he responds with what I have wanted.”
A husband emails, “I live in Hungary and have received your book from my brother. . . We are both undergoing difficulties in our marriages. I started to read it immediately and it has already helped a lot. My wife has realized my unconditional love approach and has become far more respectful to me. What is more, I discovered the old, “romantic,” loving feelings in me towards her that have been buried during the last years because of our Crazy Cycles.”
Do the Respect Test
Say to your husband, “I was thinking of you today and a couple things about you that I respect, and want you to know I respect you.” Then exit the room. I predict he’ll follow you or call you back to find out what. At that moment say something from your heart like, “I respect your goodwill toward me and the family. You are a good-willed man. Thank you.” In most instances you’ll observe the positive energy enter his spirit. This illustrates the influence you have in the marriage. If he asks, “Why are you saying this?” just remark that it struck you as very true and you wanted him to know what you felt.
A gal writes, “I did the Respect Test tonight when I got home. I complimented him on how well he took care of everything while I was gone . . . and how it was so kind of him to let me go to the conference and the way it made me feel so much RESPECT for him. A few minutes later he suggested that we all go SHOPPING together!! Then, he told me how important our marriage is to him!! A couple of weeks ago we weren’t even speaking!”
A wife writes, “We have a good marriage, but I’ve always known that something was missing—I think it was respect towards him. I just didn’t know he needed it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to love him more because in my heart I knew I wasn’t meeting his needs.”
Do the Love Test
Say to your wife, “I was thinking of you today and a couple things about you that I love, and want you to know I love you.” Then exit the room. I predict she’ll follow you or call you back to find out what. At that moment say something from your heart like, “I love your goodwill toward me and the family. You are a good-willed woman. Thank you.” In most instances you’ll observe the positive energy enter her spirit. This illustrates the influence you have in the marriage. If she asks, “Why are you saying this?” just remark that it struck you as very true and you wanted her to know what you felt.
A husband emails, “Your message seemed counter to everything I saw in the culture and to my own self-interest. . . . But when I applied love to my wife—SHAZAM—my wife responded to it and my marriage got better.”
Let me insert, this is not a theory or formula to test as much as it is a commitment to meet your spouse’s need, which they will have for the rest of their lives. By way of analogy, a husband should never say, “I will try out your theory, Emerson, about loving a wife. I will test this out but if it doesn’t work to my satisfaction, I’m not continuing.” No, whatever your spouse’s response may be, loving and respecting unconditionally is always the path to take.
The Energizing Cycle
What are some specific things you might consider doing? I refer to it as the Energizing Cycle: his love motivates her respect and her respect motivates his love. When we meet our spouse’s need—filling their emotional tank—they tend to desire to reciprocate.
Fill Her Love Tank with Love Deposits
Decode her negativity as a cry for love, not as a put down of you. Do not take up offense but stay calm. Try to respond to her need for love rather than point out to her she is negative and disrespectful. This will energize her.
Though you’re offended by her disrespect, ask if you were unloving earlier and apologize. Watch her soften and probably apologize for her disrespect.
Don’t defend yourself when this appears to her as self-justification and blame-placing. Try to listen first to her complaint. Try to empathize first.
When she has deflated over your unloving reaction, go to her and say, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” Few things release the negativity in the spirit of a woman like an apology. Truly, she feels enlivened.
Energize her by succeeding where you failed; she doesn’t expect you to be perfect but to rebound on the heels of your mistakes. This blesses her.
Fill His Respect Tank with Respect Deposits
Though he makes blunders, let him know you believe in his goodwill. This will energize him.
Don’t display contempt for his maleness when he feels the motive behind his actions are rooted in his desire to do the honorable and right thing. For instance, does he go quiet to prevent a conflict from escalating? Is he trying to be unloving or to do what is honorable among men?
Ask before talking to him, “Will my words sound like disrespect to him?” and even ask him if you sounded disrespectful. Watch him soften and express appreciation for trying to understand him without judging him as egotistical.
Say, “That felt unloving,” not “You’re unloving”; address the issue instead of attacking him. He’ll stay engaged in the conversation especially when you add, “I need your strength when I feel vulnerable.” Why assassinate his character when you need his good character qualities?
Though “respect” toward a husband is foreign to most women, trust and obey God’s Word in Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:1–2. Avoid cynicism and mockery of this idea in front of your husband. Don’t let your fears persuade you that you will become a doormat and lose all power. Believe just the opposite as you look beyond your husband to the Lord.
Today’s Question: Though you have not intended to make more withdrawals from the heart of your spouse than deposits into your spouse’s heart, do you think you have caused them to deflate more than feel energized by you?
Today’s Action: As a husband, in the next twenty-four hours I will do one thing that feels loving to my wife and watch to see if her spirit livens up. As a wife I will do one thing that feels respectful to my husband and watch to see if his spirit softens toward me.
3. SEE A PINK AND BLUE DIFFERENCE THAT MANY HAVE TESTIFIED WAS AN “AH-HA” MOMENT THAT CHANGED THEIR MARRIAGE FOR THE BETTER.
What Is Your Male or Female Approach to Your Spouse During Conflict?
Pink and blue perspectives lead to misunderstanding. It colors what we see, hear, and say.
XX and XY Chromosome
Though you and your spouse are equal as male and female, you are not the same. There is an XX and XY chromosome. There is a sperm and egg. If gender doesn’t matter then why the warning on every alcoholic beverage: “According to the surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects”? Gender differences are a reality that affect us physically, socially, and emotionally. For instance, the brain in girls in the womb is flooded with certain chemicals 400 percent more than the brain of boys, which contribute significantly to the nurturing nature in females. Estrogen and testosterone cannot be ignored.
Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, who is both a researcher and a clinician, wrote in her book The Female Brain, “Out of the thirty thousand genes in the human genome, the less than one percent variation between the sexes is small. But that percentage difference influences every single cell in our bodies—from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to the neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings, and emotions” (The Female Brain [New York: Broadway Books, 2006]).
She also wrote, “Males and females become reactive to different kinds of stress. Girls begin to react more to relationship stresses and boys to challenges to their authority. Relationship conflict is what drives a teen girl’s stress system wild. She needs to be liked and socially connected; a teen boy needs to be respected” (pp. 34–35).
Though Equal, Not the Same
Have you drifted away from believing God established these differences to complement the other? Do you feel that any established difference will be detrimental to females? When you learn that a good-willed man needs to feel respected for who he is as a human being apart from his performance, do you remark, “This is rooted in his narcissism”?
Or, do you believe that God designed these differences to create teamwork, that both of you bring to the table something very special to reflect the image of God?
Think of it this way: When pink and blue are blended, you see purple, the color of royalty, the color of God. Together, as a husband and wife, you reflect His image. We read in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
$50,000 was recently spent on a major study of those who had engaged the Love and Respect material. Out of fifteen major categories that had proved helpful in our materials, research showed that the #1 area that was most beneficial to both husbands and wives was: “Valuing God’s design of males and females.”
These folks realized that though men and women are equal, they are not the same. Many of them made an adjustment during conflicts and disagreement. They changed their approach. Instead of judging their spouse as wrong and abnormal for feeling and seeing differently, they concluded that neither is wrong, just different. They pulled back during disagreements over preferences from a condescending tone that sounded unloving and disrespectful. They began to appreciate the male and female differences in solving conflict. He concluded, “She isn’t trying to be disrespectful but seeking to do the loving thing.” She realized, “He isn’t trying to be unloving but wishing to do the honorable thing.”
What did I share with these couples?
Is She Loving or Disrespectful?
When there is a conflict, a wife generally moves toward the husband to connect because she cares. The research on the nurturing nature of a woman is off the charts. She is a caregiver. Thus, she confronts because she cares. She offers her complaints and criticisms to help the marriage and to help him. However, the research points out that ongoing criticism, which she offers to help him, feels like contempt to the male. He feels she’s using this topic as another opportunity to send him a message that she does not like who he is as a person, and that he needs to change and become more loving like she is. He feels she finds him inadequate and unacceptable as a man. However, as a woman and a wife, she thinks she sounds loving. She knows she is driven to do the loving thing in the relationship, yet to him she sounds disrespectful.
Both Are Right
Who is right? The answer is yes.
It just depends on whether or not you’re recording in pink or in blue. It comes down to the male and female views of the same situation (Matthew 19:4). Few conflicts are between good and evil. Instead, most conflicts arise between differing preferences over what is okay and what is best, such as, “Should we talk more about our issues or talk less about our issues?”
For example, many wives wish to talk about marital problems on a daily basis to keep the relationship up to date and prevent a major marital problem, whereas a husband feels if you are talking on a daily basis about marital problems you have a major marital problem! Neither are wrong for feeling as they do; they’re just different, as pink is from blue. This is an honest difference among two people of goodwill. However, because the culture of intimacy is more pink in orientation, the wife is defended while the husband is viewed as wrong since he ought not to feel as he feels. In time both can nurse a resentment toward the other, and the tone of their conversations sound unloving and disrespectful, and this makes things worse.
Is He Respectful or Unloving?
On the other hand, during a marital conflict many men sense the contention can escalate beyond what is appropriate. So, he tries to de-escalate the dispute by disengaging and dropping the matter. To him, it’s not that big of a deal. In his blue view, withdrawing is an honorable way to protect the relationship. This is what he does with his best buddy when they get into an argument. Men can be lethal so they must avoid getting too riled. Thus, they withdraw to physically calm down. They need to drop it and forget it before it escalates out of control. Men value this approach. It makes sense to them. The friendship trumps the squabble.
This especially makes sense when understanding the male physiology. Research shows that during marital conflict a husband’s heartbeats per minute can rise to ninety-nine BPMs. This is warrior mode. This is what happens to him physiologically just before throwing himself on a hand grenade to save his buddy in time of war. But because he knows he’s not in a serious fight with his wife, there must be flight to calm down. He must pull back. He must withdraw.
By the way, a wife can look like she’s on a warpath but her BPMs are normal! She feels comfortable in the ocean of emotion, particularly because she knows her goal: mutual apologies and connection.
Interestingly, research at the University of Washington studied two thousand couples for twenty years and reported that 85 percent of all husbands do this. There is something within the male temperament that processes life this way. This is not stereotyping the male but proving a gender difference. When it comes to marriage, men withdraw to help the relationship, not hurt the relationship. But most wives find this unimaginable.
However, the research points out that when a husband withdraws and stonewalls the vast majority of wives feel this is an act of hostility. She could not imagine pulling back over such a minor criticism. When he refuses to talk to her, she feels very unloved, especially because she cares and wants to connect because of love! She feels rejected when she chases after him and he tells her to leave him alone and to quit trying to pick a fight, which she knows she isn’t trying to do! On the other hand, to him, she is violating the honor code in the face of him trying to do the respectful thing by dropping the matter. Thus, as a man and husband, he thinks he sounds respectful because he knows he is driven to do the honorable thing in the relationship. However, in her world as a woman this feels and sounds unloving.
Both Are Right
Who is right? Again, the answer is yes. It just depends on whether or not you’re recording in pink or in blue. Neither are wrong; they’re just different. However, because the culture of intimacy is more pink in orientation, the wife is defended more often. The sentiments of the husband seem marginal at best.
Isn’t it interesting that both feel they are doing the loving or respectable thing but come across to the other as disrespectful and unloving!?
This explains why we do not hear our tone. To him, he sounds respectful not unloving. To her, she sounds loving not disrespectful. Each knows that they are right within themselves and their spouse is wrong. This hinders their friendship. The marriage feels less positive. Both feel less satisfied about the relationship.
We ended the last email with these questions: “How do you deal with those disagreements when you know you are right and your spouse is wrong? What do you do when there has been, or could be, a pattern of strong disagreements that leave you frustrated, hurt, and angry?” My answer is that successful couples do not have less conflict than other couples but they know how to deal with their conflicts, and one of the first lessons successful couples learn is that neither is wrong, just different—as different as pink is from blue. Both can be right based on their male and female perspective (Matthew 19:4).
Today’s Question: Will I refrain from saying my husband is unloving when he’s trying to do the respectful thing? Will I refrain from saying my wife is disrespectful when she’s trying to do the loving thing?
Today’s Action: When my pink wife appears disrespectful, I will trust that she is trying to do the loving thing in most cases. When my blue husband appears unloving, I will trust that he is usually trying to do the honorable thing. I will start believing that most often my spouse is not wrong just different, as different as pink is from blue.
4. RECOGNIZE THAT THE METHOD YOU USE TO MOTIVATE YOUR SPOUSE COULD BE HAVING THE OPPOSITE EFFECT YOU INTEND, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE GOODWILL.
Are You Negative During Conflict to Motivate Your Spouse to Be Positive?
I discovered something. I found that within our nature as husbands and wives we have a default reaction based on our maleness and femaleness.
A Husband’s Default Mode
When a husband feels disrespected, his default mode is to “naturally” react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. Is this why God commands a husband to love, to counter this proclivity (Ephesians 5:33; Colossians 3:19)? Though he is not always conscious of this disposition, she is! For example, 85 percent of husbands withdraw and stonewall during marital conflict. To a wife that feels like an act of hostility whereas to him it feels like the right and honorable thing to do to prevent things from escalating out of control. From his vantage point, he doesn’t see his reaction as unloving but more a reaction to her disrespect. This explains why he doesn’t apologize though his wife stands in front of him fully expecting him to apologize.
Does a Husband Ever See His Lack of Love?
Yes, many times he sees it but he uses his negative reaction to motivate her to change, to become more positive! So, get this. He withholds love to teach her to be more respectful. He withdraws and stonewalls to send the message, “Stop treating me disrespectfully.” He isn’t trying to be mean-spirited or unloving but is defensively reacting to what he feels is offensive behavior on her part. In his heart, he feels de-energized and deflated when she disses him. He knows at one level this isn’t her goal, but it feels like this since no one talks to him the way she does. He wonders, “Is she just using this topic as an opportunity to send me a message that she doesn’t like who I am as a human being?” Unfortunately, when a man verbalizes his feelings about needing respect, a wife is apt to say, “Well, you don’t deserve my respect, and besides this is narcissistic.”
From then on he remains even quieter. When the culture labels these male sentiments as narcissistic (which it could be, in the same way a woman might be a prima donna for wanting love and attention) and the wife uses this profile, it shuts men down. Because men do not have a voice and vocabulary to humbly defend their deepest need, their only recourse is silent anger. He now withholds love with the hope that she’ll awaken to his need for respect and her disrespectful attitudes; of course this doesn’t work.
A Husband’s Unloving Reaction Does Not Motivate a Wife’s Respect!
In my book Love & Respect, I explain how to spell love to a wife. I created an acronym, C.O.U.P.L.E. A wife needs closeness, openness, understanding, peacemaking, loyalty, and esteem. When she receives these, she feels loved.
As I discussed C.O.U.P.L.E. with one husband in my office, he put his head down on my table in deep sorrow. He said to me, “I did the opposite of every one of these to teach my wife to respect me. I decided not to love her in those ways you mentioned until she started showing me more respect. After being mistreated for months on end, she left me.” I shared with him, “You cannot deprive your wife of her need for love as a way of motivating her to meet your need for respect.”
A Wife’s Default Mode
When a wife feels unloved, her default mode is to “naturally” react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. Is this why God commands a wife to put on a respectful demeanor, to counter this bent (Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 3:1–2)? Though she is not always conscious of this temperament, he is! For example, most wives complain and criticize during marital conflict. To a husband ongoing criticism feels like disrespect for who he is as a person, whereas to her it feels like the right and loving thing to do in order to reconcile and bring the relationship up-to-date. From her vantage point, she doesn’t intend to be disrespectful per se but is hurting over her husband’s failure to be loving and sensitive. She sees his lack of love, not her disrespect.
Does a Wife Ever See Her Disrespect?
Yes, a wife detects her disrespect but comments later on, “He should know I really didn’t mean it. I was trying to get him to understand how he hurt me so he’d apologize and we could re-connect.” She turns negative to motivate him to be positive! She is disrespectful to get love. She complains and criticizes in ways that though carried along by a spirit of disdain, she hopes that her “look” of disgust will awaken him to his failure to love her as he ought. She feels this should be obvious to her husband until her son marries a woman who treats him in the same disrespectful way and then this mother realizes this isn’t obvious to her son, nor to her husband. Even so, to her credit she isn’t trying to be mean-spirited but is defensively reacting to what feels offensive to her. She feels insecure and needs reassurance that he loves her, and an apology from him would do her soul wonders. To her this isn’t rocket science so his refusal to say, “I am sorry” reinforces to her that he really doesn’t care about her like she cares about him. She is quick to say “I’m sorry” but he rarely expresses, “I’m sorry” and if he does it’s to get her off his back, not because he intends to change. Let me add, she views being respectful as being “nice” and being “nice” doesn’t work, so her weapon of choice is contempt, which she doesn’t want to choose but she feels she has no other recourse. Besides, her disrespect gets his attention, despite the fact that it never achieves long term what she hopes.
A Wife’s Disrespectful Reaction Doesn’t Motivate a Husband’s Love!
A wife says, “I would go on communication overkill. I tried and tried to get him to talk to me about what he was feeling. . . . But often he saw our discussions as ‘arguments’ and he got tired of having to work so hard to ‘get along’ in our marriage. On top of everything . . . when I get the slightest bit emotional, my voice goes up ten decibels. . . . And, he absolutely cannot stand it when my voice gets loud. So, every time we had a discussion, he would retreat from me which made me work even harder to communicate and pull him back into the conversation. A useless cycle, for certain. . . . How could I be so blind, better yet, how could I be so deaf to what had been going on? I realized that I had been treating my husband disrespectfully. Thinking back on my actions and words, I could ‘feel’ the disrespect signals I was sending my husband. I was so caught up in my search for unconditional love and validation, and I was blind to what I was doing.”
This Raises a Question
How effective is it to be unloving and disrespectful as a way of motivating your spouse to show you respect and love? Long term it is unproductive to be negative to stimulate your spouse to be positive. This MO or method of operating is misguided. Your spouse will feel de-energized and defeated, if not bullied.
Though your goal is to get them to love and respect you, you are depriving your spouse of the love and respect they need to be motivated to meet your need. This modus operandi falls short because it does not touch the heart of your spouse any more than your heart turns positive on the heels of your spouse’s negative reactions to you. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Though you expect your spouse to decode your intent—that you are negative for a good reason —it is a rare person who softens and turns pleasant when treated in a way that appears harsh and contemptuous. Though you never intend to be mean spirited, your spouse will inevitably struggle to trust your goodwill.
What If a Spouse Is Undeserving of Love and Respect?
What if your spouse deserves the negative reaction due to their bad actions? Your spouse deserves to hear the truth about their bad actions spoken in love and respect toward their spirit. You must separate their fleshy actions from their inner person. In other words, confront their wrongdoing without appearing hostile and contemptuous toward their heart. Hate the sin. Love the sinner.
Truth carries its own weight. Why be right but wrong at the top of your voice? The key is for you to display an unconditional positive regard toward their spirit while addressing their hurtful and offensive conduct. We will address in another email the importance of showing unconditional positive regard toward your spouse’s spirit while confronting behaviors that injure the marriage. This is not easy but is necessary. This is crucial since the default mode during marital conflict is to show negative regard toward the spirit of the other person. When hurt, it is within our nature to be unloving and disrespectful in our reactions, not loving and respectful as our first impulse.
Winning Another’s Heart
Remember, when you display a hateful and uncivil spirit toward the spirit of your spouse, you will not win their heart even though what you say is true. You will not influence them to face themselves. They will close off their spirit to you out of fear, arrogance, resentment, and shame. They will not feel fond feelings of affection and admiration for you. Your negative reactions are imprudent and impractical means of motivating your spouse to respond more positively to you. Though you feel they are unfriendly and insulting, having violated you and the marriage in the first place, you will not help move the marriage forward by fighting fire with fire —not long term. You know in your heart that you cannot advance the relationship through a malicious and mocking demeanor. You cannot motivate your spouse to be good by you being bad, no matter how bad they have been. The pot would be calling the kettle black.
Do It Differently!
Is it time to do something different? If your default mode is to react in negative, unloving, and disrespectful ways, is it time to do what works?
Listen to this husband’s testimony. “We were in the middle of one of our fights. . . . Fed up, I turned and went into my computer room. I left her screaming in the kitchen. I sat down at the computer but as I did so, my spirit said, ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.’ That is a big time saying in Alcoholics Anonymous. So I got up and went back into the kitchen. I stood in front of my wife with my arms folded. I realized that posture was wrong. I unfolded my arms and put them down by my side which was hard to do. I then softly said, ‘Go ahead, I’m listening.’ She began to talk again. Suddenly she said, ‘You’re not very comfortable are you?’ I said, ‘No but if we don’t try something different nothing will ever change!’ She began to cry and the fight was over.”
Today’s Question: Do you find it in your nature to react in unloving and disrespectful ways in order to motivate your spouse to show you more respect and love? How is that working for you?
Today’s Action: I will guard against my default mode! As a wife I will watch over my tendency to be disrespectful. As a husband I will police against my disposition to react in unloving ways. Furthermore, I will not be negative to motivate my spouse to be positive. As a wife, I will not be disrespectful to motivate my husband to love me. As a husband, I will not be unloving to motivate my wife to respect me. I will have a positive regard toward the spirit of my spouse while addressing the negative behaviors in the marriage.
5. JUMP OFF WHAT I CALL THE CRAZY CYCLE THAT YOU KEEP SPINNING ON BECAUSE YOU INNOCENTLY OVERLOOK DECODING WHY YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE REACT TO EACH OTHER.
When You React in Unloving and Disrespectful Ways, What Happens?
I call it the Crazy Cycle: without love she reacts without respect and without respect he reacts without love. Each’s negative reaction triggers the other’s negative reaction. The Crazy Cycle spins.
As we have said, men and women both need love and respect equally but the felt need during conflict differs. As I referenced in an earlier email, I asked seven thousand people this question: “When you are in a conflict with your spouse, do you feel unloved or disrespected?” Eighty-three percent of the husbands said they feel disrespected. Seventy-two percent of the wives said they felt unloved. From there, each negatively reacts to the other as the Crazy Cycle states.
A Husband’s Part on the Crazy Cycle
When a husband feels disrespected, he tends to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. For example, 85 percent of husbands prefer at a certain point in marital conflict to withdraw and stonewall, due to the fact that physiologically their heartbeats can quickly rise to ninety-nine beats per minute. He shuts down to calm down. He stops talking to prevent the conflict—from his vantage point—from escalating. He feels heated talking only makes things worse when standing toe to toe because it feels provocative not conciliatory, which is why he requests that she leave him alone instead of following him from room to room to talk. Besides, when he does talk to tell his wife that he feels disrespected or that she ought not to feel as unloved as she does, both comments go over like a lead zeppelin. Sure enough, she rejects his comments and is now more upset. At this juncture, he gets angry and pulls away, or says something that sounds harsh and unloving to which she lashes back with words of contempt that could sober a drunken sailor. If this husband walks off and refuses to reconcile and reconnect, this leaves his wife jarred, hurting, insecure, and fearful. The Crazy Cycle keeps happening.
A husband writes, “From the beginning heated arguments happened, basically as multiple variations of the Crazy Cycle you describe. At the beginning she established that my walking away from arguments was a sign of weakness, so I learned to stay and confront. I’ve known all along that she’s been crying out for something from me, but I am unable to decipher despite the fact that I know it has to do with love and my not fulfilling her needs at what she calls her core. My words and actions have consistently fallen short of what she wants mostly evident by her growing displeasure and apparent contempt for me. In staying, I exposed myself to her criticism, which I perceived as personal attacks, so I defended, deflected, and eventually attacked back. In stating ‘truths’ from my perspective, I have often wounded her by raising my voice and saying things that to her are catastrophic but to me are not so severe. She is much better equipped to hurt with words, and has said things that would have resulted in death quarrels had a man said them. The Crazy Cycle has escalated so much, that at the peak of her vigorously expanding what a jerk I am, I have crossed her stated boundaries by threatening to leave, arguing in front of the kids, screaming at her, and other infractions that I cannot think about right now. I can go on, but this is the general theme.”
A Wife’s Part on the Crazy Cycle
Unfortunately, when a wife feels unloved, she reacts in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. She isn’t trying to be disrespectful as an end in itself. However, she appears that way with gestures of contempt. Her eyes darken, her face turns sour, she puts her hand on her hip, points with a scolding finger, sighs, rolls her eyes, and uses words of disrespect to convey her upset. No one in his world talks to him in this way so it is difficult for him not to feel disrespected. Weekly, she criticizes and complains. Of course, she does this to help him understand her feelings and to empathize with her and then express his sorrow. Instead, he closes off. Her negativity doesn’t solicit his compassion but triggers the Crazy Cycle.
What is so ironic is that she simply longs to connect with the man that she loves. Her motivation is virtuous. Of course, her method of messaging is way too negative for a husband. He views it as nagging and really as her way of letting him know that she finds him unacceptable and inadequate as a person. What he hears is that he’s never good enough. He also hears that she can never be happy. No happy wife, no happy life. By the way, it has been said that a woman wants the relationship more positive. “Romance me, surprise me, and make me laugh!” But her husband just wants the relationship less negative. “Can’t we just have one day when everything is okay, when you’re okay, and when I’m okay?”
A wife writes, “It pains me . . . I was one of those yellers BEGGING for love. The crazies went on for twenty-five years. . . . I made him feel terrible, I gave him NO respect. . . . The crazy time was day and night. The cycle didn’t stop, just kept cycling.”
The Definition of Craziness
If this is you, a change is in order. As you know, a person who is crazy keeps doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different, positive results but inevitably experiencing the same, negative results. The Crazy Cycle in marriage echoes this. Every time a husband chooses to be hostile to motivate his wife to show him respect, he gets disrespect.
Unfortunately, some guys insanely think, “Maybe next time she’ll show me respect.” Or, each time a wife chooses to be contemptuous to motivate her husband to show her love, she gets no love. Yet, as crazy as it sounds some gals think, “Maybe next time he’ll show me love.”
He Needs Love and She Needs Respect However . . .
Hear me! Though wives need respect and husbands need love, we have found that most husbands are assured of their wives’ love so that in conflict these men interpret the wife as disrespectful, not as unloving. (Please read the first email again if this remains a stumbling block to you.) Most men say, “You aren’t respecting me,” not “You don’t love me.” And, though wives need R.E.S.P.E.C.T., when a husband treats her disrespectfully week after week she will say, “How can you say you love me and treat me disrespectfully?” When a woman is in love she wonders, “Does he love me as much as I love him?”
Do Your Part to Reduce the Craziness and It Usually Works!
A husband writes, “The ‘love-respect’ cycle . . . is so true. I’ve been married for 32 years and when my wife and I have a ‘disagreement’ that turns into a few short snips and then silence, it’s usually not because of the original issue or act. That really wasn’t all that big a deal with me. It’s more her reaction to my being irked. And it’s her reaction that sparks my anger and silence. Crazy Cycle, here we come! Now that I know what triggers this unproductive reaction, even if she doesn’t respond in respect, I recognize what it is that sets me off and I can break the cycle before it gets started.”
A wife tells me, “My husband and I have been married for 15 years and have four children. We have a good marriage, but it has had its definite crisis moments through the years . . . due to that love/respect, or lack of, cycle that you speak of. . . . (For my part), I have been conveying disrespect to my husband for most of our marriage and have for many years felt unloved. I know that we are both good-willed as you say, but the pattern has left us both frustrated. . . . I know that I didn’t realize what a role I was playing with my disrespect, which I really did feel for a variety of reasons, but most of which stemmed from feeling unloved.” Eighteen months later I asked how she was doing. “Through a keener awareness of the love/respect issue, prayer, and spiritual growth . . . my husband and I are doing wonderfully . . . I definitely took away the main theme and am working hard to reverse any damage the previous years have caused.” She commented that she has settled into a deeper understanding of him, and his needs, and she is seeing the fruit of that.
My Spouse Has No Right to Feel Unloved and Disrespected!
Let me insert an important point. When you enter the Crazy Cycle, your spouse may have no valid reason for their interpretation of you as unloving and disrespectful. I am not arguing that your spouse is justified for feeling unloved and disrespected. I am highlighting their mind-set behind their reaction. The key is for you to counter their erroneous sentiment by making an extra effort to sound loving and respectful. This best enables you to defuse the tension and to point out to them their misinterpretation of your heart. Whereas a hostile and contemptuous reaction from you only validates their ungrounded suspicions, and keeps you spinning on the Crazy Cycle. Bottom line, don’t misrepresent your deepest heart or your spouse will misinterpret you.
Today’s Question: Though we all need love and respect equally, does Ephesians 5:33 capture the felt need during conflict in your marriage? Do you go round and round on the Crazy Cycle because as a wife when you feel unloved you appear disrespectful in reaction and as a husband when you feel disrespected you appear unloving in reaction? Is it time to soften your negative reaction without fear that you will lose power or your identity or that your spouse will be unresponsive?
Today’s Action: If my spouse sounds unloving or disrespectful, I will not react in like manner. I will stop the Crazy Cycle!
Though I feel unloved as a wife, I will guard against being disrespectful. This will only put us on the Crazy Cycle. I can communicate my upset with a respectful demeanor and appropriate words. Doing this will not cause me to lose power, a sense of myself, or compromise the truth. I can respectfully ask, “How can I tell you of my need for your love and strength without you feeling that I’m sending a message of disrespect?” This is more than likely to soften his heart and cause him to hear yours.
Though I feel disrespected as a husband, I will guard against being unloving when communicating my frustration. I need not compromise being a man of honor who speaks the truth in love just because she irritates me and appears disrespectful. This will only put us on the Crazy Cycle. I can lovingly ask, “How can I tell you of my need for respect apart from my performance without you feeling that I am being unfair, egotistical, unteachable, and unloving?” It is unlikely that she will take advantage of you or wear the pants but will actually soften, and probably say, “I am sorry. Please tell me what you feel and need.”
6. SOFTEN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR SPOUSE BY WRITING A FEW SENTENCES IN A NOTE THAT I WILL HELP YOU WRITE.
What Happens When You Say, “I’m Sorry”?
Something powerful transpires when you say, “I’m sorry.” Because of this, if I can be so bold, I want you to apologize. You can do so face to face or via a note.
Five Possible Reasons to Apologize
- If you have sounded unloving or disrespectful, please apologize. Based on email #1 concerning your conversational tone, say: “I am sorry about my unloving and disrespectful tone. You don’t deserve this. That tone is never helpful or effective. Will you forgive me?”
- If you have neglected to fill their emotional tank for love or respect, please apologize. Based on email #2 concerning making deposits of love and respect in the heart of your spouse, say: “I am sorry about stepping on your air hose. Instead of meeting your need for love and respect, I reacted in ways that felt unloving and disrespectful. Will you forgive me?”
- If you have wrongly judged your spouse’s pink or blue perspective, please apologize. Based on email #3 concerning your male or female approach, say: “I feel badly saying you were wrong. Neither of us were wrong; we are just different in our perspectives. This was an honest difference of opinion between pink and blue. Will you forgive me?”
- If you were negative to motivate your spouse to be positive, please apologize. Based on email #4 concerning your default mode of negativity, say, “I was wrong for being so negative toward you as though this would motivate you to be positive toward me. I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?”
- If you contributed to the Crazy Cycle, please apologize. Based on email #5 concerning your unloving or disrespectful reaction, say: “I was way too defensive and reactive. Will you forgive me for reacting in such an unloving and disrespectful manner, which triggered your negative reaction, and from there things got crazy? I was wrong.”
What If Your Spouse Is Far More Guilty in the Marriage than You Are?
The fact that you are doing the 15-Day Plan suggests you have goodwill and are committed to helping your marriage. And if you are the only one of the two of you going through this plan, it suggests you are less guilty. I salute you and affirm you. However, you can only control your actions and reactions to your spouse. You cannot control the ultimate outcomes in your spouse. Your spouse must make his or her own internal choice to change. You can appeal to them to change, provide motivations, and bring them under the influence but you cannot coerce them. And, the truth is, you don’t want to coerce them. If you did you’d immediately say, “You are just loving and respecting me because I forced you to do this.” But when you create the most loving and respectful environment, usually you influence your spouse to respond because your spouse wants to respond and chooses to respond. Not infrequently your apology sets in motion a positive response. So try not to keep score at this juncture. Just do what you can do.
Even if you are only 10 percent guilty compared to your spouse’s 90 percent, you can energize your marriage by apologizing for your 10 percent. Simply stated, where you have been unloving or disrespectful, tell your spouse that you are sorry.
Be Realistic About the Past
If your marriage has had bitterness and distrust, your spouse may react negatively to your apology not because the apology is wrong but because they don’t fully believe it or because it brings them under conviction and they know they need to apologize but are too stubborn to get humble at this juncture. Regardless, your apology is the right thing to do whether or not your spouse responds positively at this time.
There is power in an apology. A wife writes, “I told him that I apologized for being so disrespectful, that I realized that I had been trying to ‘mold’ him into what I wanted, that I really respect him, and I finally realized that he truly does love me. . . . I have to say that evening is the best discussion we have had in a long time. We talked for hours.” Another wife said, “My husband and I had a good marriage, but we knew something was missing. Sometimes, we both would be so hurt and not understand what happened. Once I read the Love and Respect book, it all made sense. I instantly started catching myself being disrespectful in my words, my tone of voice, my actions. Each time I acted disrespectfully I apologized immediately. The Crazy Cycle is DONE!!!”
In apologizing, it can entail a longer interaction than desired, but doing this humbly can bring long-lasting healing. A husband writes about his intention to apologize. “I got a chance to put into practice what God had revealed to me about the ‘Crazy Cycle’ during the week of vacation. It is a long drive home from Montana to Dallas. . . . We began to talk and I listened. I listened to her frustration over the first 17 years. How she felt rejected. . . . I didn’t acknowledge her . . . she felt that she wasn’t a priority . . . she felt that our marriage wasn’t what God intended and that I wasn’t the spiritual leader she hoped for. . . . There was a lot of pain she expressed and typically I would feel attacked and would withdraw. But God gave me the ability to listen. He changed my perspective as a result of your description of the ‘Crazy Cycle’ and helped me to listen for her ‘love’ language rather than my ‘respect’ language. She said it was a hard conversation and appreciated how I listened and how I apologized for my part. She had not heard or felt my sincerity for a long time. This conversation was a turning point in our relationship.”
Today’s Question: Why would you not apologize for your unloving or disrespectful part?
Today’s Action: I will apologize for my part in what I did that fell short in responding with love and respect.
Let me encourage you to stay the course! Though this is a 15-Day Plan that can produce great results, see this as a game plan that you repeat as needed. For example, the wife above said, “Each time I acted disrespectfully I apologized immediately.” She gets the game plan. Keep doing this, and stay positive and optimistic.
7. UNDERSTAND THE POWERFUL SIGNIFICANCE AND JOY OF GIVING YOUR SPOUSE WHAT THEY NEED BUT DO NOT DESERVE.
Do You Show Unconditional Positive Regard Toward the Spirit of Your Spouse?
Why should you show unconditional positive regard toward the spirit of your spouse? When you appear to hate and despise who your spouse is as a person because of the wrong they have done, they’ll close off to you. This isn’t fair to you—especially if they hurt you in the first place—but it is a fact of human nature.
You must decide: Will I punish my spouse with hostility and contempt because of what they have done or will I move the marriage forward by being a mature person who truthfully confronts wrongdoing but in a way that feels loving and respectful to the heart of my spouse?
The reason we so often hear “Hate the sin but love the sinner” is due to the simple fact that when the sinner feels hated, the sinner closes off.
Attack the Issue
When you attack your spouse and not the issue, it undermines that sense of connection that two people need to have to resolve a matter and reconcile. You won’t move forward positively when you appear bitter and scornful toward who your spouse is as a human being.
As a husband, when your wife feels you hate who she is because of what she did wrong, she will not open her heart to you when you try to talk to her and address the issue.
As a wife, when your husband feels you have contempt for who he is as a human being, he will close off to any attempt you make to connect with him in a meaningful way.
Is this what you want? If not then you must follow my plan. Be the bigger person and give your spouse the gift of unconditional positive regard toward the image of God within them. Separate their carnal flesh and actions from their deepest soul, especially so if they have humbly confessed and want to turn the corner.
The best of us can forget to show positive regard toward the other’s inner person. Let me illustrate this with two common conflicts couples can have, which should serve as healthy reminders to apply this action item.
When you as a husband sound harsh and angry while confronting your wife for significantly overspending the budget, she will shut down not because of the topic but because she feels you hate her as a person. Though she may know in her head that you love her, and you know that you love her, emotionally she’s not feeling that way at the moment. Even if you tell her that she ought not to feel this way, she, as with every woman I have met, will still wonder, “How can he tell me that he loves me and talk to me with harshness and anger? He hates me. He doesn’t love me.” This is an almost universal feeling on the part of wives. She will personalize this as an attack on who she is. The money is a secondary issue.
This is why you must show a positive, loving regard toward her heart as you express your frustration over her money mismanagement, otherwise she’ll not hear you on the topic of money but will feel the money topic confirms that you don’t love her. Though the money issue is real, it is not the root issue. Let me add, there is a wide range of allowance to express negative emotion as long as your wife is assured that you love who she is. She understands the ocean of emotion. That’s not her problem. Her problem is her fear that you do not cherish her.
When you as a wife sound disrespectful and unfriendly to your husband when talking about your sexual relationship, he will pull away if not walk away. Your apparent contempt for him on this issue of sex triggers in him the feeling that you find him inadequate as a man and that he is failing to understand your womanly needs. Ironically, though he knows you love him, he has a vulnerability to the feeling that you look down on him as a weak lover. Because he has failed you in this area, if he feels you secretly disrespect him, he will close off. He will personalize this as an attack on who he is.
This is why you must show a positive, respectful regard toward his inner man as you convey your hurt over his missteps in understanding your romantic and sexual wishes. Though the sex issue is real, it is not the root issue. He is feeling disrespected as a human being. Let me add, I am not telling you to be a silent doormat on this and other topics. You can say almost anything to a good-willed man when you honor who he is as a person as you address the issues that stress you.
Differentiate Who They Are from What They Have Done
“What if my spouse has done things that are wrong or unacceptable? How can anyone show love and respect toward these bad things?”
Again, no one is to love and respect wrongdoing. That’s ludicrous. Your spouse may have committed adultery and betrayed you. This is evil. I would never love or respect what your spouse has done. But does this make your spouse an evil enemy? If you treat them as such, they will not open their spirit to you. They will live in fear of your damning and shaming judgment. On the other hand, when you decide to communicate with a positive regard toward their spirit, while expressing righteous indignation over what they’ve done, you increase the odds your spouse will face themselves.
Having such positive regard toward their spirit means reassuring them that you are an ally with goodwill, not an enemy with ill will. It means telling them that your confrontation of their hurtful choices is not to shame them; rather, it is from your belief in their good heart to make an adjustment. And you reassure them that any excessive negative emotion you may express to them is rooted in hurt and disappointment, not from a desire to degrade and disgrace them.
When we are trying to send a message to our spouse that we are hurting, frustrated, or fearful, if they feel that the real message is that we regard them as despicable, they will close off to us emotionally. We have all heard the expression “if looks could kill.” We must guard against such looks.
You can see your spouse as Jesus sees your spouse. Three of Christ’s disciples failed Him when He needed them, but His response was, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). They had failed Him miserably but He did not show hostility and contempt toward their hearts even though what they did left Him deeply disappointed, alone, and unsupported. Does Jesus feel the same toward your spouse, and can you imitate Christ? Yes and yes.
Today’s Question: During conflict, do you appear to hate and despise who your spouse is as a person? Does this best explain why they close off to you when they close off?
Today’s Action: I will show positive regard toward the spirit of my spouse no matter what. As a husband, I will reassure my wife that I love who she is as a person, even though I feel frustrated by some of the things she does. As a wife, I will reassure my husband that I respect who he is as a man, though I am hurt at times by what he has done.