A couple of weeks ago, Gail and I had the privilege of attending the Love and Respect Conference in Dallas. It started on Friday evening and ended Saturday afternoon. Emerson and his wife, Sarah, taught it. They are both excellent communicators.
Although we have read numerous books on marriage and attended many seminars, this one was truly unique. In fact, it is probably the most helpful one we have ever experienced.
In the book (as well as the seminar), Emerson quotes a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 7:28: “If you marry, you have not sinned, but you will have trouble.” Unlike Hollywood, the Bible is very realistic. Marriage is difficult, in large part because men and women are so different.
Emerson explains “The Crazy Cycle” in both the book and the conferecne. I found this particularly helpful: Without love, she reacts. Without respect, he reacts. The husband and the wife then unconsciously get trapped in this cycle of reacting to one another rather than giving to their partner what they need.
Emerson uses two acronyms to explain to men and women how to provide what their partner needs. To the men, he uses the acronym of C-O-U-P-L-E to remind them what their wives need. This is how you spell love to your wife:
- Closeness—She wants you to be close.
- Openness—She wants you to open up to her.
- Understanding—Don’t try to fix her; just listen.
- Peacemaking—She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Loyalty—She needs to know you’re committed.
- Esteem—She wants you to honor and cherish her.
- Conquest—Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.
- Hierarchy—Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.
- Authority—Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.
- Insight—Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
- Relationship—Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
- Sexuality—Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.