Sunday, November 4, 2007

Love and Respect

This weekend Chuck and I attended a marriage conference. It was the first we'd ever gone to, and it was incredible! I'm not much for mushy emotional conferences, so we were both delighted to see this one didn't have much...make that "any"... of that! The speakers were Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah. He'd been a pastor for 20+ years (and also has a doctorate in Family psychology) when he felt that this message about marriage was meant to be preached on a wider scale. The basic principle is really simple, based on Ephesians 5:33:

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (NIV)

He talks about how women have the need to feel loved and men need to feel respected. The first part of that probably comes at no surprise, but the respect part...that's not heard much in our culture. If you've ever read "Bringing Up Boys" by James Dobson or "Wild At Heart" by John Elderedge, you may have heard some of this. More and more I'm realizing how much I had been indoctrinated with feminism and it affected how I treated Chuck and viewed myself and my worth (which I wrote about here, for instance). This conference had a great message, well balanced and really explaining some things that had always been confusing to me (such as what submission really means).

It was so neat to see the little things I'd finally figured out over these almost 8 years come together and totally make sense (I'm a slow learner!)...things like how women prefer to talk face to face, heart to prefer to do things "shoulder to shoulder." I didn't realize that until a few months ago!! All this time I thought Chuck didn't want to bond with me because he didn't have this need to talk heart to heart like I did! And I even used to think it was absurd when I was in high school and my dad would say he wanted to spend time with me, but then he'd want to sit together and watch tv... I used to balk at that and say, "I don't get it. Just let me go out with my friends (who talk to me face to face), rather than sit here and waste time watching tv." Now I know that that was his idea of bonding...) And Emerson talked about "the crazy cycle," where "without love she reacts without respect," and "without respect he reacts without love." Want your husband to show you love more? Demonstrate your respect for him more. Novel concept, huh?

Emerson also got very deep into some Biblical principles which really made sense and there were a lot of "ah ha!" moments where everything worked together. And he showed us the bigger picture, the purpose of marriage. How God uses it to make us more like Christ. He said things like "God wants you holy more than He wants you to be happy." Definitely a message we need to be reminded of in this "love saturated" culture we live in. Yes, God loves us, but that doesn't mean that He will always make us happy. As I talked about recently, sometimes His plan for us means being uncomfortable...even experiencing great loss. It doesn't mean for a minute that He doesn't love us.

Anyhow, all this to say, if you ever get a chance to attend this "Love & Respect" conference, it's worth every penny! And there are books, small group curriculum, dvds of the conference, etc. on their website, Love & Emerson is also a talented speaker, and I had a lot of respect for his willingness to take on some hard topics, and explain things so simply. Most of all I loved how he and his wife both said, "This is nothing new, and not our idea. Ephesians 5 has been there for 2000 years, a treasure hidden in plain sight." This isn't a new fab in pop theology, but practical wisdom. I also loved how it was a conference that, although overtly Christian, was meant for anyone, and didn't intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable, regardless of religious background. I especially liked how it wasn't mushy, which means men can enjoy it! Chuck really did! Also, I gained quite a few insights into parenting, and I'm going to be changing a few of the expectations I had for my boys... This conference really equipped me to be a better mom, although that wasn't the intention!

So if you decide to enrich your marriage with this material, let me know...I'd love to hear what you think. :)

Love & Respect

1 comment:

Angie said...

Comment from Melony:

You said it sister!!! :) I am going to need to add this to my blog... you really explained and shared this experience so well!!! Thanks for telling us about it! We were very happy to be able to go and LEARN tons of great things that can help our marriage! :) Again, thanks for sharing with us! How was your reunion??? I pray that it was fun!!! :) Talk to you tomorrow more about it! :) God bless you!!! Love, Melony