“It would be easy enough, then, to deduce that communication is the key to marriage, but I don’t agree. To say that communication is the key to marriage is to assume that both spouses speak the same language. I have learned that in fact, the wife speaks a ‘love language’ and the husband speaks a ‘respect language.’ They don’t realize this, of course, but because he is speaking one kind of language (respect) and she is speaking another (love), there is little or no understanding and little or no communication.”
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Several years ago, I would not have agreed with this quote. I would have said that spouses can communicate no matter what. But the longer I am married, and after realizing how true this really is, I am amazed at what a difference it can make in your marriage.
Understanding this concept has truly changed the way that I interact with my husband. In the past, I would get upset if he didn’t do things the way that I wanted him to. Or, if he wasn’t responding how I would respond. Now I realize that we have very different languages and we respond differently to many things.
A few years ago, we did a small group at our church on the book ‘Love & Respect‘ by Dr. Eggerichs. It was a great way to talk about different challenges that we have as men and women and how we interact with each other. I learned so much from reading the book and discussing it with other couples. We’ve also read ‘The Five Love Languages‘ by Gary Chapman. These are both extremely insightful books that help you understand some of the ways you are different and possibly solve some of the ongoing disputes you’ve had over and over again.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is how much my husband needs to feel respected. To him, it is what keeps him going. If he’s not getting it, he is going to be cranky and irritated and have little motivation to show love to me. It’s how he feels loved. He used to try to tell me this, but I didn’t want to hear it. I felt like he was just being immature and needing far more attention than I had time to give while working full time and raising two little boys. I thought he should just “man up” and deal with it. The less respect I showed him, the more irritated we each got with our situation. It was a never ending cycle.
He certainly wasn’t going to go out of his way to help me with anything if I wasn’t showing him respect. And I would get mad that he wasn’t helping or pulling his share of the load, which are things that help me to feel loved.
Now that we understand this, our marriage is different. I can sense when he is not feeling respected, and he can sense when I am not feeling loved. It has made a huge difference in our marriage.
Have you read either of the books? What changes have these concepts made in your marriage?