Men and women do not have the same fundamental needs. It’s simply a reality. Whereas a woman is satisfied, motivated and fulfilled by unconditional love from her husband, a husband is fulfilled and motivated by unconditional respect from his wife. If either spouse is denied this basic need, disaster is imminent. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs calls this reality the “crazy cycle;” a cycle that will spin toward divorce.
Suppose a husband fails to show love to his wife. She will react by treating him disrespectfully. Then as she fails to show him respect, he will react by treating her unlovingly. This cycle repeats over and over until the marriage disintegrates. Breaking the cycle is hard work because wives often don’t feel their husbands are worthy of respect, and husbands often feel they’re giving their wives all the love they need, oblivious to the fact that she’s actually love-starved. Either spouse at any time can stop the “Crazy Cycle” by beginning to treat the other spouse with either love or respect. The role of the husband as spiritual leader means that it is his responsibility to begin loving his wife, whether she deserves it or not.
After all, how many of us deserve the love God showers on us? That’s right—none of us, not a one, zippo, zilch, nadie (that’s Spanish for “nobody”). It is notable that the role of a husband as spiritual leader does not mean that he is supposed to begin instructing his wife in how to properly respect him. But that he is supposed to focus on loving his wife in the same manner that Christ loves the church. This is a tall order, one that should be more than enough to occupy each one of us till Messiah’s return.
Check out the book Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs; it’s worth the read.