The Crazy Cycle

I usually post about art-related topics, but I really feel a need to share this so please indulge me.

This weekend my wife and I attended a marriage conference sponsored by Focus on the Family. Jennie and I have only been married 7 weeks, but with the divorce rate at 50% we want to avoid becoming one of the statistics.

The “Love and Respect” conference was led by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah. It was a real eye-opener for both of us. Their basic philosophy, drawn from the Bible, is simple but insightful: Men are not motivated by the same things as women. Just as a woman is motivated by unconditional love from her husband, a husband is motivated by unconditional respect from his wife. If either spouse is denied this basic need, disaster can result. They called it “the crazy cycle”, a cycle that will spin towards 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 often women don’t feel their husbands are worthy of respect, and often husbands don’t feel their wives are worthy of their affection.

In addition, men and women interpret words and actions differently. Women see the world through pink sunglasses and men see the world through blue, resulting in repeated misunderstandings and conflicts. But if each spouse will do the hard work to understand, or “decode”, what the other is feeling, and then respond with what the other needs (love or respect), the marriage will grow stronger and more wonderful.

I don’t know if I’m explaing this well. But if you are married, I strongly encourage you to visit the Love and Respect website and watch or listen to some of their multimedia clips. Or order one of their CDs. You won’t regret it.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled art blog…


15 thoughts on “The Crazy Cycle

  1. Cedric,

    I TOTALLY agree!!! My wife and I went to this conference this summer. It was AWSOME!

    I would say it is the best marriage conference I have ever been to. Cost was reasonable, and the length of the converence was just right. Not to mention it had some really funny parts to the talks.


  2. I don’t see why the wheel only spins one way. Does a husband not require love? Does a wife not require respect?

    I know this wheel is based on the roles ordained for men and women in the bible: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” -Ephesians 5

    I’m really curious to know how well these roles work in our modern world, though. They seem to go against the very fabric of our modern views on gender equality. I don’t follow them, and I’ve been in a relationship for over 5 years, and it shows no signs of weakening.

    But you probably know that I’ve already discussed this topic extensively on this thread (the meat of the discussion starts at the bottom of page 8)


  3. Hi Luke,

    That’s a fair question. Of course women do need respect, and men also need love. But not to the same degree. Men are motivated by respect and honor more than they are motivated by love. And women are motivated by love more than they are motivated by respect. Yes, this flies in the face of our modern, feminized, ant-male culture. But the high divorce rate makes it obvious that something is wrong with our “modern” approach to relationships.

  4. NICE! I heard that same pink and blue shades metaphor on K-Love radio. Maybe the same speaker… very true words! Congrats on the recent marriage!!

    …awesome art too by the way. 😉

  5. It’s true that the divorce rate is rather high these days (though, I’ve read that the commonly repeated 50% statistic is actually a myth based on very skimpy data …and that the real statistic is actually a little lower than that.) Here’s some interesting news, however…. A recent study preformed by the Barna Research Group actually showed that the highest divorce rates are found in born-again and fundamentalist Christian marriages, while the lowest divorce rates are found in atheist and agnostic marriages. I think this demonstrates that the secular ideal of sharing equal roles in marriage is actually healthier than the submissive/dominant roles which the bible teaches. I wish you luck in your marriage, but I warn you not to be so confident in the “crazy cycle”.


  6. Luke,

    It’s true that “Christians” have just as much of a divorce problem as the culture at large. But sadly, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is really trying to follow Christ in their everyday lives, or are even reading their Bibles. So it’s no surprise that 30 hours a week of secular TV has more influence on their lifestyle and decisions than one hour of church.

    Second, if atheists and agnostics have a lower divorce rate, my hunch is that it’s a skewed statistic because many of them are choosing to forgo marriage in favor of cohabitation. But when a cohabitating couple splits up, it doesn’t get recorded in the divorce statistics.

  7. Even though the church is to submit to Christ, he considered us equal in the sense that he called his church his friends. If that’s not equal, then I don’t know what is. Just because your wife is to submit to you, doesn’t make your relationship unequal. The bible says love your wife, not control your wife.

    A servant humbles himself to the one who he submits to. I think this is a call to humble yourself to your husband, and for the husband to humble himself to God.

  8. Cedric,

    That’s an interesting point you brought up about the possibility of cohabitation skewing the results of atheist divorce rates. It’s certainly true that atheists cohabitate more often than Christians. However, the Barna Research Group also reported that couples who cohabitate and then marry are far more likely to get divorced than married couples who never cohabitated. With a statistic like that, you’d expect the group of people who cohabitate the most to be the ones with the highest divorce rate. Yet, born-again Christian (who cohabitate the least) are actually the ones with the highest divorce rate.

    You claim that the reason Christians have the highest divorce rates is because most of them do not follow the teachings of the bible on marriage. Yet, if this is the reason, then why don’t atheists have the highest divorce rates, since NONE of them follow the teachings of the bible on marriage? Since atheists have the highest levels of cohabitation (which leads to divorce) PLUS they don’t follow the teaching of the bible, then how is it that Christians still have the highest divorce rates?

    My theory is that the submissive/dominate roles that the bible teaches don’t mesh well with the way most modern Americans think, thus “the crazy cycle” is actually the cause of many divorces. That’s what the date seems to say to me, anyway.

    Dan Segarra,

    You can define equality in a lot of ways. However, when it comes to roles of authority, the bible certainly does not deal them equally between husband and wife (or between man and women, for that matter). In fact, the bible makes several strong implications that women are simply less capable of handling many important earthly duties. 1 Timothy 2 seriously implies that women are more gullible than men by nature. 1 Peter 3:7 refers to the women as “the weaker vessel”. Titus 2 suggests that a young women’s place is in the house. Sure, the Christian bible preaches the equality of men and women in salvation (or in God’s eyes), and it also teaches a husband to treat his wife lovingly and kindly, but it does not teach that women are equally capable of authority roles. This exception means that you can’t exactly say that the bible supports “gender equality”.


  9. If my wife has no authority over me, then I will kneel even lower before God. Just as Christ had authority over all, his point was not to show his authority, but to show God’s grace and mercy.

    Personally, my point isn’t to prove anything to you anonymous. This is what I believe, and I defend it because I believe in it. Just as you defend what you believe.

  10. Dan Segarra.

    It seems like you’re trying to explain to me that the authority the bible grants to the husband is not of a tyrannical nature, but one that’s more along the lines of a merciful duty (like how police have authority, yet with their authority they are actually serving the ones whom they have authority over.) And as I said before, I agree with you on this point. The bible does not teach the husband to wield his authority in a destructive manner. Yet, the simple point I was making is that the bible dictates that women should have less authority and men should have more authority. Thus, by using the words “less” and “more”, we must come to the inevitable conclusion that the bible deals authority roles “unequally” between men and women. For you would not say that a policeman and a baker have equal authority roles, just as you would not say that a husband and wife who follow the teachings of the bible have equal authority roles.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with the biblical marriage roles if both partners accept them willingly. If you have a wife who is naturally submissive, and you are natural dominate, then the biblical marriage roles will work perfectly for you. Yet, in our modern world, women are thankfully not taught to be submissive like they have been since the dawn of civilization. Cedric calls this new age “anti-male”…. I call it “gender equality”. Yet, whatever you call it, the idea that women should hold equal authority is certainly prevalent in this day and age. When a church encourages modern women to give up their authority in marriage, I think it creates tension. I think this is why born-again Christians have the highest rates of divorce. A born-again is going from the secular teachings of modern society to the religious teachings of the bible. When these two ways of thinking clash, you get problems.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve signed my name to the bottom of ever post….so no need to call me “anonymous”


  11. The bible does not need anyone to defend it for it is the anvil of truth.

    Whether you believe it or not.

    Whether you follow it’s teaching or not.

    It is central and will stand forever.

    Luke you are dead in your sins and cannot come to salvation in Christ Jesus without God doing the work in you to believe.

    God is not waiting for you to believe it. It’s not your choice to believe it, but God’s choice to make it believable to you. If you don’t believe it then God has not chosen you to believe it and be saved yet. That makes me tremble and pray that God will show you mercy and reveal His truth to you.
    But if He choses not to then He will still be just to condemn your soul to hell. He is showing you love now by giving you life and His Common Grace. I pray that He will show you His truth.

    Jesus Loves you luke, His Special Grace has been accmplished for you through Christ Jesus. Recieve His righteousness by faith and be saved.

    It’s your only escape from God’s wrath upon you for your sin.

    May God have mercy on your soul as He has had mercy on mine.

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