Embracing Love and Respect in Marriage - Part 1 (Transcript)

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Dr. Dobson: Hello and welcome, everyone. You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I am James Dobson, and I want to thank you for joining us today and supporting our ministry. It's what keeps us on the air.

Today you're going to hear an insightful presentation from my good friend and colleague, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He is a New York Times Best-Selling author, a speaker, and founder of Love and Respect Ministries. Many of you have followed his ministry through the years.

Well, recently he was a guest speaker at an event here in Colorado Springs, and I want you to hear his recorded message which focuses on his popular work, Love and Respect. Dr. Eggerichs unpacks the different dynamics between the sexes and the responsibilities of men and women in marriage. This is a challenging and thought provoking speech, and I really believe you're going to enjoy it.

Here now is Dr. Emerson Eggerichs on this edition of Family Talk.

Dr. Eggerichs: Sarah and I have been married since 1973, 46 years. Sarah, would you please stand? My lovely wife, Sarah.

And again, we are so honored, Dr. Dobson and Shirley, to invite us to be here today. We have been looking forward to this. We came in Thursday and have just, along with this wonderful group, been so inspired and informed. So, thank you for the invitation.

And on a personal note, December of 2003, Dr. Dobson played a message that I'd given to about six or seven hundred women. And they had audience mics in it, and he has a thing called "hitchcock," and it had this enthusiasm, this energy. And so, he was so gracious, and he played that for two days on the radio program. The fact is, you put us on the map. We were, and it's true, we have been so blessed because of his vision for the Love and Respect message. In fact, not only that, he sponsored us several years running. We were averaging 1800 per conference. Ed Young had us come, we had 4,000. It's a two day event, Friday night, Saturday. And that's because of your influence. When you put the stamp of approval on it, the churches just opened up.

And so, across America for six, seven years, averaging 1,800 per conference because of you. And he would even have his message, his half hour message, if we were in Peoria, Illinois, they wouldn't have Doc that day, it was his promotion of Love and Respect. And so, all of Peoria showed up. That type thing.

So, he has just served us and honored us in an incredible way. He voiced to all of the folks across America that were listening to him that this message comes from the Bible, Ephesians 5:33. And the Love and Respect conference and message is based on that. I pastored for 20 years, East Lansing Trinity Church, studied the Bible 30 hours a week, that was the [inaudible 00:03:22] ministry. So it gave me a lot of time to look at everything in scripture concerning marriage. And the book, Love and Respect, came out after that.

But we are indebted to you, Doctor, and so thank you. And just on a personal note, Shirley and Sarah and I were chatting about a friend of ours, a mutual friend, Marilyn, in Michigan, who is just a humble, godly, prayerful woman. Sweet spirit. And Shirley and Marilyn are very, very good friends, and they're kindred spirits. Marilyn is a good friend of ours, and we were just voicing about Marilyn and just how wonderful she is, just humble, prayerful. And the next day, talking with Danae, saying, you know, "We were just chatting with your mom about Marilyn. Just how humble she is, how God uses her, and how she's just, she doesn't put herself forward." Danae said, "That's exactly how my mom is." She says, "People have no idea how much God has used my mother because my mom won't tell them." Very special.

We'll see if I can transition from that. Have you ever received a gift that you really wanted but you didn't know if you were going to receive? And it was a gift of great value to you. I mean, think back when you were ten and you wanted a bicycle for Christmas, for instance. You had hoped that you were going to get that bike, but you weren't sure because you just didn't know.

Christmas morning, you're on the second floor up in the bedroom. You can't get up for school, but 5:00 am on Christmas morning you awaken. Right? I mean, you are excited and you jump out of bed, run across the bedroom, run down the hall, downstairs. You go into the living room where the Christmas tree is, and there is the bike. And you go, "Ah!"

And whenever you receive a gift of great value, that's kind of the response. I mean, think back when he proposed to you and out came that diamond. "Ah!" When we first were launching Love and Respect, my friend, BJ Webber, was the chaplain of the Yankees. So we were going in and out of Manhattan doing Men's Night Out and doing all kinds of stuff. And I said to that group one night, I said, "Hey, have any of you received a gift of great value that you didn't expect but got, suddenly, like that?" And one guy said, "Yeah, it just happened this week." I said, "What?" "I got an unexpected bonus check for $100,000." I said, "That works, that gets at the idea."

I said, "You know, as a pastor, if the deacons met to give me a $100,000.00, it'd be a Sanford and Son moment, it'd be a heart attack. You know?" Actually, it's kind a great way to get rid of a pastor.

Well, I want to come back around to that illustration later, but keep that in mind, receiving a gift of great value. Well, male and female communication has always been something that I've been intrigued. Because I was sent to military school from eighth grade to twelfth grade. My mom and dad were not Christians, we weren't a Christian family. My dad attempted to strangle my mother when I was two and a half. We were back and I remember seeing it. I described it later to my mom after my dad had died.

But we all, I came to Christ through a Billy Graham film when I was 16 at this military school. Found out that Billy went to Wheaton. I had already met with my congressman and the president of the academy could make recommendation to West Point. So I was thinking military, and then I found out Billy went to Wheaton. So, two years into Christ and I'm sitting in these Bible classes.

But my mom and dad and my sister and my brother-in-law had been watching me now for about 24 months, and my freshman year they came to Christ. In fact, it was Bill Craig at Wheaton who prayed for us and our whole family changed. But there was a woundedness there and a concern.

But this male and female thing has always been important to me because being in military school I didn't know how girls functioned, you know? Just during that time girls weren't at the academy there. And so, I tried to figure this out as I entered the halls of Wheaton.

As I entered the halls of academia there, I began, "Who are these wonderful creatures?" This perfume, didn't smell perfume at the academy. And so, it was just a very interesting moment. And I began to study this just because I was interested, I was trying to figure this out. Just the male and female dynamics, you know, like a woman says, "I have nothing to wear." What she means is she has nothing new. Her husband says, "I have nothing to wear." What he means is he has nothing clean.

And that's an innocent illustration, but I find it fascinating because it's the same words, "I have nothing to wear," "I have nothing to wear." Same words but we mean something different by those same words.

You know, we had done our Love and Respect conference and this lady wrote me afterwards. And on the way home from the conference, she was saying to her husband, "How do you feel about me?" And he was driving, he says, "Well, you're very critical." And so, she was about to blast him verbally, and then she remembered the conference she had just come from for six hours. She said, "Well, can I just ask you, what did you mean by that? Can you tell me what you meant by that?" He said, "Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about you, a lot about you. And if you died, I don't know how I would continue on. You are very critical to my survival."

Women will hedge. They're deferential, they don't want to be a bother. And so, but that becomes an interesting dynamic. And you talk about two good willed people who end up having some interesting heated fellowship. You know, the wife says, "That's the worst meal I've ever made." "No it's not, honey." I mean, where is that going? Right?

And you see in scripture, you see Rachel and Jacob, the love story. He labors seven years for her, I mean, it is the pinnacle of love stories. I mean, it's quoted all the time. But people don't keep reading. You just keep reading and in Genesis 30 we come to a point where Rachel says, "Give me children or else I die," she says to Jacob. And then his anger, "Am I in the place of God?" Now, what's going on in that situation? He is completely misreading her heart. She's venting, as every woman around the world. Why God has put within every woman a longing to have a child, I mean, it's really an anomaly when that's not the case. And as men, we think, "Why would you women want to go through this?" But you have something in you that's there by God. And Rachel was not having children, she was barren, and this became a real source of tension to her.

And so, he completely misreads the point. It was like, "She is demanding me to do something I can't do, and only God can do it. What? She's irrational." No, she's a woman who is venting the longing of her heart, and she expected him to be empathetic. Simple as that.

Or I love the story of Hannah and Elkanah. Now Hannah again is barren. Her husband says - he loved her, 1 Samuel, first chapter. I mean, he loves her. He gives double portions, this guy is in love with this woman. But she can't have a baby. And so, she's sad. And he says to her, in verse eight of chapter one, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart so sad? Am I not better for you than ten sons?" See, as men we move into solution orientation. I mean, we're, "I'm better. I'm good." He's trying to reassure her.

But it says a couple of verses later she's greatly distressed and she's weeping. She is just, it didn't go over so well, his attempt to comfort her. But his heart was in the right place, but it just completely went over her. It flew like a lead zeppelin, it just didn't go, you know?

And these dynamics you see in scripture throughout. And we shouldn't be surprised because Jesus said in Matthew 19:4, "Have you not read? He who made them from the beginning made them male and female." And I liken to the fact that he designed women to look at the world through pink sunglasses, they have pink hearing aids, and they speak through a pink megaphone. He has blue sunglasses, blue hearing aids, and speaks through a blue megaphone. And the pink and blue is nothing more than a word picture for me, because when you put pink and blue together it's purple, the color of royalty, the color of God. And that, in a sense, God's not pink and God's not blue. And husband and wife together reflect his image.

And if you're not married and God calls you to be a celibate, he gives you what we call a compensatory gift, the gift of celibacy that allows you to reflect the image of God on the planet without a husband or a wife. And it's his grace to that single person. But if we don't have that gift, Paul makes that point clear in 1 Corinthians 7, then husband and wife together reflect his image. It is the will of God that we are in marriage because we need each other. We have a need that only the other can meet. But together we reflect the purple, the color of God. It's a powerful thing.

And not only do we reflect his image, the Christ/church relationship in Ephesians 5 is represented by you and I do marriage. I mean, think about it, the very nature, the image, the character of God, the relationship that God has with the church, Christ has with the church, is reflected in how you and I do relationships. And some have said that the culture isn't interested in things of Christ because they don't see it in the marriages. But if they did, because they're hungry for relationships, they would hear the melody coming from our lives and they would ask for the lyrics.

And it's important for us to at least consider, and I want to be a source of encouragement to you today because as we've looked at this Thursday night through now, there has been this focus of how God has used Dr. Dobson to be instrumental in so many things in the culture. But he has always had a vision for people like me to serve the church primarily, and to be behind someone like me, and to help me serve the church. You know, Carl Henry used to say you can be pro-Christus or anti-antichrist, meaning that there's some of us need to go after those who are on one side, but others of us need to be proactive and continue to serve the saints as best we know how in order for that melody to be louder and louder and louder. That is our prayer.

But I came across a pink and blue verse in Ephesians 5:33, because I said as a pastor I had the privilege of studying the Bible 30 hours a week. And so, I came across Ephesians 5:33, and why that's important is that's a summary statement to the greatest chapter, or treatise on marriage in the New Testament, most would conclude. And verses and chapters were added later. There was this parchment, and there were these sections, but at the end of this section Paul says this, and it kind of blew me away, "Husbands love your wives, and wives, respect your husbands."

And then as I got in the Greek I realized, did you know no wife is commanded to agape love her husband in the domestic portions of scripture? No wife is commanded to agape love. In Titus 2, the older women are to encourage the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, that's phileo. Not filet your husband, but phileo. It's friendship, philadelphia. It is a friendly type of love. You say to the children, "Does your mommy love you?" "Oh yeah, she loves us a lot." "Does she like you?" "No, we've been bad."

"Hey, Harry, does your wife love you?" "Oh yeah, loves me with all her heart." "Does she like you?" "No, no, no. Not today." And it's true. And I said to the Lord, "Why have you not commanded a wife to agape love?" And the Lord, in an inaudible voice, not audibly, said, "I put it within the nature of women to nurture. Women love to love at the level of intimacy. You have to wound a woman at the level of intimacy, like your dad wounded your mom, to get them to shut down. Women love to love." I mean, think how many times you've said this week, "Love you, love you, bye! Love you. I love you, love you, love you, love you. Love, love, love. Love you, love you, love you. Love, love." It just doesn't stop. Because God made you that way. He created you. The world would not be a very pleasant place without you.

In fact, some say the only safe haven now if a child gets lost in an amusement park, don't go to a policeman, necessarily, but look for a mom who has three children hanging on her, go to her and say you've lost your mommy and daddy. It's the only safe haven. It's the only island of virtue that remains; it's precious.

But why would not God command the wife to do that? Because of the reasons I stated, it's within her nature to do that. So he's not going to, he's not into redundancy. So, he commands the husband though to agape love. And apparently in this verse, I don't do by nature what Sarah does by nature. And Sarah has a need from me that I don't necessarily have a need from her. And when you start looking at that verse, it's fascinating to me.

And why does God command a wife to respect? Well, most women don't know what respect even looks like. But they do know that they're disrespectful. They understand that. They know that. But they're not trying to be disrespectful, they're trying to awaken him to their need to be loved. But they have that look, it's what's called the gestures of contempt, hand on hips, scolding finger, rolling of the eyes, the sigh, the head goes back. And when estrogen kicks in, the word choice of contempt is incredible. This has been documented by the University of Washington. They studied 2000 couples for 20 years, and they call it the gestures of contempt.

But she's not trying to be disrespectful, but she appears that way. And that's the way he reads it. And so there is this misunderstanding. And he, when he feels disrespected, he ends up reacting in a way that feels unloving to her. 85% of those who stonewall and withdraw is the husband. Why? Because his heartbeats are 99 beats per minute. They monitored this. And so, he's trying to do the honorable thing when he feels disrespected, which feels unloving to her. She's trying to do the loving thing, most women will criticize and complain. They move toward to confront because they want to connect. But that ends up being, feels disrespectful to him when she's trying to do the loving thing on the heels of feeling unloved.

And you talk about two good willed people who completely misunderstand each other. You follow what I'm saying? And what I then discovered is that this leads to the crazy cycle. Doc didn't like the word crazy cycle early on. And so I tried to figure out, "How can I please him on this?" But the crazy cycle says without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. I saw a correlation and began to realize, if a wife doesn't feel love, she reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to awaken him to the need to be loved. But it doesn't get there, he doesn't decode that. He doesn't understand the meaning of her actions and words. She's saying it as clearly as she can, and all her women friends who think pink, they know. They know exactly what that sweet thing means by what she says. You know?

And so, she ends up reacting in a way though that feels disrespectful. And then he, feeling disrespected, reacts even more in ways that feel unloving to her. And you have these two good willed people who are on this crazy cycle. And same thing from his standpoint. She reacts in a disrespectful way, comes out of left field, particularly if he doesn't, "Where is this coming from? What just happened here?" And then he shuts down because his heartbeats are 99 beats per minute. He's got to calm himself down. That's what an honorable man does, he even exits because the relationship is more important than the topic. "So I kind of want to just exit either physically or emotionally because this doesn't need to get out of control. You are more important to me than this issue. Can we just drop it and move on, please?"

And so, then he's trying to do the honorable thing, only to be interpreted as unloving. And all the men watching this think, "Look at her, she's just chasing him through the house." You know, "Talk to me." Both have their hearts in the right place.

And so, Sarah and I have been campaigning for almost 20 years, helping people understand that crazy cycle, and how to get off that crazy cycle. And what we've been up against, in some ways, is no one debates the idea that a man ought to be loving, but there's certainly a little bit of a controversy over this idea of respect. Women will say to me, "Well, Dr. Emerson, you know, I don't feel any respect for him. It would be hypocritical for me to show respect. And I know you don't want me to be a hypocrite. He's not superior to me, and that's the definition of respect, to show respect to your superiors. I'm not inferior to him, I'm not going to be treated like a doormat."

Everybody in the culture, Doc, says, "Hey, respect must be earned. You deserve it. He hasn't earned it, he doesn't deserve it because he hasn't loved me in ways that I love him. And I certainly think you have an agenda here, and that's a return to male patriarchy, and I'm certainly not going to be fooled by your attempts here. I'm certainly not going to give him license to do what he wants to do. I'm not going to come in with pom poms and just cheer him on, and say, 'You just do whatever you want and this will be a sign of my respect to you.' I certainly am not going to subject myself to emotional abuse. I'm certainly not going to feed his ego. I've read about narcissism, he fits that profile exactly. I'm simply not going to go along with this. But other than these things, I'm really open to hearing what you have to say about this."

How many of you have sons? Now most of you, and then you have grandsons. That's going to be the attitude of your sweet daughter-in-law or your grandson's wife. She's going to say every one of those things to him, probably the first several months of the marriage because he's going to say, "You're disrespecting me." It comes out of us. Why? Because it's in us. It's who we are. We filter the world through honor. I mean, when we go to The Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan, we cry. We go to Sleepless in Seattle, we sleep.

There are these differences. Men serve and die for honor. Pat Riley had me come speak to the Miami Heat and he and I spent four hours in private talking about issues of honor and justice and how men respond, how men perform in response to that. And when they feel unjustly treated and dishonored, they shut down. You performance just goes out. Then he had me speak to the Miami Heat, and he told me after, "You're the only person I've ever had speak to my team in an inspirational/motivational way."

And so, this is a huge issue to men across the country. Tom Coffman had me come speak to the New York Giants, and again, this is a huge issue across the culture, not even just in the church, people respond to this message. It's important. Men serve and die for honor. In fact, one husband said to his wife, "I love you so much I would die for you." She said, "Harry, you keep saying that, but you never do."

Jim Veldhuis: Well, you've been listening to the first part of an encouraging and insightful message from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I'm Jim Veldhuis, filling in behind the mic for Roger Marsh on this Family Talk broadcast.

I hope Dr. Eggerichs' words have challenged you to evaluate your relationship with your spouse. Every marriage goes through a time of conflict and disharmony, but it shouldn't be a continuous cycle. As Dr. Eggerichs has pointed out, every relationship depends on the proper balance of love and respect. Our prayer is that you and your spouse can discover that in your marriage today.

If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Eggerichs and his popular ministry, visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. That's drjamesdobson.org. And then just click on the broadcast icon at the top of the page.

Do you want more helpful resources to strengthen your marriage? Then check out the Dobson Digital Library at dobsonlibrary.com. This is our online collection of Dr. Dobson's work over the last 40 years. We've cataloged all of his articles, blogs, newsletters, and past radio programs as resources for you.

You can also search under the marriage, faith, parenting, and culture tabs to find what you're looking for. Find practical tools and insights to help you and your family today by visiting dobsonlibrary.com. That's dobsonlibrary.com.

That's all the time we have for today, join us tomorrow as we conclude Dr. Emerson Eggerichs' presentation about a marriage built on love and respect. Tune into that meaningful broadcast on the next edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

I'm Jim Veldhuis, thanks for listening.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Tim Clinton: Hi, everyone, this is Dr. Tim Clinton, executive director of the James Dobson Family Institute. Our ministry here exists to honor the Lord through ministering to today's families and marriages all over the world. We couldn't accomplish that, however, without your support.

And as the JDFI, the James Dobson Family Institute, continues to grow, we need your help. Visit us, will you do that, at drjamesdobson.org? Or call us toll free at 877-732-6825.

Stand with us and fight for righteousness in culture.

Dr. Dobson: Most of us have heard that five out of every ten marriages end in divorce. But have you ever wondered what happens to the other five? Now, it would be nice to think that couples who don't divorce always live happily ever after and they just kind of sail blissfully into the sunset. But sadly, that's not the case.

According to research by Dr. John [inaudible 00:24:45], only one in ten marriages ever attains true intimacy in the relationship. By intimacy, we're referring to that mystical bond of friendship, commitment, and understanding that just almost defies explanation. I'm convinced that the human spirit craves this unconditional love. When we don't find it, we experience a kind of soul hunger which can lead to depression and despair.

I'm also certain that most couples expect to find intimacy in marriage, yet many are disappointed. Now it doesn't have to be that way. If you're one who longs to attain intimacy with your spouse, set out deliberately to build it. Talk about your concerns and needs, what is it that's kept you from growing closer as a couple? Commit to open communication and honesty. Look for ways to show your love daily. Start touching each other in a way that communicates love and concern and approval. And above all, treat each other with respect and dignity.

With a little effort, you can beat the odds and enjoy a lifelong love.

Announcer: To hear more, visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org.
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