Good morning, babes!
A couple of years ago, I read a book that really changed the way I look at Joseph. Joseph and I are high school sweethearts. We met in middle school and slowly became best friends. We hesitated to date each other because we were terrified that it would ruin our friendship. But Joseph finally decided to ask me out on October of 2000 and the rest is history!
I cannot believe it’s been 20 years!
Our relationship has always been one where we both choose eachother before anyone or anything. He is my best friend, truly.
20 years is a long time and with the years, the struggles most certainly came. When I went through anxiety, depression and panic attacks, it was hard. There were days that he just wanted to walk away. We were newlyweds. It was supposed to be marriage bliss, but instead it was a nightmare. As hard as it was, I am so thankful for the journey because it made us who we are today. And I tell him all the time that I’m thankful he stayed.
The book I read is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I recommend it to everyone. Whether you are going through marriage bliss or you are struggling, read it. It will change your marriage!
Ephesians 5:33 says, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Love and Respect.
Dr. Eggerichs talks about the crazy cycle which is this: Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. This book made me realize how my actions were being disrespectful to Joseph and made me understand why we would end up in heated disagreements. It also opened my eyes to realizing a huge fear of mine. Which was losing Joseph’s love to other things.
Example… golf. Raise your hand if your husband loves golf. Then you’ll probably understand where I’m about to go with this. Joseph loves to play golf. But every time he went to play we would get into a huge argument. HUGE!! I couldn’t figure out why it aggravated me so bad for him to play golf and honestly I hated myself for being such a crazy wife about it.
The aha moment came as I read this book while he was gone on a golf trip to Cabo. I was so mad at him for going to Cabo on this golf trip and I couldn’t figure out why. I am not one to cry, but y’all I cried! I cried the entire day he left for the trip. It was ridiculous really. And it ruined his day because Joseph loves me so much and his desire is always to do what makes me happy. He knew I wasn’t happy and it completely crushed him.
As I read this book I realized that I feared him loving golf and hanging out with the guys more than me. I remember sitting there crying my eyes out and asking God why I was having such a hard time with this and it came clear as day. I didn’t want to lose Joseph’s love and him choosing to play golf with his guy friends made me feel like he was choosing something other than me. I remember calling him the next day and spending about an hour on the phone crying and confessing all of my feelings to him.
I realized the enemy was stirring the pot by feeding lies to me. Joseph loves me. Him playing golf is not him choosing it before me. Such a silly thing to think, but for me it was serious. I developed this fear that Joseph was going to stop loving me and y’all….that produced this deep ache in my soul. This fear the devil was using was torturing me to the core. And it was causing terrible arguments in our marriage. I also realized that the way I was acting towards him was making him feel disrespected which was causing him to react in a way that made me feel unloved. Such a crazy cycle! I remember reading this and cringing….
“No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.”
Gosh…I was making Joseph feel like he was a failure as a husband. But I was also putting him in a corner and expecting him to not have a life outside of me for fear that he would pick it over me. Dr. Eggerichs also writes, “….when men hear negative criticism, it doesn’t take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men.” Who was I telling Joseph he was with my actions? I was telling him that he was a horrible husband who didn’t love his wife because he liked to spend a couple of hours on a golf course with his friends. Ugh…
“Respect does something to the soul of a man. God made him that way.”
“A wife who brings shame on her husband is like sickness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4
I realized that I was saying ” I need your love,” but instead Joseph was hearing “I don’t respect you.”
I confessed this to Joseph and felt so free afterwards. This lie that the enemy had used to torture me was finally out in the open and no longer keeping me captive.
I remember reading the chapter about his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship and being completely convicted. Dr. Eggerichs writes that men communicate by sharing experiences and women communicate by talking about the experiences to each other. Men share their experiences by sharing an activity. He gives bullet points of ways that our husbands will feel that we value their shoulder-to-shoulder friendships. Here are a couple of bullet points that he shared that I felt were directed straight at me.
- You respond to his invitation to engage in recreational activities together or you come along to watch him (you don’t have to go every time, but just now and then will energize him more than you realize.
- You encourage him to spend time alone, which energizes him to reconnect with you later.
- You don’t denounce his shoulder-to shoulder activities with his male friends to get him to spend more face-to-face time with you. Respect his friendships, and he will be more likely to want you to join him shoulder-to-shoulder at other times.
I realized that day how crazy I was being. Joseph always encourages me to have my time and here I am degrading him and making him feel like a terrible human for doing something he loves to do.
It’s taken some time, but I have really tried my hardest to be better at my response when Joseph plays golf. Through this experience, it allowed both of us to talk about ways to help us love and respect each other better.
Now, all of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for God completely being involved. He brought this book to my life and He spoke to me through it. We are at our best when God is first and we are each other’s second.
I share all this because on Monday while we were in Hilton Head, we had some extra time before dinner and I knew my hubby was dying to get on the golf course. He offered to go shopping with me and told me to go get a pedicure while he played a couple of holes. But you know what, instead of doing what I wanted to do which he would’ve been just fine doing, I let him choose.
And by now, you know exactly what he chose! We spent a couple of hours doing what he loves. Or better said, I watched him do what he loves to do. And y’all, it was so good for the both of us. It reminded me that I need to let him choose more often.
And after we played we went to dinner and then he took me to TJ Maxx to buy a couple of my favorite things!
Coffee mugs and Sand and Fog candles ha!
I don’t know if you find yourself in marriage bliss or in a nightmare, but I do want to encourage you today. Hard times will come but don’t give up. Now, you may ask what about Joseph? I’m sure he had some faults, too. Of course, he’s human, but what I’ve learned is that I’m in charge of me. I have a choice to respond or react. And if I focus on working on me and choose to pray first verses nagging or complaining, God will take care of the rest.
Dr. Eggerichs puts it this way, “In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ.” Remember what I said about God first and us second? God must take priority in your life, your marriage and your family. Only then, will you be ready to face those difficulties and trials that will most certainly come.
Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. Things are great at first, but you must choose to love even when it’s hard to love your spouse. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy your marriage. Declare war on the enemy and the lies that he feeds you and choose to trust and believe in the promises that God gives you. Choose to stay. Choose to fight. Keep your eyes on christ and build your marriage on the rock so that when those storms come, it will not be swept away.
Of course this doesn’t apply when there’s any kind of abuse….if that’s happening then please seek help.
I do hope this encourages you today to fight for your spouse by putting God first always. And I also hope that this helps someone see the lies that the enemy is feeding you are just that, lies. Talk to God about it and then be open with your spouse. Only then will you experience freedom.
So today, find something that your husband loves to do and join him! Whether it’s golf, playing video games, fishing or just watching sports on tv.
I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Thank you for reading today!
Oh! And order the book Love and Respect!
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