Just last night, I realized how much this book helps. Here is the setting -
Me: "Babe, don't forget we have plans for wine with our friends."
Hubby: "Ok. I did forget, thanks for reminding me!"
Hubby calls me at work: "Babe, it's raining over here!"
Me: "I know, it's raining over here too!"
Hubby: "You better call our friends and let them know we can't make it tonight."
Me: "What? Because it is raining?"
Hubby: "Yes, I'm not getting out in the rain!"
Me: "Are you serious? You want me to cancel because you don't want to drive across the road in the rain?"
Hubby: "Well, um, I don't feel really well. You go ahead and go."
Me: "Oh, you are sick? Well, I don't want to go by myself so I'll see you at home later."
Okay - here's the deal. This is what was going through my head the whole time - RESPECT HIM MICHELLE. Here is what I was thinking - "What do you mean you don't want to get out in the rain? Are you 80?" and "Oh, very convenient that you don't feel well now. Nice Jeff, real nice. Whatever." and "That is so selfish of you! You know I was looking forward to this, why can't you do this for me?" And this is where we usually enter the crazy cycle.
Now, I know these are not nice things to think about your husband. But, I am being honest. I'm human, and he makes me crazy sometimes. Here's the good thing - usually I would say them, we still wouldn't end up going, and the whole evening (possibly more than one) would be ruined. So I said nothing and went home. When I got home, he had dinner made and a bottle of our favorite wine open (He NEVER does this.). And, he was SO SWEET. Hmmm...showing him respect, even though I was cross with him worked. Enter positive reinforcement. When I shared this with Hubby, he said well yeah, you were really nice to me and didn't give me a hard time, so I wanted to do something nice for you. And that ladies, is hopping right off of the crazy cycle. I'm hooked - haha!
Here are some of my favorite points from Chapter 2 -
We send each other messages in "code", based on gender, even though we don't intend to. What I say is not what you hear, and what you think you heard is not what I meant at all. (p 30)
We all see things out of our own needs and perceptions. (p 30)
The wife can get irked with the husband because he isn't being sensitive, something that most wives always anticipate or expect. In less than a minute, the wife can start feeling unloved and accuse her husband of being unloving. Meanwhile, the husband can get displeased with the wife when she starts talking to him as if he's insensitive. He starts reciting the mantra of many husbands: " I can never be good enough." The husband is feeling disrespected or at least unfairly criticized - again. (p 31)
Just because you may feel unloved or disrespected does not mean your spouse is sending that message (p 32)
We focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person. The wife needs love; she is not trying to be disrespectful. the husband needs respect; he is not trying to be unloving. The "issue" is not the real issue at all. (p 32)
...She wanted him to be genuinely sorry - not defensive, but asking forgiveness. (p 34)
When men hear negative criticism, it doesn't take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men. (He thinks) I don't deserve this kind of talk. Everybody respects me except you. You're just picking a fight. I wish you would just be quiet. When a husband can take it no longer, he gets up and walks out without a word, and that is the coup de grace. he might as well have screamed at the top of his lungs, "I don't love you!" (p 38)
She criticizes out of love, but he "hears" only disrespect. He distances himself to prevent things from escalating, which is the honorable thing to do, but she "sees" only his failure to be loving! ...Women reading this are saying, "Well, if husbands just weren't so immature...if my husband could just be man enough to talk things out, then we could get somewhere." You can think that kind of thing, and I understand why you would. unfortunately, it's not going to change men at all. (p 39)
Whenever a wife is complaining, criticizing, or crying, she is sending her encoded message: "I want your love!" And whenever a husband is speaking harshly or sometimes not speaking at all, he is sending his encoded message: "I want your respect!". (p 40)
(Source: Love & Respect; The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs; Dr. Emerson Eggeriches)