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C.O.U.P.L.E.—The Key to Both Motivating and De-motivating Your Wife in C.H.A.I.R.S.

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Is there a connection between C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S.?

In my book Love & Respect, I supply the acronym C.O.U.P.L.E. as a way for a husband to spell love to his wife, as well as C.H.A.I.R.S., intended to help a wife spell respect to her husband. Why love for her? Why respect for him? Based on Ephesians 5:33, where Paul instructs the married couple, “Each one of you [husbands] also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband,” I believe that, while yes, both husband and wife need to be loved and respected equally, the overwhelming felt needs among each is that she is yearning to be assured of her husband’s love for her, and he strives to be respected by his wife.

Therefore, in C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S. I provide six ways for a husband to intentionally love his wife and six ways for a wife to show respect to her husband.

C.O.U.P.L.E.—How to spell love to your wife:

Closeness—She wants you to be close.

Openness—She wants you to open up to her.

Understanding—She doesn’t want you to “fix” her but to simply listen.

Peacemaking—She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”

Loyalty—She needs to know you’re committed.

Esteem—She wants you to honor and cherish her.

C.H.A.I.R.S.—How to spell respect to your husband:

Conquest—Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.

Hierarchy—Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.

Authority—Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.

Insight—Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.

Relationship—Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.

Sexuality—Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

The key word to remember with both love and respect is to know that we are commanded to love and respect our spouse unconditionally—independent of their response to us. However, I know how guys often think. (I am one!) We can’t help but allow our selfishness to creep in and wonder, How will loving my wife help motivate her to better respect me? Because as I said above, just as her overwhelming felt need is to be loved by her husband, his is to feel respected by his wife. 

This is not to defend any selfish or ill-willed ulterior motives to love or respect one’s spouse. To love and respect unconditionally is a command from God Himself and needs no other motivation. As well, a husband or wife whose spouse has entirely selfish motives to showing love or respect to them will see right through the manipulation. 

However, it is still worth considering if there is a connection between C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S. Can showing love to your wife in one of the six ways described in C.O.U.P.L.E. help motivate her to respect you in one of the six ways outlined in C.H.A.I.R.S.?

Well, there’s only one way to find out. Husbands, why not try the following challenge today?

How to Motivate My Wife*

1. Tell her you want to be close to her in ways meaningful to her, and notice her become more interested in a friendly relationship that energizes you. 

2. Tell her what is going on inside your heart, being far more open emotionally, and notice her become more receptive to opening to you sexually.

3. Tell her you want to understand what she is going through, and observe her respond more to your insight concerning her situation and in general.

4. Tell her you are sorry and seek her forgiveness, making peace between you, and observe her become more responsive to your leadership and sense of authority

5. Tell her that you are committed to her in complete loyalty, and notice her back your conquests in your field.

6. Tell her you esteem her for who she is in all that she does, and see her esteem your hierarchial position as "head."

*I cannot stress enough that your motivations and actions must be genuine and goodwilled. If you attempt any of these as ill-willed manipulations to “get her to respect me!” it will backfire. As well, you would be blatantly disobeying God’s command to love your wife unconditionally, independent of how she responds.

Husbands, as much as I urge you to try the above and see how loving your wife will result in her showing respect to you in the ways you need to feel it the most, I equally implore you to not try the next list. Instead, ask yourself if in the past you have been guilty of de-motivating your wife in the following ways by failing to love her how she most needed to feel it.

How to De-motivate My Wife

1. Tell her you don’t want to be close to her in ways meaningful to her, and notice her not be interested in a friendly relationship that energizes you. 

2. Tell her she shouldn’t take it so personally when you’re harsh, closed in spirit, and refusing to be open, yet expect her to open up sexually.

3. Tell her she is absolutely impossible to understand, but give her your insight as though you understand her perfectly.

4. Tell her there is no way you’ll smoke the peace pipe until she proves she wants consensus not control and makes you feel like a chief with all the authority. 

5. Tell her that your conquests are not a priority above her but give little effort to assure her of your complete loyalty.

6. Tell her you won’t esteem her as first in importance until she views you as first among equals based on your hierarchial mind-set.

Husbands, have you experienced firsthand a connection between C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S. from either list? How so? Which ones do you need to stop so as to not de-motivate your wife in showing you the respect you need? Which ones do you need to put into effect now, regardless of how she responds?

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider