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Do You Negatively React To Motivate Your Spouse To Be More Positive?

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Based on Ephesians 5:33, I have suggested two major reactions that happen in marriages:

  1. When a wife feels unloved, she tends to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband.
  2. When a husband feels disrespected, he tends to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife.

Both of these reactions ignite what I call the Crazy Cycle--without love a wife reacts without respect, and without respect a husband reacts without love.

Some couples continuously spin on this cycle.


As I have observed these couples, I have noticed that each feels unloved or disrespected and reacts in ways that feel unloving and disrespectful.

There is a tit-for-tat mindset.

Why does each negatively react?

To motivate the other person to change!

A wife negatively reacts in ways that appear disrespectful to her husband to motivate him to be more loving.

A husband negatively reacts in ways that appear unloving to his wife to motivate her to be more respectful.

Interestingly both usually have good will, but they choose a method of being negative to motivate the other to be positive, or to at least stop being negative!

Long term we cannot do to others the negative things they do to us if we expect to bring about healthy change in the heart of the other person.

Withholding love and respect does not motivate a spouse to show love and respect.

A mistreated spouse will not run home one day exclaiming, "I finally get why you have been so negative, disrespectful and unloving for these last 8 years! You have tried to provide me with a healthy incentive to be positive, loving and respectful. Thank you! What an epiphany!"

-Dr. E

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

Questions to Consider

  1. Why do you keep spinning on the Crazy Cycle?
  2. Do you negatively react to your spouse to motivate him/her to be more positive? How is it working?
  3. Why do you think this will not work in the long term?