The Key To Motivating Your Husband Or Wife: The Energizing Cycle

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As they looked forward to their 25th anniversary, a wife and her husband were torn apart by a catastrophe, and they separated. She was almost to the point of suicide and he was miserable, too. When a friend told her about my book, Love & Respect, she immediately bought a copy. After reading several chapters, she began to sympathize with her husband’s need for respect.

In a letter she wrote, she told us about her response,

"I e-mailed my husband and told him, in spite of all the hateful words and actions, I had always respected him—how he lived his life and the way he cared for me and my children, and I never wanted him to think that I had no respect for him regardless of what happened. He called me immediately and apologized for his part in the situation, and I apologized for mine. I came home the next day, and we have been happy ever since."

Her expressions of respect motivated him! Then, his loving response motivated her, so much so that she wrote me!

This is what I call the Energizing Cycle, which can be described like this:

HIS LOVE MOTIVATES HER RESPECT.

HER RESPECT MOTIVATES HIS LOVE.

This cycle is based on Ephesians 5:33 where husbands are commanded to love and wives are commanded to respect.

Why the command?

Simply put, a wife has a need for love and a husband has a need for respect.

But there’s more!

The key to motivating another person is to meet that person’s deepest need.

A husband is motivated to love when his need for respect is met and a wife is motivated to respect when her need for love is met.

When a husband speaks with a loving tone during a conflict, his wife will be less disrespectful. And when a wife softens her facial expressions and comes across more respectfully during times of friction, the husband will be less unloving.

Energy and motivation increase when marital problems are dealt with in a loving and respectful way.

This is rarely easy, but it is powerfully felt by the person on the receiving end. A husband's loving manner invigorates his wife, and every wife knows this. And a wife's respectful expressions enliven her husband, and every husband knows this.

I heard from a wife who realized how unfulfilled her husband was in their relationship. She admits that, although she deeply loved him, she never understood his need to feel respected.  He had lost energy. The daughter of a domineering father, she had seen her mother struggle as he “kept his wife in her place,” and she determined this would not happen to her.

She said,

"I didn’t want a man to lord it over me like my father had, but this has brought about in my husband intense feelings of disrespect and of not even being needed in his own home. Also, he has chosen to work at a job that is not fulfilling nor financially rewarding, but one that allows us to raise our children without day care. He has stayed at this job to allow me greater freedom to be home, and I never looked at this as a tremendous sacrifice. I just thought he was too afraid to try anything else. We bought [the book] Love & Respect and read through it together. When I saw the tears flow from years of misunderstanding and pain, it crushed me. I feel an immense freedom now when I’m with my husband because he knows that I understand and can respond in his native tongue."

Wow! A whole new energy came about in this marriage because she was learning to speak his mother tongue of respect.

One husband related that, before he attended a Love and Respect Marriage Conference, his marriage was breaking down. Both powerful firstborns and successful career people, they could not communicate without one trying to force his or her will on the other.

The conference helped the husband see that every time he insisted on his own opinion, he was crushing his wife’s spirit. He mistakenly thought he was establishing the fact that he was in charge. He decided to stop coming across in an authoritarian manner, and now peace reigns in their home.

He wrote,

"When I come home or talk with her during the day, I talk to her in a loving way. I communicate that I love her and respect her opinion. If things get out of hand—which they sometimes do—I reflect after the fact and approach her in a loving way. We talk back over the incident and move forward, usually in agreement. Even if one of us has to give in, we are both comfortable with the outcome. The principles taught in your seminar have helped us through some very tough times."

Every wife is energized by this kind of love.

Give the Energizing Cycle a try!

-Dr. E