We continue looking at Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and we are looking specifically at how husbands can show love to their wife. Dr. Eggerichs uses 6 basic areas to express how a husband can do this and they follow the letters C-O-U-P-L-E. The first way a husband can demonstrate love to his wife is understanding her desire for closeness. We started looking at closeness in the last post. I am going to take these slowly, so each area may be one post or several. Today, we are going to continue looking at closeness and look at a man’s tug of war with involvement and independence.
I have been helping my daughter this week work on scale balance math problems. These aren’t too bad but just like in real life one mistake can get your balance out of whack. A man has to work on finding this balance in real life when it comes to his relationship by balancing his involvement and his independence. On my own I tend to be a “space” magnet. I like my independence and I don’t mind having time alone. My wife would lean more toward the involvement side of the balance and likes when we are doing things together and seeks ways for us to connect.
“When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go” – Song of Solomon 3:4
Dr. Eggerichs describe the balance in this way: “When you get too independent (especially when you stonewall), she does not feel close to you and begins to feel you don’t love her. When she doesn’t give you the space you need, you begin to feel that she’s trying to get too involved and doesn’t respect you.” At first glance you might say that this is a no win situation for a man in a marriage but in reality it is a balance problem. You are really needing to balance your needs and her needs.
So, what are your choices. You can put yourself above your wife and family and have your independence. You can justify that you deserve it and make the case to yourself that you worked hard this week and deserve the time fishing, hunting, or watching the big game. Maybe you even move towards your “space” because you feel disrespected or controlled.
You can be fully involved with your wife. You seek to stay home with your wife at any cost and take care of every chore or errand that she wants. You want to spend time every night sitting together talking about your emotional needs while watching Hallmark Channel movies. This approach may be beneficial to your wife but you would probably feel henpecked and drained.
The last choice is to find a healthy balance of independence and involvement. Dr. Eggerichs describes that the way you find this balance moves one toward either crazy or energized. You try the first choice and you may be energized but it sends your wife towards the crazy cycle. In the second choice your wife may be energized but you get on the crazy train. The goal is to find a balance where you and your wife will both be strengthened in your day to day relationship. Having some independence likely motivates you and having time when you connect with your wife stimulates your wife.
“in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent or woman -1 Corinthians 11:11
When both spouses are mindful of their partners needs this can only grow their relationship. There will be times when one is requiring that their involvement or independence needs be met over there spouse’s needs and that is going to happen. Being able to understand that you have tipped the scales and seeking to balance them by meeting your spouse’s needs will go a long way into keeping the balance healthy.