As any married couple eventually discovers, romantic feelings don't exist everyday. It takes effort to keep a marriage strong, to keep minor disagreements from becoming major ones, to favor sweet words and tender glances over harsh comments and contemptuous glares.
"In Ephesians 5:33," Eggerichs says "God invites every married couple to make a conscious decision about how they appear to the other. A wife can feel unloved, but appear disrespectful; a husband can feel disrespected but appear unloving. This is why things get crazy! Our negative appearances work against us. God's Word protects us from that mistake."
He continues, "Really, all you have to do is learn this crazy cycle, and when you see the spirit of your spouse deflate, trust . . . that you've said something that appears unloving or disrespectful. Then go back and say, 'Did I come across as unloving/disrespectful? I'm sorry, will you forgive me?' That works almost every time."
Eggerichs has seen firsthand how marriages are transformed when husbands and wives put this fundamental concept into practice. To that end, he and his wife started the Love and Respect Marriage Conference, and the testimonials from those who have attended have been very encouraging.
At the conference, they illustrate in detail how to spell "love" to a wife and "respect" to a husband.
The conferences promote the same message as the Eggerichs' book: When unconditional respect and love are demonstrated through tone, facial expression and word choice, the spirit of our spouse re-opens.
"We're going to have conflicts over bedtime-type issues. We're going to get upset," Eggerichs says. "By dealing with marital conflict God's way, we can stop the crazy cycle before it starts. If things get out of control, we can halt the craziness. God's Word works."