Friday, February 21, 2014


The commuter rail I take to and from my office in downtown Minneapolis was especially full at 4:00 pm, which is the earliest train to depart downtown. Obviously everyone was anticipating the chaos that came with Thursday's major winter storm, so the train was SRO (I got on early enough to get a seat however).

As a result of the train being over capacity, I was hemmed in by two women. Not a big deal, except for the fact I had to listen to these gals convey how they weren't big fans of their respective mates (to be fair, they may have just had one of those days). It was also obvious that one of the gals wasn't embarrassed if multiple people heard her trash her husband. One lament that really stood out to me was how she lectured him for only kissing her "once a day." And when he did kiss her it was never on the lips, merely on the cheek (Again, passengers are packed in this train like sardines and she was not talking with a whisper). 

I am never one to hand out unasked for advice (and I did not do so on the train) but from what I could ascertain, this woman was wrong on so many levels. Her biggest mistake, quite obviously, was airing the proverbial dirty laundry with not only her friend but essentially a nearby crowd. Can you imagine how mortified her husband would be had he known how he was being portrayed in a public place? Another error in judgement appeared to be this woman not telling her husband of her feelings almost immediately. Instead she allowed these daily affronts to build up to the point where she had an emotional outburst. However, she claimed that he had been "getting better" in the affection department after said outburst. The end justifies the means, I guess. 

This whole incident reminds me of a biblical passage that is the focal point of a marriage seminar entitled Love & Respect. Ephesians 5:33 says However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, the founder of this ministry, believes failure to adhere to that philosophy can lead the the "crazy cycle." This occurs when a husband's need for respect goes unmet, thus he will then react by not showing his wife love. And since the wife's need for love goes unfulfilled, she in turn does not give her husband respect. And so on, and so on. 

Dr. Eggerichs:

"You may remember how the Beatles sang, 'All you need is love.' I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband's need for respect. This Love and Respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs - respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs - love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!"

In the almost 14 years I have been married to the fetching Mrs. Carlson, I would be willing to bet she has never aired frustrations about me with anyone outside of her and I (yes, believe it or not, I have caused her rare moments of angst). The reason I feel so confident in that is the reaction I get from her acquaintances (e.g. her co-workers, her political peers, etc.) when I'm meeting them for the first time. It rarely is the obligatory "nice to meet you" as much as it is they actually allude to the positive traits they've heard about me. Knowing how much my wife lifts me up (i.e. shows respect) without a doubt enhances my already deep love for her. Am I saying that makes us superior to struggling couples? Absolutely not. But what I am saying is for all the complications we bring into relationships, some basic principles on how husbands and wives interact could go a long way in strengthening such a union.

I can honestly say I hope that woman on the train genuinely feels the love she so covets. And I hope she in turn showers her guy with the utmost respect.


No comments: