The Crazy Cycle in Marriage: Marriage Advice From a Pastor to Pastors

2016 RightNow Conference

Conflict is inevitable within marriage. Yet many couples get stuck on the “Crazy Cycle,” in which the husband feels disrespected by his wife, so he withdraws. As he withdraws, his wife feels unloved, so she reacts in a disrespectful way…and the cycle continues. In this 30-minute video from the 2016 RightNow Conference, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs speaks on ways we can break the cycle and learn to display love and respect toward our spouse.

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is the Founder and President of Love and Respect Ministries, an internationally known public speaker on the topic of male-female relationships, and the former Senior Pastor of Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan. Based on over three decades of counseling as well as scientific and biblical research, Emerson and his wife, Sarah, developed the Love and Respect Conference, which they present to audiences around the country. He has graduate degrees from Wheaton College and Dubuque Seminary and a Ph.D. in Child and Family Ecology from Michigan State University. He has written several books including the best-selling Love and Respect. Emerson and Sarah have three adult children.

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your marriage. 

One of the points Emerson noted is the fact that while everyone acknowledges love must be present within marriage, many debate whether respect is essential.  

Ephesians 5:33 (ESV)

33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Why is respect an essential ingredient in marriage? Do you believe respect is present in your marriage? How might a lack of respect hinder the presence of love?
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If you are a wife, in what ways might you be unintentionally communicating disrespect toward your husband? How might you begin to respond differently?
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If you are a husband, in what ways do you feel disrespect from your wife? What might be a more effective way she could communicate her true intent in a way that causes you to feel her respect and respond in a loving way?
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Matthew 26:41 (ESV)

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Emerson pointed us to Jesus, who confronted negative behavior, but never showed contempt for another person. In Matthew 26, He honors His disciples’ spirit, while still calling out negative actions.  

Wives, in what way might you confront negative behavior while still honoring your husband?
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While both the husband and wife need both love and respect, within conflict each person’s felt need is different. While a man feels the need to be respected, the woman feels the need to be loved. Many times, disrespectful actions are simply a cry for love. 

Husbands, in what way might you communicate your love toward your wife, even in moments of conflict? How might you connect with her and reassure her of your love?
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It can be easy to subscribe to Hollywood’s portrayal of love and marriage and think that we should always agree with one another and experience harmony all the time. However, Scripture tells us this will not be the case. If we don’t see reality through the correct lens, it will result in us feeling disillusioned, resentful, and envious of others. 

In what ways are you feeding yourself an inaccurate view of marriage? Are there romanticized views of marriage and relationships that build resentment toward your spouse when they don’t measure up to your standard?
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What are some practical ways you could cut off the wrong messages that might be feeding your conflict and envy?
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Social media was referenced as another potential source of inaccurate perspectives, discontentment, and envy. How could you be wiser about social media use when it comes to your marriage, conflict, and unrealistic expectations?
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Though it’s easy to get stuck on the “Crazy Cycle,” Jesus has offered us a way out, into reconciled marriages. It is through His work that love and respect are produced within us and flow out of us toward our spouse. 

For more information about the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year’s event, visit

For more from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, see his marriage study The Crazy Cycle, or visit his website,