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In his national bestseller, Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs teaches couples how to improve their communication by understanding each other’s basic emotional needs. During his recent visit to The Dave Ramsey Show, Emerson spoke with Dave about marriage, money fights and working as a team. And as usual, he gave us all something to think about. Here is a sampling of their conversation:
Dave Ramsey: How do men’s and women’s needs differ?
Emerson Eggerichs: We asked 7,000 people this question: When you’re in a conflict with your spouse, do you feel unloved in that moment or do you feel disrespected? We found that 83% of men said they feel disrespected, while 72% of women said they feel unloved. So here you see the central male and female difference. If we don’t understand this, we’re not going to be able to understand why his or her spirit is deflating during an argument.
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Is it a money problem or marriage problem?
Often times, couples say things like, “If we didn’t have all these money problems, we’d have a great relationship.” Technically, that’s not true. Here’s why:
He says: “I can’t believe you’re not staying on budget.” He thinks they have marriage problems because of the finances. That’s a huge issue, but it’s not the real problem. It’s his harshness, hostility and lack of love that will defeat his wife’s heart. God did not design her to be around an angry, harsh male. She can handle a loving discussion about the budget.
She says: “We’re not making enough money.” He begins to filter that as inadequacy as a provider and disrespect. That’s not her intent, but if he hears it that way, she’s going to lose his heart. And then she’ll think, “If we didn’t have these money problems, we could be intimate and we could connect.” Here you have a wife who’s just venting, but her husband can’t handle the perceived disrespect. Read More: Marriage Counselor or Financial Coach: Which One Do You Need?
So how can couples work things out?
All teams must have a vision that’s bigger than themselves. I once heard a coach say that great teams have a winning attitude even when they’re losing. That’s the challenge to couples. You may feel like you’re losing, and the pain may be overwhelming, but you’ve got to have this belief that the two of you can reach your vision together. And you must never compromise your loving, respectful attitudes toward each other along the way.
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Check out Dr. Eggerichs’ new book, Love & Respect in the Family, in which he shares insights from his own family about biblical, healthy parenting.