Many people have read our post on bipolar marriage. This is a follow-up to that post. We call it bipolar marriage II.
In the first post we talked about an incredible book called “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Eggerichs pointed out the obvious fact that men and women are different.
He says that men have more of a felt need for respect. Women have more of a felt need for love. He describes the crazy cycle, which I describe in the other post. When you figure bipolar disorder into the equation things really get “crazy.” Everything seems a personal attack. The bipolar person feels attacked. The person who is the partner feels attack. Dr. John Gottman did the largest study of marriage ever made. He studied 20,000 couples for over 20 years. His main conclusion was that contempt was the prime corrosive agent in any marriage. In marriages where there is a lot of conflict both partners tend to perceive the others behavior as showing contempt for them.
The question remains though. If men need respect how exactly are women supposed to show men respect? If women need love how exactly are men supposed to show women love? Eggerichs’ answer is worth looking at.
For women to show men respect he has an acronymn to guide them:
This is what the letters stand for. Eggerichs says that women to show respect for men by:
- Conquest- appreciate his desire to work and achieve.
- Hierachy- appreciate his desire to protect and provide.
- Authority- appreciate his desire to serve and lead.
- Insight- appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
- Relationship- appreciate his desire for shoulder-to shoulder friendship.
- Sexuality- appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.
For men to show love to women his acronymn is:
This is what the letters stand for:
- Closeness- she wants you to be close
- Openess- she wants you to open up to her
- Understanding- just listen
- Peacemaking- she wants you to say “I’m sorry.”
- Loyalty- she wants to know your are committed
- Esteem- she wants you to honor and cherish her.
Bipolar marriages frequently have a lot of conflict in them, even when both partners love each other very much. The women’s need for love and the man’s for respect play off of each other. If you fall into a cycle of negativity, if you fall into the “crazy cycle” that Eggerichs describe, the chance of someone with bipolar getting into and staying in recovery are next to none.
I hope this has been helpful. I really recommend this book. I have not even described the tip of the iceberg in terms of its contents. You may find much you disagree with, but what you agree with may save your marriage and your sanity.