Session 8 – Question #1 (Workbook pg. 115-117)

It happens in almost every marriage. Wanting reassurance about his love, she asks, “How much do you love me? Will you love me when I’m old and gray? If I’m an invalid? What if I get Alzheimer’s?”

There are two ways a husband can go with this question.  The wrong way leads straight back to the Crazy Cycle, and it involves having a little fun at your wife’s expense. You’re just kidding, of course, so you say, “What’s the matter? Afraid I’ll trade you in for a new model? Don’t be silly, I plan to keep you around . . . at least for a while.”

A wife may know that her husband is just kidding when he says things like this, but the big, dumb buck is stepping on her air hose, nonetheless. When she asks, “Do you love me?” she’s not asking for information; she’s asking for reassurance. 

A woman always likes to hear her husband exclaim, “You alone are ‘my love.’” (Song of Solomon 2:10 KJV)

The much smarter and wiser answer to her question is, “Of course I love you, and we’re going to get old and gray together.” Then she’ll probably ask, “Why?” or  “What is it that you love about me?” She wants to draw this out of you because reassurance of your love energizes her.  

A wife must have reassurance. As one wife writes:

We have a wonderful marriage and friendship, yet we find ourselves on the Crazy Cycle in our hectic lives, and the info we gained at your conference has given us a new understanding of one another. I had been trying to explain the times when I felt “ emotionally disconnected” from him. Now he finally understands. . . . We are able to talk now, and when I say I feel disconnected he says, “ I am sorry and I don’t want you to feel that way.” We both walked away with a feeling of confidence knowing that we both have a commitment to the Lord first [and then to each other]. We feel very lucky and blessed. . . . I guess I just feel like I have a renewed relationship with my husband.

What are your first impressions of the idea that a wife needs reassurance of her husband’s love?


Which of the following responses comes close to yours (or write your own)?

a. I’m well aware that my wife needs reassurance of my love, and I try to provide it whenever I see (or hear) that she needs it.

b. Have never thought much about it–she knows I love her, why do I have to keep telling her?

c. Reassurance? Every time I try to tell her I love her, she tells me I don’t mean it, or I’m just saying that because I want sex.

d. I think:


What is your reaction to this idea of a wife’s need for reassurance? Is reassurance of your husband’s love something you like to hear fairly often? Check the answer that comes close to your ideas (or write your own).

a. Reassurance is important to me, and I think most women feel the same.

b. I’ve had my husband use that “Don’t worry, I’m not going to trade you in for a new model” line, and I didn’t think it was that funny.

c. My husband is always telling me he loves me, and I never get tired of hearing it.

d. I think:


Compare notes on your answers checked or written above. If you both feel about the same concerning the importance of a husband’s loyalty, be encouraged. On the other hand, it is possible the two of you will not agree on the importance of loyalty, or even what loyalty looks like in a marriage. For example, it is not unusual for the husband to be rather unaware of how important it is to reassure his wife of his loyalty and his love. The good-willed husband who falls into his category should be willing to learn as he proceeds with this session.

Session 8 – Question #5 (Workbook pg. 119)


“Don’t break your promise to the wife you married when you were young.‘  I hate divorce,’ says the LORD God of Israel.”(Malachi 2:15–16 NIRV)

Malachi 2:14–15 is a helpful reminder of how God feels about marital loyalty. In this passage the prophet is confronting the Israelites for breaking their marriage bonds rather freely. Divorce was rampant, and that’s why Malachi said that “the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and wife by covenant. . . . Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.” 

At this point you may be saying, “Emerson, aren’t you pushing it a little bit? I may need some help with being as loving as I should be, but I’m not ‘dealing treacherously with my wife.’ ” I’m not saying that you or any other good-willed husband are being treacherous toward your wife. This passage from Malachi, however, is a good reminder to do some self evaluation. What is going on in your spirit? What are you feeling for your wife? Are you being open and understanding?  Are you being as loyal to her as you could be? 

It’s no coincidence that the very first words Malachi uses as he goes on to verse 16 are: “‘For I hate divorce!’ says the LORD, the God of Israel.” Malachi is describing a situation that began with the Crazy Cycle. The Israelites knew nothing about that term, but they were on the Crazy Cycle nonetheless. That’s why I’m urging you to stay open and on the Energizing Cycle (see page 115) in order to avoid all the craziness you can. Remember, without love, she reacts. And a big part of being loving is to be loyal in every way.

Emerson is not saying that today’s good-willed husband is trying to be treacherous toward his wife–but what is he saying? How can heeding Malachi 2:14-15 help keep you and your spouse off the Crazy Cycle?


Discuss your answers to this question with sensitivity to each other. Try to dwell on the positive idea that “his love motivates her respect.” A big part of a husband’s love for his wife is being loyal in every way he can think of.  In Malachi 2:16, the prophet tells husbands, “… take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously [with your wives].  Is this passage only for husbands in

Malachi’s time, or is this also a warning for today’s husband to be on guard against things that can undermine faithfulness to God and his wife? What are some of those “things” that can tempt a husband to be unfaithful?

Session 8 – Question #8 (Workbook pg. 121)


In a very real sense, the C-O-U-P-L-E acronym is a commentary on the best way to show respect to a wife. The best way to respect or honor a wife is through your Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peace-making, Loyalty, and now E—for Esteem. A wife who is esteemed will not sing Aretha Franklin’s refrain, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Scripture speaks of how a man should esteem and cherish his beloved. 

“How beautiful and how delightful you are, My love, with all your charms!” (Song of Solomon 7:6). 

A husband is to be one who “cherishes” his wife (Ephesians 5:29). 

In the well-known passage of Proverbs 31, verses 28-29 say, “Her children stand up and call her blessed. Her husband also rises up, and he praises her. He says, ‘Many women do noble things. But you are better than all the others’” (NIRV). 

God has made women so that they want to be esteemed, honored, and respected. The way to honor your wife, as well as to honor your covenant with God, is to treasure her. When I say your wife wants “honor” (respect), it is a different kind of honor from what you seek as a man. For her, respect is a part of love. Probably the only time you will ever hear her say, “You don’t respect me!” is when you dismiss her opinion. Actually, her exact words might be: “I know you don’t love me because you don’t even respect me!” 

Respect, honor, and esteem are not qualities in and of themselves for your wife; they are components of the love she wants from you. To put it another way, love has many parts, and we are looking at six of them here with the acronym C-O-U-P-L-E. In chapters 15 and following, we will talk about how a wife spells respect to her husband with the acronym C-H-A-I-R-S. Something in his nature feels called to “chair” the relationship. He does not feel this in the sense of “being superior.” He simply feels responsible to protect her and to die for her. God has made husbands this way, and they feel this responsibility equally. 

The biblical view is that a wife does not feel called to die for her husband as he feels called to die for her. In Ephesians 5, the husband is the Christ figure; Christ died for the church. The wife is the church figure, and her husband is to die for her. Your wife does not want to chair the relationship, but she does want to be first in importance to you. This is what Peter means by “show her honor” (1 Peter 3:7). Your wife wants to know that you have her on your mind and heart first and foremost. This is what I mean by “esteem”; when it’s there, your wife will feel treasured as if she’s the most loved woman on earth. Also, she will want to respect you in a similar way that the church reverences Christ. Remember that your love motivates her respect, and her respect motivates your love!

Which of the following ideas are most useful to you as a spouse?

a. God has made women so that they want to be esteemed, honored, and respected.

b. The honor a wife seeks is a different kind of honor from what her husband seeks as a man.

c. To your wife, respect, honor, and esteem are not qualities in and of themselves; they are components of the love she wants from you.

d. Other:


A wife studying with her husband should be sure to give her opinion on this one to see how closely it matches her husband’s choices. Talk together about Emerson’s claim, “Your wife wants to know that you have her on your mind and heart first and foremost. This is what I mean by ‘esteem’; when it’s there, your wife will feel treasured as if she’s the most loved woman on earth” (book page 175). Do you both agree he is right?

Session 9 – Question #1 (Workbook pg. 130-131)

To get started, the six words represented by the acronym C-H-A-1-R-S are listed below. Next to each word is a brief definition. Under each word write what it suggests to you. Does your definition match the one given?

Conquest: His desire to work and achieve.

My definition:

Hierarchy: His desire to protect and provide.

My definition:

Authority: His desire to serve and to lead.

My definition:

Insight: His desire to analyze and counsel.

My definition:

Relationship: His desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.

My definition:

Sexuality: His desire for sexual intimacy.

My definition:


Which of these words piqued your curiosity as a husband or as a wife?  Which seems most important to a happy marriage? Why? When the study of C-H-A-I-R-S is complete, come back to this question and see if your opinions have changed and talk about why they may have changed.