The Crazy Cycle.  It can start at any moment without a single warning.

What is the crazy cycle?  We have been watching a video series called Love & Respect and according to Emerson Eggerichs, the crazy cycle is the time when we react negatively to each other.  When she feels unloved, she reacts without respect.  When he feels disrespected, he reacts without love.

This crazy cycle will continue until you both stomp your feet in utter anger and leave the room.  OR…one of you puts a stop to it because you are now consciously aware of what is happening.

The crazy cycle hit us just the other day.  One overreaction struck and we continued to  respond to the other negatively.  It didn’t blow up as some of our other conflicts have, but it left us each frustrated until we watched this video series that very night!  While watching the video we each realized what happened that morning and it was exactly as Emerson Eggerichs explained.

The really tough part in all this is that one spouse usually needs to make the effort to stop.  Who will that be?  In many cases, ours included, each of us can be stubborn and we want to make our points and prove we are right.  She felt unloved so she snaps at him.  He feels disrespected so he snaps back in defense without love or understanding.

So, in that moment, during conflict, how do we say STOP?!  Couples do it different ways.  Some use humor which can break the ice and be effective.

Emerson Eggerichs explains the importance of this here:IMG_383C8CCD12DD-1

And this leads to the Energizing Cycle.  Strangely enough, as hard as it may be for one or both spouses to STOP the Crazy Cycle, once they get into the habit of realizing what is going on, it does energize and strengthen your marriage.

However, this requires each spouse to believe the other has “goodwill”.  That means that regardless of how they are feeling in the moment, they you must know that they DO NOT HAVE ILL WILL TOWARD YOU.

Is that easy?  No.  But if you start telling yourself when conflict starts: “my spouse is upset but does not have ill will toward me” then it is easier to react lovingly or respectfully.  In other words, you’re married, you love one another, so give your spouse the benefit of the doubt that they don’t want to hurt you.

In our case, in our conflict the other day, here is how things played out:

Joya – Snaps at Michael for not including her in a video message to a family member.

Michael- Snaps back at Joya as he defends himself insisting he meant no harm and says she is making a big deal out of nothing at all.  This further infuriates Joya because she is feeling unloved and he is reacting unlovingly.

It continues and they leave the conflict unresolved.

Let’s look at how it could have gone:

Joya – Snaps at Michael for not including her in a video message to a family member.

Michael: (Believing Joya has goodwill) Honey, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to exclude you.  Please forgive me.

9 times out of 10 this will immediately calm things down and STOP the Crazy Cycle before it begins.

This will feel super, super unnatural for both of you.  But if you put it into practice, as we are going to do, it will help couples tremendously.  It will lesson conflict and will produce even more goodwill and love in your home.


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