Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: Love & Respect

Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Overall this is a great book. It's subtitle is: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs. His premise is that while men and women both need and want love and respect, women particularly desire their husband's love and men especially crave their wife's respect. Both Husband and I have read this and we both got a lot out of it. While we would not perhaps talk in the language he uses and Husband was not convinced he needed to hear me actually say 'I respect you', the principles were spot on. For example, I realised it had never occurred to me to express gratitude that he goes out to work each day to provide for us, and which enables me to stay at home.

For those who want to read the book themselves (and don't want me to give away to overall message), perhaps don't read any further...

He divides the book into three sections, which he calls 'cycles' - which are patterns of behaving.

The crazy cycle basically says: without love, she reacts and without respect, he reacts and it just keeps repeating.  When she feels unloved she will not show respect, etc.

The second section, is where you move to when addressing this problem. He calls this the Energizing Cycle - where his love motivates her respect and her respect in turn motivates his love. He then goes through 6 or 7 chapters each for husbands and wives, to show them ways of showing respect and love.

This book would have had a lot of value even if it just stopped here. But, what I liked most was the third section, the Rewarded Cycle. He loves regardless of her respect and she respects regardless of his love. This I thought was an excellent place to end up. We do not respect our husbands in order to get love from them. We are to show unconditional love for our spouses. This is what God has shown us, this is what we are commanded to do and this is we promised in our marriage vows. Eggerichs goes on to say later in the chapter - "In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ."

Another helpful thing about this book is that is openly and honestly addresses the issues that are raised when only one partner is trying to change. That is, one spouse is not even trying to love or show respect. Which, I presume is encouraging for the wife or husband continuously trying to honour God and their spouse, without receiving any positive feedback from their spouse.

We have already recommended this book to a number of friends, for as we see it - every marriage can improve whether or not it is already a 'good' one! And why not use every help we can along the way to sustain and strengthen our marriages.

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