Thursday, May 28, 2009

Love and Respect

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I have been thinking a lot lately about wives respecting husbands and even discussed it a little in the comments of a recent blog post.

Ironically, during my contemplation of this topic, I was given a book to read, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

The entire book is based on one verse, Ephesians 5:33. "Each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."

The author proposes that these are the two things that each spouse most needs in a marriage, unconditional love for the woman and unconditional respect for the man.

"The Crazy Cycle" is what he calls the way we go around and around waiting for the other one to treat us right so we can respect him or love her. He illustrates this with a circle in perpetual motion. On the outside of the circle are the words, "Without love she reacts without respect he reacts without love she reacts without respect..." and on and on it goes.

The wife waits to be treated with love before she will treat her husband with respect, but he needs to be respected to feel loving toward her. And the downward spiral continues.

The book addresses how couples can break "the crazy cycle" and replace it with "the energizing cycle". This illustration is another circle in perpetual motion, but this one has the words "His love motivates her respect motivates his love..."

The author states that if you are wondering who should go first in the energizing cycle, it is the spouse who is most mature. That person will have to act in good faith that his or her actions will create the desire in the spouse to join in the energizing cycle. If the crazy cycle has been going on for years in a marriage, it may take a while before the spouse responds.

A good portion of the book is spent convincing women that, yes, respect really is something that men need and, oh, by the way, the word of God actually tells women to "see to it that she respects her husband."

That wording tells me two things. 1) It is important, and 2) It may take some will power on my part.

Dr. Eggerichs talks about how most marriage books lean heavily on loving one another without including the respect that men need and women are commanded to give. He also mentions how women tend to bristle when they hear that they ought to respect their husbands unconditionally. (Remember, "See to it..") He says that women have admitted to him time after time that they had never heard of that concept before.

His assertion is that when men feel respected, they react lovingly.

I think this is SUCH a valuable lesson that would save a lot of marriages from doom and destruction.

I highly recommend this book! It is a great reminder of what God intends marriage to be.


Summer said...

That sounds like a great boook - I will keep a look out for it.


Harmony said...

Hmm, I'm surprised more people he talked to hadn't heard of the respect/love thing. It seems like something I've heard at church or at religious settings over and over again.

I will say that my husband is very easy to respect. Of course, that could be because he spends a lot of energy letting me know I'm loved. :-)

Lylah said...

Great Great Post...and the sweetest blog ever. So glad you posted this :-) Good stuff here...and btw...the book is aWESOME!

Linz said...

I'm planning on starting that book this month! I picked it up awhile ago and have read parts here and there but hopefully hubby and I can read it together mostly. It really looks like a great book.

Amy said...

Love, love, love this book.

We read it a year or so ago and it really changed our marriage, from how we see and treat each other, right down to the smallest, simplest conversations.

It was difficult for me to keep reading at first, because he seemed to be so hard on women, but I was (am) extremely glad to have gotten the whole message.

Great book - and a great review! :)

Meagan said...

I started this book awhile ago. I couldn't finish it cause I felt he spent every chapter trying to "sell" his ideas and it really annoyed me. Maybe it was just cause the group of women I was reading it with.......

Anonymous said...

I am curious Connie, what does he say about men who don't respect themselves? It seems like I see a lot of young guys and even older ones try and change who they are because they don't seem to like themselves which I take as a lack of respect for themselves. And women too, so many of them don't seem to love themselves and therefore can't accept love from others. Does he talk about this stuff? Another good marriage book set is For Women Only and For Men only Shaunti ??


Piano recital this weekend! Air conditioner working this time. Say some prayers for a nervous mother.

Smockity Frocks said...

Jerri, There is nothing about that in the book. It seems to me most problems in relationships are because people think too highly of themselves. Selfishness creeps in and we concentrate on how OUR needs aren't being met so we forget that we are to consider the other person's needs over our own.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have to agree with you about the selfishness. It just seems throughout my life different people I have known and been friends with ( no one currently!) have had a real lack of respect for themselves and they use bravado to overcome how they feel about themselves and I have never really been able to help them. Maybe I wasn't meant to help just be their friend. I can see it in some of the kids Seth plays with. They are lacking the love and respect as well as attention from their parents and even at 5 or 6 they put up a front.
It really is sad how selfish people are. Myself included! Poor Mike. It is something I need to work on. My big thing is I expect him to know what I am thinking and then get mad when he doesn't! I thought they could mind read when they came from NE but I was wrong.


Raising Olives said...


I was also given a copy of this book to read by a friend of mine who wanted my opinion. As I read it the main thing that struck me was that, throughout the book, the author never addressed the issue of sin and the need for repentance.

The author spoke about misunderstanding and feeling hurt by a husbands lack of love or a the wife's lack of respect, and then spoke about those "hurt feelings" as causing bad reactions that then feed more lack of love or respect. However,as far as I can recall, he never labeled the initial actions or the wrong reactions as sinful and while he advocated changes in behavior, he never said, as far as I can remember, that repentance and confession to God and then to your spouse were the necessary first steps to change.

I absolutely think that many of the things in the book are true and useful, but it seems to me that the author is missing the root of the problem and that if there is not confession and repentance, ultimately what have we accomplished? (1 John 1:8-10)

I'm not trying to be argumentative and perhaps I'm wrong, but I would love to hear you comment on this, because I think that it is a crucial issue.

In Christ,


Smockity Frocks said...

I hadn't noticed that while reading the book, but now that you mention it I see you are right.

Of course, anytime a Christian behaves in a manner that is not Christ-like, then it is sin, so maybe the author thought it was a given(?)

I mostly liked that he had the guts to say that there are a lot of women who are very disrespectful of their husbands and, from my observations, it is almost fashionable to do so and taboo to chastise.

Sara said...

This book, along with The Marriage Masterpiece (by Al Janssen,) have made a tremendous difference in how I view my marriage. My husband thought Love & Respect hit the nail on the head, as far as men go. We joke around with each other about some of the phrases in the book, but it was a fantastic boon to our marriage.

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