Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

love and respect 2

I have been married thirty-one years, and if there’s one thing I have learned over that time, it’s that there is always something I can learn to make my marriage better.That’s why I was pleased to review Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love & Respect.  I have heard Dr. Eggerichs on the radio before, and I thought the snippets I heard of his teachings, which are based on Ephesians 5:33, made sense.  I was ready to hear more.  Does my husband want my respect more than anything else?  And if so, how can I best show him that I respect him?

These are some of the things that I gleaned from Love & Respect.  First of all, it helps to remember that conflict is not a sign that you have a bad marriage.  I Corinthians 7:28 says that those who marry will have trouble.  I hope I remember , the next time conflict arises, that it’s perfectly normal.  Secondly, I liked the good doctor’s paraphrase of Proverbs 15:1:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, [especially that of your wife or husband].

In our household, I am the scolder, the one who tends to rant.  I do this even though I know that generally it just makes my husband clam up, which starts a vicious cycle.  Dr. Eggerichs calls the cycle a Crazy Cycle, and he tries to show his readers how to get away from it.  This is the meat of his message.  Based on Ephesians 5:33, he says that women need love and men need respect and that problems arise when either (or both) are not getting what they need.  He even comes up with acronyms to help couples remember what their mates need.  For men to remember what their wives need, the acronym is COUPLE.  For women, the acronym is CHAIRS.  I’m not going to tell you what CHAIRS stands for, but I will say that, after thirty-one years of marriage, it did contain some eye-openers.  And in case you need even more help, there are  appendices which give suggestions about what to say, do, or think to practice love and respect in your marriage.

I was still left wondering, though, if in my marriage, love and respect weren’t really tied together.  Dr. Eggerich suggests sending your husband a card that says you respect him.  That sounded sort of weird, so I actually asked the hubby.

“What would you do,” I said, “if I sent you a card that said I respected you instead of that I loved you?  I mean, wouldn’t that be sort of weird?  And you know that anyway, right?”

The hubby thought.  I have learned to wait while he thinks.  Then he smiled and said, “Well, it would be different from any other card you’ve sent me…”

Hmmmm…

Not all things in a book about marriage and communication apply to everyone, but in a book like Love and Respect, which is based on God’s Word, I don’t think you can go too far wrong as you pick and choose what applies to you and your marriage.  I know that’s what I’m going to do.  When I get done this post, I am going to design my own “respect” card for the hubby.  Maybe he does need to hear that like I need to hear “I love you.”

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3 Responses to “Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs”


  1. 1 Ron August 27, 2009 at 6:28 am

    I don’t know if I told you already, but that book is what we are covering in the small group study we are reading.

    I think that the things I like most about this book are (1) that this book does not focus on change of an individual in the relationship, but rather communication and strength of character and (2) the validation of the male role, which in my (male) opinion has been drug through the mud.

    We are only half way through the book in our study (and we really do not read ahead).

    • 2 Becky August 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      You had not told me this before. I am glad you are finding the book to be rewarding. I agree with you that it does validate the role of the male. Being under the protection of your husband is a hard concept for a lot of women to handle, but it is the way God set things up.

  2. 3 J December 6, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Is the admonition in Ephesians a legitimate basis for supposing a gender-based psychological need (men = respect, women = love), or is it more a response to chronic problems (men = expressing love, women = expressing respect)?

    Everyone needs both love and respect. I’m not sure if the needs are accentuated for one gender or another. i am pretty sure that gender-based need descriptions are not what Paul was writing abou. Eggerich’s book is valuable and fascinating, but shouldn’t be seen as solidly anchored in scripture. It’s solidly anchored in counseling.


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