on August 22, 2012
On the whole, the book was amazing. My husband and I read it out loud to each other and discussed it all along the way. We learned new insights into each other's needs that have been very helpful. We've been applying what we learned to our lives now for months and it's made a real difference. One thing, though, we both disagreed to the words "Love" and "Respect." We changed them, for ourselves, to "Cherish" and "Admire." We felt that more accurately describes what we need from each other. My husband can love our children, love his parents, love my meatloaf, and I DO want him to love me, but even above that I want him to cherish me--I desperately want him to cherish me. My children love me, my friends love me, but from my husband . . . I need even more. We also both agreed that no matter what anyone says, respect must be earned. It means a lot to him that I respect him, but he truly needs more than that from me . . . he needs to be admired by the woman he loves, the woman whose opinion matters most to him.
on September 21, 2006
I thought the principal behind the book was something that will help virtually every married couple. My husband and I laughed at sections b/c we found some of the anecdotes so spot on to our daily lives. Eggerichs clearly explained to us why we keep going through the "Crazy Cycle." The Respect/Love needs in men/women is potentially a marriage saver or breaker.
I have 2 constructive criticisms of the book. I still recommend this book, however I do give these caveats:
1. This book talks as if men know how to love their wives. There may be a million books out there on how to do it, but we didn't have those. My husband and I were reading this one. And I grew weary of hearing how women needed to learn to respect their husbands. Frankly, I grasped the principal within the first few pages. After a few chapters, I felt like rolling my eyes a little. Because he paid so little attention to talking about how men should love their wives, it felt like that part was very trivialized. I understand that was not the point, however, the title was "Love & Respect", not just "Respect."
2. I would have liked more tangible examples of exactly what it means to "Respect" my husband. I want to do it. And he made it clear that "nagging, complaining, and whining" at him were disrespectful. But I need more examples. What are the active things I can do? Is it disrespectful to remind my husband to take the garbage out the night before? If it is, then how do I make sure the task gets done w/out reminding him? It isn't an issue of control, but I have to get the kids out the door in the morning and I need help and I need him to do this one thing. Make sense? I need to know how to have those discussions w/out disrespecing him.
I hestitate to use this as a small group book b/c it is so one-sided. And it tends to repeat itself. Again, I got the principal pretty quickly. And as good as it is, after a while, enough is enough. Another reviewer said it felt a bit like a brochure for the conference. That is exactly how I felt.
A good book? Yes. A helpful principle? Absolutely. A must-read? Maybe. But definitely helpful to a Christian marriage and therefore, I do and would recommend it.
on June 5, 2016
On page 282, Dr. Eggerichs admits that his advice isn’t working for many people. That he receives tons of letters from frustrated people who have tried that advice in their marriage only to watch it backfire on them. Then he quotes from a letter where a wife actually “regrets” telling her husband “what I learned from you because he uses it against me each time. I can take the criticism. I feel I deserve it—but his rage…makes me want to get away and hide.”
That says it all right there. So what exactly is backfiring on these people?
First of all let’s look at the main focus of this book.
Dr. Eggerichs writes, “My theory says that the wife has a tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to the husband—thus the command to respect—and the husband has a tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to the wife—thus the command to love.” (p. 319)
“A man needs to feel honored for who he is—the image and glory of God—because God made him that way.” (p. 322)
Of course, husbands need respect, but aren’t wives also made in God’s image and thus deserving of respect, too?
Dr. Eggerichs insists, “I still believe that women want love far more than respect and men want respect far more than love. I’ll illustrate that from the greeting card industry” which is one of the best “examples of women’s deepest values.” (p. 48)
“When women buy greeting cards for their husbands, they want to express love for them; they don’t even think about respect. Sadly, the deepest yearning of husbands goes unmet because wives—and the card publishers—are locked into relaying sentiments of love.”
Later he adds,
“Women are the ones who have babies and that’s one reason that birthdays are a big deal to them.” (p. 177)
“Wives don’t need a lot of coaching on being loving. It’s something God built into them and they do it naturally. However they do need help with respect” because “this a foreign term to many women.” (p. 183)
“This is not about the husband deserving respect; it’s about the wife being willing to treat her husband respectfully WITHOUT CONDITIONS.” (p. 18)
“A simple application is that a wife is to display a respectful facial expression and tone when he fails to be the man she wants.” (p. 43)
“As I encourage some wives to use unconditional respect, I can tell they suspect that I am a chauvinist in sheep’s clothing trying to set them up for a life of subservience. I remind such a wife to be patient.” (p. 75)
“Joe’s wife was so focused on the needs of others that she took over the family and in the process her husband was once again put down, belittled, overlooked. She is an example of how a woman can be so loving toward her family she doesn’t see her disrespect for her husband. This is why I keep calling on wives to awaken to God’s revelation.” (p. 213)
Dr. Eggerichs continues,
“What I’m about to say may sound hard and judgmental but I’m trying to help you.” (p. 284)
“In recent decades, women have discovered they are quite capable of going out into the workaday world and holding significant positions and making tremendous achievements.” (p. 198)
“Generally speaking our sons will feel they have to work in some field, but our daughters will want the freedom to choose between pregnancies and promotions.” (p. 199)
“Adam doesn’t expect Eve to have a baby and hand the baby back to him so she can go back to work. Those who advocate domestic equality promote this idea.” (p. 200)
“Women don’t see themselves as sinning even though they readily admit bad habits and wrong attitudes.” (p. 233)
“Ask yourself if you may possibly have an attitude of self-righteousness. You love your husband but you see his faults and mistakes. You believe—as many women do—that you are a better person than he is and he needs to change.” (p. 233)
Then Dr. Eggerichs describes a husband trying to ask his wife to lose weight. He writes, “If the husband is on the trim side—as many men with overweight wives often are—she will bring up some other log that he needs to get out of his own eye—that time she caught him viewing internet porn or overindulging in alcohol.” (p. 233)
“Yes, your spouse may be harsh, unloving or disrespectful A LOT OF THE TIME but just remembering that your spouse is really a person of goodwill can put you on the road to the reward cycle.” (p. 290)
“How should a wife act if she strongly disagrees with her husband about some issue? 1Timothy 2:12 has some advice. Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet.”” (p. 220)
“If your quietness is the right kind of quietness—respectful and dignified, not pouty and sour—he will move toward you.”
On page 278, he shares a letter he received from a “wife who had suffered physical and verbal abuse from her husband—which I absolutely condemn as wicked and urge a wife to seek protection and help for—she had gone back to him after he repented, realized she hadn’t completely forgiven him and certainly wasn’t showing him respect. After coming across our materials, she began showing him respect—MOSTLY BY REMAINING QUIET and dignified instead of arguing. Their relationship improved considerably.”
She writes to Dr. Eggerichs, “I have to mull over some of your teaching but…..the Holy Spirit keeps revealing my rebellion, contempt, disobedience, etc. I keep asking the Lord for strength to implement your suggestions.”
Reading between the lines, you can hear the exhaustion as that lady tries to carry this heavy burden. The heavy burden that Jesus came to deliver her from.
Why is this book so hard on women, when Jesus is the perfect example of how to preach against sin without blaming women? In fact, Jesus Himself refused to accuse women even when everyone was pressuring Him to. (Luke 7:39-50 & John 8:11)
This is the kind of teaching that turns people away from the Lord. Why would anyone want to become a Christian if it requires this kind of craziness?
My heart bleeds for all of the people out there that have given up on Christianity because they couldn’t carry that heavy of a load. This is not the Gospel of Christ that comes to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). This is “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9).
Misogyny will NEVER draw women to Christ. How many more souls will be lost for eternity before the church finally wakes to how far this teaching is from the Heart of God?
Why doesn’t this book understand how much God cares for women? For example, the chapter on sexual intimacy has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about satisfying the wife’s PHYSICAL needs. The entire emphasis is on how “he needs sexual release as you need EMOTIONAL release.” (p. 253)
Even the Apostle Paul was nice enough to mention that BOTH husbands and wives have physical needs (1Cor 7:2-5). But Dr. Eggerichs doesn’t mention that while emphasizing that “A man who strays is usually given total blame for his affair but in many cases he is the victim of temptation that his wife helped bring upon him.” (p. 253)
That’s just one of the many excuses this book makes for men. There are so many other excuses that after a while I just started writing a list of them.
Listen to this list of excuses
1) “I am still only a man and the flesh can be weak.” (p. 107)
2) “Through the years I have had more pressure than some men.”
3) “Stuff from the past.” (p. 108)
4) “Sins of the fathers.”
5) “Men are very sensitive.” (p. 209)
6) “Men are more vulnerable to criticism.” (p. 211)
7) “Husbands particularly can come under satanic attack when deprived of sexual release.” (p. 252)
8) “Being trapped by an adulteress.” (p. 254)
9) “His need for this was so strong.”
10) “He had an extremely intense spiritual battle.”
11) “He has a need you don’t have.” (p. 257-258)
But none of those excuses are allowed for his own wife. The way that Dr. Eggerichs treats his own wife is difficult to watch. His wife, Sarah, is trying to raise their two sons to be responsible adults by teaching them to clean up after themselves. Pretty basic stuff that roommates will expect of them when they enter the real world. But he describes her attempt to set boundaries as “badgering and criticizing.” Not only does he run roughshod over her boundaries, he teaches his sons to feel entitled to not having to pick up after themselves.
Listen closely to his words,
"My wife Sarah has accepted that her disrespect is equal to my lack of love.” (p. 103)
“She had grown very negative trying to change everyone to her standards of neatness. She complained about every crumb on the counter, every shoe on the floor, every wet towel left on a bed, every candy wrapper that missed the wastebasket.” But eventually she gave up and accepted their “sloppiness.” (p. 242-243)
Maybe that’s why he literally describes seeing “defeat” in Sarah’s eyes as “countless times” she reaches the point of exhaustion and screams at him, “I’m always to blame. You’re always right. You never do wrong.” (p. 93)
Then he describes how happy he is that “she says she’s sorry for her disrespect. Best of all she no longer follows me around the house wanting to know how I would advise a husband who was acting like an unloving schmuck!” (p. 109)
My heart goes out to Sarah. Would Jesus have ever treated her like that? There’s something to the fact that even while Jesus was in the middle of the most important event of His life (rising from the dead) He still took the time to neatly fold His grave clothes.
By now you’ve probably figured out that the main problem with this book is not understanding God’s law of sowing and reaping.
“Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:8
That’s where we get the concept of boundaries. Because people have the ability to make good or bad choices, when an enabler keeps rescuing someone from the consequences of their bad choices, they have no motivation to change because they’re not reaping what they’ve sown. Thus, tough love sets boundaries to help people reap the consequences of their decisions to motivate them to change.
But Dr. Eggerichs insists that “unconditional respect” is required by God. Nope, even God Himself sets boundaries with us. We are following that example when we love others enough to set boundaries with them.
Keep that in mind while you listen to what this book teaches,
“Will a man take advantage of being the head of the family by putting down and even abusing his wife and children? Yes this is possible but because it is possible doesn’t mean a woman should refuse to allow her husband to be the head. If a husband is evil-willed, THE ABUSE WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY no matter what the family structure is. Any hierarchical role given to him has nothing to do with the abuse.” (p. 207-208)
“Does this mean that a wife must submit to something illegal, wrong or evil? Should she go along with being beaten by her husband or watching him beat the children? The clear Scriptural answer is of course not. When a man acts this way he is not a good willed husband and forfeits his right to be head and to be followed.” (p. 219)
While he makes mention on page 99 that “love must be tough” he spends the rest of the book pressuring wives to show “unconditional respect.”
Even worse, he discourages women from listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. While the Bible commands women to be lead by that still small voice inside of them, Dr. Eggerichs writes on page 231 that women’s intuition can interfere with their “unconditional respect for their husbands.”
“Could you be thinking too highly of your NATURAL DISCERNMENT and intuition?” (p. 231)
The Bible says in Hebrews 5:14 (ERV) that part of our maturity in the Lord involves having our “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
Discernment is a GIFT FROM GOD!!! Plus, the Bible makes it clear that “The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them.” (Romans 8:14) Listening to that still, small voice inside of you is part of our walk with God. Even Jesus Himself was led by the Holy Spirit—our goal as believers is to follow His example.
The bottom line is that “unconditional respect” doesn’t understand that Jesus gave women the power of “yes” and “no.” (Matthew 5:37) Saying yes and no is how we set boundaries to protect ourselves by developing the Fruit of the Spirit which includes SELF-CONTROL.
“Against such there is NO LAW.” (Galatians 5:22-24) Because there is NO LAW OF GOD AGAINST SELF-CONTROL, how could any genuine Scriptural teaching interfere with self-control—your ability to say yes and no? What Jesus described as “No man takes My life from Me. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it again. This command have I received of My Father.” (John 10:18)
God is glorified when we “bear much fruit” meaning the more self-control we develop the more we glorify God. (John 15:8) Abuse is a SIN, we cannot submit to sin when the Bible tells us, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and do NOT be entangled again in the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)
on March 24, 2009
1) I like the connection between love and respect. Every time he says husbands need respect and wives need love, you have to translate that mentally into *both* husbands *and* wives need love *and* respect, but the basic premise is a good one -- the Christian understanding of love indicates an attitude of honoring, respecting, and blessing the other person.
2) The crazy cycle and reward cycle. This is one of the most important things most couples could learn. Our behaviors are self-reinforcing and good things to lead to more good things in a cycle. Likewise, bad things often lead to more bad things. The good news is that we serve a God of redemption and just as the gospel message teaches us that Christ breaks us out of a cycle of sin, God can redeem broken marriages and break them out of destructive cycles.
3) For *some* couples, a disrespectful attitude toward the husband or an unloving attitude toward the wife *is* the problem. For those relationships, I imagine they would benefit greatly from this book.
1) As mentioned by several reviewers already, the book is incredibly sexist. I started making a `W' in the margins when Dr. Eggerichs blamed the wife for the problem and a `H' when he blamed the husband. Skimming back through, it's about 90% W's. Just about any time he says something negative about the husband, you are almost guaranteed to get a follow-up sentence about how his wife's pettiness or nagging or belittling comments or criticizing or bitterness or whatever was really the root cause of the husband's behavior. At times, it was to the point I thought he was emasculating men by making us out to be powerless -- we can't take responsibility for our own behavior because every issue is probably our wife's fault anyway.
2) It's kindof a continuation of #1, but I honestly can't believe he found a man and a *woman* to blame the husband's marital infidelity on the wife. Finding a man who wants to justify his immorality by blaming his wife shouldn't be too hard, but Dr. Eggerichs found a woman who blamed *herself* for her husband's philandering. The idea that a man has so little control over his own actions that he is to be expected to wander if his wife doesn't `put out' often enough is just galling.
3) The narrowness of the focus. As I mentioned above, a disrespected husband or unloved wife is a problem for some couples. But there's lots of reasons marriages struggle, and disrespect is only one of the possibilities. Dr. Eggerichs doesn't acknowledge that at all.
4) He spends quite a bit of energy being defensive about it, so Dr. Eggerichs clearly realizes that the idea of unconditional respect has some problems. I honestly don't see the appeal of unconditional respect. If I want respect from my wife (which I most certainly do!), I will act in a way that *deserves* respect. Why would I demand her unconditional respect regardless of my actions unless I couldn't be bothered to earn it?
on August 16, 2015
Wives, if you want to give your husbands a book to hit you over the head with, than this is the book for you. Wanting to be a good Christian wife, I was more than willing to let my husband place more than the fair share of the blame (for everything) on me. But when he got a hold of this book, he felt like he had the entire Christian community on his side. I had to learn to take up for myself and this book only played into his un-Christlike blame game. If you are already in a destructive marriage, this book is guaranteed to make it worse. Personally I don't see how a woman can feel loved if her husband is intent on disrespecting her.
on July 8, 2015
Absolutely, positively, the WORST book I have EVER read on marriage! I am a born again Christian, raised Fundamental Baptist but I read this book and showed my husband parts of it and we agreed if we followed this book neither of us would have our needs met and we would not be okay.
While I am sure there are some women and men in the world like the book describes, it is not for us. I am sure some couples can appreciate this, but even with our belief in traditional gender roles, this book emasculated men (my husbands words) and only considers the dainty, side of women. It is interesting because my husband agreed that the thing he needs the most is to know that I love him and will always show him love and affection (not necessarily respect), and the thing that I need most is to know my husband will also protect and respect me (not necessarily love like this book says).
I don't recommend this book for anyone who has a background of domestic violence at all, I am a survivor of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, and my husband is a survivor of emotional and psychological abuse. The book may work for people who don't have abuse in their past, but if you do, this book could very very very much trigger past issues and it almost fosters a submissive/victim mindset for women.
on May 9, 2016
I was very excited to read this book as it was recommended highly. The first few chapters seemed okay (but not great), I picked up a few things that were helpful. Then things really started to go downhill.
First of all, Eggerichs comes across as extremely immature and selfish throughout the book. He repeatedly uses this example of his wife getting upset that he leaves wet towels on the bed as an example of HER immaturity and disrespect. How old are you, Eggerichs? If it bothers your wife when you neglect to pick up your wet towels, pick them up! You wouldn't allow a 12-year-old to get away with such thoughtless behavior but you feel entitled to act thoughtlessly.
Secondly, for a book that presents itself as Christian marriage book, there is precious little from the Bible in it. The few verses are taken out of context and used in an attempt to support his viewpoint. The Bible was clearly not the source of his ideas. Which is fine, but then don't try to market this as a Christian book.
And I couldn't help but wonder if he actually ever spoke, in depth, with actual women.
When a husband looks at porn, the wife feels violated and DISRESPECTED.
When a husband refuses to pick up after himself and treats his wife like a maid, she feels DISRESPECTED.
When a man demands sex without taking any time to connect with his wife and make certain she desires sex also, she feels DISRESPECTED.
When a man treats his wife as hired help while he lounges around after his hard day at work (never mind that the wife is just as likely to have had a hard day!), she feels DISRESPECTED.
When a man makes snide jokes insinuating that women are childish and immature and petty (as Eggerichs does frequently) women feel DISRESPECTED.
Respectful attitudes and behavior are essential in every marriage. I have never, ever met a woman who could live with a husband that acted disrespectfully to her. Yes MEN NEED TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT. SO DO WOMEN. When things aren't going well in a marriage, the first step is to ensure you are both treating the other respectfully. Discussing needs, brainstorming solutions, working together for mutual happiness in an environment of respect. Eggerich's solution is for the wounded wife to "put out" more (otherwise the husband will have an affair) and stop using her God-given intelligence because her husband would prefer to be married to an emotional idiot who knew her place.
And his comments about fat wives and skinny husbands were just over the top. No mention of fat or slovenly husbands. No mention of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. (And no, I'm not a "fat wife." I'm just enraged at how he could possibly have an opinion on whether other wives are attractive enough. That is between the husband and wife and none of his business.) This is typical of the entire book. If there's a marital problem, Eggerichs is certain that the wife's behavior is at the root. Perhaps the husband contributed, but the wife started it.
I read sections of the book to my husband. He was furious. If our daughters marry men who treat them the way Eggerichs recommends, he'd take them to task!
For an alternative, I highly recommend the books, "His Needs, Her Needs" and "Love Busters," both by Willard Harley. For one thing, Harley states the obvious: while there are some generalities across gender lines, each marriage is unique because it is made up of unique individuals. We need to be top student of our spouse's needs and not follow some ill-advised formula from a man who demeans an entire gender.
on February 13, 2015
My husband and I could not get past the sexism in this book. It explains to wives how men need sex, but female sexuality is barely addressed. Can you at least address female sexuality in a way other than telling the man that he needs to be nice to his wife if he wants her to want to have sex with him? There are some useful ideas in here, including what the author calls "the crazy cycle," but it falls short overall.
on May 4, 2006
This book is full of insight. I've been married for 17 years to a wonderful man that I have always respected. I never realized, however, how many little things I said and did that made him feel so belittled. (And he certainly didn't know how to share that with me!) It really is like learning to speak a different language. And although I KNEW he loved me, I also felt that something was missing. It's not easy to change so many years of habit, but understanding why we each react the way we do has made it easier to connect with one another. I whole-heartedly recommend this book, especially if your goal is to make your spouse more happy, and so have a more peaceful marriage. Even if you think you can never respect your husband, or your wife is unlovable, there is valuable knowledge to be gained here.
on September 9, 2012
I am very disheartened this afternoon as I have spent the day reading "Love and Respect". I find it to be simply awful, and therefore am saddened as I was hoping and expecting it to be a quality Christian Marriage book to replace some of my older choices.
I showed my wife a number of excerpts and she responded, (referring directly to the author Emerson Eggerichs) "He sounds like a sexist". I suppose that would be the feminine reaction, and it does go along with some of the reviews that I have read here. My personal opinion is that the man is condescending and doesn't very much like women. For example, I have never read a Christian Marriage book where the author repeatedly uses his wife as such a negative example. He refers to her as "nasty, unfriendly, badgering, complaining", and on and on. That she is okay with this I suspect has a lot to do with her specific personality. However, this is not going to fly with many women with different make ups.
I don't care if the author is trying to make a point or two in a book, he still should practice what he preaches. Most authors will use themselves and/or anonymous counseled people as examples, not their very own wives. (Amazingly he writes on page 171 a husband should "speak highly of her in front of others").
Other issues I have is that he uses the NIV and NASB almost exclusively, which is where he gets the words "Love and Respect". The Greek words are agapao and phobeio which mean so much more. In the KJV the verse says a wife must reverence her husband. In context, Paul is bringing home the comparison to Christ loving the Church as the foundational example from earlier verses. Eggerichs seems to miss this point as he creates for the reader his foundational premise of "Love and Respect" in a format taken from Corporate America called "Crucial Conversations". The problem is in Corporate America it is recognized that our relationships do not include intimacy and in most cases do not even include friendship beyond the 5 o'clock bell. Indeed, the format might work for some marriages but certainly won't work for many others.
Then Eggerichs reveals nearly fifty pages later that he actually does get the true meaning of the verse, but then he continues on with the original Crucial Conversations premise. At this point I found the book to really start to unravel. Eggerichs' premise of husbands and wives being of goodwill to the point if one says something unkind to the other, it is accepted as being unintended. Nice sentiment, but what happens if it was intended? What Ephesians 5:33 and other companion verses actually teach is that a person must purpose to remain of goodwill REGARDLESS of the others intention. This is a very important premise to understand, and the book muddles or even misstates this.
Chapter 21 on Sexuality seems to give men some excuse for falling into affairs when they receive admiration from another woman while they are not getting that at home. I found no real guidance to men on how to meet such temptations and work through this even if their wives are disrespectful or more likely preoccupied (which Eggerichs downplays or discounts). The book continuously broad brushes husbands and wives as if we are all very much alike, and in this chapter he really oversimplifies adultery and its causes. I agree with a number of reviewers who objected to so much blame being placed upon the women and not nearly enough on the men. This chapter is borderline dangerous.
The most egregious problem with the book is that Eggerichs is so willing to misuse Scripture. One of the most glaring examples is found on page 43 where he literally chops up 1 Peter 2:17-18 to make it say what he wants it to say. A simple reading of the verses will reveal that he has literally removed 2/3 of the verse to accomplish this. He does this routinely throughout the book. This is a sin.
There are a number of other issues as well including in my opinion, that the book is simply pedestrian and boring. The book also contains circular marketing, and oddly enough is still NOT available in paperback after being in print for 8 years. This makes it pretty expensive for the average couple at $21, plus $13 for the accompanying workbook. BTW, I bought the workbook as well and find it to be trite and almost juvenile. All of it reads like an "infomercial".
I was truly expecting "Love and Respect" to become a new addition to my teaching library, (I conduct premarital courses). I am certain that this book spoke with great significance to a number of couples, but I suspect that occurred because it struck a particular personal cord for them that would not be such for many other couples.
I am sorry about this negative review, but after reading the book and doing some additional research I think that this is not a very good offering at all.