Book Review: Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

It’s true; this is a book about marriage. It refers to the way a husband should treat a wife and a wife should treat a husband. Why, you might ask, would a single person want to read it? Because many of us aspire to proudly hold the title of husband or wife one day and, just like those hoping to proudly wear the title of Dr. someday, we must study in preparation for that great day!

The Discovery

This book is special to me in that God used it to open my eyes to my own “crazy cycle.” Some time ago, I lay on my couch crying and talking to God about my last failed relationship. “God,” I said,

“there is a common denominator in every one of my failed relationships and that’s me. Now, God, I know I am a good companion; I know I have a lot to offer. How is it that I continue to find myself in the same situation? God, you have to show me what I’m doing wrong and help me fix it.”

I dried my puffy red eyes, flipped open my computer and brought up Facebook in an effort to take my mind off of things. Scrolling through my news feed, I noticed an ad with the most ridiculous claim…I had to click on it! The ad said something to the effect of “learn what every man wants and how to give it to him so he will do anything for you.” I expected to see a diet pill or perfume ad. Instead, it was an advertisement for a book.

I read the advertisement and it seemed to be saying that men wanted respect. Perhaps these folks had read their Bible! They were a little “out there” with the ad, but I was intrigued by the thought and began search for a book about respect from a Christian perspective. My trusted friend Google came through once again! I found that not only was there a book about the respect men want and need from a Christian perspective, but my local Christian bookstore just happened to have several copies. I literally sped to the bookstore, hoping I would make it before they closed.

I slid through the door to the bookstore exactly five minutes before they closed. I purchased the book and raced home to the tear-stained couch. I made it to page 10 before I put the book down and shook my head. “He’s crazy! The example he give of his then fiancé disrespecting him wasn’t disrespect at all.” I went to bed thinking I probably wouldn’t finish the book….but I did. It took me a few weeks, I had to put it down a few times, pray about it and really think about what I had read.

It was a difficult book for me to read because God was using it to speak to me.

I had asked Him to show me what I needed to change and it was doing just that.

Ok, enough about me, more about the book!

1. Crazy? Who, Me?

One of the aspects Eggerichs discusses in the book is the Crazy Cycle. The crazy cycle is the cycle couples can get on that will destroy a relationship. She doesn’t feel loved so she reacts by withholding respect…he doesn’t feel respected so he reacts by withholding love and round and round we go. He encourages moving from the Crazy Cycle to the Energizing Cycle. His love motivates, her respect motivates and around and around we go!

2. Chairs and Couples

Within the Energizing Cycle, Eggerichs shares his C-H-A-I-R-S theory. That is how to spell respect to your husband. In this theory, he discusses the necessity of respecting the man’s need for Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship and Sexuality. Fear not ladies, he doesn’t leave the men out! C-O-U-P-L-E examines how to spell love to a wife through Closness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty and Esteem.

3. Rewards

Eggerichs ends the book with a discussion of the Reward Cycle. This is the cycle where he loves her regardless of her respect; she respects him regardless of his love …and so on. This one is really hard! Once you are in a marriage covenant, you give what you are commanded by God to give…regardless of what you are getting in return.

I use concordances and Bible dictionaries when I study the word of God. I know, I know — what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, the Bible encourages us to:

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Tim 2:15 (KJV).

As we all know, the idea of men needing respect and women needing love is not new — it’s biblical. Just as a concordance breaks down the meaning of a word in the original language, this book helps us understand how the love and respect referenced in the Bible should work. If we study these issues now, while we are single, we will be ahead of the curve when the day comes for us to proudly hold the title of husband or wife!