Thursday, October 08, 2009

Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

So I've been reading this book for several weeks now (Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs) and honestly, it hasn't been easy.

That's not necessarily because of the difficult nature of the subject matter, or it being something new and revolutionary to me....but that the author essentially takes Ephesians 5:33 and stretches it into 300 pages. It's taken me nearly two months to read it.

This book is meant to be a book about improving your marriage, exploring the different ways that men and women communicate and how to best relate to each other. But it seemed more to me an advertisement for the Love and Respect conferences that Dr Eggerichs hosts. It is chock full of testimonials, and I half expected to see a button on the bottom of the pages asking me to "Click here to find out more!!" like you see for all those MLM websites and scams.

That aside, the subject matter and central message of the book was not bad. Eggerichs takes Ephesians 5 (and other Bible passages) to propose the idea that while women most want to talk in a 'language of love' men think and respond best to a 'language of respect.' And that while women need unconditional love in a relationship, what men need most is unconditional respect.

Now, I don't read marriage books. It's just not my thing. So I have no idea if this is a common idea that is thrown around, but it made a lot of sense to me. Many of the examples that were used in the book reminded me of events or conversations in my own life. Thankfully, things that used to happen long ago that are no longer a common occurrence.

What made me take so long to read the book is that the information is pretty unbalanced. By that I mean he focuses most of the information towards the wife showing respect to her husband. He addressed this specifically in the book to be because he hears a far majority of the time that this is the 'new' part of the equation that people haven't heard before. Understandable. But after a seems to be getting closer and closer to chauvinism or sexism.

I don't know, there were some examples he was using and attitudes he was listing for how a wife should show respect to her husband that I just didn't quite jive with. And I'm no feminist or anything, by a long shot. But maybe it's just me.

Anyway, Eggerichs has developed several illustrations and acronyms to help people find ways to apply his Love & Respect principle in their marriage, and though I personally find them a bit cheesy I can certainly appreciate how helpful they could be for people who wanted concrete, tangible ways to apply the basic point.

I wouldn't really hesitate to recommend this book to people who were struggling in their relationship. It could turn out to be quite helpful, and to present the idea that men and women do hear/think/relate differently. And to be honest, I can't remember reading a better one...but I can't remember reading another one either, so there you go.