Love and Respect

by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Reviewed date: 2019 Feb 26
324 pages
cover art

Hold on to your hats, folks, because Dr. Emerson Eggerichs has discovered the secret to a good marriage. It's been hiding in plain sight for two thousand years.

Ephesians 5:33 "So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

A wife needs love, a husband needs respect. That's the key to a happy marriage that God revealed to Dr. Eggerichs, and you can't argue with him because it's in the Bible.

The book focuses mostly on respect because as Dr. Eggerichs points out, modern Western culture places an emphasis on love within a relationship, but there's little understanding of the need for respect.

What is Love?
Love is an overly-broad term, but in this context, I think Eggerichs is using it to mean something akin to cherish.

Pink and Blue
Dr. Eggerichs makes some rather broad generalizations about what men and women are like. Get over it. Take the principles he offers--the value of respect in a marriage--and apply it to your particular situation. We're all smart people here. We can listen to his examples, generalize the advice, and apply it appropriately to a given situation.

Good-willed Husbands and Wives
The book has some insights and could be helpful in relationships where both the husband and wife are committed to the marriage and to each others' best interests. In that case, Dr. Eggerichs points out a lot of ways that men and women may miscommunicate or misunderstand, or even just communicate and understand sub-optimally. In cases where one or the other spouse is not committed or is abusive or manipulative, I can't see how the principles in this book would help. Some relationships need to be ended, not saved. (Dr. Eggerichs would likely disagree, as he offers more than a few examples where he counsels a wife to commit to the Love and Respect principles even when her husband is not committed to her best interests, or in some cases, is abusive.)

There is about thirty pages' worth of content, but it's padded out into a full-length book by examples, letters, cheesy anecdotes, and lots of folksy repetition.

The book seems rather harsh on women, and in the second half it takes a distinctively complementarian turn. know, take it for what it is. You can take his teachings about respect and interpret them in a way that values mutual respect, not just respect from the wife to the husband. Genuine mutual respect is vital--otherwise, everything we do is just a performance designed to manipulate the other person, and that's not a foundation for an authentic partnership in this crazy thing called marriage.

The Energizing Cycle: C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S.
To help couples get off the Crazy Cycle, Eggerichs has a list of specific ways that husbands and wives can treat each other that will communicate love and respect in ways that will energize and improve the relationship. First, he helps men understand their wives with the acronym COUPLE. And then he explains how wives can use the CHAIRS principles to better interact with their husbands.

A woman wants face-to-face time to talk with her husband about their thoughts and feelings. A man who watches TV after a day at the office is not meeting his wife's needs. She desires time to connect through talking. Be present, listen, pay attention, make her a priority.

Wives want their husbands to open up about their feelings, their desires, their hopes and dreams. Wives want to talk about the relationship--not because there is anything wrong, but just to keep up-to-date and to strengthen the relationship.





The modern American male defines himself by his profession. When men meet, the first question is "What do you do?" A wife would to well to understand that a man's job is not just something he does, it is who he is. Criticism of his work or profession, or even just a lack of interest in it, can cause a man to feel devalued. Eggerichs uses the term Conquest (as in a man conquers his profession, I guess) so he can make the clever CHAIRS acronym, but conquest is not what this is about. This is about men defining themselves through their work. They may be a husband and father as well, but men often think of themselves primarily defined by their profession.

Again, heirarchy is a bad word choice. Eggerichs quotes Bible verses and goes on about men being the head of the family, but this really is just about men feeling a responsiblity to ensure the family is provided for. Even if the wife works and makes more money than the husband, he often still feels it's his role and responsibility to ensure the family is taken care of. A wife can encourage and energize her husband by acknowledging this; conversely, criticism of any inability to provide will be demoralizing.




Men connect and bond through sex, and are more able to open up emotionally after their sexual needs are met. This is unlike woman, who typically seek to have their emotional needs met first, before they think about sex. Wives who wish to connect with their husbands should consider opening up sexually and not withhold sex as a way to force their husbands to open up verbally and emotionally.

In this chapter, Eggerichs also counsels women to accept the fact that their husbands will be sexually tempted by other women, and to allow their husbands to talk about this without being shamed. So...that seems a bit odd and wildly disrespectful. I cannot imagine how such a conversation would go without being deeply hurtful. "Hey honey, you see that woman in the park there? Man, I sure lusted after her. Not that I would be unfaithful or anything, but I just wanted you to share in my struggles." Uh, no. Men are not animals. I highly disagree with Eggerichs here, and I am offended at the suggestion that men are unable to master their sexual desires and thoughts.

Archive | Search