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34. Book Review -- Love and Respect

You should read this book if you…

want to understand the basic driving need of your spouse (the wife to feel loved/the husband to feel respected), and thus experience marriage the way God intended with peace, intimacy, and oneness.

“In a nut shell”…

Just as husbands ought to show unconditional love toward their wives, wives ought to show unconditional respect toward their husbands. If either is missing, a crazy cycle can result. Without love, wives react without respect. Without respect, husbands react without love.

Key Ideas…

  • Ephesians 5:33 says a husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. This “Love and Respect Connection” is the key to any problem in a marriage. How the need for love and for respect interplay with each other will determine what kind of marriage you will have.
  • The problem is that men and women see and hear differently—and so they often misread the signals they give each other. The wife then responds without respect, or the husband responds without love. Without love (her deepest need), she reacts without respect; without respect (his deepest need), he reacts without love. This is what the author refers to as the “crazy cycle.”
  • The way to stop the crazy cycle is for one person in the marriage to commit to meeting the other person’s primary need. Counter to the crazy cycle is what the author calls the “energizing cycle.” This is when the wives show husbands respect and/or when husbands show wives love.  Her respect motivates his love; his love motivates her respect. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.
  • Wives have no trouble understanding the concept of unconditional love because they are wired that way. But to many women, the phrase unconditional respect feels like an oxymoron because a woman believes the husband must first earn her respect. The wife needs to learn to give her husband unconditional respect in tone and expression, while confronting his unloving behavior and likewise not condoning his unloving reactions.
  • Ultimately, the real purpose behind showing love and respect to one another is to glorify God and obey Him. The husband’s love blesses regardless of how his wife responds. And her respect blesses regardless of how her husband responds. The author calls this the “rewarded cycle” because God will reward you for obeying Him.

Action Steps (for the wife)…

  • Ask yourself: Is what I am about to say or do going to feel disrespectful to him?
  • Even if you are feeling unloved by your husband, don’t pull back from being respectful toward him.
  • When he is being harsh or perhaps stonewalling you, he is crying out for respect; his intent is not to be unloving.
  • Ultimately, you show your reverence for Christ when you unconditionally respect your husband.
  • If you have failed to respect him, do something respectful toward him.
  • Don’t tell your husband that he must earn your respect. Simply respect his inner spirit created in God’s image.
  • Don’t blame your lack of respect on his lack of love.

Action Steps (for the husband)…

  • Ask yourself: Is what I am about to say or do going to feel unloving to her?
  • Even if you are feeling disrespected by your wife, don’t pull back from being loving toward her.
  • When she is being critical or angry, she is crying out for your love; her intent is not to be disrespectful.
  • Ultimately, you show your reverence for Christ when you unconditionally love your wife.
  • If you have failed to love her, do something loving toward her.
  • Don’t tell your wife she must earn your love. Simply love her inner spirit created in God’s image.
  • Don’t blame your lack of love on her lack of respect.


  • “Every wife we’ve met wants her husband to appreciate how much she loves him, and she yearns to feel more love from him. What we try to share is that the best way to love a husband is to show him respect in ways that are meaningful to him. Such respect lets him feel his wife’s love for him and ignites in him feelings of love for his wife.”  Pg 19
  • “C-H-A-I-R-S is an acronym that stands for six major values that your husband holds: Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality. In Conquest, you will learn to appreciate his desire to work and achieve. Hierarchy deals with appreciating his desire to protect and provide. Authority covers appreciating his desire to analyze and counsel. Relationship helps you understand his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship. Sexuality explains his desire for sexual intimacy. In these six areas, you will learn how to spell ‘respect’ to your husband.”  Pg 184
  • “… in family matters, [the wife] is the hare and [the husband] is the turtle. You can tear down the track and leave him in the dust, but that will not make you win the race. Your respect will bring him out of his shell and motivate his movements. His movements will be much slower than you prefer, but it will do you little good to run circles around him, tapping on his shell with your stout stick of judgment. Be patient and make the following your motto: ‘If you can’t say anything respectfully, I won’t say anything at all.’” Pg 317

Statistics and Interesting facts…

  • In a national survey in the United Sates, 400 men were asked if they would prefer to endure being left alone and unloved in the world OR feeling inadequate and disrespected by everyone. Seventy-four percent of these men said that if they were forced to choose, they would prefer being alone and unloved in the world. In short, men need both love and respect. But if forced to choose, their deeper need is respect.


  • Cultural and personal applications may vary. For example, one woman was reared in a household dominated by her father’s values: education, intelligence, strength, and lack of emotions. On the other hand, her husband was raised in a very warm, nurturing environment, full of unconditional love. As a result, the wife sought recognition and respect. The husband focused on unconditional love.  But at the core, the wife was actually focusing on respect in order to get love. Her husband was focused on love in order to get respect.

How this book has changed my marriage…

In a recent disagreement about how my husband wanted to spend his money on an expensive car, I sought to approach it in a respectful manner. Instead of being critical right away in my tone and facial expressions (which I would have done before reading this book), I calmly ask him to help me understand why this was important to him. I listened to his reasons without criticizing them. Even though in the end I do not share his same values, I was able to accept his reasons as being valid. It was much more productive than trying to prove to him why I was right and he was wrong, criticizing his reasoning, and getting worked up emotionally. This usually causes him to become more defensive and stubbornly hold on to his view even more. I think he felt respected (rather than condemned) by this approach and we avoided a major conflict, which could have launched us into a crazy cycle.

Book Information:
Book Title | Love and Respect
Author | Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Year of Publication | 2004
Publisher | Thomas Nelson
Pages | 324

Related Topics: Book Review

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