Love & Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, attempts to address the imbalance in communication between married men and women.
Starting with Paul’s admonition that men are to love their wives and women are to respect their husbands, Dr. Eggerichs addresses the differences between men and women and how, in our culture post-militant-feminism has built most communicated love around the women’s primary love language and methods.
I can attest to the accuracy of Dr. Eggerichs ideas in my own life and marriage. I appreciate and desire the love my wife shows me, but I’m most hurt when she, even without malice or intent, does not show me respect. And I’m most fulfilled as a husband when she tells me how she respects me for who I am, and what I attempt and accomplish. Her respect gives me energy and willingness to try all the harder.
In the live-action Peter Pan movie, when the children are furiously trying to raise the gate to escape the castle, Tiger Lily kisses John full on the lips and John, recognizing her respect for him rolls up his sleeves and raises the gate single-handedly. That’s how my wife’s recognition and respect affect me.
The other side of the coin is the love a husband is commanded to show his wife. The different languages of love and respect are neither easy nor natural for the husband and the wife, respectively.
Love & Respect is a good book, overall. The writing is as simple as the premise is profound. Dr. Eggerich uses a large number of anecdotes he’s collected from years speaking and teaching on the subject and counseling couples.
I was personally off-put by his frequent references to his seminars and their success in people’s lives. However, the stories of successes from the seminars are tailored to the specific point he’s making and so necessary, to an extent, to the illustration of his argument. This is a small quibble for an otherwise very worthwhile book I would heartily recommend to anyone married, regardless of the state of their marriage.