Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review: Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

In Love and Respect, Emerson Eggerichs uses Ephesians 5:33 "However, each one of you [husband] also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33 NIV)" and dissected it to show that the love a wife longs for and the respect a husband yearns for mutually compliments each other in order to build a solid foundation of a marriage.

In Chapter One, the author shared on how, as a pastor, out of his need to counsel couples, that in 1998, God gave him the insight to see the inter-connectivity between love and respect. In that chapter too, the author is honest enough to share with the readers of his own difficult times he had with his wife, Sarah. The author made no attempt to hide his own weaknesses or appears as one whose marriage is perfect, without struggles. As the author said, the problem with life is that it is so daily, so routine that we may take our spouses for granted.

The first seven chapters form the first part and this basically deals with some of the common problems husbands and wives face. While it is good that the author shared many real life examples, nevertheless, I find that there are just too many testimonies and stories. And this has made the reading of this part very tedious and lengthy. Probably the author could have saved some of these testimonies to be included in an online supplementary section or in a blog or in the Love and Respect website (, etc. Having too many testimonies tend to result in a loss of focus of the gist of the message.

Part 2 (chapters 8 - 22) is about the energizing cycle, where the author spelled out the six aspects of the love that a husband needs to show to his wife, and the six aspects of the respect that the wife ought to give to her husband.

The love that a husband should show to his wife can be defined by the acronym C-O-U-P-L-E:
C - Closeness
O - Openness
U - Understanding
P - Peacemaking
L - Loyalty
E - Esteem

The respect that a wife should give to her husband can be defined by the acronym C-H-A-I-R-S
C - Conquest (appreciate the husband's desire to work and achieve)
H - Hierarchy (appreciate the husband's desire to protect)
A - Authority (appreciate the husband's desire to serve and to lead)
I - Insight (appreciate the husband's desire to analyze and counsel)
R - Relationship (appreciate the husband's desire for shoulder-to-shoulder relationship)
S - Sexuality (appreciate the husband's desire for sexual intimacy)

The author elaborated each aspect of "C-O-U-P-L-E" and "C-H-A-I-R-S" in a chapter each.

A side note: on page 156, the author said that God intended for some conflict to exist in a marriage. When my wife and I sat down together to discuss on this, we find it hard to agree with the author on this statement. While God can turn a conflict into a victory, conflict exists, rather, as a result of the Fall back in Genesis.

I have always been cautious of books that offer "a number of" steps to success, "a number of" steps to overcome bad habits, etc. We must not be over-simplistic. Some of the problems that exist in a marriage could have deeper roots than what they appears to be. It could be due to past sins, past painful memories, past bad experiences in a previous marriage, previous traumatic experiences like being raped, etc. For such cases, simply applying these steps may not work; rather in such cases, forgiveness, emotional healing, counseling, etc is needed.

Nonetheless, I still do find this book to be pretty useful. To me personally, the greatest value of this book lies in the concrete and specific suggestions and steps found at the back of each of the chapters in Part 2. I find these suggestions to be very helpful, and can be easily turn into a-resolution-a-day kind of exercise. In other words, this book is actually more of a "to-do" book rather than a "to-read" book. As such, this book, should be more concise, direct to the point, focused, trimmed down, and should include more interactive features and questions for the readers to think and to reflect as they go along.

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