Book Review: Love & Respect

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (September 1, 2004).

Book Image

As always, there’s an interest in marriage, and especially Biblical-defined marriage on this blog. To that end, this book is of interest given its popularity. As requested by Jeff, here is a review.

Eggerichs makes the whole basis of his book one verse in Ephesians: However, you also, everyone, let each one love his wife as himself, and the wife, that she give deference to the husband. (Ephesians 5:33) In doing that he attempts to describe it using two acronyms in order to avoid the conflict in marriage that the author calls “The Crazy Cycle”: COUPLE and CHAIRS. In using the COUPLE acronym in relationship to men loving women, Eggerichs points to Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty, and Esteem. In using the CHAIRS acronym in relationship to women respecting men, the author refers to Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality.

At 324 pages, this book offers an incredibly repetitive view of one Scripture and could have been shortened considerably. To that end, Eggerichs pulls in other Scriptures, but often pulls them wildly out of context to support his views. The author ignores other Scriptures in order to attempt to make his message more palatable to the world and to the sensibilities of women. In addition, the book offers a feelings-oriented, psychologically-based view instead of a factual-based covenant view of marriage as described in the Bible with the goal to honor God. Eggerichs comes close to this idea in the final chapters (“The Rewarded Cycle”), but falls short in relating this. This is a New York Times bestseller, and if the world loves you, watch out!

While the book contains some kernels thrown towards the men in the name of “respect”, the book fits the definition of traditional feminist marriage to a tee. The book offers no solid discrete Biblical definition of either “love” or “respect”, nor addresses Biblical submission of the wife to the husband sufficiently. Submission is defined as the husband’s responsibility to “protect and provide”, whereby the woman submits by simply accepting what he is expected to do by her will.

The bulk of the good in this book is found in the final chapters in that Eggerichs rejects the idea of the wife being the husband’s Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the message to men is that “loving their wives as Christ loved the Church” is that they are to be doormats (or worshipers) to women in the guise of chivalry in order to allow her to “change” him. This book encourages the average immaturity of women, and places them as the sole beneficiary of the marriage. Ultimately, respect becomes as described by Dr. Laura in terms of praise and appreciation for all the good “tricks” her husband does to service her every whim.

Finally, Eggerichs shows a poor understanding of marriage and of the natures of men and women in general. He misses the import of what happened to Eve, Adam’s resulting sin and God’s resulting judgment (Genesis 3:17: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife” [rather than God]). He rather misses the rebellious nature of women in buying into the “women as responders” doctrine – “if he would just love her sufficiently, she would fall in line and respect him”.

The reviews of the book on Amazon illustrate a number of other topics that Eggerichs refused to deal with, such as the erroneous view that women need to be respected rather than honored (her desire that her husband submit to her, not existing in Scripture). The average state of rebellion that women exist in before God is a major issue of marriage, but sadly is not dealt with in this book in the name of “respect”.

Overall, this book is another excellent manual of what Blue Pill marriage (Marriage 2.0) looks like. While excellent as a chronicle of such things, it is ultimately useless for advice in dealing with the real and numerous obstacles the society, the churches, women, blue-pill men, and other entities have placed on men who have desired a God-honoring meaningful marriage that bears fruit to His Name.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon