Book Review: The Love a Wife Desires, the Respect a Husband Needs (5 stars)

Respect is Paramount!

Not enough is said about the intrinsic need for respect that men have.

A few days ago, (December 14-15, 2017), Dalrock got into a row with Vox Day, two longstanding lords of the Manosphere, about the respect shown to MGTOW, and its effects on Morale. These arguments were contained in the following posts.

A few years ago, Dr Emerson Eggerichs wrote a book that details the dynamics of how a wife’s respect motivates a man to love her more, and how a husband’s love draws a wife to respect him more.

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, and Integrity Publishers, 2004. ISBN: 978-1-59145-187-7

I bought this book earlier this year, and read it in its entirety.  Based on what I’ve read in this book, and from my own life experiences, I am completely convinced, that when the principles described therein are adhered to, it can strengthen and transform relationships.

This book spells out the direct connection between the emotional needs of men and women through the following verse of scripture found in the Bible.

Ephesians 5:33

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

This book has been out since 2004, and has since then created a revolution in relationships. Any woman who doesn’t know this, is far behind the times. It is definitely worth buying a copy and giving it to your significant other this Christmas.

Here, we review this book in detail.


Based on the verse cited above, Eggerichs makes the simple but profound assertion that love and respect are “primary needs” for women and men, respectively—that women need love, and men need respect, like they need air to breathe. From this foundation he develops the theory (which has since been proven in many marriages) that the Love and Respect Connection is the key to solving any relational problem in a marriage.

In considering why the divorce rate among Christians rivals that of society, and serious marital problems persist, even within the church, despite the recent proliferation of books on marriage, he finds the root of the problem to lie in the failure to use the “whole truth” of Scripture. To solve such problems, “the first step is… to hear what God’s Word clearly says”. Eggerichs begins at the beginning: “The opening chapters of Genesis tell us “God created them male and female”. But what it underlines is that men and women are very different.

Referencing numerous Scripture passages, Eggerichs further unpacks what many consider to be a complementary view of spousal roles: husband and wife are equal in salvation and redemption, but in marriage,

“The husband is to be considered ‘first among equals’. [The husband] is to be the first to provide, to protect—even to die if necessary.”

“For her part, the wife needs to be valued as ‘first in importance’. When a husband honors his wife ‘as first in importance’, and she respects him ‘as first among equals’, their marriage works.”

The love and respect that God commands husband and wife to give each other in Ephesians 5 is exactly what God created husband and wife to need in Genesis 2. Husband and wife are both created and commanded to be the perfect complement: when spouses align themselves with God’s created and redeemed order, their marriage will work.

To unpack his exegesis and support his thesis, Eggerichs organizes the book into three main sections: (1) The Crazy Cycle, (2) The Energizing Cycle, and (3) The Rewarded Cycle, which will be summarized as follows.

1. The Crazy Cycle

“Without love, she reacts without respect; and without respect, he reacts without love”… and round and round they go.”

As Eggerichs explains,

“Angry exchanges are caused when the husband appears careless, depriving his wife of love, and when the wife reacts with criticism and complaints that are vehement, depriving the husband of respect.”

Every married couple has gotten dizzy spinning on this vicious cycle, and spouses instantly recognize versions of themselves in the real-life scenarios woven through the book.

In this section, Eggerichs explores the implication of the created differences between the sexes. Couples who have read this book immediately identify with the examples and remember the principles. For instance, to illustrate the truth that men and women have different ways of processing the world and communicating, Eggerichs portrays women as experiencing the world through pink sunglasses and pink hearing aids while men experience it through blue sunglasses and blue hearing aids. The misunderstandings that result from these different ‘codes’ of communication produce situations ripe for conflict, i.e., the Crazy Cycle.

Part of the appeal of Eggerichs’ book is his (attempted) political neutrality, and his good-humored approach to informing couples about each spouse’s communication codes and needs.

Besides discussing the typical ways in which spouses misunderstand and misinterpret one another, this section and its appendix provide practical strategies to stop the Crazy Cycle from spinning. For example, Eggerichs suggests couples to contemplate the consequences of their actions.

Men should ask themselves,

“Is what I am about to say or do going to feel unloving to her?”

Women should ask themselves,

“Is what I am about to say or do going to feel disrespectful to him?”

He also encourages husbands to remember,

“When she is being critical or angry, she is crying out for your love; her intent is not to be disrespectful.”

Likewise, he encourages wives to think,

“When he is being harsh, or stonewalling (viz. seemingly ignoring) you, he is crying out for your respect; his intent is not to be unloving

2. The Energizing Cycle

Eggerichs moves beyond strategies for stopping the Crazy Cycle to outline strategies for entering a healthy cycle in which spouses energize each other and their marriage by applying love and respect. In a nutshell:

“his [the husband’s] love motivates her [the wife’s] respect”

“her respect motivates his love”.

Eggerichs encapsulates the Energizing Cycle in two acronyms.

C-O-U-P-L-E is how Eggerichs encourages husbands “to spell love to your wife”.

C-O-U-P-L-E stands for,

  • Closeness – She desires her husband to be physically close to her.
  • Openness – She wants her husband to open up to her, emotionally.
  • Understanding – Her husband should not try to fix her, but just listen.
  • Peacemaking – She wants her husband to say “I’m sorry”.
  • Loyalty – She needs to know her husband is committed to her.
  • Esteem – She desires to be with a man whom she feels proud to be with, and to be honored and cherished by that man.

C-H-A-I-R-S is how he encourages wives “to spell respect to your husband”.

C-H-A-I-R-S stands for,

  • Conquest – He desires to work and achieve.
  • Hierarchy – He desires to protect and provide.
  • Authority – He desires to serve and to lead.
  • Insight – He desires to analyze and counsel.
  • Relationship – He desires a shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
  • Sexuality – He desires sexual intimacy, expression and fulfillment.

Each letter of the acronyms has a chapter devoted to it that contains helpful Scriptural references along with “principles, techniques, and common sense to help husbands and wives learn how to practice the Love and Respect message on a daily basis”. Each chapter concludes with a list of helpful suggestions designed to give husbands and wives concrete action steps that will keep them off the Crazy Cycle and on the Energizing Cycle.

3. The Rewarded Cycle

Whether a couple has a struggling marriage or a strong one, spouses who read and apply the material in the preceding chapters will almost instantly notice a positive change in their marriage. However, this doesn’t mean that applying these suggestions are easy. Much of what Eggerichs says is quite challenging and requires thinking and acting in ways people are not used to doing. Especially in today’s Feminist soaked culture, women will find this section more challenging (and possibly even revolting) than men will.

In our culture, men are regularly instructed to love their wives unconditionally, so this is not big news. But the flip-side of the message, that a wife is to respect her husband unconditionally, is quite rare and even revolutionary to conventional norms. While acknowledging that ‘unconditional respect‘ sounds ‘like an oxymoron‘ to some women, Eggerichs stands firmly on Scripture to remind women that God commands them to fulfill their husbands deepest relational need – unconditional respect.

Knowing how counter-cultural these assertions sound, Eggerichs addresses some of the reservations wives generally have about respecting their husbands unconditionally as he details the specifics of the respect women are to give to their husbands. He writes,

“respect does something to the soul of a man”

How true, and it is a pity that society has long forgotten the souls of men.

A wife’s unconditional respect motivates and energizes a husband’s love in ways she can scarcely comprehend. If women understood this, and accepted it, I believe marriages would be instantly transformed overnight! Eggerichs sums it up like this.

“His [the husband’s] love blesses her [the wife], regardless of her respect; her respect blesses him, regardless of his love.”

In this section, Eggerichs shifts the focus away from the earthly benefits that may result from applying love and respect, looking more closely at the heavenly reality. The Rewarded Cycle elevates marriage beyond itself to the very courts of heaven where it finds its source. As Eggerichs puts it,

“Ultimately, all husbands and wives should be practicing Love and Respect principles first and foremost out of obedience toward Christ…”

“In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ.”

“In marriage, everything you do counts, even if your spouse ignores you!”

Even in the case where a wife’s best efforts to respect her husband, or a husband’s best efforts to love his wife, result in no discernible change, God promises to reward their faithfulness. Eggerich’s book effectively reminds spouses how,

“to develop the ability to give [one another] what he or she needs most, as you bring your faith in Christ directly into your acts of Love and Respect.”

[Eds. note: As a married man, I can attest to the truth of these statements.]

Outline of Contents

Part I: The Crazy Cycle

  1. The Simple Secret to a Better Marriage
  2. To Communicate, Decipher the Code
  3. Why She Won’t Respect…Why He Won’t Love
  4. What Men Fear Most Can Keep the Crazy Cycle Spinning
  5. She Fears Being a Doormat… He’s Tired of “Just Not Getting it”
  6. She Worries About Being a Hypocrite… He Complains, “I Get No Respect!”
  7. She Thinks She Can’t Forgive Him… He Says, “Nobody Can Love That Woman!”

Part II: The Energizing Cycle

  1. C-O-U-P-L-E: How to Spell Love to Your Wife
  2. Closeness…She Wants You to Be Close
  3. Openness…She Wants You to Open Up To Her
  4. Understanding…Don’t Try to “Fix Her”–Just Listen
  5. Peacemaking…She Wants You to Say, “I’m Sorry”
  6. Loyalty…She Needs to Know You’re Committed
  7. Esteem…She Wants You to Honor and Cherish Her
  8. C-H-A-I-R-S: How To Spell Respect to Your Husband
  9. Conquest…Appreciate His Desire to Work and Achieve
  10. Hierarchy…Appreciate His Desire to Protect and Provide
  11. Authority…Appreciate His Desire to Serve and to Lead
  12. Insight…Appreciate His Desire to Analyze and Counsel
  13. Relationship…Appreciate His Desire for Shoulder-to-Shoulder Friendship
  14. Sexuality…Appreciate His Desire for Sexual Intimacy
  15. The Energizing Cycle Will Work If You Do

Part III: The Rewarded Cycle

  1. The Real Reason to Love and Respect
  2. The Truth Can Make You Free, Indeed


Pink and Blue Can Make God’s Purple [not to be confused with Purple, as defined in the Manosphere]

Appendix A: The Biblical Framework for Love and Respect

Appendix B: What About Exceptions to the Love and Respect Pattern?

Appendix C: What If Your Husband Is a Workaholic?

Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:

Spouses — Religious life.

Love — Religious aspects — Christianity.

Respect — Religious aspects — Christianity.


About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Attitude, Conflict Management, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Models of Success, Organization and Structure, Relationships, Respect, Reviews, SMV/MMV and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Book Review: The Love a Wife Desires, the Respect a Husband Needs (5 stars)

  1. Stephanie says:

    I bought and read that book at the beginning of our marriage. I worked in a Christian bookstore 🙂 so it was amazing being surrounded by all these books on how women can love their husbands better, what pitfalls to avoid, etc.

    I ended up giving that book away to a wife that was having a hard time respecting her husband. They still ended up divorcing later on 😦 but at least the material was presented to her I guess.

    I should probably say – I don’t remember if the author mentioned that so much of it depends on the wife’s attitude. I don’t think he did, but again, it’s been maybe 10 years since I read that book. I DO know I’ve seen his book criticized as being complementarian or “churchianity.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephanie says:

    In other words… Dalrock may have written something against the book in the past.

    I know he did write something against the book “His Needs Her Needs,” which was what I thought a really deep book on why men and women have affairs. For Dalrock though, it was too complementarian.


  3. Pingback: A Response to Stephanie’s Comments | Σ Frame

  4. JT Anderson says:

    Sounds like this book was at least a step in the right direction for the time. But one potentially harmful oversight I see is that it doesn’t address the “Nice Guy Syndrome” so prevalent among husbands today. Men will try to apply the lessons and than become silently resentfull when their wife doesn’t reciprocate with sex. They don’t realize that sexual attraction operates on a different set of rules.


    • Sigma Frame says:

      Yes, breakthrough for it’s day. But the recent developments in Red Pill consciousness makes it somewhat dated and limited in scope.


    • earl says:

      Men will try to apply the lessons and than become silently resentfull when their wife doesn’t reciprocate with sex. They don’t realize that sexual attraction operates on a different set of rules.

      If the point is sex, it won’t work. If the point is to be rewarded by God for faithfulness…it will work.

      A man needs to be able to realize being loving to his wife is two things…caring for and treating her kindly when she deserves it, and correcting her when she’s going off the rails. Trying to be one thing all the time no matter the situation isn’t a good strategy.

      Hence why I hate it when pastors say ‘just be nicer and do more chores for her’ as a solution to her disrespect and bad behavior. No she needs a dose of the Word first, then a harsh rebuke, and then perhaps a spanking if she still doesn’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sigma Frame says:

        Eggerich describes that a husband’s love will make it ‘easier’ for his wife to respect him, and a wife’s respect will make it ‘easier’ for her husband to love her, but that there are no guarantees about the results. It’s really up to each person to be faithful in showing love/respect, and they should be motivated by obedience to God in serving their partner, and NOT to ‘coerce’ their partner into being obedient and serving them better. That definitely won’t work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • earl says:

        Yeah really the motivation starts with obedience to God. If a woman is full bore on the feminist train or at least silently agrees with it…disrespect of her husband will come no matter how much love he shows her. God isn’t going to reward her anything if she’s being that defiant.


      • Sigma Frame says:

        “…disrespect of her husband will come no matter how much love he shows her”
        It gets more difficult when a feminist sympathising wife has the Churchian notion that she is right, and her husband is wrong, which is all too common these days. In this case, the husband’s love cannot even be properly interpreted as such. It’s only an annoyance to her.


  5. JT Anderson says:

    I think Athol Kay defined it well when he says a married man needs alpha skills to get laid and beta skills to keep the relationship together.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. earl says:

    A wife’s unconditional respect motivates and energizes a husband’s love in ways she can scarcely comprehend. If women understood this, and accepted it, I believe marriages would be instantly transformed overnight! Eggerichs sums it up like this.

    “His [the husband’s] love blesses her [the wife], regardless of her respect; her respect blesses him, regardless of his love.”

    In this section, Eggerichs shifts the focus away from the earthly benefits that may result from applying love and respect, looking more closely at the heavenly reality. The Rewarded Cycle elevates marriage beyond itself to the very courts of heaven where it finds its source. As Eggerichs puts it,

    That’s a good way to put it. Not everything you see is going to be where the reward comes from. God is also watching over the marriage and is a part of it (assuming He is a part of it to begin with).

    It’s the same thing when Jesus was pointing out how to fast and pray. The point wasn’t to get human respect for those things…but so that the Father could see it and reward you accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sigma Frame says:

      The spiritual aspects are almost entirely overlooked by everyone except the most mature believers, yet it is attention to this aspect which yield the fruits of the spirit, which are absolutely necessary for a marriage to become all that God intended it to be, viz. ‘successful’. ‘Maturity’ comes up again and again in my studies. It must be important!

      Liked by 1 person

      • earl says:

        Heck even I, a cradle Catholic…didn’t even really start to get that until recently. I was basing too much on external rewards without realizing that most of the time it starts internally. But it really is about storing treasure in Heaven. You may not even get an external or temporal reward, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t being rewarded.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 2017 Sigma Frame Performance Report | Σ Frame

  8. Pingback: The Pygmalion Project vs. Shared Enterprises | Σ Frame

  9. Pingback: Pushing the Line | Σ Frame

  10. Pingback: Things I Learned About Women in College | Σ Frame

  11. Pingback: The Feminine Dilemma | Σ Frame

  12. Pingback: Strategies for the Iterated Prisoners’ Dilemma | Σ Frame

  13. lastholdout says:

    When Paul says that wives should reverence their husbands, he is not speaking to the “desperation” (Eggerichs’ word) of the husband; he is speaking to the sinful predisposition of the wife—of stepping away in rebellion from her role as help meet and defying her husband as head in the relationship. Paul does not prescribe some magic phrase that the wife pronounces to trigger a response in her husband. Paul is speaking to the disposition of her heart and how it manifests in a pattern of what she says to her husband and how she treats him.

    Eggerichs, though, doesn’t confront women for their lack of reverence, describing their irreverence as a cry for her husband’s love. In the book, he provides an example of a wife who would “verbally emasculate” her husband. Instead of citing her verbal assaults as the sin that it is (not the least of which is lacking a meek and quiet spirit), Eggerichs characterizes her outbursts as a cry for love. Eggerichs tells that he coached the husband in this example how to respond to her, to essentially placate her contentious ways. However, he doesn’t bring it full circle to correct the woman so that she can begin changing her sinful approach with her husband. The woman in the example has obviously never been taught by older Christian women how to love her husband (with reverence as a part of her love for him).

    Overall Dr. Eggerichs does a far better job than most pastors and authors by balancing his book in terms of providing instruction to both husband and wife. His work has apparently had a positive effect on many by getting them to be more responsive to their spouse as he defines love and respect. He uses the love-respect construct set forth in the first part of the book as a springboard to extend other useful teachings to both the man and woman in the latter part.

    Eggerichs couches the book in terms that make the pill easier to swallow. He alters his lexicon and delivery enough to make his message acceptable to an audience that finds it difficult to embrace terms like headship, repentance, submission, and reverence.

    The entire “respect” discussion today is a diversion from the word used in Ephesians 5:33, reverence. The Greek word for reverence is phobeo. It can mean “to frighten,” “to be alarmed,” or “to be in awe of, i.e., revere.” The term respect does not have the same meaning as “revere” or “to be in awe of.” In contrast, respect is defined as “a feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.” The meaning of respect falls short of reverence.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s