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.
“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
- The Simple Secret to a Better Marriage
- To Communicate, Decipher the Code
- Why She Won’t Respect…Why He Won’t Love
- What Men Fear Most Can Keep the Crazy Cycle Spinning
- She Fears Being a Doormat… He’s Tired of “Just Not Getting it”
- She Worries About Being a Hypocrite… He Complains, “I Get No Respect!”
- She Thinks She Can’t Forgive Him… He Says, “Nobody Can Love That Woman!”
Part II: The Energizing Cycle
- C-O-U-P-L-E: How to Spell Love to Your Wife
- Closeness…She Wants You to Be Close
- Openness…She Wants You to Open Up To Her
- Understanding…Don’t Try to “Fix Her”–Just Listen
- Peacemaking…She Wants You to Say, “I’m Sorry”
- Loyalty…She Needs to Know You’re Committed
- Esteem…She Wants You to Honor and Cherish Her
- C-H-A-I-R-S: How To Spell Respect to Your Husband
- Conquest…Appreciate His Desire to Work and Achieve
- Hierarchy…Appreciate His Desire to Protect and Provide
- Authority…Appreciate His Desire to Serve and to Lead
- Insight…Appreciate His Desire to Analyze and Counsel
- Relationship…Appreciate His Desire for Shoulder-to-Shoulder Friendship
- Sexuality…Appreciate His Desire for Sexual Intimacy
- The Energizing Cycle Will Work If You Do
Part III: The Rewarded Cycle
- The Real Reason to Love and Respect
- 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.
- Christianity and Masculinity: Love and Respect (August 26, 2014)
- The Daily Wire (feat. Matt Walsh): The Most Effective Way To Destroy Your Husband, Ruin Your Marriage, And Encourage Infidelity (December 14, 2017)
- Sigma Frame: A Response to Stephanie’s Comments (December 19, 2017)