In the last few months I stumbled upon a book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggeriches.
I thought I’d share a couple takeaways from it.
Who is the book directed at? Married couples. However, engaged, dating, or single men and women can really learn a lot. I wish I’d have read it earlier.
The thesis is pretty simple: Husband, show love to your wife. Wife, show respect to your husband. i.e. Love each other like Jesus did for us.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word,and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:25-33
- Love Her/Respect Him
He comes that conclusion primarily from Ephesians, where we are called to do so. He points out that men really need to feel respected and women really need to feel loved.
This doesn’t mean that they are mutually exclusive. We all need love and respect.
But men have a higher need for respect than love – and women have a higher need for love than respect.
Conflict, hurt, anger, separation, are all consequences of husbands and wives not really giving their spouse what they need, in the way they need it.
So Eggeriches addressed how to show respect and love better, and how to foster healthy communication. He pointed out that we grow together by just getting back to loving and respecting.
It starts with you serving first even if your spouse is not showing you love or respect. Don’t wait for the other person. Just like Jesus, who made the first move for us, we each get to surrender and lead towards something better and holy.
What if Jesus had waited for us to love him? We’d be trying to rely on good works and following the Old Law.
- Assume Goodwill
One that thing stood out to me was his repeated encouragement to assume that your spouse has your goodwill in mind.
In other words, assume that they want the best for you.
When they say something that hurts you and makes you angry, remind yourself that they are not out to get you.
To stop and go…okay, they don’t desire to hurt me or have ill will towards me. They either didn’t mean it to sound like that – or they said it based out of some buried hurt or anger.
We are encouraged to, in humility and love, sit down and softly invite each other draw out the core issue or issues. Healing, unity, understanding, and peace will then be able to flourish.
Serve each other, instead of acting out of hurt or anger…and just piling on even more.
I loved that because I haven’t always assumed the goodwill – that assumption of bad intentions is actually selfishness and so destructive.
I strongly recommend reading this book. If you only just grab the key points to understand your needs and their needs, you will be encouraged to serve and love like Jesus.