When I think back to when The Hunk and I were dating, I know that, without a doubt, the best decision we made as a couple was reading Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Neither of us had previously experienced successful romantic relationships but we hadn’t failed miserably at being decent human beings. We had friends and served Jesus. But I’m telling you, for real, this book changed us. It changed how we related to one another, how we treated one another, and how we interpreted the way we were being treated. I highly recommend this book with the following single disclaimer.
Skim the first third of the book.
Seriously. Have you ever read a book about improving your life before? It seems like all of them start out convincing you to buy the book. The very book you have in your hands. I’m sure they have their reasons for writing it this way, but I was sold before I started reading it. If you’re not, maybe read a bit and then start skimming as you become convinced.
Otherwise, this book is based on two things: scientific research and the Bible. In fact, scientific research has been done to support the Bible. Ephesians 5.33 says, “To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” To some, this is a polarizing verse. But the book definitely flushes it out. Eggerichs explains how his research proves that the majority of men would rather be respected than loved and the majority of women would choose being loved over respected. What he is clear to say is that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love our husbands or that we shouldn’t respect our wives. He also flushes out what “respect” means and how it should be as unconditional as love is.
The second third and the last portion of the book reviews some practical ways to implement love and respect in a relationship. This is, perhaps, the section of the book that a couple could read together and discuss. I wish we’d start doing this earlier in the book, but we still benefited greatly from having an unstructured discussion on these two sections of the book.
After you read the book and realize its impact on your view of healthy relationships, go ahead and check out the Love and Respect Ministries. If you’re single, check out Love and Respect NOW, a sister ministry which, as you might have guessed, is great for people who are not in a romantic relationship but would still like to learn about these principles–I mean, I wish I’d known about Love and Respect much earlier in my life.
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