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.
Interested in purchasing the book? Consider using this affiliate link to make your purchase: Love and Respect
Every morning, my Timehop app tells me beautiful, strange, and silly tales of my goings-on from years past. This morning, a text conversation was in my Timehop from a friend.
This friend had previously been my best friend. I probably would have died for her. A beauty, I became invisible to the males around but I didn’t mind because I loved her.
A few things happened. We came to different places in our lives. She began dating a guy, giving him all of her attention and time. I felt totally neglected and addressed the issue to no avail.
With great pain, I tried to hold myself together and continued living life. I prayed about the pain, the friend, the situation. I watched as her life got crazier, then less crazy. We both settled down with our husbands in different states and drifted farther apart. Nothing seemed to be resolved.
I think that, as females, we may, at times, wonder why we pour ourselves out for others when so few people return the favor. At least it can feel that way. Deep pain can come from feeling this neglect and disappointment.
And then great pain can come from not knowing how to mend the pain we cause. Because none of us are innocent. Not one.
And a year ago, this dear friend texted me. After about 4 years of silence between the two of us, we caught up a bit. Our words were superficial at first; I was happy to learn her husband and my husband share a deep affinity for coffee and that everyone was healthy. It was simple and sweet, but I was hesitant. Then she sent words that brought healing tears to my eyes.
She sent words with a clear heart of regret, sorrow–and a desire to mend bridges, heal hearts, and put our friendship back together. Whether she knew it or not, this part of my heart had not healed all those years. The beauty of texting is that I could play it cool while sobbing and celebrating and thanking Jesus and experiencing great amazement. And relief.
I often feel blessed that I have never experienced a heart-wrenching break up like so many girls experience. The Hunk and I have very little romantic relationship baggage compared to so many of the hurting couples who marry. But, in my experience, relationship pain had come from friends, not boys.
This friend’s words began in me a possibility to move forward, even if just cautiously.
So, this morning, I celebrate. I celebrate friendship as I try to be a better friend. I celebrate repentance as Jesus forgives all my failure. I celebrate healing–often the result of friendship and repentance.
And, this morning, I search inside my heart for the courage to be the friend I want to be, the strength to scoot outside this painful comfort zone, and the wisdom to be a good friend to others.
Psalm 31.24: Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
On April 15 and 16, Oasis Christian Community hosted a retreat focusing on biblical living–specifically biblical manhood and womanhood. Over the course of the next week or two, the messages from the weekend will be uploaded to the church website.
Check them out, won’t you?
You’ll find links to the audio, PowerPoints, and videos on the left side of the page. Please let me know if they are not there and I will do my best to redirect you to the new location if/when it changes.
I’ve always valued good, sound advice from those more experienced than me. As a high school freshman, I attached myself to my favorite teacher, who permitted me to stick around for, like, ever. After high school, we kept in touch and after college she supported me through a few rough patches of early adulthood. Thank God for email!
I’m also a fan of mentoring girls younger than me. I have younger sisters who
unwillingly listen to my advice. I have developed pretty solid relationships with former students who appreciate advice. And now I’m working with The Hunk at the campus church, where college girls are in need of women to mentor them.
All of this kind of sounds absurd. At least if you don’t know me. And probably still if you do. I mean, in this day and age, do we really need advice from others? Aren’t we supposed to be living and learning on our own? Aren’t we supposed to have all the answers?
Actually, according to the Bible, women are supposed to mentor younger women and younger women are, therefore, to be mentored.
Titus 2.4 tells older women to train younger women. In context, the verse instructs women concerning behavior. One thing God tells us to do through Paul is to advise our younger lady-pals. Once we’re two seconds old, we’re older than someone else. There’s a 50% chance that one person is a girl. So, we officially have a job once we’re two seconds old!
What about the other side of the coin? What happens when we’re the oldest? What happens when all the mentors are absent?
Your fellow mentor,
It wasn’t that long ago. I was single, never married, and–for the most part–very happy. I spent time with friends whenever I wanted. Did laundry whenever I chose–unless, ya’ know, I was running out of the essentials. Let the dishes pile up until I had to wash at least a spoon so I could eat breakfast. Made decisions about how I’d serve in the church without having a husband to consider. And enjoyed the mentorship of countless veterans of womanhood. It was a great time in these respects.
There were also plenty of times when being a single young woman sucked. Straight up. Sitting out slow dances at weddings made me feel lonely. Watching friend after friend find their best friend and move into the married part of their lives made me worry that I would never ever find my forever best friend.
In the midst of all that, it seemed that countless other people didn’t know how to tactfully evaluate my relationship status.
I mean, can’t you see that there’s not a ring on my finger?
Why oh why did they have to ask if I had ever gotten married? What was up with the look of disappointment on their faces? God, please help me never to put someone else in those shoes, no matter how happy I am with my marriage!
But I had resolve. I had a list of things I was looking for in a husband; I prayed over the list. (PS: It worked!) While I never had the most succinct words for my goal of waiting for the right man to come along, I heard them last night, as The Hunk and I were talking to his brother’s girlfriend about this very issue.
She said these words: “I’d rather do it right than do it right away.”
Nail. On. Head.
Those words describe exactly what I felt as a single woman. I preferred getting the marriage thing right the first time to getting the marriage thing started first–right away. It’s so true.
And I’m 1,000% positive: get it right, I did!
Women, let’s adopt this view for all of our major life decisions: marriage, sex, children, finances.
Right there in the trenches with you,
This is an interesting discussion on motherhood and calling for women in ministry.
I want to be His servant as a wife and, eventually, as a mother.