[From Julie] The Love and Respect Experience by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is a devotional book for couples. It is specifically designed to be appealing to husbands with many of the illustrations and stories geared toward men. Along with this book Dr. Eggerichs has written several others including Love and Respect which compliments the Love and Respect conferences that he and his wife Sarah host around the US.
This book has 52 short devotions that can be used in a variety of ways. They can be studied in any order and couples may read them together or separately then come together to discuss what God has been telling them. Every devotion begins with a scripture that the chapter focuses on and there is also an insight which sums up the truth of the chapter. At the end of the devotion there are prayer suggestions and ideas and Action items that spouses can apply from that particular chapter. In addition there are discussion questions in an appendix at the end of the book if couples would like additional study. The only ground rule is that each spouse shares what God is saying to their own heart not what they think God needs to say to their mate.
The key premise of Love and Respect is that women, in general, seek love and men seek respect in their interactions with each other. If a wife respects her husband, then he will in turn show her true love. If the husband loves his wife, she will show him true respect (pg xv). The book deals with the important principles of the Love and Respect curriculum in an easy to understand way. It is meant to be a highly practical guide that gives couples a vocabulary booster for talking to each other. As couples work through this book together they will learning how to speak the primary language of their spouse better.
Couples slowly learn how to avoid what Dr. Eggerichs calls the Crazy Cycle. Which is, “without love she reacts without respect. Without respect he reacts without love.” (pg 273) Dr. Eggerichs answers the Crazy Cycle with Eph 5:33. This scripture gives rise to the Energizing Cycle which is, “his love motivates her respect which motivates his love.” (pg 276) If couples work at slowing the Crazy Cycle and practicing the Energizing Cycle they will slowly reach the ultimate goal of the Rewarding Cycle which is, “his love blesses regardless of her respect and her respect blesses regardless of his love.” (pg 278) This is how couples follow God’s will for their marriage.
The book is filled with other practical suggestions which are all Biblically based and deal with issues that couples face on a daily basis. Early in the book Dr. Eggerichs introduces the concept of goodwill. To always assume your partner has basic goodwill toward you even when it doesn’t feel like it. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume your partner does not have any ill will toward you. This is an important principle of Love and Respect and has the ability to help you think of your spouse in a new and positive light. In the last chapter Dr. Eggerichs reveals his primary purpose for the book: to guide couples to love and respect each other unconditionally out of a deep consciousness of Jesus. Dr. Eggerichs’ desire is for couples to realize that your marriage is about trusting God’s instructions in Eph 5:33 and not primarily about pleasing each other (pg 210). I think this book does a wonderful job at focusing couples on what is important along with some basic training in learning about each other. It’s definitely worth the read.