Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Love & Respect

The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs

by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Reviewed August 27, 2005.
Integrity Publishers, Nashville, 2004.  324 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#2, Relationships)

Normally, I don’t like books that say:  “Men are like this; women are like that.”  No one likes to be treated as stereotypical.  Nor do I normally like books that use one Bible verse and base a whole program on that.

However, this book was tremendously convicting to me, and the ideas presented make a whole lot of sense.

The basic premise is that a woman’s deepest need is love, but a man’s deepest need is respect.  When a woman feels unloved, she naturally acts in ways that come across to her husband as disrespectful.  When a man feels disrespected, he naturally acts in ways that come across to his wife as unloving.  And so a Crazy Cycle begins.

I was skeptical that men would be more interested in feeling respected than in feeling loved.  The author does have surveys to back up that view (not simply a Bible verse).  Then a funny thing happened.  I talked to my teenage son a little bit about the book (The author claims that these principles will also help mothers relate to their teenage sons.), wondering if he feels a need for respect.

He smiled.  It turns out that during the summer screenwriting class he just took, he was assigned to write a script that was a love story.  In his love story, in the climactic scene, the woman says, “You have all my respect.”  The man replies, “That’s all I ever wanted.”

Maybe there’s something in this!

But an especially eye-opening part was where it tells what things a wife does that make a husband feel disrespected.  For example, when she feels unloved, she normally tells her husband so, so he can reassure her.  But he feels that she’s telling him he’s an inadequate husband.  Or maybe she gives advice, making him feel she doesn’t think he’s competent.  Or maybe she criticizes him too often, pointing out all the little ways he could love her better.  (Boy, do I ever do that.  I was trying to be helpful.)

The author gives suggestions for helping your husband feel respected or helping your wife feel loved.  I don’t know yet if the suggestions for wives will help, but the suggestions for husbands sure sounded wonderful to me!  So maybe he is as good with the suggestions for wives.

He does state that, as wives need unconditional love, so husbands need unconditional respect.  They should not have to earn it, any more than we have to earn their love.  We should respect them, as doing it unto the Lord.

Maybe your husband does not deserve your respect?  Well, if you treat him respectfully anyway, you can expect rewards in heaven.

As you can tell, this book is very Bible-based, so it might not appeal to non-Christians.  However, I think the principles would hold true, and there are secular surveys presented to back up the ideas.

There’s no husband or wife in the world who will always deserve respect or love.  The author gives a good reminder:  “No matter how difficult your spouse may be, you cannot blame your negative reactions on your spouse.  If you do, you are letting those negative reactions control your inner person.  You are becoming a hopeless, helpless victim.  When your spouse is unloving or disrespectful, if all you can do is react negatively, you are destined for unhappiness.  But according to Jesus, you are free if you want to be.  Your spouse can affect you, but your spouse does not control you.  You can experience disappointment, but it is your choice to disrespect or be unloving.  Memorize this principle and live by it:  I can experience hurt, but it is my choice to hate.”

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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