All You Need Is Love – a classic song from The Beatles.
Cool song, but they were only half right.
I just finished Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, which you can find on my Resources page. Often we look for parenting books to help us with our parenting skills. This is one that you need to add to your reading list, and one which both husband and wife would benefit from reading. How will you benefit and your parenting skills improve?
- Your relationship with your spouse will improve.
- Fights will become fewer and less frequent.
- The way your spouse treats you will improve.
- You will learn what your spouse needs to hear.
- You will learn why this is important (hint – it’s not about you or your spouse).
- Your children will learn from your example how they should treat their mates.
- You both will learn how to improve your relationship with your children.
The core message from the book comes from Ephesians 5:33, which talks about the wife’s need for love and the husband’s need for respect. That’s part of the differences between men and women. It’s how we’re wired, part of our DNA. God gives us the guidance here that our needs are different. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, the principles are still the same.
In my opinion, it’s why women are the huggers, the conversationalists, and the natural caregivers. And, it’s why men are wired to compete, to defend and to serve, to need a conquest, and live by an honor code.
Dr. Eggerichs describes the “Crazy Cycle” that we can get trapped in as couples in this way.
Wife: Because he doesn’t show me love, it’s hard to give him respect.
Husband: Because she doesn’t respect me, it’s hard to be very loving.
Somebody’s got to make a move to break the cycle, and this book helps you identify how to do just that. This book is expertly crafted to give husbands a section that helps them build their loving skills and one for the wives to learn what it means to be respectful to their husbands. At the end, a couple of additional chapters help to wrap up the discussion and some great appendix material provides tools to reinforce the learning.
Over the last 50 years or so, society has done a great job in bringing gender equality to the limelight. In doing so, this one principle has all but disappeared, and it’s having a negative impact on families. Expecting men to react and respond in the same way that women react and respond simply emasculates the men of this generation, and feminizes the society as a whole. It’s no wonder that our children don’t honor and respect their fathers.
You might be thinking that your marriage is pretty good and that you don’t need this. Even so, your marriage is like a beautiful landscape. If you don’t tend to it, maintain it, and nurture it, pretty soon it will become a weed-infested jungle.
Aretha Franklin sang about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. She’s right that women need respect too, just as men need love. But the core need, the innermost desire is love for women and respect for men. If we meet these, the others will follow.
Ladies, if you want to give your husband a gift he’ll cherish this Father’s Day, pick up and read this book, and begin to recognize and act on his need for respect. It’s a gift that will bless your entire family.
Application Question – Do you meet your mate’s needs for love or respect? Do you feel like maybe sometimes you don’t connect with them? What one thing could you change in your response to your mate to meet their innermost desire?
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