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“Faithful Reading: Love & Respect”Categories: Christian character, discipleship, marriage & family, Sunday Family Report articles
One thing that Christians sometimes neglect to include in their efforts toward spiritual growth is the reading of faithful books. Obviously, the works of uninspired men are not of the same caliber as the inspired word of God when it comes to guiding our spiritual growth. But, just as we listen weekly to godly teachers & preachers who offer their insights into the word of God, there have been many authors down through the centuries who have faithfully expounded the Scriptures’ meaning in some really helpful ways. So, on Sundays in January, these articles will recommend spiritual books that can help us more clearly see God’s plan and our place within it.
Love & Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs, is about godly marriage. Specifically, it’s about following God’s plan for marriage as laid out in one short passage from the book of Ephesians. The Holy Spirit’s point runs from Ephesians 5:22 thru verse 33, but verse 33 is the summary of the whole thought: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Eggerichs notes how the Beatles sang, “All you need is love,” and so many books on marriage agree with them. And yet, there is more than love in God’s plan for healthy marriages: there is love and respect in Ephesians 5.
The author, speaking out of years’ worth of experience as a professional marriage counselor, helpfully describes what he calls …The Crazy Cycle. Simply: “Without love, she reacts with out respect. And without respect, he reacts without love.” And going thru this cycle makes both spouses frustrated. This simple articulation probably rings bells in many of our minds—that we have each sometimes felt the lack of these important things from our spouses, and we know that we have often denied our spouses what they truly need from us.
The book is like a long sermon based on a single Bible phrase, and it’s filled with elaboration on this simple concept. Some helpful pieces of advice from the book are as follows:
- “You can be right but still wrong, when you say it at the top of your voice.”
- “The Greek word Paul uses for love in this verse is agape, meaning unconditional love. And the wording of the rest of the passage strongly suggests that the husband should receive unconditional respect.”
- “Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person.”
- “The more I meditated on these two passages of Scripture, the more I realized that if a husband is commanded to agape-love his wife, then she truly needs love. In fact, she needs it just as she needs air to breathe.”
- “[As a marriage counselor,] Sarah asked this wife a question that she asks many women who arrive at our conferences full of contempt for their husbands: ‘What if your son grew up and married someone like you?’ The woman’s mouth fell open.”
- “A husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey the command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love.”
If you and your spouse are struggling to find peace and enjoyment in your relationship, and if you’re ready to work together to change that and make your relationship into the kind that God intended, this book is a really good place to start.
-Dan Lankford, minister