The respect he desperately needs

I like books on marriage that perfectly describe my man. It means the author must have things figured out. Because I know my man has things figured out when it comes to loving me!

But, I am continually learning that I have lots more to figure out about loving him: it’s spelled r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

When I first skimmed Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs in the Christian book store, I thought it looked like just a longer version of the principles on his website at loveandrespect.com But when I found the book for $1.50 at a thrift store (a wedding gift someone didn’t want, as evidenced by the note in the front), I decided to read it for myself. I’m glad I did.

Love & Respect doesn’t delve into all the marital issues of communication, chores, and children in detail. Instead, it shows that those aren’t the issues at all: instead, love and respect are the real root issues. And when you learn to love and respect, everything else falls into place.

The basic premise of the book is that we have this crazy cycle going in marriages today: without love, she reacts, without respect he reacts, without love, she reacts, ad nauseam. Dr. Eggerich encourages couples to try the energizing cycle, where “his love motivates her respect and her respect motivates his love.” It’s not easy. And while it goes both ways, it can make a difference regardless of whether your spouse is treating you how you want to be treated. For, in the end, “his love blesses regardless of her respect; her respect blesses regardless of his love.”

I soon picked up the yellow highlighter, to mark those spots I should read again in a year or two, or whenever I need the reminders.

A wife’s usual approach is to complain and criticize in order to motivate her husband to become more loving. This usually proves about as successful as trying to sell brass knuckles to Mother Teresa. (pg. 17) No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect. (pg. 19)

Yes, of course, women need respect and guys need love. My man tells me over and again how much it means to hear me so those three little words. But my love would soon mean little to nothing to him if I didn’t show I meant it by respecting and admiring everything else about him. As Dr. Emerson points out, the primary drive in each sex is that women long for love and men must have respect. He likens it to food and water. You need both to survive, but you can live longer without food than without water. “For men, love is like food and respect is like water.”

I have had numerous men confirm this research by telling me, “I would rather live with a wife who respected me but did not love me than live with a wife who loved me but did not respect me.” (pg. 49)

“Every man does what he does for the admiration of one woman.” When you fell in love and he married you, he felt that you believed in him and he appreciated that–perhaps far more than you have ever realized. It touched his spirit, because this is something huge within the male. (pg. 202) He felt deep feelings of love for [you], but they came out of his being convinced that [you] respected him and admired him. [You were] striking a chord deep within him that literally drove his life then as it drives his life today. (pg. 59) He married you, and he thought that your “cheerleading” would last forever.

One particularly poignant reminder to me was that often, my man doesn’t need or even want me to talk to him–he just wants me to be with him. When he pulls out a car magazine while we’re sitting on the couch, it doesn’t mean that he’s bored with me–it means that he will enjoy it even more because I’m there with him. Dr. Emerson advised one wife, “If he is reading the paper, watching TV, or even working outside on some chores in the yard, if you will just sit there next to him or pull up a chair and watch while he works, you will see the most amazing energy flow into him.” I guess that’s why he likes me to ride on the tractor with him, even though we can’t even hold hands because he’s operating levers with both hands and feet–he just likes being with me. Instead of feeling neglected, how loved this should make me feel!

The prince goes into battle for the princess, not vice versa. Consequently, the princess does not seek to be respected as the “head.” Instead, she yearns to be honored, valued, and prized as a precious equal. (pg. 53) The problem many women have today is that they want to be treated like a princess, but deep down they resist treating their husbands like the king. They aren’t willing to recognize that in the depth of his very soul a husband wants to be the one who provides and protects–he wants to be an umbrella of protection who would willingly die for his wife if need be. (pg. 209)

Merritt has been working long, 15-plus-hour days lately, preparing us a home to live in. Our little home won’t look like a castle to most, but I feel like a princess. What could be more romantic than having him build us a home? Yes, even drain fields have become romantic! (And if you don’t know what a drain field is, you can look it up on google.com, but the details won’t be very romantic.) Every time I remember to thank Merritt for all of his hard work, he always tells me, “Thank you for making it all worthwhile.” What better illustration of my respect towards him motivating a loving response from him! And it only takes a few heartfelt words.

The married ladies can look for a more in-depth review of the rest of Dr. Eggerich’s book in the married ladies section. But I think all of us will find something to chew on here:

In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ. (pg. 279) [My wife] doesn’t cause me to be the way I am; she reveals the way I am. (pg. 284) Remember that you will be tested because your marriage is a test of your devotion to Christ. (pg. 295)

To the gentlemen reading, please remember, it’s all about love. But ladies, forget about the mushy feelings of love and romance. Your husband spells love not with four letters, but with seven: r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

When a wife feels her need for love is met, she bonds with her husband. When a husband feels his need for love is being met, he bonds with his wife. This can happen simultaneously. Two do, indeed, become one! (pg. 299)

Gretchen Louise
I'm a farmer's wife and mommy to our three curly-haired children. I love words and The Word. I write in CSS, HTML, PHP—and English. I collect old books, vintage kitchenware, cute aprons, and dark chocolate.
Gretchen Louise

@GretLouise

follower of Jesus, wife to my farmer, mommy of three, connoisseur of words & code, community leader at @KindredGrace, blogger at @Adornabelle & @INWCW
Want your next great read? Grab a copy of Lizzy & Jane! #giveaway #mustread http://t.co/lYonHftx8c - 1 day ago
Gretchen Louise
Gretchen Louise

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conversations between sisters in Christ

  1. Anonymous says

    Yup, I’m learing that respecting my guy means backing him up and cheering him on when he has to go through something tough or something he doesn’t know quite how to handle, and letting him know that i’m praying for him. They need our support and respect so much.

  2. Rachael says

    Gretchen…what a lovely gift of writng that you have been given. This is one of your best posts in the past week or so. Even though your post doesnt nessaseraly apply to me yet (im not enganged or married..im only 16)it is really true what you say about the love and respect in a marriage. Im looking 4ward to lots more good posts like this in the run up to your wedding

    Rachael – England.

    P.S plz excuxe my spelling

  3. Jessica says

    Thanks Gretchen, your post was really encouraging. Sometimes it boggles my mind that all my man needs from me is to just him in the same room…not even doing anything! (How contrary that is to my natural nature at times.) But I’m learning to take joy in serving him that way.

  4. God's Girls Today says

    Excellent post. There is a family I know that demonstrates beautifully the cycle of a woman respecting her husband flowing into the man loving his wife flowing into the woman respecting her husband… This woman is very vocal about her approval of her husband, and he demonstrates his love to her all the time. Thanks for sharing, Gretchen!

  5. God's Girls Today says

    Excellent post. There is a family I know that demonstrates beautifully the cycle of a woman respecting her husband flowing into the man loving his wife flowing into the woman respecting her husband… This woman is very vocal about her approval of her husband, and he demonstrates his love to her all the time. Thanks for sharing, Gretchen!

  6. God's Girls Today says

    Excellent post. There is a family I know that demonstrates beautifully the cycle of a woman respecting her husband flowing into the man loving his wife flowing into the woman respecting her husband… This woman is very vocal about her approval of her husband, and he demonstrates his love to her all the time. Thanks for sharing, Gretchen!

  7. Owen Family says

    “In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ.” — how true!! Thank you for the recommendation, I’ll keep an eye out for that book, along with Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl. :o)

    There aren’t enough hours in the day for all I want to do — planning, exploring, learning, reading…the list goes on (sometimes it’s too bad that I have to sleep!).

    ~Chelsea

  8. Mary Beth says

    Loved this post!

    I have just order several boks that the YLCF gals have recommended. I will add this one to my “To Buy” list.

    Just a note to all you single, not-attached gals out there…the books that the ladies on YLCF recemmend are good to read BEFORE you meet your man, because our hearts and minds needs to be preparing for our futures as helpmeets long before we experience the realities of being married.

  9. Adrian C. Keister says

    Well done again!

    Hmm. I think more men ought to be reading your blog; it’s so encouraging to hear Christian ladies seeing the truth, not that we men are sitting over on the sidelines gloating because “you’re finally getting it.” We have just as many hang-ups as you do, if not more. I think everything you said here is quite correct. We men do want respect very much, though, if we’re honest, we’d have to admit that we don’t deserve it. Douglas Wilson and his wife Nancy say many of the same things. One quote of hers, I think from The Fruit of Her Hands, I enjoyed was something like this (speaking to wives), “Do you want to be loved only when you are lovable? Then don’t respect him only when he is respectable.”

    In the end, of course, what we deserve is hell-fire. We do not deserve respect from our loving wives or from anyone else, nor do we deserve love, or a roof over our heads, or food on the table, or an education, or a computer, or a car, or lots of books and music, or about anything else worth having. Most of all, we do not deserve our salvation. Praise be to God from Whom all blessings flow!

    In Christ.

  10. Gretchen Louise Acheson says

    To the most recent Katie–yes, I just read that book, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. :) Check the Bookshelf for my review. :) Proper Care and Feeding is still my favorite overall…but there are definitely some other good ones out there! :)

  11. Anonymous says

    “The problem many women have today is that they want to be treated like a princess, but deep down they resist treating their husbands like the king.”
    WOW! That sentance struck me our of your entire excellent post. The Bible says to honor all, but so often it’s easier to focus on what I expect in my relationships rather on what God would have me give into them. I do want to be “the princess”, so I guess I need to work a lot better at learning how to respect a king.
    Tabitha

  12. Katie says

    Thank you so much Gretchen for posting this review, now I’ll definitely have to read this book!
    What amazing truths this post holds…. men most certainly do need respect, and the point made in this post can even be applied to our fathers and brothers too!
    I’ve seen in my own experience with my love that respect is #1 in every situation. Men need to know we trust and respect them enough to be our leaders. Without the gentle respect from women, men cant be all that God created them to be; warrior poets ready to fight for their princess, and their God!
    One book you may want to read is “Becoming the Women of His Dreams; Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For.” That is an amazing book. I’d love to send you a review if you’d like!

    God bless!

    ~Katie

  13. sarah says

    A friend gave me For Women Only for Christmas, and I read it all the way through in a few hours. :) Your post also reminded me of that book, Gretchen. I pray from the bottom of my heart that I will remember this and be able to implement it some day in the far distant future when I have a husband of my own. :)

  14. katie says

    Wow, I certainly will put that book on my “to-read” list! Although I have yet to find my man, I know that over the years, I have created in my mind certain expectations that no man could ever live up to! ;) This book sounds like a very good dose of reality, and an excellent read for anyone who is married or nearing that time in their lives.

  15. Elizabeth J says

    We were given that book for our wedding, and plan on reading it one of these days. :)

    One thing I’ve noticed, just from observing the couples in my life, is that if a woman does not respect her husband, she most likely will not have any romantic feelings for him, either. Respect fosters romance… you can not have one without the other.

  16. Anonymous says

    By the way, for all you guys reading this site, I recently discovered that Shauni and her husband Jeff have co-authored a book titled For Men Only. Although I have not read it, and most likely will not, it may be a good read. =)

    -Kari

  17. Anonymous says

    I am relatively new to YLCF, and have been enjoying the topics immensely. Very encouraging; keep up the good work. :)

    Someone may have covered this already at some point, but your post, Gretchen, reminded me a lot of a book I just read a few weeks ago by Shauti Feldhahn titled For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men. It was a ‘most excellent book’ and I learned a lot. Basically, her book is based around seven points, of which the importance of respect was one. Another great book, of course (at least from the perspective of a single 20 year old – my mom though it was excellent as well :) is Debi Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet. One of the many great things that set both of these books apart is that they simply focus on our role (as women) and what we can and should do instead of complaining about the opposite gender, which is quite refreshing. Anyway, I better quit or I might overload on books!

    Thank you for sharing your heart on many issues, and for being an encouragement to me.

    -Kari

  18. Anonymous says

    I had to comment – My parents went to a Love and Respect Seminar and I can truly see a difference in their marriage. They got the DVDs and we all are going through them as a family.

  19. mia says

    Thank you for this post, Gretchen – it is very insightful and definitely something to chew on!

  20. Anonymous says

    What a well-written post, Gretchen.:)It was lovely! You really have a talent for writing- not everyone can express their thoughts, opinions, feelings, and dreams so articulately with words.

    -Whitney B.

  21. Susan says

    This was so good, Gretchen! You’re making me want to read that book. *glances dubiously at my large and growing to-read list*

    I especially liked this quote:

    Yes, of course, women need respect and guys need love. My man tells me over and again how much it means to hear me so those three little words. But my love would soon mean little to nothing to him if I didn’t show I meant it by respecting and admiring everything else about him.

    Love is not just a feeling, but is backed by actions. Of course none of us can love completely unconditionally here on earth, but true romantic love isn’t about mushy feelings so much as deep commitment to a person even when you don’t agree! That’s the kind of love I want to find :).

    Thanks so much for this post, Gretchen!