Love and Respect

Interesting book I’m reading: Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The subtitle is: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs. It’s focused on dating and married couples, but as I am finishing the book, I am sure these principles apply to friendships, too. If we are taught to encourage each other as disciples of Christ, shouldn’t we also show love and respect towards each other as sisters and brothers in Christ?

The author uses a foundational verse for the theme: Ephesians 5:33- “Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.”  Eggerichs makes a clear distinction that a woman wants most to feel that she is loved, whereas a man desires most to feel that he is respected and honored.

I got really interested in the book when I realized that I had read the verse in Ephesians many times, but hadn’t really listened to it. More importantly, I had never thought, “How can I apply this in my life?  What does love look like?  What does respect look like?”

The examples in the book are eye-opening! A woman ponders, “Does he love me as much as I love him?” But a man asks, “I know she loves me, but does she really like me?” So I had to ask, “What does it look like when a man feels disrespected?” Eggerichs says that men interpret criticism as contempt. He’s thinking, “I don’t deserve this kind of talk. Everyone at work respects me, but you don’t. I just wish you would be quiet.” Men hear criticism as contempt whereas women feel silence as hostility. Maybe men aren’t really tough, big and strong with no feelings to hurt.

There is helpful advice for men in the acronym: “COUPLE”, a list of six ways that a man can spell “love” to a woman. For women, “CHAIRS” represents the six ways that a woman can show respect for a man: appreciation for his desire to work and achieve, desire to protect and provide, desire to serve and lead, desire to analyze and counsel, and desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship. For married couples, the author also adds “S”, recognition of his desire for sexual intimacy.

So, I am trying out the concepts in “CHAIR” (without the “S”!) with my male friends to see if how I act and what I say demonstrates respect for them. And I do respect them; I have wonderful male friends. But I never knew feeling respected was so important to them. I thought they wanted to be “loved” like women do.

I’m interested to hear what you think about the book and the author’s distinction between a woman’s desire to be loved, and a man’s desire to be respected and honored. Is it really true that our needs are very different? If so, as a woman, how do you demonstrate respect and honor for the men in your life?



MP3 audio file-Love and Respect