“Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs is a dangerous book. One-star review by Avid Reader.
[July 4, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Here is Avid Reader’s one-star review of Emerson Eggerichs’ book “Love and Respect.” You can click here [Internet Archive link] to vote it as ‘helpful’ on Amazon.
On page 282, Dr. Eggerichs admits that his advice isn’t working for many people; that he receives tons of letters from frustrated people who have tried his advice in their marriage only to watch it backfire on them. Then he quotes from a letter where a wife actually “regrets” telling her husband:
what I learned from you because he uses it against me each time. I can take the criticism. I feel I deserve it — but his rage….makes me want to get away and hide.
That says it all right there. So what exactly is backfiring on these people?
The Main Focus
First let’s look at the main focus of this book. Dr. Eggerichs writes,
My theory says that the wife has a tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to the husband — thus the command to respect — and the husband has a tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to the wife — thus the command to love. (p. 319)
A man needs to feel honored for who he is — the image and glory of God — because God made him that way. (p. 322)
Of course, husbands need respect, but aren’t wives also made in God’s image and thus deserving of respect, too?
Dr. Eggerichs insists:
I still believe that women want love far more than respect and men want respect far more than love. I’ll illustrate that from the greeting card industry (p. 48)
Which is one of the best:
examples of women’s deepest values. (p.4 8)
When women buy greeting cards for their husbands, they want to express love for them; they don’t even think about respect. Sadly, the deepest yearning of husbands goes unmet because wives — and the card publishers — are locked into relaying sentiments of love.
Later he [Dr. Eggerichs] adds,
Women are the ones who have babies and that’s one reason that birthdays are a big deal to them. (p. 177)
Wives don’t need a lot of coaching on being loving. It’s something God built into them and they do it naturally. However they do need help with respect (p. 183)
this a foreign term to many women. (p. 183)
This is not about the husband deserving respect; it’s about the wife being willing to treat her husband respectfully without conditions. (p. 18) [Emphasis added.]
A simple application is that a wife is to display a respectful facial expression and tone when he fails to be the man she wants. (p. 43)
As I encourage some wives to use unconditional respect, I can tell they suspect that I am a chauvinist in sheep’s clothing trying to set them up for a life of subservience. I remind such a wife to be patient. (p. 75)
Joe’s wife was so focused on the needs of others that she took over the family and in the process her husband was once again put down, belittled, overlooked. She is an example of how a woman can be so loving toward her family she doesn’t see her disrespect for her husband. This is why I keep calling on wives to awaken to God’s revelation. (p. 213)
Dr. Eggerichs continues,
What I’m about to say may sound hard and judgmental but I’m trying to help you. (p. 284)
In recent decades, women have discovered they are quite capable of going out into the workaday world and holding significant positions and making tremendous achievements. (p. 198)
Generally speaking our sons will feel they have to work in some field, but our daughters will want the freedom to choose between pregnancies and promotions. (p. 199)
Adam doesn’t expect Eve to have a baby and hand the baby back to him so she can go back to work. Those who advocate domestic equality promote this idea. (p. 200)
Women don’t see themselves as sinning even though they readily admit bad habits and wrong attitudes. (p. 233)
Ask yourself if you may possibly have an attitude of self-righteousness. You love your husband but you see his faults and mistakes. You believe — as many women do — that you are a better person than he is and he needs to change. (p. 233)
Then Dr. Eggerichs describes a husband trying to ask his wife to lose weight. He writes,
If the husband is on the trim side — as many men with overweight wives often are — she will bring up some other log that he needs to get out of his own eye — that time she caught him viewing internet porn or overindulging in alcohol. (p. 233)
Yes, your spouse may be harsh, unloving or disrespectful a lot of the time but just remembering that your spouse is really a person of goodwill can put you on the road to the reward cycle. (p. 290) [Emphasis added.]
How should a wife act if she strongly disagrees with her husband about some issue? 1 Timothy 2:12 has some advice. Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet.” (p. 220)
If your quietness is the right kind of quietness — respectful and dignified, not pouty and sour — he will move toward you.
On page 278, he shares a letter he received from a:
wife who had suffered physical and verbal abuse from her husband — which I absolutely condemn as wicked and urge a wife to seek protection and help for — she had gone back to him after he repented, realized she hadn’t completely forgiven him and certainly wasn’t showing him respect. After coming across our materials, she began showing him respect — mostly by remaining quiet and dignified instead of arguing. Their relationship improved considerably. [Emphasis added.]
She writes to Dr. Eggerichs:
I have to mull over some of your teaching but….the Holy Spirit keeps revealing my rebellion, contempt, disobedience, etc. I keep asking the Lord for strength to implement your suggestions.
Reading between the lines, you can hear the exhaustion as that lady tries to carry this heavy burden. The heavy burden that Jesus came to deliver her from.
Hard on Women
Why is this book so hard on women, when Jesus is the perfect example of how to preach against sin without blaming women? In fact, Jesus Himself refused to accuse women even when everyone was pressuring Him to (Luke 7:39-50, John 8:11).
This is the kind of teaching that turns people away from the Lord. Why would anyone want to become a Christian if it requires this kind of craziness?
My heart bleeds for all of the people out there that have given up on Christianity because they couldn’t carry that heavy of a load. This is not the Gospel of Christ that comes to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). This is:
….teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)
Misogyny will never draw women to Christ. How many more souls will be lost for eternity before the church finally wakes to how far this teaching is from the Heart of God?
Why doesn’t Dr. Eggerichs understand how much God cares for women? For example, the chapter on sexual intimacy has absolutely nothing about satisfying the wife’s physical needs. The entire emphasis is on how:
he needs sexual release as you need emotional release. (p. 253) [Emphasis added.]
Even the Apostle Paul was nice enough to mention that both husbands and wives have physical needs (1 Cor 7:2-5). But Dr. Eggerichs doesn’t mention that while emphasizing that:
a man who strays is usually given total blame for his affair but in many cases he is the victim of temptation that his wife helped bring upon him. (p. 253)
That’s just one of the many excuses this book makes for men. There are so many other excuses that I just started writing a list of them. Listen to this list of excuses:
1) “I am still only a man and the flesh can be weak.” (p. 107)
2) “Through the years I have had more pressure than some men.”
3) “Stuff from the past.” (p. 108)
4) “Sins of the fathers.”
5) “Men are very sensitive.” (p. 209)
6) “Men are more vulnerable to criticism.” (p. 211)
7) “Husbands particularly can come under satanic attack when deprived of sexual release.” (p. 252)
8) “Being trapped by an adulteress.” (p. 254)
9) “His need for this was so strong.”
10) “He had an extremely intense spiritual battle.”
11) “He has a need you don’t have.” (p. 257-258)
How Dr. Eggerichs treats his own wife
But none of those excuses are allowed for his own wife. The way that Dr. Eggerichs treats his own wife is difficult to watch. His wife, Sarah, is trying to raise their two sons to be responsible adults by teaching them to clean up after themselves. Pretty basic stuff that roommates will expect of them when they enter the real world. But he describes her attempt to set boundaries as “badgering and criticizing.” Not only does he run roughshod over her boundaries, he teaches his sons to feel entitled to not having to pick up after themselves.
Listen closely to his words,
My wife Sarah has accepted that her disrespect is equal to my lack of love. (p. 103)
She had grown very negative trying to change everyone to her standards of neatness. She complained about every crumb on the counter, every shoe on the floor, every wet towel left on a bed, every candy wrapper that missed the wastebasket. (p. 242-243)
But eventually she gave up and accepted their,
sloppiness. (p. 242-243)
Maybe that’s why he literally describes seeing “defeat” in Sarah’s eyes as “countless times” she reaches the point of exhaustion and screams at him:
I’m always to blame. You’re always right. You never do wrong. (p. 93)
Then he describes how happy he is that:
she says she’s sorry for her disrespect. Best of all she no longer follows me around the house wanting to know how I would advise a husband who was acting like an unloving schmuck! (p. 109)
My heart goes out to Sarah. Would Jesus have ever treated her like that? There’s something to the fact that even while Jesus was in the middle of the most important event of His life (rising from the dead) He still took the time to neatly fold His grave clothes.
Boundaries are Not Allowed
By now you’ve probably figured out that the main problem with this book is not understanding God’s law of sowing and reaping.
Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:8)
That’s where we get the concept of boundaries. Because people have the ability to make good or bad choices, when an enabler keeps rescuing someone from the consequences of their bad choices, they have no motivation to change because they’re not reaping what they’ve sown. Thus, tough love sets boundaries to help people reap the consequences of their decisions to motivate them to change.
But Dr. Eggerichs insists that “unconditional respect” is required by God. Nope, even God Himself sets boundaries with us. We are following that example when we love others enough to set boundaries with them.
Keep that in mind while you listen to what Eggerichs’ book teaches,
Will a man take advantage of being the head of the family by putting down and even abusing his wife and children? Yes this is possible but because it is possible doesn’t mean a woman should refuse to allow her husband to be the head. If a husband is evil-willed, the abuse will happen anyway no matter what the family structure is. Any hierarchical role given to him has nothing to do with the abuse. (p. 207-208) [Emphasis added.]
Does this mean that a wife must submit to something illegal, wrong or evil? Should she go along with being beaten by her husband or watching him beat the children? The clear Scriptural answer is of course not. When a man acts this way he is not a good willed husband and forfeits his right to be head and to be followed. (p. 219)
While he makes mention on page 99 that “love must be tough” he spends the rest of the book pressuring wives to show “unconditional respect.”
Even worse, he discourages women from listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. While the Bible commands women to be lead by that still, small voice inside of them, Dr. Eggerichs writes on page 231 that women’s intuition can interfere with their:
unconditional respect for their husbands.
Could you be thinking too highly of your natural discernment and intuition? (p.231) [Emphasis added.]
The Bible says in Hebrews 5:14 (ESV) that part of our maturity in the Lord involves having our:
….powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Discernment is a gift from God!!! Plus, the Bible makes it clear that “The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them.” (Romans 8:14). Listening to that still, small voice inside of you is part of our walk with God. Even Jesus Himself was led by the Holy Spirit — our goal as believers is to follow His example.
The bottom line is that unconditional respect doesn’t understand that Jesus gave women the power of “yes” and “no” (Matthew 5:37). Saying “yes” and “no” is how we set boundaries to protect ourselves by developing the Fruit of the Spirit which includes self-control.
….Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:23) [Emphasis added.]
Because there is no law of God against self-control, how could any genuine Scriptural teaching interfere with self-control — your ability to say “yes” and “no”? What Jesus described as:
No man takes My life from Me. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it again. This command have I received of My Father. (John 10:18)
God is glorified when we “bear much fruit” meaning the more self-control we develop the more we glorify God (John 15:8). Abuse is a sin, we cannot submit to sin when the Bible tells us:
Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and do not be entangled again in the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)
[July 4, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 4, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 4, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
We also recommend Nate Sparks’ four-part review of Love and Respect.
(Please note: just because we recommend this review by Nate Sparks doesn’t mean we endorse all of Nate’s writings.)
Part 1: Love, Respect, and Proof Texts
Part 2: Love, Respect, and Consent
Part 3: Love, Respect, and Science
Part 4: Love, Respect and Abuse — Part 4 deserves a standing ovation! It exposes Emmerson Eggerichs as a die-hard spiritual abuser.
We DO NOT recommend this post of Emmerson Eggerichs at Love and Respect Inc: