“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.
A Thorough Review & Examination of the Book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs — Review by Mark Baker.
We DO NOT recommend this post of Emmerson Eggerichs at Love and Respect Inc:
Respectful Confrontation for the “Three A’s”…
- Posted in: Unjust church responses
- Tagged: bad books, book review, gender differences, guest post, Patriarchy
This book seems awful in general, but I have some serious issues with this:
Men who have affairs are not all being ‘trapped’ by women. Many do them are seeking out affairs, to the point of lying about their own marriage. Can this guy really not be aware of this?
No matter what the error, it is a woman’s fault to this man.
What leads men like this to affairs is a sense of entitlement. If they aren’t getting what they think they are entitled to at home, then they feel completely justified in getting it elsewhere.
I grew more and more incensed as I read about this awful book. May God forgive Eggerich for giving men permission and encouragement to abuse their wives and children, because that is what he’s advocating. This book IS dangerous and I pray for any woman who reads it. When will the church wake up and see teaching such as this for the doctrine of demons that it is? This isn’t scriptural; it isn’t the Word or the will of God. Eggerich has more in common with Islam than with Christianity.
I had that very thought over the weekend. Seeing how quickly Islam was growing and how devoted the followers were, did the church adopt Islam’s views of authority? A former Muslim said, “The word Islam doesn’t mean peace, it means submission.”
I agree Suzanne
Oh my giddy fat aunt! I don’t know where to start, and am a little afraid that if I do start I won’t be able to stop! Possibly the worst bit is this mans complete arrogance and blindness in parading the abuse he heaps on his poor wife for the public to read. the girls who marry the sons raised with such wicked teaching are in for an all too familiar journey.
An abuser fails to honor his spouse in a million ways. To be held in high esteem is something that every human being needs. To suggest that only men need to be honored is abusive in itself. I once heard a woman on Christian radio interviewing football players who had been accused of domestic violence. They all said that they felt dishonored by their wives. The conclusion that this interviewer drew was that men would not abuse if their wives respected them properly. What she didn’t realize is that abusers have a different definition of honor. They feel disrespected when their wives say no to abuse. They believe they have a right to access her in any way they choose. It is an affront to them when their wives set clear boundaries around themselves, and they will almost always describe that as disrespect. Both men and women need to feel respected. I don’t believe you can separate love and honor. They are the same thing. If you love someone, you honor them. If you are honoring someone, you are demonstrating your love. There was a time when I would have bought into Eggerich’s personal philosophy. It’s books like these that tighten the chains around women, and we read them because we are continually trying to fix ourselves in an attempt to fix an impossible relationship.
My husband was emotionally abusive. When I started to stand up for myself, he started screaming disrespect. We even had an argument once after he called my teenage daughter a b*****. I told him that was inappropriate. He cried she didn’t respect him. I said he needed to teach her how to respect him. He said f***** you. This was the man that had a solid reputation in his family and in the community as being the “nice guy”. I can promise you, no amount of effort on my part provoked him to love me any more – unless I was stroking his ego and making myself a door mat. It’s true what you said – an abusive man has a different standard for honor and respect – and anytime you say “no” to the abuse, they turn it around and make it into your fault that they act that way.
Yes! Thank God I was able to find a good Christian counselor who was able to see very clearly that there is a difference between standing up for yourself and dishonoring someone.
My ex-abusive husband LOVED this book. LOVED IT. He loved to hit me over the head with it. Just seeing the title almost makes me want to be sick. 😦
On the not recommended link some poor woman says her abusive husband loved this book too. I don’t think she’s made the connections on why….
No kidding. My husband drug me to a marriage class at our church that was teaching the L & R video series. He especially liked the bit about not saying “no” to his NEED for intimacy and how I didn’t respect him. I was to respect him whether I thought he acted as someone who deserved respect. The leader and I got into it because I said people weren’t only pink or blue and that my hubby acted more pink and I more blue when we had arguments, etc. The essential idea is “good-will people.” I argued that abusers were not “good-will” people. The whole study just made me cringe. In essence, you are responsible for your spouse’s actions through manipulation….NOT!
The hypocrisy and arrogance reflected in this man’s work is beyond horrifying. Isn’t his wife entitled to a measure of respect and honor? Do her desires and needs not matter, or is it that he gets to decide what those are and which ones, if any, have been decreed valid?
I wonder also at the publisher that was dumb enough to promote this garbage. Like Megan Cox shared from her personal experience, this book reads like an abuser’s user’s manual.
Oh my gosh, I remember so well how excited I was when I read this book! This is it, I thought. This is the answer. No it wasn’t. It again led me to think and believe I was the problem. It was my fault my abusive husband abused me. If only I could change right then he would love me. That never happened. And I gave decades of my life, until I literally had nothing left to give. Then God opened my eyes, gave me eyes to see. I discovered he had been leading a double life. How unbelievably deceived I had been. How I suffered so for so long and here he was living it up behind my back with other women. So it was with great interest I read this blog today. I was not alone in being mislead by this book. Thanks for this review.
Just wanted to thank all of you for the helpful votes and comments. 🙂
Many of you already know this — but for the newer blog readers I’d like to note that you guys are what keeps ACFJ visible to search engines — every time you visit ACFJ and / or post a comment — that helps to make this website more visible to search engines — which just might make the difference in helping someone find this website who’s desperately looking for answers. You guys are what’s going to make the difference in the long run.
So a Narcissist writes a manual for all churches to teach and spread his abusive example to Christian families in churches everywhere. Wow! Where is the discernment of Christian leadership? The comment about the wife using disrespectful facial expressions sounds familiar. I have heard multiple abuse victims say that their husbands repeatedly use that line to demand total control.
Megan, word-for-word same here!! My h LOVED this book also and it was the cause of great conflict between us as I could not countenance its views (which further cast me as “disrespectful”). It literally made me feel ill as well. It did serve to give me clarity as to my h’s mindset and true attitudes and aided the imperative to escape his abuse!
Sadly many churches have this on their book shelves – it’s such dangerous advice for men and women. 😦
Thanks, Avid Reader, for a great review!
This guy appears to have no real understanding of love, respect or God and how and why He made us. Sounds like a lot of confusion coming from him and we all know who the author of confusion is. Glad I never read anything by him.
This makes me feel sick. I really hope one day Eggerich’s wife will realize how abusive he is and can escape him.
The thing that concerns me most about this kind of teaching is that it weakens a woman’s position in the home. If she must always defer to her husband, if she is always under his “authority” and cannot hold him accountable for his actions, then the door is left wide open for easy access to the children; and make no mistake, a man who feels he is entitled to take whatever he wishes from his wife will also feel free to take whatever he wishes from his children. We should instead raise our daughters to fiercely defend their homes against evil, whether it comes from the outside or from within. Enabling a man to continue in evil is unbiblical and destructive to everyone involved including him.
Exactly. Don’t you think that the true meaning of a man being ‘head’ would be that he helps make it possible for her to do just that? He could be a source of strength and support for her to be the ‘mama bear’ that she was created to be. ‘Husband’ means farmer, someone who nourishes, protects, and sees to it that everything under his care grows strong and fruitful.
When it hit me that keeping secrets and covering for him was destructive to him as well, that changed everything. I’d been taught that covering was the respectful thing to do. Not.
Yes. That. When I realized I wasn’t allowing him to see the natural consequences of his behavior, and therefore “getting in the way” of him growing and learning that it was wrong, things changed. When I sought after help [….] when I started saying, “why do you do that”, and “please stop that”, he got angry, distant, disengaged, and the silent treatment got worse. Eventually he went from covert to overt and that’s when everything changed. We were no longer a struggling couple. We were now on the brink of divorce! And that’s what happened. He couldn’t take back what he had done and said – so he left. And we were divorced in a few short months.
I edited your comment just a little. I would like to encourage you to read these posts of ours. They explain why we prefer to avoid using the terms ‘enabler’ and ‘codependent’ to describe victims of abuse. 🙂
Enabling? Sins of the victim? Tetchy topics indeed!
Parched for truth — dehydrated — victims appreciate ANY water, but it’s better to give them pure rather than muddy water
Are Abuse Victims Codependent?
Interview with Catherine DeLoach Lewis (part 2)
The Myth of “Stockholm Syndrome” and other labels which are used to discredit and pathologize victims of abuse
Kay, you nailed it:
My experiences regarding this book are also painful. I read it a few years ago and tried the principles. It failed miserably, so I gave it up. Fast forward a few years, during the worst of the emotional and spiritual abuse, and ex finds book and gets it and wants to study it together. I very reluctantly agree to read it with him. After a couple of chapters I mentioned that I had read it years earlier. Boy, did he ever get mad, railing at me for knowing all along about his need for respect and not doing it. The good part – that ended having to read it together.
Really? Why are Christians such suckers to waste their time and money on this rubbish.
Double Really? That’s like saying “Leave it to Beaver” is a real life example of how most marriages work and a true representation of how most women want to be. My goodness, the man speaks like a dolt. I wonder what he’d say if he knew that when I shop for greeting cards, I put many back saying “Oh, that’s stupid. I’d never say rattletrap like that.” or “Who writes these things!!!?????”.
I’m often irritated by the insincere dose of syrupy crap the “greeting card industry” gives out. Ranks right up there with fortune cookies. I tell my husband often that I think there is some little old guy being paid to sit under a naked lightbulb and crank these things out on an ancient typewriter for minimum wage. He obviously has a very condescending view of women and doesn’t think we are that intelligent.
In one sense, I am thankful for this book. My husband had brought home the video lecture series by Eggerich “to improve our marriage”. I had read part of the book years previously and stopped because it felt so wrong to me that I never shared it with husband or wanted to use it with him.
I had the DVDs staring me in the face in the middle of the kitchen table for weeks. I knew husband was going to push watching them soon and I was in a panic. I knew watching them would not be good, but refusing would be worse. I was searching all over the internet for help and insight on Eggerich.
That’s how I found this website, which has been such a blessing to me! So, I’m thankful for the book, but probably not for reasons the author would be happy about! Without my searches for insight on Eggerich, I might not have found ACFJ!
I did have to watch one hour of the lecture and it made me feel physically sick too, and when I gave my reasons for not wanting to continue it, helped by Barbara and others here, pointing me towards scripture and knowledge of why this book is unhealthy, I was the “bad” person in husband’s eyes, but he never made me watch it again or brought it up again! Yay!
I am INFURIATED. This book comes highly recommended by those in the Christian Missionary Alliance churches. I’m finding I can’t even have simple conversations any longer with people from there because this exact mentality seeps through in their responses. Always. It’s DISGUSTING, HARMFUL, and NOT of God. It is certainly to put women “in their place” which is under men and under other women in the church as well. SUBMISSION IS THE TOPIC of every Bible study I did while there for years. They treat me with a subtle contempt now. They advise me when I have specifically asked for no advice. It’s controlling and self-righteous of them. They are always looking to teach others yet they have NO KNOWLEDGE. They REFUSE to look at any info I have given them from here, Lundy, etc. The injustice and arrogance they have is DISGUSTING. They don’t have love at all. They have religion. I believe they don’t have Christ.
Sadly, they are not the only Christian (so-called) organization to take this stance. I’m so very sorry that you have been treated so disrespectfully and unlovingly by those who are following and teaching doctrines of men and not the Word of God. And this emphasizes once more the value of sites such as this and teachers like Jeff and Barbara. I wish that every pastor, preacher, and Bible teacher had copies of their books instead of Eggerichs.
The more I read about this book, the more furious I became. Eggerichs teaches women how to submit to their husband’s wants without considering her own needs. That is not a marriage built on love, respect, and the will of God, but on submission, compliance, and absolute obedience to the husband. Thank God that my church doesn’t have this book in its library, but it’s probably one of the few that don’t. It’s no wonder that Eggerichs’ wife, Sarah, gave up on insisting that her husband teach her sons how to pick up after themselves, after he personally taught her submissiveness, which is a sign of an unhealthy marriage. I’m not surprised at all that Eggerichs encourages abuse, considering how he treats his wife, then acts like he condemns abuse when he’s questioned about.
Thank you, Guest Post, for this enlightening review, I’ll make sure not to recommend it to anyone, in fact, I will advise everyone to stay as far away from this book as they possibly can.
My heart breaks for his poor wife. She’s little more than a servant in her own home.
Mutual submission is what God teaches, and mutual love, mutual respect, and unity. Evidently, Eggerichs believes that either he is above God (good luck with that!) or that his interpretation slanted towards himself is the only correct one. There is nothing mutual in his tiny little world view, it is ‘one for all and all for me’ if I may mangle the Three Musketeers motto a bit. This attitude / belief is not Christianity, it is simply wearing the mask of Christianity, and any discerning individual will see through it – as have all here.
Thank you for this review, saves me the time and trouble and expense of reading the wretched book!
Did this guy seriously equate being overweight with getting drunk or looking at porn? Wow….
And he thinks the greeting card industry shows “women’s deepest values?” What on earth? Clearly he has never had an open, honest, RESPECTFUL conversation with his wife.
I actually went to a L & R conference….my H had cheated and I thought this would help us “fix” our marriage. Thankfully my H didn’t take anything from the conference, I think he dozed during most of it!
I did feel sorry for his wife though….Sarah told a story about when she went out of town and he and his sons didn’t clean, make beds, etc….they had a grand ol time….and when she came home she asked if they missed her, and they said NO!
How sad for her….plus I betcha she had a mess to clean up!!
Thank you, Avid Reader, for this informative book review! It is good to spotlight these kinds of books to warn people of the dangers of believing such misguided instruction. This review is an excellent exercise in developing more discernment.
I appreciate the timeliness of this post & the comments. You all are helping me tremendously! Right about the same time this post came out, the DVDs series from Eggerichs was recommended to my controlling & manipulative husband by his counselor. He ordered it & it has since arrived. I re-visited this post & comments today because my husband asked if we can begin watching the series together. I’m glad for the warnings against Eggerichs’ teaching. I’ve received other warnings about this author too. One person described his teaching as, “putting pretty icing on a terribly burned caked.” Another person described it as, “putting Band-Aids on cancer”. My best friend got us one of Eggerichs’ books years ago. I was still on the treadmill striving & doing; of following after the carrot, but even then I realized I couldn’t be the only one trying. I barely opened the book. So glad to be done with those heavy burdens!
Was wondering if anyone has opinions on “The Love Dare?” That one was strongly recommended, along with watching the movie periodically. I think it will be funny to go back & read what I wrote in my copy of “The Love Dare.” I remember writing things like, “This is stupid,” “Life is not a movie,” etc, etc….
The Love Dare book is also on our bad booklist:
And we have this post: The Love Dare, a dangerous book in the hands of an abuser — by Deborah
Are you going to suggest a good book to read that both husband and wife can use to help their marriage?
Best book is the Bible.
In my experience, when churches and pastors teach about submission of wives, they generally don’t teach, or properly teach, about husbands loving their wives. If a church teaches submission of wives, I trigger and start looking deeper into that church’s / pastor’s other toxic and oppressive teachings and leanings.
In the Bible, Abigail (2 Samuel 25) did many things that would have so many modern pastors and people like Eggerichs grinding their teeth at her and condemning her as being disrespectful towards her husband and being generally too “uppity” for a woman. But the Bible and the anointed-king David praise Deborah for her quick action, wisdom, and for saving the lives of all the men in that household — and preventing terror — at the least — among the women of that household.
Have you read what Abigail said about her husband??? Notice also that she does not try to prop up Nabal’s reputation, nor does she side with her husband, but she distances herself from him and his actions and behavior, because her loyalty and was with the Lord, and because she is a person distinct from her husband.
When [I] read something like Eggerichs’ teaching, or like SGM’s, or like Gothard’s, or like Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, or any of the others who oppress women and distort the Word of God into something toxic, [I find it helps me to] keep thinking and reading about Abigail, and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4), and Deborah — who was a judge and a prophetess (Judges 4-5), and the wise women of Abel Beth-maacah who saved her whole town (2 Samuel 20), the Proverbs 31 woman (she considered a field and bought it), and other godly women in the Bible, and that helps remove the toxic teachings of doormat and worthlessness and disrespect from male chauvinism.
Hi, Lily, welcome to the blog. 🙂
We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.
I altered your screen name somewhat as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: email@example.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂 It’s not a good idea to use your real name or your full name unless you are well and truly safe from your abuser and his allies.
I also removed the long quote you’d given of the Abigail / David story because we already have posts on this blog which deal with that.
Here is our tag for Abigail.
A woman at my church gave me this book to read a long time ago when I shared with her my concerns about my own marriage, and how my husband was treating me.
Totally agree – our small group is in the process of breaking up over this book. It is so wrong on so many levels. I wrote an entire paper on the subject and am questioning whether my church and other Christian churches are safe places for me and for raising our daughters. I love the Lord and want to obey Him with all my heart, but will not tolerate distortions of the truth. Respect is part of unconditional love and is mutual. Women are called to submit to men’s Godly leadership. Men need to step up and women need to let them. This book is a distortion of the Word, however, and very damaging to both, men’s and women’s, hearts. Thank you for speaking out against it.
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All I know is that because of Love and Respect and turning again to Christ, my husband and I are healing and enjoying a restored relationship and finding new joy in each other and Christ. I have no doubt for the abused, the book could be a bitter pill to swallow. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and recognize that God has truly joined us together to work for good.
Chelley, in your comment you have disparaged the abused. I reject what you’ve said. We only published your comment in order to point out how unkind it is to victims of abuse. Here is how it is unkind — you said:
So you are implying that the abused ought to swallow the ‘bitter pill’ of this book even though it is bitter to them, and that they ought to stay with or return to their abusers to be in God’s good graces…. You are implying that all marriages, no matter how much wickedness one spouse is doing to other spouse, are to remain together because God has “joined them together”. Don’t you realise that you are saying therefore that God doesn’t care how much evil an abusive spouse does to the other spouse and God wants that marriage to continue? Don’t you realise that thereby you are saying God likes and endorses the perpetuation of sin and evil in a marriage?
I suggest you learn a lot more about domestic abuse before making comments like the one you’ve made again. Here is a place to start learning: our FAQ page.
Good rebuke of Chelley, Barbara. Thank you. I am growing more and more convinced that pastors and churches and all of these “Christian” marriage and family books and conferences are in fact violations of the Christian’s freedom of conscience. Yes, the Bible certainly does give us God’s instruction regarding these subjects, but certainly not in the detail as these gnat-straining church leaders are doing. Christians are largely in bondage to a neo-legalism that is a plague in our churches. No, I am not promoting same-sex marriage or other clear violations of God’s Word, but I am saying that Christians are very frequently being taught that “here is how you are to run your marriage and your home specifically according to this pattern and if you don’t then you are sinning.” That is evil. It is legalism and really ends up being a false Gospel.
I’m a few years late on commenting here, but I just found this site.
I’ve read the comments and have to agree with Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts. I cannot for the life of me understand how a man who claims to be a believer, also mistreats his wife. I and my four siblings were blessed with parents that truly loved each other. There was never a harsh word between the two of them and even in advanced years they were always showing affection to each other and to us. Our home was filled with laughter and love. It wasn’t until I got out of the house that I was shocked that everyone else wasn’t raised like I was.
With that said, I will never have any respect for any “man” who mistreats his wife, either physically or mentally. The above mentioned Scripture, Ephesians 5:33, needs to be read, and re-read; but unfortunately there are and will forever be church members and ministers who don’t heed this. I like Barbara Roberts and Jeff Crippen’s take on this topic.
Thank you, John, and welcome to the blog! 🙂 I hope you keep commenting. Many of our readers say that the best part of this blog is the comments.
If L & R has worked for you, then perhaps you are speaking from a marriage with things that can be worked through, not from the perspective of one who has been abused, which is a problem that cannot be healed by working through a book. In my case, this book was used against me in an abusive way. It was a bitter pill, as it revealed more of my ex’s abusiveness to me, but it was a pill I chose not to swallow, and I am the better for it.
I must admit I resent your “But”, as it implies that those who do not swallow this “bitter pill” are not serving the Lord, like I am a lower-class citizen. I understand even a good marriage will have its challenges, but I am so glad to have left a marriage where these “bitter pills” that my ex tried to force me to swallow on a regular basis is a thing of the past.
Although this was triggering, thank you, Barbara, for posting it and responding. I hope I am not overreacting, as many comments like this are made from a point of ignorance and I hope Chelley does educate herself using the excellent material on this site.
I seem to remember saying things like this a long long time ago, because I thought it was right, I hoped it would work, it appeared to work….temporarily, because what abusive man would not act nicer for a while when his wife bent over backward even more to serve her ‘lord’….and I was desperate not to have to stand up to the man, the church, and risk so much to be free. I try hard to no longer follow the teachings of man. Like the book, ‘His needs, Her needs’ which was just so off, but sounded good if you didn’t search the Scriptures and the heart of God.
As for me and my house and this blog family here, WE ARE SERVING THE LORD.
That’s why we follow the words of Christ not the words of Emerson Eggerichs who ignores that the Bible actually commands husbands to respect their wives or their prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
We obey the words of Christ who said it best
Not serve the endless demands of a narcissistic spouse.
Not serve the endless demands of Christian marriage books who tie impossible loads on people’s backs and won’t lift a finger to help them (Matthew 23:4).
Not serve the celebrity Christian leaders who try to put man’s words in God’s mouth, shutting the door of Heaven in people’s faces (Mark 7:7).
The heart of God is still crying out today
Thank you so much for the reflection and all the other wonderful comments.
This book was chosen and recommended by a male pastor in our book club – the members of the book club are all pastors and their spouses. I was the one who needed to present this book, so started to read it. While reading this book, I was so uncomfortable and sometimes got upset even though I didn’t figure out what the reason was. Often times, I felt [the] strong desire to throw the book away, but my strong sense of responsibility prohibited me to doing that. Anyway, I read the whole book with struggling and agony and decided not to recommend this book to anyone that I know, especially for women.
I totally agree this book is a very very dangerous book that will deter women from recognizing their wholeness as who they are. It adds much burden to women – a burden that Jesus wants [us] to get rid of. I think this book helps a lot to support the sturdy, unjust, and patriarchal social system in the name of God and Christianity. The author uses many Bible verses in order to prove his own theory, but many of his explanations and applications are not appropriate and so biased.
However, there is a good benefit through reading the book that I am able to find this site, and other people who can share and support the honesty, dignity, and power in each one of us.
Thanks for your comment, Blooming Flower, and welcome to the blog! 🙂
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Thank you for your thoughtful review. Have you thought of putting it on GoodReads? There are not nearly enough really smart critical reviews of this book.
Hi, MJ, I am flat out running the blog. And Avid Reader, as the author of the review, would be the one to put it up on GoodReads.
Ugh, no wonder I couldn’t go back to the Bible study that was doing this.
I would like to say that we met a counselor that acknowledged basic needs that all humans need, and respect was defined as valuing and regarding another highly, treating another as important, honoring another, conveying great worth. It was acknowledged that everyone needs this.
Respect doesn’t mean demanding or expecting others to always make you feel good and like you may want. We must recognize our worth and not depend on others. It seems like [some] men today expect to be worshipped – meaning told everything they do is perfect – and therefore miss the true respect they are shown. It seems like the respect the book is talking about is just flattering men.
[Note from Eds: the word ‘some’ in square brackets was added by Eds because we have male victims of abuse reading this site as well as female victims, and we don’t want to make male victims feel ignored or slandered.]
Hi, Anonymous 1001, welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. 🙂
If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to read our New Users’ Info page. It gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on this site. And you might like to also look at our FAQs.
I made a small addition in your comment, and gave it paragraph breaks for ease of reading. 🙂
Here’s a great eye-opening podcast from today, by Christian marriage author / speaker Sheila Gregoire (and her husband), that covers a lot of the concerns biblically-faithful Christians might want to consider about this book and the follow-up teachings of its author. An Example of What Gaslighting Women Using the Bible Looks Like [Internet Archive link]
Thanks, Laura, I have not had time to listen to the podcast but since I’m familiar with Sheila Gregoire on Twitter, I am pretty sure she will be accurately pointing out the problems with “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs.
Laura, many thanks for telling us about this podcast. It promises to be very good just from the title, An Example of What Gaslighting Women Using the Bible Looks Like, as well as from the brief written summary of it, and the few comments which I’ve read so far.
Just one comment by the author which is great:
Sheila Wray Gregoire on September 19, 2019 at 2:57 pm [Internet Archive link]1:
(Bold added by me.)
However, I wish the 3 resource books which Sheila lists didn’t include Leslie Vernick’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. As thoroughly discussed previously on this blog, it TOO is an example of ‘a marriage book which harms those in bad marriages.’
1[June 21, 2022: We added the link to Sheila Wray Gregoire’s comment. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that link. Editors.]
Thanks, Gany T. — especially for pointing out that Sheila Gregoire recommends Leslie Vernick’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. I do NOT endorse Leslie’s work.
Readers who want to know why I don’t endorse Leslie, I invite you read this: Leslie Vernick – various responses that domestic abuse victims have to her work.
Hi, Laura, I published your comment without having looked at Sheila Gregoire’s website myself. I only knew Sheila from Twitter.
Now that I have looked at Sheila’s website, I have quite a few concerns about her approach. I think she lacks discernment.
I trust you meant well, Laura, by sharing Sheila’s podcast here. And I am very willing to believe that you and some other victims of spousal abuse have benefited from things Sheila Gregoire says when pointing out the faults in the book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs.
However, I urge you to dig more deeply and weigh the evidence carefully. 🙂
Fact 1. At Sheila Gregoire’s website, she recommends Leslie Vernick’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.
Fact 2. Many Christian women who have been abused by their husbands have found Leslie Vernick’s teachings confusing and even dangerous.
So ask yourself: what reasonable conclusions can you draw from those two facts?
I was open minded, until he got to part 6 in his video that goes with the workbook before he completely lost me. And I am a man, hearing another man claiming authority, go on in a rant about how we have greater societal ills because women want to be in charge in American politics, quotes Paul about how women should be silent in the church because “Eve” was deceived. Top that off with “women, it’s your fault if your husband looks at porn or cheats on you because you would not give it up on demand”???
Hi, Alex – I never saw Emerson Eggerichs’ video series, as I’d already been previously burned by his crummy (nice word for it) book. I appreciate hearing a man chime in on this abuse-promoting author / speaker, who is so popular (sigh).
I was given this book by my husband about four years ago. He had the book long before we married most likely while married to his ex-wife. I started reading the book back then but put it down after a few pages and kinda forgot about it.
I recently came upon it in a drawer and began reading. Every page I read caused my blood to boil. I could not believe that my husband would ask me to read such poison. Not only does it convey to couples that men are supposed to be the only one in the marriage that need to be respected, the book also attempts to make women believe that they have no say in anything. The woman’s opinion should be silenced at all cost so as not to be disrespectful to the man.
This book is TOXIC to say the least and Christians are promoting this so-called handbook for a perfect marriage. Well at least perfect for the husband. I bet it is nice to know that you are in control of everything and that you can walk around like some strutting rooster like you have your woman’s respect. So sad. I pray for the men who actually live by this concept. I truly believe that your heart is not with GOD.
The part I have the most trouble with is the chapter that attempts to explain that men are visual creatures and that women need to understand this and allow their husband to discuss it and that women should accept that the husband looks at other women and may LUST. It is presented in this book as if they have no choice!!! This sickens me to death. And there is no way in the world that I am going to have a talk with my husband about who he lusted after or what-not. It’s not OK.
After reading this book one of the thoughts that came to my mind is how do women read this without wanting to throw-up!!! It has not strengthened my relationship with my husband. If anything it has caused us to become very angry at one another. When I approached him and asked if he had really read this book and then gave my opinion of the contents he became defensive and very verbally abusive on the matter. So at this point in time we are at odds with each other due to our very opposing views on the subject. I explained that the book in toxic and its premise is not based on the true Word of God. I am hoping he takes a second look at the book and does his research on the matter so that maybe we can come to a better understanding of what a true and fulfilling marital relationship is suppose to be. Otherwise….????
[Eds – commenter’s name changed for safety reasons.]
Thank you, dear sister, for your comment and welcome to the blog! 🙂
For your safety, I changed your screen name to NotBuyingIt. It isn’t a good idea to use your real name on a blog such as this, when you are still living with or exposed to the ill-will of an abuser.
If you want to used a different screen name we can change the one I made up for you. Just email email@example.com.
Well done for seeing that the book is poisonous. 🙂
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