We will be taking several weeks off from book studies in preparation for our next book study. This will give you time to acquire a copy of the book we will be working through together. The book I have selected to lead a discussion on is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
We will be discussing several chapters each week otherwise it will take too long to work through the book, so for those who wish to participate be ready on Monday, May 2 to begin discussing chapters 1 and 2 of this book.
Disclaimer: In general, I am not a person who does well with books that offer black and white assumptions and solutions, especially as it pertains to men and women. At the outset of reading Love and Respect I knew it would trigger a lot of frustrations for me and looking over the table of content alone I could see that the book would reflect the stereotype that “men are the ones in the relationship who want the sex.” In beginning to read the first several chapters, I could also see that it leans heavily towards, “Women are the ones who rant and get in their husbands faces and men are the ones who shut down.” These first several chapters also left me feeling that while I chose this book thinking that it spoke to both men and women, it really felt like it was more a book with a message for women. It seemed that the examples all focused on teaching women the importance of respecting their husbands and the points where the author talks about men loving their wives, felt strangely as though they too were directed towards women as an acknowledgement of this need in a woman. I do not disagree that my husband needs me to respect him or that I need him to love me, but I found it odd that the book seemed to lean so far in the one direction when I had assumed upon choosing it, that it would speak to both equally. My feeling that the book was directed towards women was confirmed as accurate when I read the following from page 66, “Our Love and Respect message is designed to help wives see that their big, powerful husbands are really in need of something that wives can give – respect.” I do not disagree with this, I just didn’t understand based on the description of the book that it would lean so far in that direction, at least in the first section of the book. The other thing I will openly admit to disliking about the book is that the author comes across to me as trying to fit pretty much everything in the relationship into these boxes of women needing love and men needing respect. While he admits that women also need respect and men need love, in his fervour of defending the opposite as higher needs, I think he errs in assuming too much about all relationships and expresses some arguments that are not well founded. I do believe that there is a legitimate reason why the Word is specific about wives respecting their husbands and husbands loving their wives, but trying to fit all aspects of the relationship into those directives results in confusion, I believe.
So why did I choose this book?
I selected this book knowing that it would trigger my distaste for statements that include the sentiment, “Men are like this. Women are like that,” because I have been processing through the directive in scripture that wives ought to respect their husbands. Now, the man I chose as my husband also happens to be a man who is filled with integrity and worthy of respect so in my case honouring him with respect comes mostly natural, although I do not claim to have always treated him in a respectful way 100% of the time. The reason I selected this book, knowing it would be a challenge for me to read, is because the Lord has been stirring me to pursue an understanding of what He means when He says that I ought to respect my husband. My definition of respect (a thought or feeling of high regard in response to a persons honourable actions and intentions) doesn’t fit with how I currently perceive references in scripture about respect which seem to indicate that respect ought to be an unconditional, underlying current regardless of the other person’s behaviour. What if there is more to it than I currently understand? I believe the Lord is going to use this book to bring me revelations that will show me more of His truth and so I invite you to journey with me through Love and Respect, even if you are like me and the stereotypes turn you off. There will be something the Lord will teach you if you approach Him with an open, teachable heart as you read.