Love and Respect: Chapters 3 and 4

Please only participate if you have read the chapter for context. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these chapters, you are welcome to return to this post when you have.

Chapter 3 Observations and Quotations

1. One of my motivators for wanting to read this book was that I wanted insight into how to be respectful even when my husband is not acting in a way that is worthy of respect so I really appreciated the focus in this chapter on unconditional respect.

Page 43 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.

Do you agree with this? What about our hearts? Is it respectful to have a smile on our face and contempt in our hearts? I think it’s fairly easy to hid contempt by putting on a “good Christian girl” mask. What is a respectful facial expression? Is it just making sure you always have a pleasant look on your face? Can you be angry and respectful at the same time? These are important considerations for us if we want to respect our husbands as the Lord commands.

I loved this quote from page 44: When the wife flatly says her husband will have to earn her respect before she gives him any, she leaves the husband in a lose-lose situation. Now he’s responsible for both love and respect in the relationship. He must unconditionally love his wife and he muss also earn her respect.

This makes so much sense to me. While I believe that unconditional love and respect ought to both be present in the heart of a husband or a wife, as specific commandments to husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands, this quote is a good reminder that love and respect in marriage is not to be earned. It is to be freely given with confidence.

I think we have spent so long hearing messages about unconditional love, that unconditional respect seems less honourable. It seems reasonable for us to love one another unconditionally, but to respect each other unconditionally doesn’t seem worth acquiring. What do you think about the notion of unconditional respect? Do you think this transfers over to how we treat one another in the kingdom of God?

2. On page 47 Eggerichs points out that even though both men and women need love and respect, there is a primary drive in each sex that a man’s higher need is respect and a woman’s higher need is love. Do you agree with this? Personally speaking, I think I get more triggered negatively when people treat me disrespectfully than when they treat me unlovingly. Many of my hurt feelings in my marriage were caused because I felt disrespected. I can not relate to the idea that I seek to be loved more than I seek to be respected. I really value them both, BUT I do value frequent reminders that my husband loves me over reminders that he respects me.

3. I am confused by the references in this book like the one on page 49 that typical wives are “lovingly critical and complaining.” Is this confusing to anyone else? I certainly know a lot of wives AND husbands who are like this, but I would say that it is far from typical. Most of my friends treat their spouse with a lot of kindness. “Lovingly critical” seems like a great oxymoron to me. Do you know people who criticize out of love? I do not.

4. At the end of the chapter Eggerichs takes the time to address the concern that some women have that if they offer unconditional respect to their husbands, they will become victims of abuse. If a woman fears this it is even more important that she reflect on the questions I posted above about what it actually looks like to be respectful because I think that it is possible for a women to respectfully put up boundaries about how she is treated. I think it is possible for a woman to be angry and respectful at the same time. As Eggerichs points out, husbands and wives are equals. While the husband is called, even to the point of death, to protect his wife, neither one is above the other.

Chapter 4 Observations and Quotations

Page 58 Men need to feel respected during conflict more than they need to feel loved.  

1. This quote was Eggerichs’ response to a survey question that during conflict most men or more inclined to feel disrespected than loved during a conflict. How does this knowledge influence how you approach conflict with your husband?

2. On page 60 the author shares what he has observed in a lot of couples. I can not relate to it as my husband and I are completely opposite so I am curious how this has played out between you and your husband. Eggerichs says that a wife sees tense exchanges as opportunities to potentially increase love between them so she presses in, but the husband finds the conflict to be an argument that he wants to escape from so he becomes quieter. What has been the pattern in your marriage? I found the end of this section particularly negative towards women and not overly helpful. Telling women that they are complainers and that if they keep it up the marriage will probably end in divorce isn’t a good way to motivate them in my opinion. What do you think?

3. On page 65 Eggerichs says that he has asked a lot of businessmen if they would prefer that their associates love them or respect them and they all say that they want respect. As a businesswoman myself, I think this is more a reflection on the context of business rather than a reflection of their core need for respect. In business, respect is always more important that love. Do you agree?

Page 69: When a husband feels disrespected, it can provoke him so quickly he doesn’t see his unloving reaction, which would be obvious to any woman.

4. When your husband responds to you in an unloving way, what strategies have you found most helpful in quickly getting the two of you back to a place of unity? How do you effectively restore love and respect?

Page 72: I’m not trying to hammer wives – I’m trying to help them, because I know how pivotal the wife’s respect can be in slowing down the Crazy Cycle. Yes, many men are unloving clods to one degree or another, but they can change. In fact, many of them want to change, and the best way to get them to change is treating them with unconditional respect. 

5. I am really confused by this. WHY is the author putting so much more emphasis on disrespectful wives, while so quickly excusing their “unloving clods” for husbands? It seems that he believes men desire to learn to be loving, but women do not desire to learn to be respectful. I just do not understand the communication efforts of the author at this point.

Your comments are welcomed. Please be prepared to discuss chapters 5 through 7 next Monday.

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