Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs holds a special place in my heart. Today is my wedding anniversary – a celebration of a covenant made before God and in the sight of men. Love and Respect played a pivotal role in our getting married.
As we dated, we would read the Bible together and pray together over the phone (we lived 2 hours apart), but we picked up the Eggerichs’ book and began to discuss it chapter by chapter each week. Both of us already held to the biblical principles laid out in the book based upon Ephesians 5:25-33, particularly verses 25 and 33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Yet, the book helped us see how even in out attempts to live out the scriptural mandate we could unintentionally end up not showing the other person unconditional love and unconditional respect. Left unchecked, healthy communication could break down and a crazy cycle of hurt feelings and discord could ensue.
By the grace of God, open hearts, and the help of mentors, the Scriptures, and Love and Respect we fought to practice what we read and discussed. When the crazy cycle would threaten to start or would begin to swirl, someone had to break the cycle and show unconditional love or unconditional respect even if they felt wounded or “justifiably right” in holding back love and/or respect. Personally, I believe that according to the Bible (e.g. Eph. 5:25) the husband should be the one to lay down his life and make the first healthy move. Unfortunately, my sinful heart would, and still does at times, be really stubborn and my amazing wife would be the one to make the first move to break the cycle.
Through a variety of conversations, prayers, tears, and laughter while discussing Love and Respect, one of the barriers to our getting engaged (e.g somebody had to move) came down when my wife disclosed that she felt the Lord move in her heart to move north. We are happily married and still practicing showing unconditional love and respect to each other when our particular pink or blue glasses/hearing aids misinterpret something as unloving or disrespectful.
But to understand the pink/blue reference and how to break out the crazy cycle and build a loving cycle, you’ll have to read the book yourself.