Saturday, March 14, 2009

Love and Respect 5

To be fair, I want to offer this positive review of Eggerichs book, which nonetheless notes the two difficulties which I outlined in my previous post. For this author, they were not serious detractions, but for me they are.

    Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs, a book by Emerson Eggerichs, makes an excellent observation. Many a woman feels as if her air has been cut off when she feels unloved by her husband, but a man is more likely to feel this way when he feels he's lost his wife's respect. And to make matters worse, women tend to disrespect husbands who don't love them, and men tend to withhold love from wives when they feel disrespected. Eggerichs calls it the Crazy Cycle.

    His book offers advice to couples who want to break out of their Crazy Cycle. Lots of books offer advice on how to show love, but few tell how to show respect to a loved one, and I've heard from a lot of men who confirm there's an important difference.

    I think it's unfortunate that Dr. Eggerichs, a Protestant minister, chose to bolster his proposals for improving marriage with fragments of verses from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Many come from passages unrelated to his subject and appear to be wrestled into service of his ideas, which would stand quite nicely on their own. He's also going to lose a few readers by emphasizing what he sees as the husband's proper role as head of the family.

    But don't let those deter you if they don't fit your religious beliefs. This book offers some important insights not offered elsewhere. Run them past your spouse and see if they'll make your marriage stronger.

    Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs. Emerson Eggerichs. Brentwood, Tennessee: Integrity Publishers, 2004. 240 pages.
    Posted by patty at 3:41 PM
And here is a review by the same person of a book by John Gottman.

    One of the most widely read and cited books on marriage is The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver.

    Gottman can predict whether a couple will divorce after watching and listening to them for only five minutes. His predictions are correct 91% of the time. He watches for four things as they try to resolve an ongoing disagreement. Here's what tells him a couple is likely to divorce:

    1. A harsh startup to the discussion
    2. The "Four Horsemen" of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling
    3. Flooding (feeling so overwhelmed that you avoid further discussion)
    4. Body language indicating a fight-or-flight response
    5. Failed repair attempts
    6. Bad memories (rewritten history of their relationship)

    The antidote, Gottman claims, is a strong friendship between husband and wife. This helps them remember, when things go badly, that they are dealing with a friend. Gottman claims that 69% of all marital conflicts don't get resolved, perhaps can't be resolved. Those who enjoy their marriages find playful and supportive ways of dealing with these differences.

    His Seven Principles emphasize Emotional Intelligence and friendship. Each one comes with a set of exercises. Couples who do them together will build Emotional Intelligence skills and strengthen their friendship with each other.

    Those who already Assume Love will find it much easier to master Gottman's Seven Principles. They will also have a great tool for fighting off the Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

    The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver. New York: Crown, 1999. 288 pages.
    Posted by patty at 5:08 PM


    Anonymous said...

    I have been out of town, but am so happy to see you reviewing this book. I have read all your posts re: it. Anytime a book puts the categories of love and respect as exclusive to either gender, I am immediately skeptical and truned off. I have been asked about this book more than once and one day I will read it, but right now I am way busy with 4 books I must finish in the next couple weeks (for a class I am teaching.) I am so grateful for your review as it gives me info I do not have time to read right now... but will...

    Gem said...

    Thank you, Suzanne!

    I am so thrilled that you looked at his proof texts and unravelled some of that! I agree that as a "pop psychology self help" book, it could help some couples. What has bothered me intensely is the pretense that the weight of biblical and church authority is behind Eggerich's premises. For 22 years of my 26 1/2 year marriage, I LIVED what he preaches and it was deadly to my spirit :(

    In some marriages, healthy fear is definitely in order!

    There are not too many "portraits of marriage" in the NT. Among them is the "portrait" of Ananias and Sapphira which reinforces the need for healthy FEAR in a marriage and in the church, and how the lack of healthy fear in the marriage of Ananias and Sapphira brought about a revival of healthy fear in the church.

    "So great fear[phobos] came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things" Acts 5:11