The Language of Love & Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate
In LOVE & RESPECT, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs provided evangelicals with a formula for gaining a better marriage based on love and respect --- specifically, love for the wife and respect for the husband. His text brought insight and encouragement to countless (and some admittedly clueless) married couples who now work hard to deliver to their spouse exactly what the doctor ordered. Though his work was a resounding success throughout Christendom, Eggerichs was dismayed that some of the reports he was receiving continued to demonstrate an inability to move forward into deeper marital intimacy because of a communication breakdown.
Thus, Eggerichs's newest book focuses specifically on helping couples learn how to speak each other's language. He purports that women "hear" via a language of love, while men "hear" through a language of respect --- same principle, different modes of relating. He spends the bulk of this work offering real-life examples of men and women who struggle through day-to-day conversations trying to understand what the other is really saying.
For those readers who are not familiar with Eggerichs’s previous books, THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE & RESPECT opens with a chapter detailing the key points of his premise of love and respect. Next, he outlines three fundamentals for effective communication:
1. In Marriage, the Mouth Matters: Everything that is said either heals or hurts.
2. Not Wrong, Just Different: Recognizing that men and women truly do hear through different colored lenses.
3. Trusting Your Spouse's Goodwill: Being willing to extend oneself in faith that, at the heart of things, each spouse really does have the best interest of his/her mate in mind.
Following up on these basic communication starting points, Eggerichs then moves on to more practical matters, delineating “The Crazy Cycle” and how to stop this insidious marriage foe through decoding what your spouse is trying to say, ceasing to cut off the emotional “air hose” of one's spouse, and genuinely forgiving the offenses of one another.
Next, Eggerichs provides men and women with a detailed section titled “The Energizing Cycle.” In it, he explains how couples can enjoy a win-win situation by utilizing CHAIRS (conquest/hierarchy/authority/insight/relationship/sexuality) to energize the husband and COUPLE (closeness/openness/understanding/peacemaking/loyalty/esteem) to energize the wife.
To close, Eggerichs writes on “The Rewarded Cycle,” where readers will find a thorough examination of how Jesus spoke with love and respect to his contemporaries. He especially notes that Christ commands his followers to use truthful, uplifting and forgiving words on a consistent basis. Most important is the admonition that, despite another's "sin" against us, God's rewards for obedience to Him and trust in Him will always be worth the struggle.
Christians will appreciate this follow-up to LOVE & RESPECT, and each of Eggerichs's suggestions bear careful consideration.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on October 13, 2009