I chose to review this book, The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, because of the glowing reviews of his other book. Specifically, Mrs I, a woman from home whose marriage I admire, has always spoken very highly of Love and Respect. So I approached this book ready to glean firsthand the wisdom I had heard from others.
The idea of this book is that women need love, and men need respect. Not a ground-breaking idea, but one that has not to my knowledge been fleshed out to this depth. Dr. Eggerichs teaches through this book how to communicate more effectively with your spouse, using the principle that men tend to hear things in context of this is or is not respectful and women in terms of is he loving me or not right now?
Dr. Eggerichs gives some very useful advice on communication, as well as a load of specific situational advice (what to do if your spouse isn't responding well, what to do with an addicted or abusive spouse, how to handle marriage to a spouse who doesn't care to try, how to handle the day-to-day small communication issues). These parts of the book were helpful, practical, and doable. The concept of men needing respect from their wives, and women needing love was also valuable. For the concepts it presents, I give this book five stars.
Stylistically, this was a tough book to read. I found Dr. Eggerichs' writing to be repetitive and vapid. The book could have been much more powerful were it about half the length, because every time Dr. Eggerichs made an observation about men, he made the exact same observation about women, only with the appropriate words substituted. I got the idea. Really. It also bothered me how very many acronyms, illustrations, and titles he had (T-U-F-T-S, Crazy Cycle, Air Hoses, The Jesus Way of Talking, C-H-A-I-R-S, etc). Drove me a bit insane. And it was hard to keep track of what he was talking about sometimes. The other bone I had to pick with him was that it seemed that every time he gave a personal example, he made his wife look bad and himself simply look bumbling.
The best parts of the book were the letters and emails he printed by real people who were using the techniques of Love and Respect and finding that they work. And Dr. Eggerichs does a good job of insisting that he didn't invent these principles; he merely explained them. And he made a point of saying that you must not practice the principles of this book in order to manipulate your spouse into taking care of you better, but because it is what God wants you to do.
Overall, this is a worthwhile book to read. Grin and bear the writing itself, and glean the really helpful and practical relationship help Dr. Eggerichs offers. You won't be sorry.
Note: Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complementary copy of this book to review.