“We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man.“
A book that I find myself recommending to couples all the time is one that has had a profound effect on my life: Love & Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs.
Nearly 10 years ago, I first heard him being interviewed on WMBI, Moody Radio Chicago. What he had to say piqued my interest, so I bought two copies of the book—one for me and one for my husband.
At the heart of the book, as well as Eggerichs’ international marriage ministry, is the truth that women crave love in the way that men hunger for respect. Sure, we all need and want both of them, but when push comes to shove—when we are in the heat of conflict, particularly—those are the corners we typically retreat to.
Sadly, what often occurs is that a wife treats her husband with disrespect, so he responds in an unloving manner, which triggers more disrespect from her, and so forth. Or maybe it all started with the man not expressing love. Either way, it all adds up to what Eggerichs calls the “crazy cycle.”
To get off the crazy cycle, either the husband must resolve to be loving, despite feeling disrespected, or the wife must choose a respectful response even though she doesn’t feel loved. This creates the “energizing cycle.”
One of the biggest challenges, I have found in my own relationship as well as coming into contact with other couples’ relationships, is that women don’t realize when they are being disrespectful and the same goes for men—oblivious that their actions come across as unloving.
Men and women are so different. As one example, until reading Love & Respect, I thought reminding my husband a few times to take care of a task was being helpful, whereas he felt it was nagging. Perception is reality, so despite my intentions, I was actually being disrespectful.
It was one of the hard, but necessary, epiphanies that came from reading the book.
Conversely, when my husband walked away during a heated discussion, I viewed it as an unloving gesture—that he didn’t care enough to work through the problem. From his standpoint, getting some distance was the best way to keep the feud from escalating and leading to more serious relational damage.
Interestingly, about a month after getting the book, I heard two people from World Wide DreamBuilders (WWG), including Amway Diamond Sandy Yuen, enthusiastically recommend Love & Respect. The book was eventually added to the organization’s recommended reading list, which made it only the latest in a long line of marriage-growth books that reflect WWG’s commitment to nurturing strong relationships.
That focus isn’t universal, I have found.
Recently, as we met a couple undergoing some challenges in their marriage, my husband asked what marriage books they had read in the past. To our surprise, neither had read any.
Experiences like this have reminded me that what I have learned from World Wide Group, whether it’s strengthening my marriage relationship or any aspect of personal growth, is not typical.
Some people are fascinated by how to assemble a car engine and are willing to put forth the effort to learn that skill. Going back to when I was barely a teen, understanding people and how to improve relationships has been the area that has most captivated me.
What I like about books is their ability to shine a light on areas where I need to improve. I am much more open to instruction when it comes in this form than if someone were to counsel me directly.
Having recently celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary, I find marriage is far easier now than it was five, 10 and, certainly, 15 years ago—thanks in large part to the influence of books like Love & Respect and other titles that came to my attention through World Wide Group.
But of course, the value of any resource from World Wide Group or any other Amway-approved provider depends on an individual’s application of the teaching.