“Wow. Is that real leather?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” I said, stroking the soft brown cover and running my fingers over the title: The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The book just begged to be held and looked like a manly book.
The Love & Respect Experience consists of 52 short devotionals (each is only about two or three pages). Dr. Eggerichs explains that he wrote the book in response to feedback from his Love & Respect seminars. In writing each devotional, he “tried to keep them brief but still provide enough substance for busy people on the go.” (That sounds like us!)
The bite-sized portions made it easy for my husband and I to find five or ten minutes to sit down together and read. Usually, I read the chapter aloud to him and then we talk about it. Because this devotional book is laid out in 52 chapters, setting a one-a-week commitment to read and pray together might be a great way to approach it. (We didn’t do that, just because we were trying to read enough that I could review it.)
In each chapter, Dr. Eggerichs provides a Bible verse, a devotional, an “insight” that summarizes the ideas of the devotional, and then prayer suggestions and ways to put the devotional into action. He uses material from couples who have read his book or attended his conferences, and also includes anecdotes from his own marriage. The book contains discussion questions in an appendix, which can be used for group study or for starting discussions as a couple.
I found that The Love & Respect Experience was a good review of what I knew from reading the book years ago. My husband, who hasn’t read the book, says some things might make more sense if you have read Love & Respect; in this devotional, Dr. Eggerichs uses the “jargon” he coined in his earlier book. And in chapters 7 and 8, Dr. Eggerichs refers readers to more material found in Love & Respect.
One chapter that caught my attention was chapter 5, in which Dr. Eggerichs explains the 80:20 ratio. He looks at 1 Corinthians 7: 28, where Paul says that “married people will have a hard time” (CEB). Dr. Eggerichs explains that “around 80 percent of the time, your marriage can be categorized as good or even great while around 20 percent of the time, you may have troubles of one kind or another.” He choose 80 and 20 randomly to illustrate his point that “God does not promise a fulfilling, trouble-free relationship.”
Our culture would like us to believe that marriages end “happily ever after,” and if they don’t, then we must have married the wrong guy. But that’s not what God says. So Dr. Eggerichs counsels, “Do not live by the sandards of Hollywood; trust what God says in His holy Word.” He advises husbands and wives to focus on the 80 percent that’s good in their relationship, rather than the 20 percent of the time that they have bad days or face stressful situations. His insight for this chapter is, “Every marriage includes trouble some of the time. Do not let the 20 percent leaven all the rest.”
I’m looking forward to finishing this book with my husband. In only the first dozen chapters, it has lead us to talk more openly about some issues in our marriage and to start praying together again. I appreciate Dr. Eggerichs’ bluntness and honesty, and his insight into both Scripture and marriage. Wives, this would be a beautiful Christmas gift for your husbands (make sure you read the introduction to understand what he means by a “husband-friendly devotional”). Husbands, I’m sure your wife would also love to read this book with you.
To find out more about Dr. Emerson Eggerichs or the Love & Respect Ministries, drop by his website.
Check out more marriage advice at Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog To Love, Honour, and Vacuum. Today, she’s hosting Wifey Wednesdays, where bloggers can share their perspectives on being a wife.
Has a marriage book or conference such as Love & Respect influenced your marriage? Have you had an “ah-ha” moment in your relationship, such as the one I had about the 80:20 ratio?
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.