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Love & Respect: Biblical?

Love and Respect Book Review

 Love and Respect. Wildly popular and a continuing bestseller.

So, is it a biblical and helpful book, or just another “spirit of the age” fad deceiving and hurting many?

How do we establish which one it is?

Well, let’s exercise our biblical discernment to find out.

What we do know is that many people, pastors, and ministry leaders are recommending and praising it. Some are touting it as the best book they’ve read on marriage. Love and Respect has won numerous awards, including “Book of the Year” in 2007.

Hundreds of thousands of copies, if not more, have been sold.

Case closed, right?

… read the whole review

(download pdf above)

Comments

  1. Just wanted to express how much I appreciate this book review.

    I left my husband nine years ago because he refused to repent for his sin against me and our children. Shortly thereafter, he brought me Love and Respect to read, thinking it would fix our marriage.
    I read the first few chapters and did not feel right about it- especially considering all of my husband’s disrespect towards me throughout our marriage. I emailed the author, expressing my concerns about his book, especially the level of disrespect of my husband towards me – Eggerichs accused me of portraying my husband as if he was Hitler.
    I replied with the verse, “He that justifies the wicked, and condemns the just, even they are both an abomination to the Lord.” Eggerichs refused to accept any responsibility for his sinful attitude….
    To quote Mark Baker, “Every book rises or falls–at least in the eyes of God–based solely on how well it measures up to His Word of truth.”
    It seems to me that this same principle applies to Eggerich’s behavior.

    Thank you for sharing the insight contained within this review- it gave me the confirmation that I needed.
    God bless,
    Lora

    • Hi Lora,

      I’m so sorry to hear of your experience in your marriage and with this book. Sadly, I’ve counseled or known of many people with similar experiences. I can’t speak to your specific interaction with the author, but you used a key word for all of us: Responsibility. That is one of the main problems with this book and the “needology” approach. We just recently completed a book on marriage that has an entire section on this vital area of responsibility. It is impossible to have a good or godly relationship with anyone who does not handle responsibility well.

      Thanks for writing and sharing,
      Mark

  2. I just stumbled upon your review of Love and Respect while perusing the internet in a desperate search to find some validation for my own feelings on this book. The Sunday School class my husband and I are in is currently studying it. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. We attend a very conservative, godly church, but no one seems to see this book in the same light that my husband and I do. We are surrounded by chuckling head nodders who all seem to identify with Bob and Helen, and no matter how many times I ask for a working definition of respect or point out the other putting conditions on unconditional love, I am ignored. We were happy to find your essay– you very clearly articulated every single objection we have struggled to put into words over the past two months. While it seems we have completely lost this battle at our church, it’s good to know we are not alone. This book is empty, vapid, psycho-babble that completely misuses the little bit of scripture it haphazardly throws in. It’s offensive to me and my husband on every level. I can not believe it is so popular among Christians.

    Thanks again for this essay.

    • Hi Terri,

      Thank you so much for commenting, and for sharing your experience. Sadly, there are many others who have gone through a similar experience in their churches or community of Christians.

      The “twilight zone” is a good way of describing it. We, too, used to attend a conservative, Bible teaching church. Yet, when I presented the problems in this book to the pastors, that is when the wheels came off. In a lot of ways it seemed to expose a facade of “the Bible is our supreme authority and Standard.” I’m not saying this is true of your church, but since our experience I have, unfortunately, seen more and more churches willing to compromise with trendy books, which merely exposes that veneer. A lot of the motive is fear of addressing the conflict they will receive if they say there are problems with said book, not wanting to be seen as “divisive,” and, most of all, biblical discernment is nearly dead in most churches (it is hard, it creates conflict, it decreases one’s popularity, it takes a lot of faith, love and perseverance to faithfully discern, etc).

      You are very fortunate that both you and your husband are on the same page. I have received comments and concerns from just one spouse, while the other does not see it the same way.

      The popular thing was hard for us too, at least at first. When we started writing a book and the principles of biblical discernment then the “Problem of Popularity” principle became self-evident (that few recognize in the church). When was the last time that a biblical truth was popular? I have a hard time getting other Christians to see that … if something (a book, a ministry, a person) is popular then it is a red flag; it is not a sign to proceed.

      Also, when we spoke up, we were essentially told by some that, “Who are you? What do you know about this?” When, of course, this is what we do. So, at least part of that reaction was a motivating factor for us to put a book together on marriage (that we recently completed). There are still a few bugs we are working out, but, if I can say so, it is a very good BIBLICAL resource for marriages.

      We are blessed every time that others exercise discernment AND speak up about it. Thank you.

      • Lora Koetsier says:

        As the most American of all philosophies, pragmatism “if it works, then it must be good! If it doesn’t work, then it must be bad!”
        Pragmatism has saturated our education system thru John Dewey and has, to a large degree, infiltrated our churches.
        My fundamentalist childhood has resulted in significant emotional problems. At the age of 12, my sister informed our father of her atheism. However, I dug even deeper into God’s Word.
        Seems to me that overall, fundamentalism disregards the human dignity of children and advocates an authority that supersedes morality. I wrestled with these issues as I wrote my master’s thesis: Natural Law and Calvinist Political Theory. The writings of John Locke were most helpful of all, especially his statement: Any man who believes he is absolute monarch over his home should be divorced by his wife.
        I have turned my back on my fundamentalist background. I belong to a conservative Presbyterian church where women and children are respected. The Lord has gently led me back to His Word and I am currently leading two Biblestudies each week. I visit a church where the pastor used to be Muslim and I am reading the Koran so I can develop a new feminism based on moral foundation of natural law.
        For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5

  3. Thank God for this proper biblical review of this book!
    The first time I read this book I was a baby Christian that had fallen away from God, my marriage was in a shambles and I was desperately looking for a way to get back to “happy”. Of course not knowing the difference I figured this guy was a Christian author and former pastor…of course he knew better than I what God had in mind for my marriage. It did nothing.
    Then my aunt, who is a biblical counselor, told me about the doctrine of progressive sanctification. She focused in on the idols of my heart. It was like a dam exploded. I was filled with such hope for the first time in months, actually years, that we could get things going in the right direction that we had never been before.
    Six months later we reconciled and found a church in our area. They had a small group for Love & Respect and armed with my new information I had to join to see what they were teaching. I was ill. The first meeting I heard someone tell a horrible story about a friend in his unit that went against her husbands wishes and ended up divorced & being removed from the military. It illustrated how God condemnation isn’t pleasant if you go against his word and the young man finished by saying, “I guess that wasn’t who she was supposed to be with and she needs prayers.” Being new to the church I didn’t feel it was my place to lecture that man about reality that is the sovereignty of God, and apparently neither did the group leader because they shook their heads and agreed! The next chapter they went over was the one that basically says that women should give their husbands sex even if they aren’t in the mood because men need it. I couldn’t even finish reading the chapter.
    I quit the group. I couldn’t sit there with all the knowledge I had and allow them to pervert the word of God.
    I made an appointment with my pastor to discuss how horrible this book was and against Gods word. Granted I’m not highly educated. I have no degrees, no expensive education or a life grounded in the word of God. But I knew enough to know that I was fighting for God. I felt brushed off. He told me “I believe that all truth is God’s truth.” I am still attending the church and I am working on trying to introduce biblical counseling, but it is hard when psychology has entwined itself to the church. I am going to point people to your site and this review.
    Thank you so much for having the conviction to stand up for the sufficiency of scripture!

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