my weekend with Love and Respect

the smart, lovely, funny and clumsy Joy Eggerichs sent me and Matt Gates to the Love and Respect conference in Franklin, TN last weekend.  Matt and i weren’t getting along, so she thought it would help.  i kid.  i kid.  but seriously, Matt’s a real jerk.  and by jerk, i mean not at all a jerk.  except for when he beats me at pool.

Joy’s parentals, Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, wrote the book on what successful relationship looks like between a man and a woman.  literally.  they actually wrote the book.  Love and Respect to be exact.  they have expanded on the written word by traveling around all over the place speaking to groups of old and married, the googly-eyed engaged and baffled singles.

what the Eggerichs’ have to say, impacts them/us all.

their advice is Biblical, practical and applicable no matter what stage of life you’re in.  they don’t pull punches and they don’t shame anyone.  both those things were key for me, because at heart, i’m a skeptic when it comes to those who dole out relationship advice.

i know, i know.  hypocrite much?

i’d say “let me explain”, but it’s my blog and if you’ve been here for more than 10 minutes, you already know i’m going to do as i please.

a lot of what the church teaches about relationships is just plain wrong.  on one hand it’s completely milk toast and lacks any real practicality.  on the other hand, it deals out shame and a sense of never being able to live up to some unattainable standard.

Love and Respect does neither of those things.  it is encouraging and smart and the principles are doable from the moment you learn them.  i’m just sayin’, more than once i had a moment where i thought, “oh geez, i do that.  i should probably knock it off.”

one thing that had a huge impact on me was when Emerson said, “Women are not commanded to agape (unconditional) love, they are designed for it.  Men aren’t commanded to brotherly love, they are designed for it.  Women are commanded to brotherly love, because that’s what men need.  Men are commanded to unconditional love, because that’s what women need.”

of course that’s a paraphrase, Emerson is much smarter than i am, but you get the point.  frankly, i was kind of angry that i had never been taught this before.  it’s right there in scripture.  how did it get missed?

there were several more things i learned and was surprised i had never heard before that made perfect sense, but i won’t try to explain them.  i’d probably screw it up.

aside from a couple of awkward moments when people who recognized me asked if Matt was my husband and witnessing one couple leaving with the wife saying, “that’s what you said, but that’s not what you meant!” to her husband who looked like he wanted fall on the nearest sword, i’m glad i went.

get the book, go to a conference, whatever works for you, but just do yourself a favor and have a look at what Emerson and Sarah have to say.  it will change you.  for the better in case that wasn’t clear…

and if you’re single, it will give you huge jump start on understanding the opposite sex.  Lord knows, that wouldn’t suck.

have any of you been to a conference or read the book?

what do think about men and women being designed for different kinds of love and commanded to act in other kinds?


19 comments on “my weekend with Love and Respect

  1. G Fresh says:

    Sharideth, do you remember that stupid Twitter fight over a band that somebody started with me as we were leaving the church parking lot? I totally resolved it by recognizing why I was getting angry (a feeling of being disrespected) and using the principals I learned at the conference to diffuse the situation with both parties parting cyber ways amicably though still at a disagreement as to the brilliance (her opinion) or lack thereof (my opinion) of Foster the People.

    These principals are totally legit people; even on a non-romantic relational level. I highly recommend checking out Love & Respect*.

    *Totes non-paid endorsement 😉

  2. G Fresh says:

    Oh, and btw for those of you wondering; I’m pretty sure Sharideth has a fairly decent lead on me as far as pool wins go. Who’s the jerk now?

  3. Chris says:

    Did they give a verse reference for where wives are commanded to brotherly love their husbands? I’d be interested in knowing that.

    • G Fresh says:

      Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love (translated agape) his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect (translated phileos) her husband.

      I don’t have my notes on me, but if I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure this is the gist of what Dr. Eggerichs said.

      Sharideth? Does that sound about right?

      • Chris says:

        Thanks G Fresh!

        But the word translated “respect” (“reverence” in some translations) is actually the Greek word for fear: Phobeo. It is translated as “fear” in many other places in the New Testament. For example, it is used in “fear God” in 1 Peter 2:17.

        Did they refer to any other verses?

        • G Fresh says:

          I believe Titus 2:4 was referenced along with several others, but I don’t have the book yet and I can’t recall exactly off the top of my head.

          My bad for the mistranslation of Ephesians; Dr. Eggerichs was throwing a lot of information my way and some of it may have gotten mixed up. 😀

          • Chris says:

            Thanks! Don’t worry about the translation thing.

            The message I see on their website still seems a bit watered down from what I understand the Bible to say. Even Titus 2:5 still mentions the “obey” part, which Ephesians 5 is so famous for. I don’t see a lot of mention of this on their website, but hopefully I just missed it.

            If speaking respectfully can do that much good for a marriage, what would happen if wives continued on toward obedience? If respect is motivational fuel for a man, obedience seems like it would be dynamite. Not because he could relax on a power trip, but because with such a precious gift of trust, the man would fear God even more, and never want to take it for granted. The mere thought of having an obedient wife shines a light into my own soul that shows me how far I still need to go. Talk about sobering!

            Perhaps I should be happy for baby steps though. A “Love and Obey” conference might not get quite as many thrilling reviews these days, even though it is Biblical (which people seem to like to claim for their teachings). It is sad that we (including me) don’t always believe the Bible to be true, just by default; but instead we often appeal to science and research to convince us of these truths.

  4. Tyler says:

    I never thought of men being designed for brotherly love, but isn’t that so true. Its easy to have that kind of love for my guy friends, because it just sort of naturally happens after lots of hanging out. It’s that unconditional love that takes work.

  5. thekateway says:

    first, i’d like to tell you that i read the question first as “have you ever read a book?” and i thought, wow, sharideth, any book at all? that’s a bit ambiguous. of course your readers have read at least ONE book…


    i had never thought about the designed vs. commanded thing but it makes sense (leaning heavily on the assumption that i understand these correctly) as a girl, i can absolutely see how i was designed for love that was not based on pre-existing conditions and to love those around me in spite of the “because of’s” that people have…i don’t think that makes sense..oh well

    i can also see how i’m not designed for brotherly love but commanded to it because i’ve experienced SO MANY FEMALES who find it the furtherest thing from natural to love other females around them simply because they’re girls…

    can’t really speak for the guys on this one (or any of them really) but it’s definitely a concept that appears to have potential to be true.

    i’ll think on it some more.

  6. Check is the mail.

    Seriously though – thank you for helping me spread the word. I was truly so interested to see what your take would be. And look – I didn’t even have to threaten you.

    I too believe in the simplicity of this message (not people) and am thankful for people like my parents who explain God’s word in an honest way.

    p.s. You are not alone in the “why haven’t we been taught this” mantra.

  7. As ever, I am supremely suspicious (to the point of assuming it’s total nonsense) of anything that says “women are X, men are Y” when X and Y refer to anything except sex chromosomes.

    I am very curious as to the distinction between “brotherly” and “unconditional” love in this instance, and what in particular the characteristics of brotherly love would be in this context?

    Particularly because with my current understanding, I am left with the familiar feeling of, “Oh. I guess I must not be a man, then?” This is because I believe I have quite a lot of agape to give, but rarely extend “brotherly” love except to a very few and select group.

    • Bethany says:

      I’m with you on the confusion, albeit with a different perspective:

      Most of my love is conditional. I work on it not being so because God tells us to love everyone, but… I’m pretty sure only God is actually capable of actual unconditional love. That leaves us all with lesser, brotherly love.

      So what’s the definition of brotherly love? Love like between siblings? If so, then that’s as close as I get to unconditional love: No matter what they do, I will always love my sisters and brother because of the blood we share. And I will never love anyone as much as them (with the exception of marriage/children) because no one else has such an innate right to my love as I feel they have.

      If the meaning of brotherly love is love with respect (as G Fresh’s post indicates), then I still don’t see how it fits. Someone unconditionally loving me *without* respect is never going to satisfy me. My dearest friends love me very much, but if they all thought I was an precious but inept moron, they wouldn’t be my dearest friends.

      So, please explain what you mean.

      • G Fresh says:

        Men are designed for brotherly, respectful love; which is why God didn’t command us to it and vice versa for women and agape love. Because He’s not a redundant god He didn’t ask us to do something for which He had already designed us.

        Because we (men) are designed for it, the respectful love will already be there for our significant other. It’s the agape love that we struggle with which is why God commanded us to love our wives in this manner because we might completely overlook it otherwise and believe that our respectful love was enough.

        Both agape and phileo love are necessary from both parties, but we’re both commanded specifically as regards the types of love that might not come naturally to our respective genders.

        Does that make any sense? As Sharideth said above; Dr. Eggerichs is way smarter than either one of us and explained it much better than we are able to so I apologize if it’s still not very clear.

        I would just say, check out the book and their website. Good materials there.

  8. There’s no way I’m spending money to check out a book I have every reason to believe will just make me feel invisible , ignored and consequently very angry. However, I googled Dr Eggerichs and found the website.

    After reading some of it, I say again – I guess I must not be a man. Or, God designed me differently from “men”.

    Inasmuch as I could discern any clear distinction, it seems as though “respect” is used to mean something about honouring achievements or derring-do (a ridiculous amount of the examples referred to warlike or competitive behaviour), while “love” seems to be used to mean something about signals of pair-bonding (which, incidentally, doesn’t feel like my understanding of what agape means at all), being based around things like seeing people holding hands. At a push, it might be put down to a distinction of “value what he does/value what she says”, but that seems so vague and indistinct as to be almost useless.

    But a lot of the time the examples used in the “About Us” articles seem to confuse “love” and “respect” in the way that I understand these terms, anyway: for example, in one of them a husband getting home late without having called to day he’d be late is described as not showing love, but I would interpret that as disrespectful behaviour by him!

    I have a small amount of training in “person-centred counselling” in which “respect” is a synonym for “unconditional positive regard” (one of the three key principles of the counsellor’s relationship towards hir client, along with empathy and genuineness). This comes much closer to my understanding of agape than anything I saw on Dr Eggerichs’ website. It also seemed to me to be the key element missing in all the examples (whether male or female) that he used in his introductory articles there, and most could be coloured either way, as a lack of “love” or a lack of “respect”, in order to suit the thesis one wished to support, when really the missing factor is “I care about you first”.

    • Bethany says:

      Well, they are working off generalizations. Right on the front page, they say that in arguments, 83% of men feel more disrespected than unloved, which means, of course, that 17% feel more unloved. In the same way, the majority of men probably find the war analogies very relatable, but there are a large number of men who feel differently–just not the majority.

      Sadly, that means that most relationship books and books about being a man are going to be completely irrelevant to you. Laura Ziesel wrote about this: I find the same thing to be true of books about femininity, but that just means I’m drawn more to the Bible to find my answers, instead of spending hours highlighting my latest edition of “Captivating.”

      • Well, my point is more that it looks to me like Dr Eggerichs hasn’t discovered that men and women feel different things, but that they tend to use different language to talk about feeling the same thing. Because we’re not given any clear definition of what Dr Eggerichs means by the terms “love” and “respect”, we don’t know what the survey means about what people feel, only about what they say. For all we know, the men mean exactly the same thing when they say “disrespected” as the women mean when they say “unloved” (and vice versa). And I believe that that is exactly what is happening.

        • Bethany says:

          Yeah. I see your point. And, having read more of the site, I do agree with what you said earlier about his examples of non-love or disrespect being colored by his views.

          Like, when he/his wife wrote about a man walking out of the room when his wife is trying to talk to him: I immediately thought of that as disrespect (you wouldn’t do that to your boss, mentor, etc.), but they talked about the wife feeling unloved.Or there’s the wife that picks at her husband, which is colored as disrespect–and it is. But it’s also not very loving at all–certainly not unconditional love.

        • Bethany says:

          And it should be noted that in the above mentioned cases, I can pretty much guarantee they would switch the perceived loss if you switched genders. Meaning, if a woman walked out on her husband, they would say it was a lack of respect, and if a man picked at his wife, they would say it was a lack of love.

          So, really, I think you’re write about the communication just being different.

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