Book Notes: Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

About five years ago, we published Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It has sold more than one million copies and is consistently one of our top five bestsellers at Thomas Nelson.

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A couple of weeks ago, Gail and I had the privilege of attending the Love and Respect Conference in Dallas. It started on Friday evening and ended Saturday afternoon. Emerson and his wife, Sarah, taught it. They are both excellent communicators.

Although we have read numerous books on marriage and attended many seminars, this one was truly unique. In fact, it is probably the most helpful one we have ever experienced.

In the book (as well as the seminar), Emerson quotes a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 7:28: “If you marry, you have not sinned, but you will have trouble.” Unlike Hollywood, the Bible is very realistic. Marriage is difficult, in large part because men and women are so different.

Emerson explains “The Crazy Cycle” in both the book and the conferecne. I found this particularly helpful: Without love, she reacts. Without respect, he reacts. The husband and the wife then unconsciously get trapped in this cycle of reacting to one another rather than giving to their partner what they need.

Emerson uses two acronyms to explain to men and women how to provide what their partner needs. To the men, he uses the acronym of C-O-U-P-L-E to remind them what their wives need. This is how you spell love to your wife:

  • Closeness—She wants you to be close.
  • Openness—She wants you to open up to her.
  • Understanding—Don’t try to fix her; just listen.
  • Peacemaking—She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”
  • Loyalty—She needs to know you’re committed.
  • Esteem—She wants you to honor and cherish her.

To the women, he uses the acronym of C-H-A-I-R-S to remind them what their husbands needs. This is how you spell respect to your husband:

  • Conquest—Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.
  • Hierarchy—Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.
  • Authority—Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.
  • Insight—Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
  • Relationship—Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
  • Sexuality—Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

The book is very balanced. Both partners are responsible for the health of the relationship and either one of them can take the initiative to break out of the crazy cycle. This book provides readers with both the motivation and the tools to do so.

Gail and I were so impressed with the seminar and the book that we are considering starting a couple’s class this fall in our home. We have ordered the DVDs, because we want people to get the content directly from Emerson. He is a great communicator.

Note: If you are signed up with Thomas Nelson as a Book Review Blogger, we are making this book available free to the first 200 bloggers who request it. Even though we have sold more than one million copies, we think this book is just getting started. I want to do what I can to introduce it to people who have yet to hear of it.

Question: If you read the book, what did you think?
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  • @joshperrington

    Wow! Would love a copy please!

  • Charles Robinson

    My wife and I recently watched the DVD series with 2 other couples from our church…AMAZING insight! It was like Emerson turned the light on in a dark room. Siouxsan and I understand each other so much better now. Our marriage, friendship, relationship, and love is growing!

  • Audra Krell

    Read the book, been to the conference and would have got the T-Shirt had it been available! Also want to highly recommend their other Love and Respect book: Motivating Your Man God's Way. I went through this book in a women's Bible study setting and it changed my life. Changed my marriage, changed the way I view and actively respect all the men in my life, including male authority figures, men in Church, our President and most importantly, the way I now respect God. Thank you for making this book available, I too share your hope, that it is just getting started.

  • Colleen Coble

    I haven't heard of this yet. It sounds awesome!

  • Bill Whitt

    My wife and I have benefited greatly from this book. Once you see the dynamics involved in the "Crazy Cycle," it's easier to break.

    The sad thing is that in today's world, most people don't admit there are differences between men and women anymore. The fact that men and women are wired by God differently, means they have different needs and different roles to play in the family. Because this book is bold enough to build on that concept, it has the power to changes lives!

    By the way, you may want to re-edit your video because there's a musical tag at 2:23 that is out of place. I like the concept of a video review, but you might want to consider using a lav mic and getting a little distance between yourself and the background too. (Just some ideas…)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Bill. I'm not sure what happened on the music. I am re-doing it now. I'm still experimenting with all of this and trying to keep it simple—which is a challenge for me!

      • Bill Whitt

        It's easy to happen. I edit our non-profit's 30-minute TV show every week, and there's always something out of place on the first draft (a music bed, a lower third graphic, etc.). I have had to build time into the schedule for a thorough proofing before the final render just for the purpose of screening for those things.

        Thanks again for the video! Great book!

        • Michael Hyatt

          The new video is loaded. I replaced the old one, so the new one should be okay. Thanks again.

  • LynnRush

    Okay, so me and my hubby went to that same conference when it was up here in Arizona. It was amazing.

    These guys were great in their presentation style too. Energetic, funny, engaging. Was probably the best marriage conference we've ever attended. Now, I haven't sat down and read the book…But I tell ya….what they presented in the conference was priceless.

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  • John

    Mike, As I told you before this book was so instrumental in taking our marriage to a place where we both were able to empower each other as a couple and give each other what we need to succeed as individuals. It helped us fulfill what we feel God has called us to do with our lives. Additionally, I learned many practical skills for my relationships with both men and women. I love teaching this book. We discover new truths each time. I am excited to see how the new Thomas Nelson initiative brings this message to a fresh audience.

  • @AndrewComings

    A friend gave me Love and Respect, and it was one of the best gifts I have ever received. It has changed my outlook in my relationship with my wife. I highly recommend it.

  • Dineen Miller

    Fabulous book. We list it as a resource at

  • John Young

    In a world where there are tons of books offering marriage solution Emmerson is the real deal. I was one of the first to interview him for a radio show when Love and Respect came out. Then it all looked risky. He had quit his job as Sr Pastor at a large church feeling a calling to take this simple message to a world drowning in "marriage seminar overthink."
    His followup that TNP got upon the purchase of Integrity's great catalog didn't have the audience it should have. "Cracking the Communication Code" was just as valid but people couldn't get enough of "Love and Respect." This is testimony that whether it's Emmerson, or Dave Ramsey or Gary Chapman's older books, the audience isn't always begging for a new hot title but a title that works and delivers on the purchase expectation. Plus he's a very sincere man who doesn't make the audience feel dumb. Mike you used to tour with Gary Smalley, also a great communicator. I'd love to hear you one day speak to great communicators like Gary, Kevin Leman and Emmerson and what makes some seminars just terrific and some that sound like the same thing we heard last year.

  • WendyEL

    I have read this book. It is EXCELLENT.

    A group of ladies went through this together at my church. Very eye-opening. My husband, when I asked him, said I already showed him respect but I still learned so much. I continue to refer to this book often.

    Men and women think and speak differently. This books helps to bridge the differences so they can be enjoyed.

  • Mrs. Betts

    Michael, We attended a mini-seminar by Dr. Eggerichs. We had attended many marriage enrichment sessions prior to this one, but my husband said that this particular one was "meaningful" to him. We were so excited about the material that we taught two 10-week sessions in our Church to other couples. That led to another Church also starting video teaching sessions as well. Regardless of how long you have been married, this book and these principles are MUSTS! love and respect, Mrs. Betts

  • Eva Ulian

    I'm afraid I'm not really the best person to comment on this subject as I have never thought upon marriage as an option in my life. However, I would imagine you have to work at this type of relationship far more than you would with other relationships. Possibly the relationships that are most lasting are those on internet- you can unplug them when you've had enough- not so with your mate, even though increasingly more people think that is the fashionable thing to do.

  • MonikaM

    This book changed my life! It's a must read even for singles. We may not be married, but we are connected to marriages all around us and have been positively or negatively affected by this "institution". I think it can be a good "confront your preconceived ideas" kind of read. Especially when we invest the energy to work through it! I will use this one as a reference book, like an always available coach!

    • Michael Hyatt

      In that sense, I think the book is great for anyone who just wants to understand the differences between men and women. I think it would be helpful for anyone, married or single.

      • Eva Ulian

        In that case, I'd like to take advantage of the offer and request a copy- with thanks!

        • Michael Hyatt

          You'll have to do so at the Book Review Blogger site: Thanks.

  • ML Eqatin

    This is my favorite lay marriage counseling series. We use it with our Muslim friends, and it works across faiths and nationalities. Dr. Eggerich has graciously replaced for free every copy of the DVDs that we send on to Pakistan.
    Meeting a felt need is the best way to share love with the world.

  • @wmnate

    I would love to have a copy, I recently got married (May 30,2009) and my wife and I would like to read it together.

  • marcpayan

    I highly recommend this book and while you're at it pick up his newer book Cracking the Communication Code. The DVD series is also awesome. Can't say enough good things about the Eggerichs. :) -@imarriage

  • Michael Holmes

    I must admit…I have not read the book OR heard about…but after hearing about the infomation you just communicated…I want to read the book and/or listen to the DVD (it probably would be the DVD to be honest).

    Thanks for sharing this information and be blessed:)

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  • Lisa notes…

    I went to the seminar, too, and LOVED it. SO insightful. I recommend it (and the book) to everyone because if you're willing to apply the principles, it will dramatically improve your relationships. Our church bought the audio CDs of the book for all our families (a huge investment) and prayerfully, it will pay off with stronger marriages.

    I even encouraged my college-age daughter to read the book to help her understand a little more about how men work.

  • SoniaC

    I read the book about 2 years ago, and I loved it! I never really understood how important respect was to men. It helped me with my husband but also with all the men I worked with… I discovered that I have be aware of respect at all times. The illustration that really stuck with me in the book was how a majority of men would choose having no one to love them vs. having no respect. I didn't know they did conferences. We'll have to keep our eyes open for one in our area.

  • andysibirsk

    I read this book several years ago and it was very helpful for me. It is now available in Russian and we are using it for an engaged couple seminar we are leading next month. It is a straightforward book that helps define marriage by relationships: ie he needs respect she needs love and not roles: she submits, he leads. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

  • heidi

    The book probably covers this, but to borrow Tim Keller's thoughts on sin… Sin is often over-desire for the good things – good things are thrown out of perspective and become gods. It's so hard to be simple in relationships…and remember that the little god – self – gets in the way. I sometimes wonder if it's more about this rather than trying to understand the differences between men and women. But I'm sure the book is helpful. This is a single person's perspective, so toss out the window. ; )

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  • Walter

    I think that aside from the differences in men and women, one factor that is mainly overlooked by marriage books is sin. When two sinners marry, they will sin against each other. But alas, love overcomes a multitude of sins.

    The biggest problem in your marriage isn't your spouse. It is YOU. Marriage is another tool that God uses to sanctify us. James tells us we don't argue and fight because our spouse is "different" but rather, because of our own sinful desires.

    Most marriage books are helpful in that they provide information that is useful, but few if any deal with the heart. The fact that two sinners have said "I do".

    Recommendation: Paul Tripp's "what did you expect?"

  • Sheila

    You might think you've heard lot of infomration about marriage, but this book offers a truly fresh, new concept and one that can transform a marriage. The idea of men needing respect made me more conscious of the tone with which I address my husband, and that in turned made him more willing to listen to what I wished he would hear. It also changed the way I approached my adolescent son as he was entering manhood. RUSH to buy this book, or have fun attending the entertaining and winsome Love & Respect Conference. Dr. Eggerichs is among the finest and most compelling communicators you will ever hear. You will be sorry if you do not invite your gang of friends. (You can also order the DVD and workbooks for a home group of church class.)

  • Darren

    I’ve read the book, and it’s great!

    The “COUPLE” acronym is a great reminder for men. 

    But my favorite (and most challenging) part of the book was the reminder that marriage is ultimately a reflection of your relationship with Christ.

  • Maureen

    Would love and benefit from a copy of this book.  Yes please!

  • Skdevore

    How can I get the original book in ebook format? I can find the newer ones but my husband and I want to read it on our android platforms. Please email me at

  • Spar

    This book will benefit so much for me on my journey of relationships, or dealing with the problems arosed from my parents broken marriage, even though I am not yet married. I think it will be very useful and I’d love to have a copy please1