FamilyLife Today® Podcast

The Real Reason to Love and Respect

with Emerson Eggerichs | August 1, 2008
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On today's broadcast, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book Love and Respect, reveals the ultimate reason why husbands should love their wives and wives should respect their husbands. Don't miss it!

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • On today's broadcast, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book Love and Respect, reveals the ultimate reason why husbands should love their wives and wives should respect their husbands. Don't miss it!

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

On today’s broadcast, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book Love and Respect, reveals the ultimate reason why husbands should love their wives and wives should respect their husbands.

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The Real Reason to Love and Respect

With Emerson Eggerichs
August 01, 2008
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Bob: Couples who find themselves struggling in marriage are often struggling because they just don't know how to communicate with one another. 

[musical transition]

One reason they don't know how to communicate with one another is because, as men and women, we communicate differently.  Here's Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Emerson: He wears blue hearing aids, and she wears pink hearing aids, and there is a dissonance that results from that.  A wife would like to talk about the marital problems on a daily basis in order to prevent major marital problems.  She'd like to keep the relationship up to date in order for us to have a wonderful marriage.  That's where she's coming from.  A guy is thinking, "If we're talking about marital problems on a daily basis, we've got a major marital problem."  You see how this works?  Not wrong – just different.

[musical transition]

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, August 1st.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Whatever color your hearing aids are, put them in and turn them up today.  We're going to help you communicate more effectively in your marriage.

[musical transition]

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  And real quickly, here at the beginning of the program, Dennis, let me remind listeners that today is the last day they have, the last opportunity they have, if they'd like to register for one of our upcoming fall Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences.  Attend this two and a half day weekend conference and save up to $100 per couple off the complete package.  All the details are on our website at  Go to our home page and click on the right side where it says "Today's Broadcast."  You'll find a link that will give you all the details of the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners.

But we need you to register today either by phone or online, and we need you to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener.  So if you call 1-800-FLTODAY to register, just mention that you listening to FamilyLife Today or mention my name, "Bob," or if you're online at, you've got all the details, you're ready to register, when you come to the keycode box on the registration form, type in "Bob," and you will qualify for the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners.  You'll save up to $100 per couple on the complete Weekend to Remember package but, again, today is your last opportunity to register.  We need to hear from you before midnight tonight Pacific time in order for you to take advantage of this opportunity.  And there will be folks standing by to take your call throughout the day, throughout the evening into the night. 

So call us at 1-800-FLTODAY or register online at, and then plan to join us this fall for one of our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences.  It will be a great weekend to remember, because we're going to talk about strengthening your marriage, improving your communication.  In fact, we're going to talk about improving your communication today, and I appreciate you taking Dr. Eggerichs literally, but I think you can take off blue sunglasses here in the studio …

Dennis:  Or …

Bob: … or blue hearing aids. 

Dennis: Or blue megaphones.

Bob: And you show up with all three of them here.

Dennis: That image is kind of frightening.

Bob: It's a metaphor.

Dennis: It's a frightening image – and women with pink sunglasses, pink hearing aids, and a pink megaphone – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs has joined us all this week, and it's been a treat to have you.  You have transformed Bob's marriage.  I can tell he's taking this stuff back home.

Bob: The pink and the blue, the whole idea here is that …

Dennis: He was talking to Mary Ann about those megaphones and hearing aids.

Bob: We do have to understand that we are different, and when we understand that and when we understand that some core needs are different, it can have a transforming impact on our marriage, can't it?

Emerson: God made us male and female, not wrong – just different.  A wife says, "I have nothing to wear."  What she means is she has nothing new.  A husband says, "I have nothing to wear."  What he means is he has nothing clean.  So we say the very same words, the same words, and if 10 women were listening to her through their pink hearing aids speaking through the pink megaphone, "I have nothing to wear."  "Sweetie, we don't have anything new, either, but the mall is open down there, and they've got a special on," right?  If 10 guys are listening to him say through his blue megaphone through their blue hearing aids, "I don't have anything to wear."  "She ain't doin' your laundry either?"


Dennis: There's a reason why he understands this.  Emerson heads up Love and Respect Ministries.  He and his wife Sarah have been married since 1973.  We got married in '72, so we've been tracking along some of the same lessons, kind of digging out the answers to our marriage from the same source – the Bible.  And you discovered that men and women need – well, something very simple – men need to be respected, women need to be loved.  And you believed in the command for men to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands; that there is a reward, a benefit, that God has for couples and individuals who practiced this.

Emerson: Yes, yes, and it's based on Ephesians 5:33, and the first part, husbands love wives, there is a cultural church consensus that that's the way it ought to be.  Every woman believes that.  But the idea of respecting a man, some women gag – if they're having coffee at the table right now, they just spit it out across the table, so to speak, because she doesn't feel that. 

But God has revealed something that's very powerful, and we said couples get in a crazy cycle that when she feels unloved she reacts in ways that are disrespectful to her husband.  She doesn't really mean to, but that's how she's coming across, and what the Scripture is saying is soften that because he's not going to hear your deeper cry to be reassured that you're loved.  Because when a man feels disrespected, he tends to react in ways that he thinks is honorable but which, in a woman's world, shouts, "I don't love you."  He stonewalls, shuts down, and so the craziness.  Without love she reacts without respect, without respect he reacts without love.  And we've been addressing how you get off that crazy cycle, and in our book we talk about that, we talk about how you spell love, how you spell respect.

But what we're asking now is, "Well, what if I do this in good faith?  I'm going to try to be a more loving man because I'm a man of honor."  "I'm going to try to be a respectful woman, because I'm a woman of love.  And this thing of respecting a man that you don't feel respect for certainly doesn’t seem right to me, but I'm going to do that, and I'm going to really try it, but, you know, I have this feeling that my husband isn't going to respond.  Maybe he's transferred his affection to somebody else, and we probably don't apply to where you're at."

Well, Scripture does apply to where you're at, and in some ways the Scripture is addressing issues that are even worse.  Hosea 3:1, "How do you win an adulterous woman?"  The prophet said, "Go love a woman who is adulteress."  You win a woman through love and, in this case, she is an adulteress.  How do you win a man?  Peter is very clear – you win him through respectful behavior.  You can win your husband, who is disobedient in the Word, 1 Peter 3:1-2, "through respectful behavior."  You win a woman through love, you win a man through respect, and this man was disobedient to the Word.  He is one bad dude.

So you who are listening, there is hope, there is hope, but I know it's problematic, I know you're suffering, and what your deeper cry is, "Are you sure this is going to work in my case?"  And the answer is "Yes."  Now, they divorce you and marry another person, it's over with, I understand that.  But let's not shut the door on your relationship if God hasn't absolutely shut that door yet.

But now just suppose, though, you're in this marriage, and it's not working, and you think, "What would give me the incentive to do this?  Why in the world would I do this?"  Well, here's what's exciting.  You're not going to be married to this person in heaven.  Do you remember the story of the Sadducees?  We could laugh at that, because this is temporary, and I only have to suffer for so long, but the powerful story of the Sadducees, they came to Jesus, tried to trick him, and the Sadducees said to Jesus, "There were seven sons, and, well, this first son married this woman, and he died.  So tradition is she married the next son.  Lord, he died, and so she married a third, and he died, and fourth, and he died, and the fifth, and then he died, and the sixth, on to the seventh, and then the seventh husband died, and then she died.  In the Resurrection, whose wife will she be?  In other words, they were asking, "Who is she going to be married to?  Who is she going to be married to at the Judgment?" 

"We've got you tricked here because the Resurrection isn't real," they didn't believe in it, but it was a trick.  But Jesus said, "You neither know the Scriptures nor the power of God.  You're not given a marriage in heaven nor will you be married in heaven, but you'll be like angels."  And the Bible teaches that we're the bride of Christ and Revelations says, "Behold, the wife of the Lamb" – that we're married to Christ.  The marriage feast begins, the consummation of our eternal marriage to God.

The point is this – marriage is a tool and test to deepen and demonstrate our love and our reverence for Jesus Christ.  God calls me to love Sarah, my wife, and I'm going to fail at it every day.  But it's as though I'm really to love Christ.  I love Christ and periodically Sarah walks in between me and Jesus, and my love for Christ should spill over onto Sarah as love for her.  So if I'm not loving Sarah, ultimately, as a follower of Christ, it means I'm not loving Christ.

Sarah is called upon to reverence Jesus – Ephesians 5:21 and all the way through – "In the reverence of Christ we do what we do."  And I walk in between her and Jesus, and her reverence for Christ should spill over onto me as respect for me.  That's why women say, "I'm not going to respect him" then she doesn't know the Scripture.  I'll give her some grace there, but if she does know that verse, and she's saying, "I’m not going to do that," then I say, in my heart, she's not reverencing Jesus Christ, because it's not about her husband, it's about her trust. 

In fact, I can see it – I'm standing before the Lord on the judgment, and the Lord says, "Emerson, did you love Sarah?"  [laughing] "You've got to be kidding.  Lord, do you know the family of origin stuff?  Do you know the stuff that woman was" – "Emerson!"  "Yes, Lord?"  "This isn't about Sarah.  I commanded you to love her.  Did you do that out of trust and obedience toward me?  And did you do that out of love and reverence for me?"

You see, that's how it's going down.  In fact, Christ said, "As you've done it to the least of these, you've done it to me," and Paul is very clear in Ephesians 5, which is the major treatise in the New Testament marriage.  He starts out horizontally about loving your spouse, respecting your spouse and that whole teaching, but woven into all of that is the woman does what she does "as to the Lord."  He goes vertical, and the husband is to do it as "Christ loved the church." 

So what the Scripture is calling me to do, and Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to say, "Whatever good thing each one does, this he'll receive back from the Lord."  Every time I put on love toward Sarah who is disrespectful to me, there is a reward in heaven.  There is a cha-ching effect.  Nothing you do is wasted.  When I first strated teaching this I thought people might shut down on it, but people are in such despair that they just feel like this is all a waste.  No!  No, no, no, no.  Everything you do matters, everything counts. 

As believers, we have to ask ourselves, do we live by a revelatory view of the world?  Do we believe that God is there and Christ is His Son, and when Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God," do we or do we not believe that? 

You and I are going to have to come to a point – if God is there, and He has spoken on this, then this isn't about my spouse.  This is about Christ and me, and the Lord wants to say, "Atta boy," he wants to say "Atta girl," and He isn't playing a game here, and He's not a cosmic killjoy to ruin our party.  It's going down and, for some of you who are faithful, you have no idea of the rewards that are coming.  You have no idea, because God does not want you to know, but you've got to trust Him.

Bob: Faithfulness may mean suffering for some people, right?

Emerson: That's right.  We say if you're in harm's way physically, you need to get out of that.  But if there is a social suffering, the persecution, the reviling statements, Peter is very clear.  Jesus uttered no threats when He was reviled.  He kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, and Christ became the great model for this.  You cannot, in any way, divide the Word any other way.

Now, the question is – why would anybody want to suffer?  Is that just an in in itself?  Well, in many cases, the suffering is not anywhere close to what it could be.  We're not talking physical torture here.  We're talking emotional rejection, and I've also been making the case that – in many cases, it feels like rejection when it's not.  He is stonewalling because he feels disrespected not because he's trying to be unloving.  She is being disrespectful to get you to connect with her because she's feeling insecure about being unloved. 

In most cases, it ain't suffering by any stretch of the imagination, but there are those episodes that we all experience, like the adulterous situation, where it is true evil, and it is devastating and defiling, and in that decision that you make to enter this suffering – oh, the times of quiet meditation, the times of prayer, the incredible presence of God that will show up, and the cha-ching effect in heaven is beyond anything you can think, ask, or imagine.

Bob: You know, we had as a guest a woman who went through a season of breast cancer.  She was in chemo and radiation for a year, she had a mastectomy as a part of this procedure, and she said that the end of that year that she wouldn't trade the year's experience, that suffering she had gone through, because God had been there in the midst of it and had loosed some bonds.  He had taken her through the fire to burn off some of what was keeping her bound up.  For a woman or for a man who perseveres in the middle of a difficult marriage situation, God is going to be there, God is going to walk through it with them, and He is going to be closer to them than they've ever experienced before.

Emerson: Exactly, and we just went through – my wife just went through a double mastectomy, and just suffering of that nature, the physical suffering, is part and parcel of the world we live in.  And in some ways, as mature people, we recognize we aren't going to get out of this world alive, and that these kinds of things happen.  What the troubling is, is I didn't get into marriage with the idea that I was going to suffer, and so a person has to then come to this realization – are you going to blame your spouse, then, for not "meeting your deepest needs?"  And that's a legitimate question.  Now the question is, are you going to divorce the person, are you going to resent the person?

It seems to me that this is really a golden opportunity.  You're set apart – that you can actually imitate Christ.  Wouldn't it be sad if you ascended into the eternal realm, and you looked back and, "You know, I never had an opportunity to suffer.  I never had an opportunity to identify with the sufferings of Christ."  This is a moment in your life that you may be able to go very deep into your relationship with Christ, but if Christ isn't important to you, then what I just said you want to spit at.

But if Christ is there, and this is real, then I'm going to invite you to consider, it's not fair, it's not just, but whether there is something that is so precious that is going to come to you – not now, necessarily, maybe the marriage won't be restored, but I'm going to tell you there is coming the day when you ascend into the eternal realm, you will not be able to express the depth of emotion you are feeling as you worship the one who loved you and said, "Oh, Lord, thank You for that.  Thank You that you gave me the privilege of entering that kind of suffering."

Dennis: We don't get married planning on suffering, and that, I think, is largely the problem.  And so we don't know how to operate by faith as we encounter suffering, and yet the Scripture warns us – 1 Peter, chapter 4, verse 12 – "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing as though some strange thing were happening to you.  But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing so that also at the revelation of His glory" – and here's the kicker – "you may rejoice with exaltation."

What you're saying here is for many who are listening to us – in fact, I think we can safely say for all, because we all have been called to suffer at some level – it may be the loss of a job, it may be a child who has become a prodigal.  We have all been called to suffer and handle suffering by faith and fulfill what is our obligation, what God has called us to be and to do.  He has called us to obey Him regardless of how we feel.

I want to make one other application, Emerson, and you've been hitting on this all week long, and I want you to comment on this.  We're not just calling couples to stay married, we're calling couples to get out of their cycle of damage to one another and get on a healing road.  But we're also calling couples to counsel and advise friends whose marriages may be in trouble. 

You're calling the Christian community to go and pursue those who are on their way to a divorce, perhaps for some, frankly, some surface reasons.  We've been talking about them all week long – and to go in pursuit of those marriages and say you know what?  Maybe you've been called to suffer.  You've been called to live by faith.  You're a believer.  You're a follower of Christ.  You can't divorce that person.  And go do battle on behalf of marriages that are otherwise going to be terminated because no one stepped into their lives and spoke the truth to them.

Emerson: Exactly, profoundly said.  When I first began to share some of these things, and I suffered in my own upbringing, so I kind of understand that pain.  I cried myself to sleep so many nights when Mom and Dad were not getting along, I wet the bed, I said, until I was 11 and went off to a military school and the loneliness that I experienced – just my own childhood was not really what I would call happy.  So I understand at some levels, and we all have issues. 

When I first began to talk about this suffering thought, I thought, "How would people hear this who are in that?"  What I've been really amazed at, the people said, "You know what? At one level I really don't like hearing that because I want to be happy, but I know I'm not.  And what you've now said is there can be purpose in this."  And the irony here is that when you put it that way that gives me a sense of mission, a sense of purpose, that this thing is not wasted; that this thing is not just some dead-end street. 

And I know now, and I'm confident saying this – some who are listening right now and even though we don't want to say, "You must suffer," there is a purpose in this suffering.  There is something that's going to result in this eternal glory, and it is going to come to you.  It is just a matter of time.  So if you remain true to this, it's going to take place, and you've got to trust that by faith and believe God in the midst of this situation.  And the world won't tell you that.  They are not going to say that.

And also on the point you made about these couples out there – folks, you who love God, and you who care about people, you've got to make sure that you are representing, as an ambassador of Christ, the truth of Christ.  It is so easy when someone is seated next to us, and they come over, alone, and they are crying, and they are weeping, and they are telling their story, this person is confused, particularly the woman.  She just doesn't understand what she can do.  She's tried everything.  She's trying to love on him.  It's crucial that we make sure that we're not saying, "You know what?  Maybe you ought to divorce the bum." 

I never remember anybody speaking into my mom, and this was in the '50s, and into my dad's life.  The culture, as a whole, didn't endorse it, so there was a pressure there.  Today there isn't any, and I would have rejoiced if someone had shown up at my house, and I could have been standing in my bedroom listening through the door crack while they were, "Jay and Ed, you can make it.  We had problems, but you can make it.  And for the sake of little Eddie" – which was my nickname growing up – "you can do this."  No one, Dennis, ever came to my house.

Dennis: And there has to be those people today.

Emerson: They're all over the place, but they feel – maybe it's not their right, and maybe it isn't their right – so you can just say, "This isn't my right, but we just love you guys so much, maybe we're going to say something really stupid here, but we just care too much about you and the family."  But beyond that, don't say to them, "God just wants you happy."  You're a false prophet if you say that.  That's not what Christ is saying.  They are to be blessed, but that doesn't mean in the happiness that we mean – that He wants you to have this romantic Hollywood thing, divorce the bum, and go out – that is not the message of Christ from the kingdom.

Dennis: I couldn't agree more.

You're going to have to make a decision – can I and will I stand alone in this, doing this unto Jesus Christ, and if it is the case, you have no idea, you have no idea – if the Bible is true, and Christ is real, and God is there, it's going down this way, and in a few years you're going to ascend into the eternal realm, and you're going to stand before the Lord, and He is going to say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant.  You were faithful in a few things – putting on love toward a disrespectful person, putting on respect toward an unloving person.  I'm going to put you in charge of many things."  Enter the joy of your Master, and when you turn, you're going to go "Aaaah!"  You have no idea what's coming, and God does not intend for you to know right now.  So you must take it by faith.

But I'm going to tell you this, if you put on love or respect, the world will tell you that you're a fool.  But you're going to have to ask yourself, "Is this foolishness really the wisdom of God, and is this going to result in an eternal reward that will never end?"

Dennis: I feel like saying, "Amen."  I mean it.  Emerson, thank you for making it clear – anyone who has listened today or at any point this week, has heard an unmistakable witness about the truth of God's Word, and I want to thank you for being a deliverer of that message but also of many, many marriages.

Emerson: Thank you.

Bob: You know, I have had the occasion many times at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference to point people to your book.  I've walked them over to the table and said, "This is a book you ought to get and read and read together, because I think it will have a profound impact on your marriage, and I want to encourage our listeners to contact us if they'd like to get a copy of the book, "Love and Respect," and I also want to encourage our listeners to attend one of these weekend getaways that we host for couples in cities all across the country.

This fall we're going to be in dozens of cities and today is the last opportunity you have to register for one of these upcoming conferences and to save up to $100 per couple off the complete conference experience.  Now, all the details are on our website at  You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY for more information or for details about when the conference is coming to a city near where you live, how you can get registered, all the details about the special offer we're making available to radio listeners. 

But if you want to take advantage of it, we need to hear from you before midnight tonight – that's midnight Pacific time.  This is your last opportunity to register.  You can do that online at, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY and register over the phone.  But keep in mind you need to identify yourself as a radio listener.  So if you're registering online, when you come to the keycode box on the registration form, just type in "Bob" and we'll know you're a FamilyLife Today listener, and you'll be all taken care of.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, say "I listen to the radio," or "I'm a friend of Bob," either way and we'll get you registered for one of these events and, again, you will save up to $100 per couple off the complete conference experience if we hear from you before midnight tonight.  That's midnight Pacific time, so we do hope you'll contact us and hope you'll plan to attend a great getaway weekend for couples, one of our upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences when it comes to a city near where you live.

And, with that, we've got to wrap things up for today.  I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us on Monday when we're going to introduce you to a remarkable couple who have a powerful story to tell about their own marriage relationship.  You'll meet John and Donna Bishop on Monday.  I hope you can be back with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  Let me say congratulations to my daughter, Katy, and her fiancé, Elliott.  They'll be married tomorrow night, and we'll see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today; hope for tomorrow.  


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