I would highly recommend Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Thomas Nelson for review purposes. You can purchase a hardback copy for under $14 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Respect-Desires-Desperately-Needs/dp/1591451876/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297463956&sr=8-1) or directly from the publisher at http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1591451876&title=El_lenguaje_de_amor_y_respeto&author=Emerson_Eggerichs.
My favorite chapter was titled, “Openness: She Wants You to Open Up to Her.” The author suggests, “At the level of intimacy, the wife is like the first circuit. If a serious marital conflict exists, this affects her whole being . . . This is because she is an integrated personality. Her mind, body, and soul are connected and her entire system reacts to feelings of hurt . . . As one wife told [the author], ‘If I’m battling with him in one area, I am at war with him in all areas'” (Eggerichs, 136). With that in mind, the author proposes a few practical steps to being more open with my wife:
* Share my feelings, telling about your day and difficulties: I need to be prepared to share with her what my day was like. In the event that I am exhausted or discouraged, I need to let her know that and then make sure to let her know when I will be ready to talk.
* Ask her what she is feeling and ask her for her opinions: I need to make sure she knows how much I value her ideas and inputs.
* My face shows her that I want to talk – relaxed body language and good eye contact: I need to be intentional in what I do or don’t do in the midst of our discussion.
* Take her for a walk to talk and reminisce about how we met or perhaps we talk about the children and problems she may be having with them: This needs to happen a lot more when I get from work – especially on those occasional sunny days in Seattle.
* Pray with her: Why can I pray with strangers at the church but am so embarrassed to be vulerable with my best friend?
* Give her my full attention . . . not grunting responses while trying to watch television, go on the internet, or read emails: I was convicted of this recently while reading a blog by a friend at http://ryancrsmith.blogspot.com/2011/02/no-tv-tuesday.html. I have sense been much more careful to resist the television upon my arrival home from work. My family needs me more than I need my downtime.
* Discuss financial concerns, possible job changes, or ideas for my future: Along with that, I need to hear about her dreams, her call, and her ministry (144).
This reminds me of the passage of Scripture that reads, “And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?”‘ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one Godt seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. ‘For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, coverst his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless'” (Malachi 2:13-16, ESV). Faithfulness is not merely an issue of sexuality but of the entire relationship. I must love my wife with my whole mind, body, and soul. I must give her all that I am and give her all that she needs. In so doing, the marriage becomes the greatest sign on all of the planet of God’s love and loyalty to humanity.
Official Book Description: Based upon Ephesians 5:33 and extensive biblical and psychological research, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs reveals the power of unconditional love and unconditional respect and how husbands and wives can reap the benefits of marriage that God intended.
Official Author Descriptions: Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known expert on male-female relationships. The author of several books, including the national bestseller Love & Respect, which has sold more than 1.3 million copies, Emerson and his wife, Sarah, present the Love & Respect conference to live audiences nationwide. Prior to launching their ministry, Dr. Eggerichs was the senior pastor of Trinity Church in Lansing, MI for 19 years. He has graduate degrees from Wheaton College and Dubuque Seminary and a PhD from Michigan State University. Married since 1973, Emerson and Sarah live in Grand Rapids, MI and have three adult children. He is the Founder and President of Love and Respect Ministries.