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Posted May 26, 2009
new way to look at marriage conflict
This is the sort of book one needs to reread on a regular basis. I anticipate that each time, I will be at a different place in my marriage, ready to see things in myself that I wasn't able to see before. Eggerichs' premise is that romance is not enough to sustain a marriage. He describes us as seeing our conflicts through pink or blue sunglasses and interpreting conversations with pink or blue hearing aids. I know this is true in my own life. Many times I am at a total loss to understand why my husband has taken offense at something I said. Eggerichs helps me to see that since my husband's greatest need is for respect, he hears my questions and desire to understand as challenges and accusations that he has not thought things through.
Eggerichs' assumption is that in most cases both parties are good-willed and that neither is deliberately seeking to crush the other. He is coming from a religious perspective and bases his approach on Ephesians 5:33-[a husband] must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Eggerichs argues that love is what the woman most desires and respect is what the man desperately needs to face the world with confidence. He discusses specific areas in which a wife needs to feel loved and a husband respected and gives lots of practical examples. In most cases when a wife offers respect, her husband will respond with love and vice versa, but Eggerichs maintains that ultimately, offering unconditional respect is my way of reverencing the Lord and not an option based on my husband's giving me love. We are so confident that everyone deserves unconditional love; why do we talk as though respect must be earned?
The writing style is conversational. This is obviously based on years of giving seminars. The arguments are by no means closely packed, but that is probably good since I needed time to absorb the ideas and see how they apply to my marriage. I got kind of sick of "I got this e-mail." or "A woman approached me after a conference." , but I think that is the nature of this kind of writing. The summaries in the appendices are invaluable for on-going review and evaluation of progress.
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