I just finished a phenomenal book called Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Brentwood, Tenn.: Integrity Publishers, 2004). Many of you have probably already read it, but I am often waaaaay behind on the new book release list. I only wish I'd read this one sooner.
Much of what Dr. Eggerichs has to say is pretty basic, but the simplest things like respecting our husbands can be the most difficult. In this book, you will see it clearly laid out with personal experiences from his own marriage and little snippets from emails and letters from real people who have put these biblical principles into practice and seen amazing results in their marriages.
There are only a few things I would have done differently. For one, I would have divided the whole thing up into men's-only and women's only books. I'm afraid many women who are looking for it will find plenty of ammunition to face their husbands with. However, Dr. Eggerichs does address this along the way: not to think about what your mate should be doing, but what you should be doing.
The second thing I would have done differently if I were setting up the book would be to put the last first and the first last. He finally gets around to discussing that the only way there will be lasting change in any marriage is by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God through a personal relationship with Christ. In my opinion, this should have been dealt with in the first chapter not the last one.
Other than that, I was very pleased with the nouthetic way in which the author approached the issues of failed and struggling marriages. Though he is a "doctor," he does not promote the you're-a-victim psycho-babble found in most marriage counseling today. He gives no one an excuse to say "if he/she would, then I would." This is so very important if we are ever to see our homes healed of the sins which are tearing us apart. Each must take 100% responsibility for his or her own part in the conflict and act on it by the grace of God. Dr. Eggerichs shows you how.
I would highly recommend this balanced, biblical approach to dealing with marriage struggles. My only advice would be to skip the paragraphs and chapters which deal with the opposite spouse. Let your own spouse read those parts, if he or she is willing, but don't use any of the information found there to hold it over their head. You will effectively defeat God's good purpose for your marriage.
Here is one of my favorite excerpts found on page 91:
Trusting and obeying God's Word because we love and reverence God never, ever makes us a hypocrite! When the alarm goes off in the morning, we get up, even when we don't feel like getting up. Because we do what we don't feel like doing, does that make us a hypocrite? No, it is a sign we are responsible people. Showing respectful behavior when we don't "feel respectful" is evidence of maturity, not hypocrisy. [-- Amen!]