However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I love to read. There are days when my husband and children completely lose me to a book. I’m not saying that this is good (I need to put the book down to love and serve my family), but it’s just an example of how much I love to read. For a long time, I mostly read fiction and threw in some other books here and there as I had the interest. But I realized in the last months, that I was using fiction books as an escape. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I was WAY overboard. I didn’t neglect keeping the house, making the meals, and general care for the children. I just did all those things while reading — never truly pulling myself back to reality and enjoying the time with them. So I have taken a sabbatical from reading fiction. I have not given up reading. I believe that it is important to be reading. I believe that my love for reading has helped to instill the same love in my older son. And I believe that reading (quality books, not junk) will help us to grow as people.
That said, I have a recommendation to anyone who wants to have a really great marriage. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich has really challenged me to give my husband unconditional respect. Our culture thinks of respect as something to be earned, but that isn’t really what the Bible teaches in regard to the marriage relationship. Eggerich does a fantastic job of showing women how we unintentionally disrespect our husbands. He has explained how we will naturally reach out to them in love and how they naturally receive it as disrespect. I’m sure that I won’t do it perfectly, but after reading this book, I will change the way that I approach my husband in some areas of our relationship.
The title is Love and Respect. He speaks equally to husbands as to wives. He talks to the husbands about how their natural tendencies can make wives feel unloved.
Eggerich points out things that I have not heard others do. He constantly draws the focus back to how we were created. And He uses the Bible as the basis of his teaching.
There are testimonies of marriages that were going through steps towards divorce that have been saved once the principles in this book were applied. My marriage isn’t even close to that, but it is already stronger!
My husband and I listened to the audiobook together. I think that we both enjoyed doing it that way. We were able to pause and discuss points of interest. I was able to ask, “Do I do that?” A time or two I heard Eggerich describing me and I was able to pause and confess that to my husband and ask his forgiveness. It is a book that I suspect I will need to listen to again down the road — just to be reminded.
So if you have time and you want to strengthen your relationship with your husband, go get and read this book. Or get the audiobook and see if your spouse will listen with you. But don’t get it to change him. I’ve done that. I have read a book, heard the things that I wanted from my husband in there, and encouraged him to read it hoping that he would get it. He didn’t. I’m pretty sure that it’s because God wants us to work on ourselves, not others! This time I came to this book hungering to change myself to be a better wife. This time, we’re both being changed. God enjoys blessing a heart that is humbly bowed before Him. For me, this time, He is blessing it through my husband’s gentle reminders of his love for me. What a great Father He is!