married man and woman holding hands

The Secret to a Better Marriage: Love & Respect

Action Steps and Reflections From “Love & Respect” written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.


Do you just want some peace and quiet? Do you want to feel closer to your spouse? Do you feel understood? Are you experiencing the marriage you’ve always wanted?


Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. “Love and Respect” is the perfect book for anyone married, engaged, in a relationship or sees themselves married in the future. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs based his book on Ephesians 5:33 “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”


The Crazy Cycle


Without Love > She Reacts > Without Respect > He Reacts > Without Love > She Reacts > Without Respect > He Reacts …. And it will go on and on if you don’t recognize the underlying issue and take control.


Women can be right but wrong at the top of their lungs. They can make their husbands feel put down by their demeanor and their tone of voice. When men feel put down, in other words disrespected, then instinctively they will react with zero love.


Many times the bigger, underlying issue of our arguments with each other is really women feeling not loved or men feeling disrespected.


It may be difficult, but to end the crazy cycle, someone has to take the initiative, so why not start with you? So, wives when you feel unloved, it can be extremely hard to respect your husbands when you feel like they haven’t earned it or deserve it, but you must respect your husband anyway. Husbands, that means even when you feel disrespected, and it’s especially hard to love your wife when you do, do it anyway.


It Starts With You


You can control this crazy cycle by making sure that you put a stop to it by reacting in a way not of that this world tells you to, but by reacting in the way God tells us to.


When a wife doesn’t feel loved and a husband doesn’t feel respected, the crazy cycle begins and will whirl round and round. This book teaches us how we can deal with conflict quick, easily and biblically with two simple ways – love and respect.


Getting trapped in the crazy cycle is all too easy. Recognizing that you’re on it and learning how to keep it from spinning out of control is possible, if we can learn how to meet each other’s basic needs for love and respect.


Below are the action steps, from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs book Love and Respect, for both wives and husbands to take to energize each other. And when spouses love and respect each other, they can enjoy life and marriage together.


For Women – How to Spell Respect that He Desperately Needs to Your Husband by C-H-A-I-R-S


Men are driven by respect. When they are respected, they are happy. It’s worldy to think that people have to earn your respect. You can’t say, to your wife “I like you but I don’t love you.” So wives shouldn’t say to their husbands, “I like you but don’t respect you.”


Below are easy action steps for how women can show respect to their husbands.


Conquest – learn to appreciate his desire to work and achieve


Your Husband Will Feel you Appreciate His Desire to Work and Achieve When…


  • You tell him verbally or in writing that you value his work efforts
  • You express your faith in him related to his chosen field
  • You listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen to your stories
  • You see yourself as his counterpart and talk with him about this whenever possible
  • You allow him to dream as you did when you were dating
  • You don’t dishonour or subtly criticize his work “in the field” to get him to show more love “in the family”


A wise woman builds her house. But a foolish woman tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1


Hierarchy – deals with the appreciating his desire to protect and provide


Your Husband Will Feel You Appreciate His Desire to Protect and Provide When…


  • You verbalize your admiration of him for protecting you and being willing to die for you
  • You praise his commitment to provide for and protect you and the family (he needs to know you don’t take this for granted)
  • You empathize when he reveals his male mindset about position, status, rank or being one-up or one-down, particularly at work.
  • You never, in word or body language, put down his job or how much he makes
  • You quietly and respectfully voice concerns about finances and try to offer solutions on where you might be able to cut spending


Those who talk a lot are likely to sin. But those who control their tongues are wise. Proverbs 10:19


Authority – covers appreciating his desire to serve and lead


Your Husband Will Feel You Appreciate His Authority and Leadership When…


  • You tell him you are thankful for his strength and enjoy being able to lean on him at times
  • You support his self-image
  • You praise his good decisions
  • You are gracious if he makes a bad decision
  • You disagree with him only in private and honor his authority in front of the kids / others
  • You give your reasons for disagreeing quietly and reasonably, but you never “attack”
  • You do not play “head games” with him to make him back down and be a “loving peacemaker”


Insight – touches on appreciating his desire to analyze and counsel


Your Husband Will Feel You Appreciate His Insight and Counsel When…


  • You tell him upfront you just need him to listen; don’t complain to him later that he always tries to “fix” you
  • You thank him for his advice without acting insulted or like he doesn’t care about your feelings
  • You recognize his problem-solving approach as his male brand of empathy
  • You realize your vulnerabilities, and value his protection
  • You counsel him respectfully when you differ with his ideas (you can be right but wrong at the top of your voice)
  • You sometimes let him “fix things” and applaud his solutions
  • You let him know that you believe God has made us male and female for a purpose and that we need each other
  • You admit that you can mess up and make mistakes and thank him for his perception and godly counsel


Relationship – helps you understand his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship


Your Husband Will Feel You Value His Shoulder-to-Shoulder Friendship When…


  • You tell him you like him and you show it (he knows you love him, but he often wonders if you really like him)
  • You respond to his invitation to engage in recreational activities together or you come along to watch him (for the “athletically challenged” as myself, you don’t have to go every time, but just now and then will energize him more than you realize)
  • You enable him to open up and talk to you as you do things shoulder to shoulder
  • You encourage him to spend time alone, which energizes him to reconnect with you later
  • You don’t denounce his shoulder-to-shoulder activities with his male friends to get him to spend more face-to-face time with you. Respect his friendships, and he will be more likely to want you to join him shoulder to shoulder at other times.


In marriage timing is everything: “a time to be silent and a time to speak”. Ecclesiastes 3:7


Sexuality – explains his desire for sexual intimacy


Your Husband Will Feel You Appreciate His Desire For Sexual Intimacy When…


  • You respond to him sexually more often and initiate sex periodically
  • You understand he needs sexual release just as you need emotional release
  • You let him acknowledge his sexual temptations without fearing he’ll be unfaithful and without shaming him
  • You don’t ever try to make him open up to you verbally by depriving him of sex


If women continuously, unconditionally respect their husbands, whether we feel like they have earned it or not, us showing them respect can end the crazy cycle making them love us.

couple engagement hands

For Men –  How to Spell The Love She Desires Most to Your Wife by C-O-U-P-L-E

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love” Ecclesiastes 9:9.


So yes men, that means that you don’t have to choose between a “fun, free life” or a “tied down life”. You can have both – a wife and an enjoyable life. It’s all about the relationship and that starts with you.


Women want to feel loved. When they feel loved, they are happy. Below are a few easy actions steps for men to take to make their wives feel the love that she desires.


Closeness – She Wants You to Be Close


Your Wife Will Feel Close to You When…


  • You hold her hand
  • You hug her
  • You are affectionate without sexual intentions
  • You are with her alone so you can focus on each other and laugh together
  • You go for a walk or jog…anything that results in togetherness
  • You seek her out…set up a date night…eat by candlelight
  • Go out of your way to do something for her, like run an errand or wash the dishes
  • You make it a priority to spend time with her
  • You are aware of her as a person with a mind and opinions…let her know you enjoy discussing things with her and getting her insights
  • You suggest the unexpected…get takeout and eat on the beach…take a walk to see the full moon…park on the bluff and watch the sunset
  • You pillow talk after making love … lie close with your arm around her and share feelings and intimate ideas…and never turn on the TV after…


A woman in love longs for closeness: “When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go” Song of Solomon 3:4


A husband is to recognize that “in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” 1 Corinthians 11:11


Openness – She Wants You to Open Up to Her  


Your Wife Feels You Are Open to Her When…


  • You share your feelings, telling about your day and difficulties
  • You say, “Let’s talk,” ask her what she’s feeling, and ask for her opinions
  • Your face shows you want to talk – relaxed body language, good eye contact
  • You take her for a walk to talk and reminisce about how you met or perhaps you talk about the kids and problems she may be having with them
  • You pray with her
  • You give her your full attention…no grunting responses while trying to watch TV, read, or write emails
  • You discuss financial concerns, possible job changes, or ideas for the future


Understanding – Don’t Try to “Fix” Her; Just Listen


Your Wife will Feel You’re trying to Understand Her When…


  • You listen and can repeat back what she said (not just the last two words, but what the whole conversation was about)
  • You don’t try to “fix her problems” unless she specifically asks for a solution
  • You try to identify her feelings
  • You never dismiss her feelings (no matter how illogical they may seem to you)
  • You say, “I appreciate you sharing that with me”
  • You don’t interrupt her when she’s trying to tell you how she feels
  • You apologize and admit you were wrong
  • You see something that needs to be done and you do it (you don’t have to always be told to do something, and do it without a lot of hassle)
  • You express appreciation for all she does
  • You pray with her and for her


“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25


Peacemaking – She Wants You to Say, “I’m Sorry”


Your Wife Will Feel at Peace With You When…


  • You let her vent her frustration and hurts and don’t get angry and close her off
  • You admit you are wrong and apologize by saying, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
  • You understand her natural desire to negotiate, compromise, and defer, and you meet her halfway
  • You try to keep your relationship “up-to-date,” resolving the unresolved and never saying, “Forget it.”
  • You forgive her for any wrongs she confesses
  • You never nurse bitterness and always reassure her of your love
  • You pray with her after a hurtful time


If you are angry with your wife, even for “a brief moment,” she is “grieved in spirit” and “rejected,” and needs reassurance that you love her. Isaiah 54:5-8


Loyalty – She Needs to Know You’re Committed


She is Assured of Your Loyalty When…


  • You speak highly of her in front of others
  • You are involved in things that are important to her
  • You help her make decisions, such as ones regarding the children
  • You don’t correct her in front of the children
  • You don’t look lustfully at other women
  • You make her and your marriage a priority
  • You are never critical of her or your children in front of others
  • You include her in social gatherings when others may leave their spouses home
  • You tell the kids, “don’t speak to your mother that way!”
  • You call and let her know your plans
  • You keep commitments
  • You speak positively of her and the children at all times


Don’t break your promise to the wife you married when you were young. “I hate divorce” says the Lord God of Israel. Malachi 2:15-16


Esteem – She Wants You to Honor and Cherish Her


Your Wife Will Feel Esteemed When…


  • You say, “I’m so proud of the way you handled that.”
  • You speak highly of her in front of others
  • You open the door for her
  • You try something new with her
  • You give her encouragement or praise with kindness and enthusiasm
  • You notice something different about her hair or clothes
  • You are physically affectionate with her in public
  • You teach the children to show her and others respect
  • You value her opinion in the gray areas as not wrong but just different – and valid
  • You choose family outings over “guy things”
  • You make her feel first in importance
  • You are proud of her and all she does


If men continuously, unconditionally love their wives, whether they deserve it or not, it will end the crazy cycle making you and her enjoy life together.


Additional Questions


The key to a good marriage is to build a strong foundation on the Lord. Pray this year will be a great one and strive to keep God in the center of your marriage. Simply put, we can control the crazy cycle, energize each other with love and respect and enjoy the rewards of a Godly marriage. 


If you have additional questions on love and respect or are going through some marriage valleys, please contact Candlewood Church Omaha at or call us at 402.991.5152.

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