Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Marriage, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Women and the Church

Emerson Eggerichs Says Wives Respect Husbands Unconditionally


Should women respect their husbands unconditionally?      Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect, says so.


Emerson Eggerichs, love and respect


I follow the Love and Respect guy, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in my Facebook news feed.  (I’m issuing a trigger warning for one of our own who went to his church.)  He now has an entire ministry/business based on the Love and Respect theme, including conferences, books, store, podcast, blog, etc.

Here is part of Eggerichs’ bio:

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known public speaker on the topic of male-female relationships.  Based on over three decades of counseling as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr. Eggerichs and his wife Sarah developed the Love and Respect Conference which they present to live audiences around the country.

This dynamic and life-changing conference is impacting the world, resulting in the healing and restoration of countless relationships.  Dr. Eggerichs has authored several books, including the national bestseller Love & Respect, which is a Platinum and Book of the Year award winner, selling over 1.6 million copies.

My husband and I saw the Love & Respect video a former church offered. I liked some of it, but it seemed very black and white to me. If husbands really loved their wives and wives really respected their husbands, everything would be hunky dory.

I watched this before understanding the dynamics of abuse in a marriage. This was in the days I was taught that women should submit to husbands in all things and that if  husbands did something wrong, we were to quietly pray for them and ask God to change their hearts. Women were to put up with any bad behavior so we could “win” them over by our behavior. If we didn’t win them over, we were told we were suffering for righteousness sake.

Eggerich has a series on wives’ unconditional respect of their husbands. The following two points jumped out at me and I thought we could use it for discussion:

3. Unconditional respect has nothing to do with a husband earning and deserving respect.

A wife’s respectful behavior is displayed independent of her husband. This is about who God calls the wife to be regardless of her husband. Her respect is not conditioned on her husband’s behavior. She will behave respectfully no matter how her husband behaves. She is a woman of dignity.

God calls a wife to conduct herself respectfully by focusing on the spirit of her husband, not his flesh–looking more deeply into that part of her husband where he longs to do what God calls him to do.

Yes, God is grieved by his sinful behavior. However God does not show contempt toward the spirit of her husband because that is not who God is, any more than He shows disdain toward her when she sins.

4. Unconditional respect can prompt a sense of conviction and win the heart of a disobedient husband.

Notice what happened in the story I shared yesterday. This wife’s husband surfaced his sin on the heels of her showing him respect.

Is this a Biblical teaching? Do you think this advice is wise to follow? Why is the onus on the wife to help change her husband’s behavior?

109 thoughts on “Emerson Eggerichs Says Wives Respect Husbands Unconditionally”

  1. Ashterah,

    You wrote:

    “I cannot forgive my husband for breaking my heart that way. And it rips me apart on a daily basis. I don’t think that I can ever heal unless I can learn how to forgive him. And I don’t know how to begin to forgive in this instance. So lost.”

    In my experience the concept of forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood and misused “Christian” weapons out there. Cheap grace and instant forgiveness can actually prolong a lack of healing and enable more abuse or wrong doing.

    Jesus was not advocating we take prolonged beatings (even if mental, emotional, spiritual) from other professing Christians. At some point, we have to look at them and decide they have a problem that needs to be dealt with, too. Including your Anglican priest who does not seem to get it.

    I wish someone had told me early on there is another road to travel when it comes to forgiveness and save me a lot of years of non healing that is supposed to be healing.

    Here is a starting place to consider that I found helpful for others where you are. It is written by a Christian, surprisingly. And it is full of reason which is also unheard of it most Christian circles. It just makes sense.

    Not everything will apply to you because he covers a lot of ground, but it is a good starting point.


  2. Here is a snippet from the article that might shock some folks but it is totally logical and makes so much more sense than the cheap grace we keep seeing that negates justice for victims:

    DAVID: No. And it’s not even necessarily about the complete eradication of resentment. I think Jim McClendon’s line where he says “resentment is God’s good gift that leads us to prize justice” is important in this context.

    STEPS: Do you mean that even when you have fully forgiven someone there can remain an appropriate place for resentment?

    DAVID: There is, of course, a malevolent kind of resentment that is destructive and distancing. There can, however, be a benign form of resentment that says “I despise actions that injure innocent parties. I will never approve of what took place. I will never excuse it. I reach out for relationship where ever possible but I will not give up my commitment to justice.”


  3. Lydia- “I wish someone had told me early on there is another road to travel when it comes to forgiveness and save me a lot of years of non healing that is supposed to be healing.”

    Thank-You for sharing that article! Just what I needed! I also sent it on to a kindred spirit.


  4. To jkpvarin, does Colossians 3:18 match your interpretation of the Ephesians verse on submission?


  5. Is this a Biblical teaching?
    I agree that this is unbiblical and I think that others have detailed that out pretty well.

    Do you think this advice is wise to follow?
    I think this could be dangerous advice to follow. A woman wrote to me some time back, quite proud of herself and her “God-given submission” because she had submitted to her abusive husband as he apparently physically abused her and possibly their sons – to the point that he finally threw her out of the house (probably with a beating) and told her not to come back. He kept the sons. She wanted to start a ministry to tell other women how to follow her stellar example. I didn’t even know what to say. I can’t remember what I answered her.

    There was zero fruit of repentance in her husband, she herself was tragically abused and confused, and she left her sons with a violent abuser. And she thought she was a hero. Unconditional respect. That was it – right there. There is no way in the world that a God who is love could have ever wanted her to do that.

    Why is the onus on the wife to help change her husband’s behavior?
    I’m just going to take a “wild guess” here. Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she…
    We’ve come a long way, baby, but it ain’t so far as it seems.


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