Learn Love and Respect Now . . . Not Later

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Over the years, God has used the Love and Respect message to minister to countless couples who had picked up the book or attended a conference, perhaps even as a last-ditch effort, to try and save their marriage. By God’s grace, I have heard story after story from many whose marriages began taking a drastic turn in a positive direction after they learned to submit to God’s message of Love and Respect in Ephesians 5:33.

In the same way, thousands of healthier couples have been introduced to the Love and Respect message and shared with me the multitude of ways that their relationship with their spouse began flourishing even more than they thought possible after being exposed to the joys of Ephesians 5.

But is the Love and Respect message only for the struggling couple or the veteran or newlywed couple looking for some “continuing education”? Everywhere I go, I hear people say things like, “If only I had learned about Love and Respect before getting married . . .” or, “Why aren’t singles ministries teaching this message so as to better prepare us for the relationship ahead we are all desiring to have?”

Years ago, my daughter, Joy, began a branch ministry of Love and Respect called Love and Respect Now, in part to help singles like the woman who wrote me below learn to be obedient to God’s Word now, before marriage, instead of two, ten, or twenty years into either a struggling marriage or one that could be so much better had they known the secret of Ephesians 5:33. I hope the testimony below is encouraging to all singles that now is the time to learn and obey God’s Word on relationships, not later.

Dear Dr. Emerson,

I just want to tell you how much your book has been a blessing to me—Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs

I first heard about your book through a woman from my church. She hosts outings for the young women of our church to help build us in many ways. We came across talking of marriage and she said your book was so good she wished she read it before she got married. Now I can say I am sooooooooo blessed to have encountered your book while I am yet single.

To start, I thought I had a pretty good idea on how to be a good Christian spouse. I figured that I understood communication so well and that it is based in making ANY relationship work. Whether it's between student and teacher, mother and father, or whoever else, communication will help the relationship properly function because it gives clarity.

But while reading your book I was really blown away! When you explained how men primarily need respect, I too have never heard it put that way. In a culture where women are victimized and men are viewed as the "bad guys" I somewhat reserved the mentality to never submit myself to properly respecting a man, especially not to an aggressive one.

I've seen relationships where women subjected themselves to men, and it had me scratching my head like, "Why did she just do that? Why doesn't she stand up for herself and put him in his place?" Many cases were of my parents. My dad could do something that wouldn't sit well with me and I would watch my mom, expecting her to defend herself but instead she submitted to him.

I grew up telling myself that I would never let a man walk over me like that. Little did I know that my mom was following biblical principles. I would sometimes whine to my mom about how Dad could be a better person, but she would rebuke me and I never understood why. It was bizarre to me, but my mom would tell me, "Wait until you get married, then you'll understand."

I grew up responding aggressively to aggressive people, even when I developed a personal relationship with Christ when I turned eighteen. Because in my mind I never understood why people didn't respond like I thought they should when someone was misbehaving toward them. Of course it caused a ton of trouble for me, but I figured that's how things were supposed to be. When I submitted myself to harsh people even for the sake of Christ I would still feel like I was holding the offense and it was a burden to me, as if the offender had "gotten away with it." Responding negatively was the only release and freedom I felt I could have. I was known as "feisty" and I was almost proud of it.

It wasn't until recently God has begun to take me into a deeper depth in Him. I now understand that I can give the offense to God and I don't have to worry about holding it or staying offended with the desire to retaliate. I'm not so proud now of how I responded to people, but God is healing my wounds from offenses.

I went back to apologize to many people who I felt I needed to even if they were the ones to initiate the offense. After reading your book, it's helped me to understand why God led me to those things. Your book not only gave me insight on how to properly operate inside marriage, but it enlightened me on some very important keys to Christianity. I believe it was the Conclusion that explained how we should continue to love and respect our spouse no matter how ugly they are being. In continuing to love and respect them, you're not just doing it to them, but you are doing it to Christ. WOW! . . . To treat people with kindness in the name of Christ, I'm not just performing a severely difficult task, but it is my allegiance to Christ! There is NOTHING more honorable to me than to know that Christ sees my efforts as being loyal to Him. . . .

Your book has also helped me in many other ways. I kind of got a "sneak-peek" into marriage and what the troubles of it can be. I think C.O.U.P.L.E. was very well explained for the men concerning the women. I saw some circumstances I can relate to when I used to date and what I expected from my guy. C.H.A.I.R.S. was wonderful to read! I had no idea that men valued working and being able to provide for their families the way that they do.

I also was unaware of the man's desire to have shoulder-to-shoulder friendship. I definitely plan to do just that for my husband. You also explained how men would stone-wall. I never knew they did that because I guess I never paid attention. I usually observed men arguing back with the fussing woman, sometimes even fighting with them. I plan to never complain to my husband as the book describes. I plan to be considerate of his feelings. Which is another something I learned from your book. I didn't really view men as having an emotional need just like women do. As culture portrayed men to be strong and insensitive, that's just how I viewed them.

But now I have a better understanding thanks to you and more importantly I thank God for your book! Love and Respect! I plan on reading this one several more times. God bless you, dear sir!