Book Review: Cracking the Communication Code Love for her, Respect for Him

Cracking the Communication Code Love for her, Respect for Him; The Secret to Speaking Your Mate’s Language
by Emerson Eggerichs
Integrity Publishers a Division of Thomas Nelson, Nashville TN 2007

 “There are three main ideas. Men want respect, women want love. Men and women use different language to express their wishes, desires, and personalities. Men and women in marriage develop automatic thinking about all kinds of matters that directly affect communication. Automatic thinking is thinking that is unconscious, unexamined, and unexpressed. To be changed such thinking must be uncovered, examined, expressed, and revealed to see if it is true or false. Eggerichs brings a rich biblical view based on his long experience as a pastor and counselor. He holds firmly to a biblical understanding of the man and woman.

 As a couple we have had to examine our “automatic thinking” which is based on “old ways” of thinking and communicating. In doing so we have seen that they interfere and hinder what we do, how we act, and relate. We have had to learn and are learning new ways of thinking and relating. Ideas that come from the past, work, false ideas about status, success, income, experience and responsibility with associated feelings of jealousy, envy, resentment, bitterness and so forth have been or are being examined and rejected. 

 In reading Eggerich’s book and subscribing to his daily emails, Cheryl has learned and is reminded every day to focus on Hugh’s needs especially respect. After more than forty years of marriage one would expect to have mastered the art of marriage. But in reality it seems to take a life time of learning and being willing to change.

In practice this means that Hugh considers Cheryl’s ideas very carefully, as if they were his own, and frequently adopts them as being better than his own. Every night we ask each other “five feeling words” about the day. Honesty is crucial. At times it is painful. Hugh has to confess his frustration, his sin, and ask forgiveness of Cheryl whom he has wronged. He had to learn to carefully listen not just to the words, but the tone, and the context. The cultural context is completely different from his own being raised in another country, with different expectations and demands.

All of this takes time, conscious practice, ceaseless effort and special regard for Cheryl, her needs, and her wishes. For Hugh it requires constant vigilance and self-awareness. The alternative is a return to a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. Being honest and real is painful but is the secret, if there is one, to implementing love and respect.”