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The title is a bit broader than what I really intend to ask. More precisely, I am interested in whether Dr. Eggerichs's understanding of the terms "love" and "respect" in "Love and Respect" is consistent with the verse from which he argues, Eph 5:33 (ESV)

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

More specifically still, Dr. Eggerichs seems to assume that "love" and "respect" are "felt love" and "felt respect"; that is, that this verse is fulfilled if and only if the woman feels loved and the man feels respected.

I'm not a scholar and don't have all of the knowledge of the various uses of these words throughout scripture, but from the knowledge that I do have, this strikes me as off. Then again, scripture often does challenge my assumptions, so I am willing to hear what scripture says on the subject.

So the question is, can anyone show whether this is or is not what Paul (and God!) has in mind in this verse?

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I would look at passages like Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 (where Jesus asked God "why have you forsaken me?") and the many psalms that speak of anguish or being forgotten as examples of situations where someone might not feel loved by God, but they are nonetheless very much loved by God. Psalm 13 expresses this sentiment nicely.

So I agree with you - love and respect don't have to be felt to be real and present, and the Bible seems to back up our view.

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I have not read the book, but am participating in the Love and Respect DVD study with my small group. From what others who have read the book in the group have said, it sounds like the content is similar enough.

Dr. Eggerichs tells us that he believes that Ephesians 5:33 is one of the biblical proofs that men have a core need to be respected and women have a core need to be loved. He also uses other bible verses throughout that actually show examples of men wanting respect or women wanting love. I do believe that his understanding of this verse is in line with the intended meaning.

The rest of this answer is actually addressing your observation that there is a large emphasis on "felt" love and respect.

Dr. Eggerichs does place a lot of emphasis on "feeling" loved or respected. He encourages us to say to our spouse "That felt unloving, did I say something disrespectful?" (wife to husband) or "That felt disrespectful, did I say something unloving?" (husband to wife). This is because how we feel is the only way to express how our spouse is coming across to use.

However, he does spend a large portion of the study teaching how to love/respect your spouse, with a lot of emphasis on communicating it. As he starts out early and continues teaching us, men and women don't communicate in the same way. I like how he points out that while we may feel unloved/disrespected, the other person does not necessarily mean to be showing a lack of love or disrespect. He gives us tips on how we can communicate in a loving or respectful way that our spouse will translate correctly.

In the DVD he mentions multiple times that while a wife may feel unloved, it is likely the husband is just not expressing his love. Or if the husband feels disrespected, it's like the wife is not communicating her respect in a way that the husband understands as respectful.

So while there is emphasis on telling your spouse how you feel, I don't think that's the purpose of the Love and Respect. I think the purpose of his book/studies is to teach us how to express our love or respect for our spouse in a way that they will feel it.

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