Part One: The Crazy Cycle
In part one, the author overviews what he has coined, “the crazy cycle” which represents the vicious cycle that dominates so many marriages.
Crazy Cycle 101:
The husband does not love his wife as Scripture demands – The wife reacts with disrespect – the husband reacts in an unloving manner, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. The intention of the author is to demonstrate the effectiveness of unconditional love and unconditional respect.
Eggerichs spends a great deal of time developing the crazy cycle. He presents the perspective of the husband and wife respectively and spells out the pros and cons of their behavior. He clearly delineates the need of every man and woman, namely, husbands need respect and wives need love. He adds, “When sorting out how to slow down that Crazy Cycle, it helps to remember that men are commanded to love because they don’t love naturally, and on the other side, women are commanded to respect because they don’t respect naturally.”
The key principle of part one is as follows: “His love motivates her respect; her respect motivates his love.” This leads to demise of the crazy cycle.
Part Two: The Energizing Cycle
In part two, the author presents two models for husbands and wives respectively. Husbands are challenged to “spell love to their wives” by utilizing the acrostic, c-o-u-p-l-e:
Closeness – Openness – Understanding – Peacemaking – Loyalty – Esteem.
Wives are challenged to “spell respect to their husbands by utilizing the acrostic, c-h-a-i-r-s:
Conquest – Hierarchy – Authority – Insight – Relationship – Sexuality.
The author describes each element in details and provides good biblical support for his points.
Part Three: The Rewarded Cycle
Part three encourages husbands to love their wives regardless of her respect; wives are encouraged to respect their husbands regardless of their love. The author provide numerous examples in the form of letters and personal testimony about couples who have broken our of the crazy cycle and moved to the rewarded cycle. They have chosen to break free from patterns of selfishness and move toward one another in love – to the glory of God.
Love and Respect is an immensely practical work that has and will continue to bear much fruit. This work will provide encouragement to couples who struggle to heed the biblical imperatives.