Thursday, August 9, 2012

Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Most of us are accustomed to hearing the phrase "unconditional love," but the phrase "unconditional respect" is likely more foreign to our ears. In Emerson Eggerichs's national bestseller Love and Respect, Dr. Eggerichs explains that women's desire for unconditional love is paralleled by men's need for unconditional respect. When wives refuse to act respectfully toward their husbands because their husbands treat them lovingly or when husbands treat their wives without love in order to get respect, the crazy cycle emerges. On the crazy cycle, both husband and wife fail to have their needs met and unloving and disrespectful feelings merely increase. However, when a husband gives his wife unconditional love and a wife gives her husband unconditional respect, their marriage will enter the energizing cycle, making it easier for both husband and wife to give their spouse the respect or love that he or she needs.

Dr. Eggerichs's book is one of the best I have read at explaining what goes wrong in many marriages and what men and women should do in order to achieve the best marriage possible. Christians who are attempting to follow the Biblical model for marriage will have a difficult time arguing with the concepts taught in Love and Respect, which are taken directly from the Bible in addition to being supported by Dr. Eggerichs's experience as a marriage counselor. This book not only explains women's desire for love and men's need for respect, but also teaches men six tools for making their wives feel loved and, correspondingly, teaches women six ways to speak respect to their man. One drawback to Love and Respect is Dr. Eggerichs's long-winded writing style. Throughout it's 303 pages, many of the concepts are repeated unnecessarily, which may frustrate readers who are capable of getting the message the first time and would just like to move on. However, the concepts I learned while reading Love and Respect were well worth the time it took to read it, and impatient readers could easily skim sections that seem to be rehashing old material. This book is a great read for both men and women who desire a better marriage and want to know what they can do to achieve that goal.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Vigilante's Bride, by Yvonne Harris

The Vigilante's Bride has an intriguing plot including a feisty red-headed orphan, a young vigilante, and a rustler groom-to-be.  Unfortunately, the author seems to have found her plot insufficiently fascinating.  Instead of merely developing the interest she had already created, Yvonne Harris added a temporary element of a wound that "required" indecent exposure to heal.

I hate to give spoilers, but this paragraph contains some.  We all recognize that some wounds may require access to the air in order to heal, so it is possible that the character needed such treatment.  In that case, the story would have been just as romantic (and much less disturbing) if his mother figure had handled his care rather than a woman to whom he was not married.  Revealing clothing or the lack thereof does not make romance; loving and selfless care for another individual does.  The most unfortunate aspect of The Vigilante's Bride is that it could have been a great clean story, but it was ruined by an incident that has only a tenuous connection to the main plot line.

As a result of the book's focus in that particular section, I would not recommend the book to anyone despite its plot.  It is unfortunate when a good book is ruined by one specific element, especially when it is unnecessary to the plot.

I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

In Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, he expands upon the simple concept that men should love their wives and women should respect their husbands  He explains the crazy cycle of unhappy marriages and then carefully explains how the energizing cycle that leads to the rewarded cycle that characterizes happy marriage.

Dr. Eggerichs used the acronym C-O-U-P-L-E to summarize the loving treatmenent of their wives.  The elements are closeness, openness, understanding, peacemaking, loyalty, and esteem.  Another acronym, C-H-A-I-R-S, is intended to show women how to respect their husbands.  Its letters stand for conquest, hierarchy, authority, insight, relationship, and sexuality.  Eggerichs found a way to make his suggestions memorable for those who newly understand them.

The amazing thing is that Emerson Eggerichs managed to be so even-handed in his dealings with men and women.  He clarified exactly what each of the terms he used meant and gave specific instances of the methods for their use.  In conclusion, Love and Respect is worth recommending to everyone.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

In Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge reveal that Eve (woman) was the culmination of God’s marvelous creation. They express the great love and appreciation that God has for each individual woman and speak of the important roles that only women can fulfill. John and Stasi reassure women that they don’t have to compete with or act like men. God has a specific purpose and plan in creating women, and He loves them just the way they are. Women can relax and enjoy their femininity and quit striving to be someone they are not. Most importantly, the Eldredges encourage women to sit at Christ’s feet and to let Christ woo them—to feel His love and to be complete in that love, as they listen and learn of His purpose for their lives.

I am so thankful that this is not another book for women written by some woman who has obviously not served in the trenches. Stasi is very real and admits to some of her own failings as a woman. This is not another book that will make women feel guilty if they are not Martha Stewart, Mother Teresa, and Marilyn Monroe wrapped into one.

I highly recommend this book with my only reservation being their unbiblical view of spiritual warfare and their failure to mention baptism as God’s plan for putting us into Christ.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

In Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado encourages Christians to make an impact—an impact of compassion—that will outlast their lifetimes. Just as Christ used ordinary men like Peter, Andrew, and James during His earthly ministry, He continues to use ordinary men and women today. God is waiting to use us if we will only open ourselves up to His will. Lucado addresses important issues related to serving others, including “Calling Mr. Pot Roast” (God’s use of ordinary people), “Don’t Forget the Bread” (sharing Christ while sharing compassion), “Remember Who Holds You” (giving God the credit), “Blast a Few Walls” (overcoming what we see on the outside), “That’s Jesus Playing That Fiddle” (the biblical reason for giving), and many others.

To be honest, this call to compassion is nothing new. Christians talk about giving all of the time. “Support this ministry. Support that ministry. Support our ministry.” I realize that God calls us to give of our means, but sometimes it seems as if we are being pressured into giving. Sometimes we may give because it makes us feel good or because we will feel like we are bad Christians if we do not give. If that is our reason for giving, if we feel pressured to give to others, we have missed the point. God blesses a giving heart, not a pocketbook emptied by homeless people we see on the street corner. I wish Max Lucado’s book had addressed this topic more thoroughly. One of the Bible’s most important verses on giving is 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” If an individual is barely able to pay his bills and is not in a position where he can give “not grudgingly, or of necessity,” he should work to improve his financial position so that he can give cheerfully. [For this, I recommend The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.] Regardless of our financial position, every one of us has something that we can give; however, the most joyful giving will occur when we can give without being afraid we just donated our grocery money. Outlive Your Life includes many good points, but I recommend reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris instead. Rather than being devoted entirely to the topic of giving, Do Hard Things (along with Alex and Brett Harris’s second book, Start Here) encourages Christians to excel wherever God has placed them, whether that involves raising money to dig wells in Africa, running a political campaign, or giving honor to parents. [Reviewer’s note: Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations is intended for teenagers but is a great read for adults as well.] If you choose to read Outlive Your Life, let it be a call to love and compassion, not a mandate to give.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

The female companion to Wild at Heart, Captivating “unveils the mystery of a woman’s soul.” According to the authors, not even women are as tame as we once thought. Instead, women have an inner desire to be involved in an adventure, something that will test their strength as women. Captivating is a revolutionary book on Christian femininity. Rather than focusing on the almost infamous example of a good Christian woman found in Proverbs 31, this book focuses on the godliness and courage of women like Rahab and Tamar. The basic message is that women are deeper than clothes, makeup, and a seemingly submissive spirit. Woman’s soul is a treasure chest filled with wealth to be discovered and enjoyed.

Similar to Wild at Heart, Captivating contains an important, but rather depressing, section on “her wound.” Although this section was not particularly uplifting, I endured it because I considered it useful for my own growth. The rest of the book, however, was much more enjoyable. I believe the most important concept taught in the book is that neither Christian women nor any other woman should expect men to give them the love and affirmation they need. This affirmation can come only from God. Although this book contains a lot of great material, I did not enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed Wild at Heart, partly just because the transition between the two authors was slightly distracting at times. Despite this minor drawback, I recommend this book to women of any age but especially to young girls 16+. [Reviewer’s note: Since I am not and have never been a man, I am not qualified to say whether men would appreciate this book.]

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Right along with the women’s liberation movement and the masculinization of women came the demasculinization of men. Few people (including me until I read this book) realize what society has been doing to men. It has been trying to tame men and to make them . . . well . . . more like women. Wild at Heart encourages men to discover who they were designed to be—not tame, but wild.

Although I did not agree with everything John Eldredge said in Wild at Heart, I did find most of the book fascinating. It really opened my eyes to what men are, or were intended to be, like. I would not recommend this book to anyone looking for some light reading because it is rather intense. Much of the book is devoted to the important, but rather depressing, topic of “his wound.” This section of the book deals with the debilitating wounds that have been inflicted upon men, usually by their fathers. I do not think this is a book just for guys, although I do think every guy should read it and have already recommended it to a few. As a young girl, I believe girls and women can benefit from Wild at Heart as well. I would recommend Wild at Heart to guys and gals who are 16+.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.