Joy Eggerichs ’04 thought she might work in conflict resolu-tion—or maybe fashion—but she never expected to join the family business. When her mother developed breast cancer, Joy postponed enroll-ment in fashion school and then realized her heart wasn’t in it. Her parents, authors of the marriage book “Love and Respect,” needed help direct-ing their events, so Joy went to work for Sarah and Emerson Eggerichs and their organization, Love and Respect Ministries.
Joy soon created her own niche in the family enterprise. People kept telling her they wished they’d heard the Love and Respect message before getting married, so Joy established Love and Respect Now in Portland, Ore., to offer teaching and advice about relationships to people 18-35. Her own broken engagement and single status help her understand the longing for authentic relationships and the pain too often experienced in seeking them. She freely shares her personal experiences with quirky, self-deprecating humor and easily relates to her peers.
In Ephesians 5:33, Paul tells husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. “We all need love and respect,” Joy says. The ministry’s research of husbands and wives in conflict found that most wives feel unloved and most husbands feel disrespected. The goal is helping them learn to show love and respect to each other.
“Life doesn’t begin when you get married,” Joy says. “I see a lot of fear about relationships, which may be because the Christian culture has made an idol of marriage. We shouldn’t idolize marriage or singleness but be in tune with our desires and fears and take active steps toward a relationship if that’s what we want.”
A frequent speaker to college and church groups, Joy loves addressing an audience. “I think live public speaking is an incredible art form,” she says. “I never take it lightly, and I prepare for each time I step on the stage.” She takes classes in improvisation to improve her speaking style and develop the humor she considers an essential part of her presentation.
Last year, she released The Illumination Project, a six-week DVD series. Based on a conversation with her father about tough questions filmed before a live audience, the video encourages young people to seek advice from the older generation. Joy learned the value of mentors from her professors at Westmont, especially in communication studies, her major. “Westmont provided quality people who made themselves available to me,” she says. “I made such incredible relationships there. Of course it helped that we didn’t have cars, cell phones or Facebook and had to build a community for ourselves.
Joy’s message this fall focuses on identity. “We live at a time when people hunger to be known and find it increasingly more difficult to be known,” Joy says. “I’m exploring what it means to have our identity in Christ. I’m asking people what they really believe because that changes everything.
“God can use you—and your brokenness—if you have a willing heart,” she says.