PODCAST: Our Love & Respect Wrap Up

by | Jan 16, 2020 | Podcasts | 50 comments

It’s one year this week since I ran my huge Love & Respect series.

I’ve written about how Love & Respect treats sex horribly and harms marriages off and on throughout this last year, since the original week-long series ran.

And now, on this one year anniversary, I’ve been tying up some loose ends, including dropping my 5500 word open letter to Focus on the Family questioning their support of Love & Respect, as we cap off our discussion.

I’ll have links below, but listen in to the podcast where Rebecca shares about an interaction with the Love and Respect crew, and later my husband Keith joins me to share what he learned wading through our survey responses about Love & Respect. Both got pretty fired up and passionate, and they have things they really want you to hear.

So listen in!

No, Confronting Your Husband Does Not Mean You’re Showing Contempt

In our main segment, my daughter Rebecca shares the saga of an email thread she started with Love & Respect.

She reads excerpts of the emails on the show:

Read the whole email thread here.

This week, on the blog, we’ve been continuing our Iron Sharpens Iron series, talking about how confronting your spouse when they’re doing something wrong is not a sin. Books like Love & Respect treat it as “disrespectful” (and thus sinful) if a woman were to confront her husband, as this email thread shows.

For context, here are the other posts that we’ve written on Love & Respect:

Love & Respect was the #1 most harmful resource mentioned in our survey of 22,000 women.

We recently closed our Bare Marriage survey, after 22,000 women responded. We asked some open ended questions, including “are there any books/resources that are proven harmful to your marriage?”

Love & Respect was the most frequently cited resource that harmed marriages, with 13% of women who answered that question mentioning Love & Respect. For every 10 women who said it helped them, 15 women said it harmed them.

We originally had the computer generate the results, but Keith volunteered to be the human eyeballs that actually read all of the comments, to make sure that the computer classified the responses correctly.

He wanted to come on the podcast to talk about what he read. Specifically, he was very upset about how much the book enabled abuse.

Please listen–Keith and Rebecca were both very passionate in this podcast, and they share things that need to be said. 

In this segment, I also referenced these posts:

Where do we go from here with regards to Love & Respect?

I feel as if I have said everything I can. I keep thinking I’m done, though, and then somebody sends me something else to comment on that’s so egregious I have to say something (like that sermon series or that terrible blog post we talked about in the gaslighting podcast). But I truly hope that I’m done. I saved these last few things to talk about this week as we mark the one-year anniversary of our series in January 2019.

So I have said it all; I have called out those who support Love & Respect; I am shaking the dust off of my feet.

And now I am passing the torch.

It is now up to all of you. If all of you speak up and send these posts to your church librarian and ask them to remove Love & Respect; if you comment when you see it on a friend’s bookshelf; if you speak up when your church is using it as a Bible study; if you let Focus on the Family know you won’t support them if they support this–we will make a difference. And not just that–you may just save a woman’s broken spirit; a woman you may not even know, but who may be being beaten down by this book right now in your church.

We’ve created a summary page for all of the resources on Love & Respect, and you can share that with people (and there’s also a sample letter that’s linked there that you can use as you see fit).

And tomorrow as we end the week I’ll be sharing some of your comments.

Thank you for listening. May God take this even further!

Rebecca’s Final Thoughts on Love & Respect

Rebecca wrote this synopsis of her thoughts after this last tumultuous year, and I think they’re a fitting end to our contribution on the book (though tomorrow we’ll be officially ending as I share some of  YOUR comments from this week). She said:

My takeaways with engaging with the Love and Respect blog are as follows:

  1. They inherently misunderstand intent and action. Because Emerson’s intentions are good, his actions must be good. This is simply factually wrong.
  2. To Love and Respect, abused women are an inconvenience to be ignored, not treasured sisters of Christ to be comforted. There was not a single “I am so sorry for the pain that those women are experiencing” or “I apologize for any way they feel that our materials harmed them or their marriages.” Not once was their pain acknowledged except to blame them for remaining in abusive marriages (and completely ignoring the fact that many of them name teachings in Eggerichs’ book as one of the reasons they stayed for longer than they should have). Not even after I gave them chance to make a public statement did they come back with compassion.
  3. Love and Respect conflates Eggerichs’ take on scripture with the Word of God itself. None of us is infallible, and this conflation means that it is impossible for Eggerichs to ever actually recant what he has said. Much like a cult leader, his ideas are worshipped as Scripture and questioning Emerson means you are questioning God.

At the end of this all I was emotionally exhausted (granted, I was 38 weeks pregnant while this was happening). It is depressing and discouraging to see people who claim Christ act with such blatant disregard for their fellow human beings in favour of ideology and rules.

And so I am left with these conflicting feelings of intense isolation when I think of the fact that so many large Christian outlets have hardened their hearts against the stories of those abused in favour of one charismatic man with toxic teachings. But at the same time I feel closer to God than ever before. I find that when there are harmful things and people around you, telling you mixed messages about who God is, sorting out the wheat from the chaff is exhausting but leaves you with a much more clear picture of Christ and what it truly means to follow him.

I’m not saying I have everything right. But I can rest easy knowing that I am doing my best to stand up for those who have been mistreated and abandoned. And I hope God convicts those who lack the compassion to see that “they tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matt 23:4).

Rebecca Lindenbach

Author, Why I Didn't Rebel

Join us tomorrow as we share YOUR comments about Christian resources that harm, Love & Respect, Focus on the Family, and more! And if you have something big you’d like to say, please leave a comment here!

Love and Respect and Abuse: How the book harms marriage


Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. AspenP

    After sharing your post yesterday, I heard back from multiple pastors who agreed that this book is problematic. Some looked into it for the first time, but no one gave pushback defending it especially after reading the post. My current pastor decided against using it for our next marriage conference. That’s a win.
    I also heard several stories from women (some who I hardly knew) who got peace yesterday that they weren’t the problem—as they were led to believe when their small group did this book. Love & Respect has left a trail of devastation in marriages. Your post helped bring healing.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Aspen, thank you so much.That was a lovely comment to wake up to this morning. That’s honestly my prayer–that more people will realize that this is toxic, and that churches will stop recommending it or using it. And we can do our part by speaking out. Thank you for doing yours. That means so much.

  2. Jane Eyre

    Nothing big to say – you have all said it so well.
    My small comment is that, since moving to the Bible Belt, I’ve noticed a very bizarre “big problems don’t exist” mentality among the older generation. This is weird to me, as I’ve never had problems getting along with people of all ages, but the attitude is so bizarre and pervasive that I go out of my way to avoid the older crowd.
    They literally do not think that abuse, drug use, severe psychologial disorders, etc. exist among nice, middle-class white people. It makes this Love and Respect nonsense make sense, though, because it speaks to an entire generation of people who do not think bad things happen to nice, white, middle-class Christians.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s really interesting, Jane. I’m not sure what the answer is, except to keep speaking up. You know that those people are dealing with all of the same things behind closed doors, they just can’t talk about it. It’s funny, but fundamentalist Bible belt churches or churches in those areas are the hardest places to get booked to give my sex talk–even though it’s likely those people who need it most. But there is a “we don’t talk about those things” mentality in some places, and it’s sad.
      Incidentally, some of the most interesting (and packed) sex talks I’ve given were in the Canadian Bible belt, in Mennonite country, with women in very, very fundamentalist circles. They were wonderful. People do want to talk about this stuff, but there’s a culture where you just don’t.

      • Jane Eyre

        Yes, that’s it.
        It’s one thing to not tell everyone about your problems, but it’s downright bizarre to me that when I say something like, “Thanks for asking, but X has been hard,” or “We are very thankful that our baby is healthy, because that’s not a given,” that people will literally respond by telling me that problems don’t exist.
        Sometimes I just paste on a big smile, and other times I’ll say things like, “Actually, one of my best friend’s babies has spina bifida, my husband’s older brother was born without kidneys and died right after birth, and I’m almost 40, so birth defects are a very real possibility.” The response is then to tell me that *of course* everything will work out!!!!
        It’s the same mentality that says that if you wait until marriage, your sex life is 100% guaranteed amazing. The “solution” to dry spells in marriage is to have more sex, have sex every day for a week, try to have sex three times a day as a challenge. Yes, that works well for some people to jump-start an otherwise functional but failed process, but is downright harmful to people with sexual dysfunction.
        So anyway, I’m not surprised that you have trouble booking your Girl Talk here. It’s sad, because it sounds like it’s a huge benefit to women (and men!).

        • Lea

          I’m from the bible belt and although there are certainly people who don’t *talk* about problems, I’m amazed that you would hear that they didn’t exist! That has never been my experience.

          • Suzanne

            Regarding the email exchange between you and L&R, I just wanted to ask… is it just me, or did you also notice a ”voice” change from L&R from her September 23 reply, to her September 25 reply? It doesn’t sound like the same writer at all, to me. It’s like someone else took the wheel and responded for her. Weird. Keep up the awesome work, ladies!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thank you!

    • Amy

      I don’t think that’s entirely fair. I’m from the Bible Belt and they’re attitude is “pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going”. It’s a life of extremely hard work and toughing it out.
      So while problems do exist, they don’t typically sit around moaning about it but simply accept it for what it is, hope for the best, and keep going.
      Also, they are very private people and you only know issues if you’re a close and trusted friend. They would never dream of having a vulnerable conversation with a newcomer. I have seen entire communities rally together to love and support someone in a difficult situation. So while it may be hard to get to know them, once you’re in, they’re very loyal and will do all within their power to help and support you.
      I hope you can begin making friends and lean into that support.

  3. Nathan

    Good news, Aspen! If we keep reaching others about ideas like this, things will slowly get better.
    > > questioning Emerson means you are questioning God.
    This is sad, but happens a lot in this world. Somebody claims a label for themselves, then they are untouchable and can never be questioned or disagreed with. It happens in spirituality, business, politics, etc.

  4. Ami

    Thank you for doing this. I am a newlywed and I cannot imagine what kind of home my husband and I would have if we followed the principals in Emerson’s book. The emails read aloud in the podcast were, frankly, infuriating. I have been increasingly disappointed and even discouraged by Focus on the Family’s response to the issues you have raised.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ami, keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re “unbiblical” for not following this! Sounds like you’ve got great discernment. I’ve been really disappointed, too, but I do believe that God is raising up an army to speak out!

  5. Nathan

    > > people who do not think bad things happen to nice, white, middle-class Christians.
    Maybe some are better at covering things up than others. Not a good idea in the long run. Also, Jesus said that we should confess our sins to one another, and that’s hard to do if we deny everything.

  6. Nathan

    Oops. James said that, but it’s still a good idea

  7. NML

    My mother messaged me an article this morning about the Josh Harris debacle. The author referenced the idolatry of many parents in putting Josh on a pedestal. This, to me, is one of the big issues with a majority of public figures- Emmerson Eggerichs, Bill Gothard, Josh Harris, Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips- even Focus on the Family. We turn them into an authority on life in general. We idolize them. And whatever “good idea” they might have had in the beginning is inflated out of proportion, along with their heads.
    Everyone wants a system. We are all looking for a a checklist that will ensure we get what we want, a good marriage, good kids, whatever. So anyone who promises a method is quickly elevated to star status as we continue to ignore that God did not give us a method, and anything worth achieving is a whole lot more nuanced than “respect for him, psuedo-love for her, and we’re good.”
    “Love and Respect” is bad book, and I speak personally to that. Unfortunately, there will always be another because humanity is always erecting new golden calves.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Too true, NML! That’s why I think it’s important just to speak out and say, “It’s okay to criticize those who have power.” If we can change the culture, maybe these bad ideas won’t spread so far next time (even though the bad ideas will surely come, and people will still be sucked in).

    • Kim P

      NML I completely agree! You’re really over the target here.

  8. Natalie

    I just had a thought: I wonder if Emerson feels men don’t have an issue showing their wives love as much as their wives struggle showing their husbands respect because men are always in favor of having sex/”making love” to their wives, thus expressing their love. (Notice I said “to” instead of “with” cuz I can almost guarantee a sexual encounter like this is not mutual and is very one-sided. I can almost guarantee this is where a wife would feel she is being a good godly wife by doing her “marital duty” and bringing honor to God/being her husband’s helpmeet by meeting his sexual “needs”.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely. I think that’s definitely how he sees marriage!

    • libl

      Yup!! I have been having sex with my husband for 20 years, but I do not recall that we have ever made love. He thinks groping my chest and saying i’m a milf is showing love. It isn’t. He is incapable of loving me as I ought to be loved because he refuses to know what love really is. It isn’t part of the culture. It is something he has to work at and discuss and pray about, but he won’t. It should just happen.
      I am afraid many men do not know what love is.

      • Natalie

        COMPLETELY THIS!!! Sorry if this seems crass, but there’s no better way to put it in the English language in my opinion. My husband is very good at f***ing me. It’s something he’s seen modelled to him through porn for years. It’s physical, it’s animalistic, it’s a release during which he says stuff like “you’re so hot” etc. It’s focused on the here and now… on the bodies present. He feels loved during that experience because he’s experiencing the highs of arousal and orgasm in my presence while also enjoying my body. Because he’s doing that to me in my presence, he thinks that means it’s him showing me his love. I understand why he thinks what he’s feeling is enough and is love/loving me. But 99% of our sexual encounters don’t go much beyond that. The exchange is purely physical. (At least now he’s on board with the idea that I too should be experiencing the same level of physical pleasure regularly as he is, and he’s making more attempts to make that happen). I’m not quite sure how to get him to see that there can be more to sex than just that. From what I can tell, this is something that comes in marriage with time and practice, and happens sooner or more affectively for those with a higher level of emotional intelligence and a willingness to reconsider their life habits and viewpoints and reshape how they think on a subject. Making love takes vulnerability, and it’s scary to be vulnerable with another person, especially if you have a rough childhood like my husband. So I get it. I don’t hold it against him. But it just hurts and is frustrating that things can change and more at a faster pace for my liking. So in addition to empathy, God is also teaching me (a naturally very impatient person) some patience. 😉

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Thank you, Natalie. We’ll put this in our book, too. This is a big problem.

          • Natalie

            Can’t wait for your new books, Sheila!!! 😃 I hope at least a portion is directed to husband on how to love. I think so many men have had their natural romantic sides beaten out of them by our culture that says men are supposed to be manly. I mean, heck, even so much porn portrays that too! So if a husband has watched porn from a young age like so many have, that’s something that’s not only been engrained into their subconscious but also something they’ve seen portrayed in the sex they’ve watched and formed their brains/sexuality to. My husband is naturally a very kind, sensitive, emotionally intelligent man, and I think the fact that even he has issues with expressing himself romantically speaks volumes to just how deeply engrained machismo is in our culture. I don’t think it was always like that for the West, but I think it’s really gotten bad over the past several generations.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Libl–we just copied your comment and put it in our spreadsheet for our new book. This is such an important point. Thank you, and I’m sorry you’re going through this.

        • libl

          Wow! Neat!
          To piggyback on what I said, if a husband is more concerned with “not getting any” during her period, her being sick, or post-partum than taking care of her during those trying times, then he does not know what love is. Even with my willingness to “take care of him” in other ways, I still got the pout, grump, sarcasm, hidden smut use and masturbation, neglect, anger, and even a “you (get your period) on purpose just to not have sex with me.”

      • Lea

        “I am afraid many men do not know what love is.”
        I’ve been reading this and although I made a joke about the ‘love languages being touch’ thing the other day, I do think this can contribute to this confusion in some cases to the sex=’love’ conflation…I doubt that’s the intention of the book, but it’s certainly easy for some men to adopt as a justification.

  9. Kim P

    You all must be exhausted! Thank you for all of the effort and heart you put into this work. It’s exciting to see the tides changing as toxicity is exposed and people have a place to share their stories.
    My biggest takeaway after reflecting on this series, other detrimental “Christian” books, and scripture is this:
    We are all called to one core purpose as believers and we all have the power of the Holy Spirit regardless of gender. There are many more commands and urges especially in the New Testament about how we should live and love than the handful of verses that are specific to a gender. And Ephesians 5 begin with MUTUALITY.
    I believe the root of the toxicity in the conservative church is misogyny and silencing women/undervaluing their voice and influence, a lack of mutuality in so many practical ways. It is so toxic and detrimental to everyone involved. I can almost guarantee you btw that at least one man from FOTF has rolled their eyes at you and mocked you over your series and emails. I would love to be proven wrong! I have seen this time and again – belittling women for speaking out against women not having a voice in the first place. “Contentious, nagging, disrespectful woman!” Vicious cycle. And one that takes our focus off Christ and His mission for us and onto men and their agendas. Thank you for exposing toxic teaching and I pray you can truly shake the dust now!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Kim! I’m afraid you’re right.

  10. Kristen

    I don’t typically get around to the podcasts, Sheila (sorry!), but I downloaded this one to listen to on my commute to university this morning. You all are amazing. Thank you so much for confronting this teaching. And what Rebecca said about leaving the 99 for the 1–that really touched home. The compassion you all have for hurting people, both within and without the church, is something that our media-saturated and politically polarized society could use far more of. Thank you for your transparency and courage.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much, Kristen! That really is our heart.

  11. Jennifer

    I can’t believe what a poor job Christian marriage advice does when talking about abuse. The books we hand to people in marital distress seem to say “oh, and if you’re being abused, be sure to get help,” as if in some rare cases people’s spouses do yell at them or maybe even hit them. Actually, intimate partner violence may not be normal, but it is real, it is violent, and it is prevalent. In Canada it’s estimated that 1 in 5 women experience some form of abuse in their intimate relationship and that 6 women and girls die each month at the hands of someone they trust. And it’s not just some ‘other’ segment of the population. While the percentages vary slightly according to race and economic demographic, the numbers for all women as shockingly high. When we stop to think about it, we all know of women in our extended family, our friendship circle, or ourselves who have experienced abuse and most cases go unreported and unknown. For the church to ignore the harsh realities of abuse in it’s marriage advice is so incredibly harmful!

  12. Bre

    Yay! I had to get up at ungodly-o’clock today to finish some stuff before my classes, and I was so happy when I saw that your podcast was already online!
    Thank you so much for what you are doing; not only have you started giving me hope for the Christian community, but you clearly are helping people heal and giving them a place to share their stories and pain.
    I think that part of the issue with this is, as you said, people aren’t speaking up. This sort of stuff seems to typically be the norm in many churches and organizations the US, but most “lay/normal” Christians in the pews/folding chairs don’t actually believe in it. They give lip-service to a hierarchical marriage theology where the husband is Lord and the wife is a slave/servant, but they actually think it’s wacky, dysfunctional, and don’t live that way in their own marriages. It’s not just the popular books promoting this idea that need to be addressed; people need to speak up and say “No. We don’t live like this, we are not about to live like this, and this isn’t how the WHOLE Bible or common sense says that we are supposed to live, and here’s why.” People also need to be there for people, especially women/wives, who are being hurt, abused, blamed or bullied by the church under this kind of teaching. I suspect that many people don’t feel that blaming the wife for her husband’s sins against her is Biblically, theologically, or logically sound, but they are too afraid to call it out and put themselves in the line of fire. I wonder how many of some of the stories that people have shared might have turned out differently if the “lay” people had rallied around them and refused to accept the unbiblical stuff that the leadership was spouting off blaming the victim?
    Oh, and technically, your work on this isn’t done, you know😄! The best way to counteract/tear-down this stuff is to teach Biblically sound and healthy stuff instead so that it becomes the norm, so you are technically fighting this stuff by educating/reeducating people, even if you aren’t addressing issues specifically with it in mind! Calling out the junk and dismantling it is important, but there is no point if you aren’t teaching what the alternative is, why it’s correct, and how to try utilize it in individual situations! I can’t wait to see what’s to come!!! Oh, and THANK YOU to you, your family, and Joanna for being willing to be the ones to go down into the muck on this!

    • Bre

      *isn’t* Biblically, theologically, or logically sound

  13. Maria

    Just read the “Your Spouse’s Weakness” article mentioned in the e-mail thread, for context. And wow. If I felt tempted to fall for this crap, I would print it out and take a red pen to it. Writing the word “opinion” wherever I see one, because he talks about his opinions like they’re facts. I’m not even a teacher and I still want to mark it up!

  14. E

    This has been a great series, Sheila! I am amazed at the outstanding positive response you have gotten (unfortunately, I am not as amazed by the FotF response or lack thereof, because that kind of thing I have come to expect)!
    I can’t remember where I first heard this quote, (I have seen it attributed to Eugene Peterson) but it’s been rattling around my head for the last few days, and I think it is an important point to ponder in regards to ‘biblical’ anything (counselling, marriage, womanhood, manhood, finances etc):
    “A Jewish rabbi I once studies with would often say, ‘For us Jews studying the bible is more important than obeying it because if you don’t understand it rightly you will obey it wrongly and your obedience will be disobedience.”
    i Think this is especially applicable to those instances where whole doctrines are built around singular verses, not taking into account other interpretations, original intended audience, different translations etc.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love that so much, E! I think that’s exactly what’s happening. They’re “obeying” it wrongly, and they’re piling weight on people, while refusing to lift a finger to help.

  15. Nathan

    > > whole doctrines are built around singular verses
    Yes, this happens a lot, especially the “wives submit to your husbands” line, which is actually part of a larger thought where husbands and wives are to submit to each other

  16. Jessica

    I’ve never read this book, but my mouth dropped open reading several of the tidbits you shared from it. But I didn’t have to read the book to be hurt by its ideas. They permeate modern churches, and kept me feeling guilty for not being “understanding enough” about my husband abusing me.
    But you know what I find extra concerning? The intent part. That is something every abused wife has had used against them. He calls you horrible names, degrades you, says you’re worthless and defective. You cry. He gets angry at your pain because “it wasn’t my intention to hurt you”. You aren’t allowed to show that you’re hurting because he says hurting you was not the goal of his words. In the unlikely case he actually apologizes, it goes like this: “I’m sorry you misunderstood me and thought I was insulting you.”
    Even giving the author/publisher and FOTF the benefit of the doubt—assuming it genuinely wasn’t their intention to promote unbiblical, misogynistic views–their response to finding out how much destruction they’ve caused speaks volumes. 😔
    If I accidentally bump into someone and they drop what they’re carrying, would anyone think it was acceptable for me to say “Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t do that on purpose” and walk away? No. The only decent response would be to apologize, and make amends by helping them pick up their things. (And, if I ran into them because I was not paying attention, to start paying attention so I don’t bump anyone else!)
    Similarly, the only acceptable response from FOTF is to apologize, make amends, and start paying attention!!
    Apologize publicly for promoting something that has been so destructive to so many lives. Make amends by promoting and/or offering free resources that shine a light on the destructive ideas, and offer better ones.
    Start paying attention to the epidemic of abuse in churches!! And adjust what and who they back accordingly.
    Too many of God’s daughters are being told that a man’s feelings are more important than a woman’s safety. That a man’s pleasure is more important than a woman’s health. The message that is being communicated, loud and clear, is that men are God’s favorite, and women are a side note.
    On top of all the hurting, abused Christian women, Christian misogyny is also a HUGE factor that repels the lost from Christ.
    Focus on the Family, you have such a huge audience and influence on not only Christian culture, but the secular culture and how our society views Jesus. Please use it responsibly.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK! Perfect response. Thank you. I was flabbergasted by their statement about intent. A similar thing was said to people at Houston First Baptist who brought up concerns to their pastor about having him speak (that’s where the videos were taken). They responded that they didn’t feel that was his intent. So I think the wording may be coming from Eggerichs’ himself. But it’s not logical, it’s not excuse, and people can see right through it.
      Please, FOTF and Eggerichs: do the Christlike thing and humble yourself, admit the mistake, and do better. “Pure religion is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress….” (James 1:27). The distress of women and children who have been abandoned matters to God! It’s “pure religion”. It’s how we follow Christ. And yet they are siding with the abuser instead.

  17. Dani

    I have very loved all you have written about this book and it’s teachings. It’s not had influence in my marriage but it certainly did in my home growing up and it was harmful.
    In the podcast I especially appreciated what you said about Eggerich equating his wife sharing her feeling with disrespect. I started reading the book this week because I felt I should not hate something so much that I haven’t read and I came across this problem very quickly. Eggerich tells them story of when he forgot his wife’s birthday and she was hurt and then turned around and said that he may have forgotten but he hadn’t done it on purpose and he didn’t have a word for it at the time but he felt ‘disrespected’. I read that and thought, no you didn’t, you felt GUILTY and you didn’t like feeling that way. With some emotional maturity we can take feelings like that and process them, apologise and change. With Love and Respect we can shove down those negative feelings and lay the blame on our wives shoulders. Something I have seen more times than I care to dwell on.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Keith and I were talking about the birthday card incident last weekend, too, and that’s exactly the way we saw it as well. Any time he felt guilty like he had done something wrong, he said his wife was making him feel disrespected by being upset. It really is sad.

  18. Lindsey

    My husband and I listened to this last night (I had already listened once). The way they talk about respectfully confronting a husband, but then make it really clear that the only way you can know that you’ve been respectful is based upon how your husband receives the rebuke, is the exact Experience that we’ve had whenever we attempted to discuss an issue with a minister. Sadly, at multiple different churches and congregations this was the reaction.
    Once, when we found out that a convicted child molester was attending, we sat down with the minister to ask why we weren’t informed so that we could keep our children safe. Both my husband and I made sure that our tone of voice was extremely respectful. The minister lost it. Saying we were disrespectful, pretended at first he didn’t know who we were discussing, lied about another person who had been visiting with a relative and was also a perv (whom we had previously been told about, and later found out had been barred from attending). At one point he completely interrupted me, and my husband stopped him and made him let me speak. It was horrific.
    I spent the entire service crying in the mother’s room with my infant daughter. After services he gathered associate pasted and the elders to have a “talk” with us. My husband told him that I would not be talking with them anymore, and that they could just talk to him. He still didn’t back down. I was close to the associate pastor and his wife, and I could tell from the look in his eyes that he felt pained about what was happening, but he didn’t speak up except to try to diffuse the emotions during my husband’s talk with the group. That was the beginning of the end of my belief in organized religion, and very nearly ended my faith altogether.
    The pastor did email us later to offer a vague sort of apology and let us know that the church had made some minor policy changes when dealing with sex offenders. The associate pastor reached out to let us know that we were missed. But we never went back. It breaks my heart, too, because I had started to feel that the associate pastor and his wife were a sort of mentor for us, and I was finally starting to feel like we were finding a community.
    Since then I have zero trust for institutional religion and it’s “leaders”, and will never let my guard down at services. It’s been a horrible and isolating experience. I can only imagine how awful it would be to go through marital abuse AND spiritual abuse alone. At least I have my husband. My heart goes out to all who’ve been harmed by this toxic ideology – both in marriage and in congregation.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Lindsey, that’s awful. Thanks for sharing more of your story; I didn’t know that you had gone through that. What a betrayal of trust on all kinds of levels! I hope you find a healthy Christian community soon. Believe me–they are out there. I hope that associate pastor finds his courage, too, and leaves (or at least makes a principled stand).

  19. Casey

    I’m just curious about this. In Ephesians 5:22 Paul writes Wives submit unto your husbands and in verse 25 he says Husbands Love your wife. Isn’t this where Emmerich comes up with his basis. Women thrive with love, and men thrive with submission or respect. Yet clearly both men and women need love and respect? Just curious. I’m not even talking about the rest of what you have brought up.

  20. Amber

    I just found your podcast, this one was the first I heard.
    Thank you for speaking out against this book.
    10 years ago my husband as newlyweds went through this study, I assumed because I was just married and older couples were leading the study, that this was the way things are supposed to be.
    It went against my personality to stay silent but I’m strong willed and did my best to follow the rules.
    I followed blindly.
    Fast forward 10 years. Our marriage is a mess. I elevated my husband above God. Beat myself up for problems in our marriage and my husband would confirm that it was my problem. Things he didn’t like me doing, he would tell me I was being disrespectful. He was allowed(in his mind) to love me however he wished (ex. over working, because he made more money for me) but I had to do exactly what he wanted to be respectful to him. I could go on, it’s a mess.
    The last 2 years God broke me to grow me into a healthier and stronger woman in Christ. As I have grown healthier in Christ I have seen the unhealth but listening to your podcast today made me see how all the problems are connected.
    Is that book the reason we have a bad marriage? probably not (husband has childhood damages I was unaware of for years), but if you plant a tree crooked when it’s young it will grow that way unless it’s healthy and can fight to grow straight. Unfortunately we were not healthy from the start(unbeknownst to me) and Love and Respect just jacked up our marriage even more and because of its teaching we could not get healthy.
    Thank you for bring to light the damage that this book causes!

  21. Rachel Ramey

    I believe the entire principle behind L&R is fundamentally flawed. It is bad exegesis to conclude based on Ephesians 5 that “female humans need/want love and male humans need/want respect.” That isn’t at all what the passage is teaching.
    The passage is talking about the ROLES, not of males and females in general, but of husbands and wives. And it’s calling for an important balance as they live out those roles — husbands, as you exercise your authority, be sure you’re showing CARE for those under that authority. Wives, as you’re under authority, be sure you’re showing proper honor to those in authority.
    It has nothing to do with an either/or of what we’re “wired” to need. It has everything to do with what needed to be said to those in or under authority.
    I don’t understand how this eisegesis about men vs. women has so thoroughly taken over the evangelistic world.

  22. Emma

    Listening to the replies that Rebecca got from L&R, I can’t help but think, “this is how you make fragile masculinity”. Ironically, the very subculture that claims to be “building men up” and “creating strong Biblical men” are making men whose masculinity is so weak their wives can’t even firmly address their flaws.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Completely agree, Emma. I’m so glad to be married to a man who is strong of character and isn’t so easily overcome by emotional anger at the smallest criticism. It means I’m with a true man who is my partner in every way, not a man-child I need to mother and placate.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love this, Emma! I totally agree.


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