Emerson Eggerichs and the Gaslighting of Emotional Abuse Victims in a Sermon Series

by | Mar 24, 2021 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 237 comments

Emerson Eggerichs Gaslighting Abuse Victims at Houstons First Baptist Church

Last year, I looked at some rather alarming clips from some sermons Emerson Eggerichs–the author of Love & Respect–gave where he essentially gaslighted emotional abuse victims.

I was prepared to let it go–I’ve talked about it, and let’s move on.

But in the last week he put a copyright infringement on our video on YouTube where we provided clips of the sermon with commentary, and on my Twitter thread where we talked about it. I believe those uses were Fair Use, but I decided not to contest it, and instead to revisit it in a more comprehensive way. This is actually quite serious, and if I don’t deal with it again, then I give the impression that if you bully me to be silent, I’ll be silent.

In that original post and the original video I only looked at a few clips. Today I asked Connor to look at the totality of the two sermons, and dissect them for me, and he has. I’m going to turn this over to him in a moment, but I want to point something out.

A sermon or book about marriage can deal with abuse in one of three ways:

  1. HEALTHY: It can warn people what abuse looks like, and advise people to take proper precautions to protect themselves
  2. NEUTRAL: It can ignore abuse altogether and only talk about how to build a healthy marriage
  3. UNHEALTHY AND DANGEROUS: It can give caveats about abuse (or fail to give any caveats at all), but then show in anecdotes that people are blowing abuse out of proportion, and prime the church leaders and the congregation to disregard any abuse allegations that are brought forward.

Obviously, #3 is awful. and that’s what we contend is being done here. I’ll hand it over to Connor to explain:

Sheila Wray Gregoire

On October 6, 2019, Emerson Eggerichs preached two sermons at Houston’s First Baptist Church, where he talked about abuse in an unhealthy way.

The videos of the sermons are up on YouTube: Love and Respect Part 1 and Part 2. We would like to readdress this today.

(We’ll be showing clips of the sermons below, but we invite you to watch the whole thing using the links above if you would like even more context.)

Now, the reason I say “readdress” is because Sheila has actually talked about these videos before. Well, not ‘talked’ so much as ‘put out a video on Youtube’ where she showed several clips from his presentation and provided some text commentary laid over the clip, and some text screens between the clips. Yes, it was very cinematic. But honestly, she just wasn’t planning to make a big thing out of it. She saw the videos, and it seemed as though parts of Eggerichs’ presentation talking about female trolls may have been in response to statements she had been making about the book at that time. The videos themselves provided some examples of the problematic ideas Sheila was concerned with, so she figured she would respond in a video.

Some people liked her points, and some people complained that he was being taken out of context, and that we had not watched the entire video. That’s all fine and normal, but then just last week, Sheila’s video received a copyright claim for using parts of Eggerichs’ video in hers, demanding we take down the video.

Now, for those of you who are not in the know about copyright law, video used for the purpose of critique or commentary is protected under fair use (note, that I am not a lawyer, nor should this be considered expert legal advice). So I look at this situation and naturally I conclude: “They don’t think we provided enough critique or commentary. I suppose they must be asking for more, and I am more than happy to oblige.” So with that, I watched both videos through several times to arm myself with commentary and context. Here we go.


While I have read Emerson’s book, Love and Respect, I will be solely discussing and referencing the aforementioned videos. This is partly in the interest of time, and partly because I want to make it as easy as possible for you to access the full context of what I discuss, so you can watch the full videos and look at the clips and timestamps I include to form your own opinions on whether information is being misrepresented. 

They are set to play at specific timestamps, though the clips sometimes load wrong and start in the wrong place, so below each video will be the timestamp for the clip I am talking about.

But largely, I am only addressing these videos because the larger context of his many blog posts, other speeches, even his book, doesn’t matter. Most people aren’t going to hear everything Eggerichs has to say, so if he says something somewhere that is harmless as long as it’s in the context of a blog he wrote two years ago, or an appearance he made in someone else’s podcast, that’s not good enough. Not even close. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it clarify Eggerichs’ stance on abuse?

I also have no interest in making claims about Eggerichs’ intentions, motivations, or thoughts, as the claims would be uninformed, unfounded, and I do not wish to cause any harm to Eggerichs personally.

Likewise, I am not interested in speculating about his family, his marriage, or his private life, and will only be addressing the information he provides in his presentation. I do not know his family or any of their dynamics, and again do not wish to cause harm to anyone involved.

My critique is only of the message and its presentation.

Now let’s get into the sermons. When Sheila originally uploaded her video, it was titled “Emerson Eggerichs Gaslights Emotional Abuse.” Her point was that the way Emerson talks in these videos tends to downplay the existence and prevalence of very real concerns in marriage, while encouraging people to stay in abusive, toxic, and harmful situations. Of course, many jumped to Emerson’s defence, saying that he doesn’t condone abuse and actively tells people to get out of harmful situations. So my first order of business is of course… to do my best to back them up.

I combed through both videos looking for anything that could be perceived as a disclaimer, caveat, or statement of any kind that acknowledges that abuse exists and should be dealt with differently.

And guess what? He had several. 

“Unless it’s an evil” 20:01 – 20:13

Emerson advocates against just seeing arguments in the black and white terms of one spouse being wrong and the other being right, but rather as different, “unless it’s an evil. Unless your husband is saying, ‘Hey I’ve been thinking about selling the kids for our coke habit.‘”

That’s not bad advice, though it’s a pretty low bar to set. So let’s see if he later clarifies what is or is not unacceptable, evil, or abusive.

“I’m not talking about being nice” 33:14 – 34:22

So Eggerichs is saying contrary to what some people take away from the book, you are not just supposed to just nicely and meekly go along with whatever your husband says because as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, if you follow your husband into sin or evil, you are still accountable.

It starts off sounding helpful when he is saying that rather than just being nice and permissive, you should “courageously and respectfully speak the truth.” But when he elaborates, he ties it to not following your husband down a sinful path, rather than informing women how to protect themselves when their husbands are sinning against them. Should they still just speak the truth courageously and respectfully while enduring? When is a woman justified in doing more? It’s still unclear. Let’s keep looking.

“There’s not moral issues here” 27:04 – 27:37

It’s just common issues. There’s not moral issues here. If there are then that’s not my frame of reference. ‘He’s betraying you, he’s beating the ki-‘ we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about these day-in day-out tensions between people of good will

So here we have a defence that Eggerichs and others will commonly make about his teaching. His advice is only for people of good will. In fact, he uses the phrase “good will” quite a bit throughout these two videos. That’s fine. It’s okay to put your focus on giving advice to healthy couples, as long as the advice would not do harm if applied in the wrong marriages, or at least clear boundaries are laid out to establish where the advice is or is not appropriate.

“Not talking about being in harm’s way, you get out of harm’s way” 41:46 – 42:08

This is the fourth and final disclaimer I was able to find in the videos. “You get out of harm’s way.” That’s a good caveat. That’s an important caveat.

Eggerichs’ Caveats about Abuse

  1. Not talking about going along with evil (like if your husband wants to sell the kids to support a coke habit)
  2. You don’t follow your husband into sin (like Ananias and Sapphira)
  3. It only applies to people of goodwill
  4. You should get out of harm’s way.

With this, and the other disclaimers Emerson gives, it becomes easy to see for anyone watching, whether in a healthy marriage or a toxic marriage, whether his advice is applicable to their circumstances, right?


Now Let the True Critique of how Eggerichs Handles Abuse Begin

We have looked at all of the times he acknowledges toxicity, evil, etc. as a real problem (he doesn’t acknowledge abuse). Now let’s look at how he actually handles abuse.

He laughs at–and encourages the congregation to mock–women who claim that they are married to narcissists or that his advice enables abuse.

Now observe as he puts on a mocking female voice to bring up some women’s concerns about husbands who may be narcissistic, controlling, or emotionally abusive.

Pause for laughter.

Mocking women who say, “I’m not going to submit myself to emotional abuse”, 13:46 – 15:59

Keep watching the clip and you’ll see he goes on to say these women (women who are trying to guard themselves from narcissistic, controlling, or emotionally abusive men) are going to victimize your ‘honorable’ sons, and slander them on social media and talk shows. And then he talks about how social media is filled with trolling women.

He doesn’t directly say ‘if a woman complains about these things, she is just a troll,’ but can you honestly say you can’t see how vulnerable women watching this would easily connect those dots? I am not saying this is Eggerichs’ intent. I don’t care whether his wording is intentional or ignorant. What matters to me is the impact on people watching. And as we will see, these are not the only dots that Emerson will put right beside each other without quite explicitly connecting them.

Now before we move on, I want to again point out that he does not name or denounce abuse in any of his disclaimers. He only brings it up in the previous clip where he mocked women who were skeptical that his teaching would promote their safety, and this next one where he again tries to garner sympathy for ‘your sons’ because he argues that honorable male conduct has been relabeled as abusive.

(Note: I am referring to a later portion of this clip, but have include the earlier part to give context to my next point.)

 “Your sons will be called abusive.” 25:56 – 27:21

So between the two videos, Emerson only brings up abuse as a term used for man-bashing. He doesn’t explicitly say abuse doesn’t exist, but he only mentions abuse in the context of women unfairly using the term and thus harming good, honorable men.

In general, according to Emerson’s video, when women talk about abuse, men are the victims.

What is the takeaway from these clips? Women should think twice before speaking up about abuse, because usually they are wrong, and are unfairly hurting someone’s son for doing the right thing.

But there is a lot more here to unpack. Recall that last clip and then take a look at these two.

Men in warrior mode (ie a fight with their wife) withdraw out of honor, 24:33 – 25:32

Why should men apologize when they withdraw rather than raising a fist? 27:33 – 28:10

That’s right, he talks a LOT about how when you get into a conflict with your husband “his heartbeats are in warrior mode,” and “He’s felt dishonoured and he has to CALM DOWN. So he walks away out of honour,” and how men have to walk away because “men know physiologically that can lose it.”

And then in all three clips he’ll switch over to talking about that same dynamic happening between male buddies, and he’ll talk about how men know to walk away from each other in a heated dispute so they don’t escalate. In all three cases he raises a clenched trembling fist and feigns barely suppressed rage. In the last clip he says, “You don’t say you’re sorry, in the man’s world, for doing the honourable thing! when you wanna… *shakes his fist and clenches his jaw* just really go after your best buddy.

What are we to think when Eggerichs says that men withdraw out of honor, but then gestures that they do it so that they don’t punch someone?

I don’t think it is fair to assume or imply that it is a calculated move on his part to switch over to talking about disputes between men before using violently suggestive body language all three times to carefully avoid directly implying normal, good, honourable men will get violent with their wives if they don’t walk away. I can’t and won’t speak to his intentions. But again, the question is “what is the message?” What’s the takeaway?

Some people coming away from Emerson’s presentation are going to think:

When things get heated, my husband has two choices. He can walk away, or he can get violent. And if he walks away because that’s the only way he thinks he can avoid getting violent, he is actually a normal, good, and honourable man. And, knowing this, if I chase after him or try to get him to stay and talk, frankly, it will be my fault when he hits me because he is an honourable man who I wouldn’t allow to the honourable thing.

That’s horrible. And watching his presentation, I just kept feeling like the way Emerson normalizes this behaviour and elevates it as honourable seems so similar to the way some people used to talk about porn use in teenage boys like it’s just a sign that they are a normal, healthy, red-blooded man.

Is it true? Probably not.

Do we want it to be true? PROBABLY NOT!

I know there are some who defend old marriage teaching by saying that the ‘feminists’ and ‘trolling women’ are just man-bashing and want men to be ashamed of what they are.

But as a guy, I can tell you that watching these videos is what makes me ashamed.

To men and women both, I want to say that Eggerichs does not speak for me.

I have never been in a heated situation with ANYONE that has made me need to walk away lest I do something I’ll regret. I can confidently say the same about pretty much all of my male friends, my father, my father in-law, etc.

Withdrawing so you don’t “lose it” is not normal, and it is not universally male.

I’m not saying men never stonewall or sometimes feel the need to walk away. I myself have requested and taken time to be alone and go for a walk a couple of times in the earlier years of marriage… but only after we had resolved our conflict, and never for long. I was glad we resolved the situation, I would just feel a little emotionally exhausted and take some time of listening to music and stretching my legs to process and move into a happier head space so I could come back, cuddle up with Rebecca, and watch a show or something.

So if Eggerichs is saying his advice is not for people who are in harm’s way, but is instead meant for those in marriages with good will, why isn’t it relevant to me or anyone I know?

And why, on the other hand, could someone who regularly finds themselves on the verge of physically or emotionally abusing their wife come away from that sermon feeling like a strong, noble knight?  Why does this presentation make light of the term ‘abuse,’ and then normalize dangerous dynamics while saying things like “It’s not that there’s anybody who’s mean spirited. Everybody’s sincere.” (Part-1 11:05)

But wait, there is still more!

Trigger Warning:

In this next clip Emerson Recounts a story of domestic abuse and attempted murder in his own family.

He does not provide detail or describe it as abuse, but I want to give you a heads up anyway. If this is something that might trigger you, you can skip to the end of the grey section for my closing thoughts.

“My father attempted to strangle my mother”, example of the Crazy Cycle, 24:57 – 25:48

First, let’s be fair and give the context preceding this clip.

Eggerichs is in the middle of explaining the ‘crazy cycle,’ a term he has coined that refers to how men react unlovingly when they feel disrespected and women react disrespectfully when they feel unloved. So the crazy cycle is a form of a vicious cycle where a perceived slight from one spouse causes a back and forth chain reaction of not meeting each other’s needs because they each feel wounded. I will not deny that vicious cycles do occur, even in healthy marriages. In fact Eggerichs drives home how normal it is to find yourself on the crazy cycle, explaining several times across the presentation that it happens in his own marriage, generally 3-4 times a month. It happens.

Rebecca and I spend all day every day in the same house and we get into something similar maybe 3-4 times a year (though it’s not because I feel disrespected or she feels unloved).

Now, given the context that he is introducing and explaining the crazy cycle, he provides an example, explaining that when he was younger, his father got angry in a heated dispute and tried to strangle his (Emerson’s) mother. Then he says his mother shut down because he had wounded her emotionally. They separated, for 5 years, came to Christ, and then reunited.

He says all of this, without mentioning abuse, violence, or crime.

He doesn’t tie this behaviour into any of the caveats I pointed out. He doesn’t condemn his father’s behaviour except to say he had wounded her, and he sums the situation up as family issues.

Then he says what he saw there, in the situation where he had a father who nearly murdered his mother, was the previously mentioned and normalized ‘crazy cycles.’ He then goes straight from describing an attempted strangling as a crazy cycle to saying the husband in a crazy cycle should ask himself if his wife was really trying to diss him or if she is a good-willed woman who was acting out of hurt, and the wife should ask herself “Is he really unloving? or did I say or do something earlier that was disrespectful?”

Let me play that out again for you:

  • Crazy cycles are a normal issue in regular marriages, because as Eggerichs tries to make clear, he is not talking about harmful or evil situations–>
  • He provides an example of a crazy cycle from his own life–>
  • His father tried to strangle his mother–>
  • Women in a crazy cycle need to ask themselves if their husband is really being unloving or if she made the mistake of disrespecting him.

Is that a simplification, yes. But is it also clear to see how someone could have a very dangerous takeaway from this message? Especially a woman who is stuck in an abusive marriage, who sees this sermon and now has a way to rationalize her husband’s behaviour and make excuses for him, because she is trying her best to be an unconditionally respectful ‘Love and Respect’ wife?

Again, I am not implying Emerson Eggerichs set out to create, foster, or rationalize abuse.

And there are places where he addresses abuse and lays out a stance. For example, the article he wrote on his site entitled “On Abuse in Marriage.” If what he said in that article was included in the presentation, and maybe some things in the presentation were reworded or removed, Sheila would not have made her original video, nor would I have written this post. But that is not how things happened, and so there is this video which communicates a message to some that, if taken in isolation, is dangerous, and if taken with his other works, muddies the waters of what is ok.

Eggerichs says:

“Get out of harm’s way.”

Connor says:

If your husband needs to walk away to stop himself from getting violent, you are in harm’s way. If your husband strangles you for any reason (including his feeling disrespected by you), you are in harm’s way.

This is the problem:

Good teaching shouldn’t convince you, intentionally or otherwise, that a harmful situation is actually normally and healthy.

A lot of antiquated teachings about gender will say “there is a bar, and men who make it over the bar are a shining example of God’s design,” and then they gently and self-reverently place the bar on the ground. And when we say maybe we should raise the bar, the response is that we are trying to make men out to be disgusting pigs who can’t make it over the bar.

That’s certainly not what I am saying. I am saying when you set the bar on the ground, don’t be surprised when people just step over it. I think I actually have a far higher regard for men than a lot of evangelical marriage teachers, because I think we can raise the bar a lot higher and a lot of men will still clear it. Sure, maybe some men will have to jump higher than they were before, but isn’t that a good thing for the world?

Caveats mean nothing if the anecdotes in your presentation prime people to ignore abuse.

These sermons made fun of women who called their husbands abusive, and invited the congregation to laugh at such women. Eggerichs said in these sermons that ALL MEN will be called abusive, thus priming people to think that if a woman says her husband is abusive, that her husband is no different than any other husband. And he used very violent examples and violent body language to say, “this is just normal in marriage.”
That is dangerous.

I hope people can see this.

I called and emailed Houston’s First Baptist Church after these sermons went online, because I was contacted by people who were in those sermons and who were concerned. Houston’s First Baptist has, to date, never returned my calls or emails, and these sermons are still up on their YouTube channel and their church’s website.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Emerson Eggerichs Gaslighting Abuse Victims at Houston's First Baptist Church

How You Can Help

Please share this post on social media, and tell people about it.

The old video that they put a copyright infringement on had had 3,600 views at the point of the DCMA take down order. In the last 18 hours, my posts about this on social media have been seen by 82,000, with 15,700 people engaging. The more people who see this, the more authors and speakers like this will understand that if they try to silence or threaten me, it will turn out badly. So please help get the word out for my sake, but more importantly, so that we can change the conversation in the evangelical church. This should never be acceptable anymore.

Thank you.

What do you think about the sermon clips (or the whole thing if you watched it)? Did anything stand out to you? Let’s talk in the comments!

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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. Bre

    This was good…sad but good. What really hit me was “If we set the bar in the ground, we shouldn’t be surprised when people just step over it.” I’ve never thought about it that way before, but I feel like it’s the perfect analogy for one of the things that makes me irritated about these sort of teachings. While, as Conner put it, not all men are pigs…what do people think they are going to get when the bar is essentially “you can get away with anything as long as you wrap it in Christian language snd gave a nice sounding excuse?” While I like to believe the best in people…humans are still fallen and can often be easily swayed by selfishness. If, like so many of these teachings seem to say, that even sin is “just how men are wired” than what real incentive do they have to aim higher if they can get their way and be praised by preachers and teachers for it, even if it’s totally unchristlike? if anything, these authors are the ones calling men pigs because they are trying to normalize/call men to behavior that even many secular men would/do find nuts. If the stuff is piggish and gross, than fix it; don’t shoot the messenger for saying that the majority of people and scientific knowledge find the junk bizarre. This really resonates with me as a future educator about to student teach; a lot of classroom management is based on setting strong expectations for your student and treating them like they can do it while meeting them at your level. In general, whether you are teaching grown humans or young ones, they will follow your lead and have as high standards and self determination and positivity as you give them as a role model.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Bre! Most healthy, secular people find this insane. In fact, most healthy, Christian people find this very insulting and problematic. So WHY aren’t those high up in the evangelical church noticing how bad this is?

      • Samantha

        Why in the world is he publicly calling women “bimbos”??? Reading more into his own story, I almost have to feel slightly bad for him. He grew up in an abusive home and unfortunately never realized it was abusive/abnormal. He seems to be continuing the cycle of abuse (not saying he abuses his wife, but still obviously carries the attitudes) and has a massive platform to go with it.

      • Rachel

        We led a small group through this study a number of years ago. I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t understand why until today. My husband is as solid as they come. He never gets angry or raises a fist. Neither of our fathers were ever in a crazy cycle either. I don’t appreciate the stereotyping and generalizations he gives about men and also about women. The other thing that strikes me about his is that he says “all men do this or that.” That includes him, and if he’s like that also, then why is he teaching because he then falls out of line with Paul’s instructions for people in leadership positions.

      • Bre

        Samantha, I didn’t know that. And, wow. That makes me sad. Not thank anything gives him an excuse for this junk, but the cycle of abusive thinking is just depression. You know what it honestly reminds me of? St. Augustine . A lot of the crappy theology we have, particularly regarding marriage and women comes from him. He thought sex was evil and gross and not God’s plan for humanity (Uh…wut?) and was pretty openly misogynistic about how women were basically sin incarnate. But his past and the culture he lived in explains a lot of it; I read some good books by a husband and wife duo that explained it. Augustine had a pretty hedonistic life with a sexual past he regretted and since he failed at finding a healthy understanding of sexuality and God, he basically decided to blame sex and females for all his problems because he felt helpless. In addition, his father beat his mother a lot and in one of his writings, he said that a role Christian women is to let their husbands “correct them” by BEATING them!!!! He held up his mother and how she would tell young christian brides to quit being uppity and chafing at their husbands “Godly” blows and correction as the gold standard of how wives should deal with being beat and basically called abuse in Christian homes good. Combine this with his scholarly obsession with a flawed secular school of philosophy that said that the world would be out of balance if men didn’t rule women and slaves and the cultural attitudes towards women in his day, and the guy had zero chance of having any healthy views of sex and marriage and peddled out junk that is still with us. I know its weird to compare the two but, with the abusive family background, the church culture being harsh on women, the “meh” attitude towards abuse, and the peddling of toxic junk that is considered the church’s “gold standard” for marriage teaching…I can see the parallels. Some things never change, I guess. Sadly.

        • Julia

          Bre, can you please share the name of the books from the husband and wife you referenced, who wrote about Augustine. I know so many people (mostly men) who love God and also point to the writings of the old church fathers like Augustine. I don’t doubt the people who admite Augustine’s writings are referring to biblical teachings. But I hope they would also explain the unbiblical parts of the writings to show that humans might get some things right but we are not infallible. We are to seek and pray to God for wisdom and understanding.

      • Lea

        Samantha, a bunch of these ‘teachers’ seem to have had crazy abusive fathers and they normalized it.
        The fact that his example is literally Strangulation and he bops on over to talking about maybe a woman did something ‘disrespectful’ that caused it is mind blowing to me.
        He needs to be getting therapy, not doing this.

    • Sally Marino

      So much mocking of women. That in itself is very telling. To brush off the strangulation of his own mother the way he did… so disgusting!

      • Kayla

        My blood just ran cold at reading this.
        I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen if the day comes that he *finally* understands that his dad was abusive. To not even register strangulation as utterly criminal, that has to take a horrible amount of rationalization.
        I’ll be praying that he comes to repent of these attitudes soon. From the looks of it, the lives and well-being of thousands of couples depends on it.

    • MKS

      My initial reaction to his description of the typical male response to conflict was that in my marriage, I was the one who wanted to walk away from a heated discussion, and my husband was the one who pursued me. It became intense during our last year together, to the point that he would not give me privacy to calm down. I had to leave the house for some place of refuge to get away from his persistent argumentation.
      Some relationships are not a case of a wife, feeling unloved, becoming disrespectful towards her husband. I was very careful in how I phrased my words when addressing my husband about something he had said or done that was unloving or harsh. He viewed any concern or criticism as disrespect and anything stated in disagreement with him or his opinion as disrespect. Any question I asked about an idea he had was labeled “negative” and “unloving,” no matter how carefully I asked it.
      I was disturbed by his description of his parents. He said his father “wounded” his mother but never actually described his father as unsafe, just that they separated for 5 years and that his mother was wounded emotionally. He did not commend his mother’s act of separation as the right and safe thing to do.
      And yes, to warn women that if they call their husbands abusive, they are setting up their sons for the same when they marry — how am I, then, to describe the man from whom I had to separate because of his oppression? My own son told me I needed to divorce his father because of the abuse.

      • Angela England

        This type of language is really common when describing assaults against women. Passive voice language. “John accused by Susan of alleged assault” instead more concise, active language “John allegedly hit Susan” or “Susan allegedly assaulted by John”
        In fact, start paying attention to the headlines and anecdotes in these situations and you’ll see that often (especially when white) the abuser becomes the victim of the allegation rather than the perpetrator of the harm.
        It’s insane how often this happens. Less so when the perpetrator is a minority by about half but still it’s MORE common to make the perpetrator the victim of the accusation than to hold him accountable for his actions by the use of our language.

      • Lea

        I really hate that he says his mother separated for five years and only got back together when they became Christian?
        This would have been a great opportunity to call this out as an example of being safe, and instead he said she was Woudned ‘emotionally’ not physically and the implication is that a good Christian woman will stay with a man like his father, or get back together with him.

    • Ali

      My ex-husband and I went through this book not once but two times! In my opinion, it normalized unhealthy, toxic interactions and took away my voice for years.
      It kept me from being able to even talk to him about the idea that he is emotionally abusive, because he scoffed at how every woman who was divorcing her husband said that he was abusive. It allowed him to feel like being extremely controlling was a masculine trait, and I just needed to respect him.
      I only got out because I was in therapy for 2 years trying to figure out how to be more respectful to my husband, and finally my therapist pointed out that he is emotionally abusive, and she couldn’t in good conscience keep silent about it any longer. I desperately needed another person to tell me that.
      Thank you for this article and for your continued work!! I’m happy to say that I’m now in a long-term relationship with a man who genuinely loves me in a way I’ve never experienced.

  2. Sara T

    Thank you for this. I have sat through the video class twice and it was the best thing at the time but it still seemed “off” but since I couldn’t pin point it or put it into words I had to just go with it. This teaching in particular has caused me so much grief and pain. Our previous pastor was a big advocate of this teacher/teaching and I observed it’s dangers firsthand. I am so grateful to be reading through your new book WITH my husband and it has been a game changer already… and we’re only in chapter 3! Never has discussion been so productive and healthy. Please keep up your amazing work and defending us who have been hoodwinked and minimized for so long.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Sara! I love that you’re reading The Great Sex Rescue with your husband, too! So many women have told me that–that they’re finding it’s helping to have so many fruitful conversations. That’s awesome.

    • Emily

      I have read his book and there was this underlying feeling of, “That’s… just not right.” There was something that I just couldn’t get on board with and I felt suffocated reading it. Ever since we stopped reading it and tried other books (Gary Thomas’s Cherish was HUGE for us and we are currently going through your 31 Days book) our marriage has drastically turned around for the better. I can’t even tell you how much better this is. We went from thinking we’d have to get separated last year to real deep hope and connection. We made love for the first time 2 weeks ago and we’ve been married over 10 years. Still working on my orgasm, but apparently you have a course for that so I’ll have to look into it as your other book has done good things to our sex life. Our marriage as a whole changed so much better after we stopped reading L&R. Thinking about burning a book for the first time ever, and as a book lover and collector, I cannot believe I have that thought, but I do. I really can’t bring myself to donate it to a thrift store where someone else might read it.

      • TK

        I know what you mean at being horrified at the thought of burning a book lol
        I bought my copy at the thrift store and it’s been many years since I read it. I originally was going to throw it out but lately I’ve been thinking of re-reading it and keeping a pen or pencil handy and writing in the book everywhere why the teachings are harmful and also making mention of Sheilas posts on the book. Then bringing it to thrift store. Books are usually very cheap there in our local ones so i wouldn’t feel guilty lol

      • Anon

        Please do burn it – at least if you toast marshmallows over the flames, it will have achieved something good!

    • Cheralyn

      So many thoughts to process from this, but the first one is this: I noticed (just from the clips!) that he often said “In a man’s world _________” as an explanation and/or justification for dismissing women and, wow… Regardless of the validity of his statement, I can imagine he’s trying to say something like, “From a man’s perspective”, but the framing is a FLAMING RED FLAG.
      Thank you, Connor and Sheila, for a) clarifying what healthy men think and b) not letting women be dismissed from the table in a man’s world.

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        Thank you, GREAT point, and awesome to see you here, Cheralyn. 🙂

      • Sarah

        Cheralyn I noticed that too. I kept thinking, but the husband isn’t in a “man’s world”; he married a woman. Together, they need to figure out how to hear and understand each other during conflict, not make excuses.

    • R.

      I’m trying to start a new comment but don’t know how so this may notbe related to the comment this is linked with.
      Here’s my question with regards to “leaving”, is there ever a time when one is feeling emotionally overwhelmed/ angry where tabling an issue for until one has calmed down or communicating one needs a break from an argument for a specific time is appropriate? I have adhd and part of this makes emotional regulation a struggle. I’m working on coping skills like deep breathing in therapy but sometimes taking a break from a situation/conversation offers me the opportunity to compose myself. Maybe I misunderstood something. I know I’m not doing anything noble by taking a break. I’m just trying to grown in self control.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I don’t think that’s a problem at all. That’s not shutting down communication–it’s just saying, “I need time to process.” As long as you explain, I think that’s perfectly fine.

      • Aron Mavros

        The difference is that a reasonably healthy person might be very angry and decide it’s unproductive to continue the argument, so they take some personal time to regather themselves and process their emotions. A person whose rage is barely suppressed to the point it’s all they can do not to drive their shaking fist into the face of the person before them (a la Emerson Eggerich’s description of “all men everywhere“) has a dangerous anger problem and needs to address both the anger and the root problem beneath the anger in therapy. That person is unsafe so long as they continue to deny they have a problem with anger. And it is not remotely a fair representation of “all men.”

  3. Julia

    Thank you! This is so good. And get louder and louder, no more fear of these leaders trying to bully people into silence.
    I love how this shows the consistent circling back to victim blaming, and calls out the flawed teaching that all men need to walk away or will be violent. I think this often demonstrates the character of the leaders trying to justify their own abusive nature.
    Thank you so much for not going silent.
    “But I know that I won’t go speechless”

  4. Jennifer Moodie

    As a woman who has endured abuse… I just. I just can’t with this. It triggers so much of why I felt so alone in what I was enduring, because of attitudes just like this. I knew I didn’t have a safe person to tell and those I did tell downplayed it and acted like Eggerichs in that I was obviously just dramatic and had my feelings hurt so I said stuff to bash him.
    This is horrible.
    Thank you for taking the time to do this and for calling him out. 👏🏻 women (and men) who are in abusive marriages/relationships need to know that not everyone will respond as Eggerichs and that how he is responding is wrong, and there are safe people to go to.
    Because I will never forget or “get over” that crushing feeling of being trapped with no one to believe me and help me out.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Jennifer. I’m so sorry that the church failed you. We simply have to change this conversation.

  5. Denae

    My ex husband hated every mention of a marriage book or marriage study because WE didn’t have a problem, ME had a problem (sorry, can’t emphasize I!). That was until I showed him on of E.E. DVD series. Then he LOVED the message and would bring up my lack of respect often, as a way to continue in his emotional abuse.
    I distantly remember one instance where he said if he didn’t walk away, he would punch me. What Conner said in his synopsis of the ‘honorable man walks away so he doesn’t become violent’ is spot on, at least for me. Because had I followed or pushed for a resolution and been physically attacked, I would have blamed myself. I had already blamed myself for all of the emotional abuse.
    Thankfully we divorced, and the son I had with him will not grow up in that man’s shadow. I healed a lot, grew a lot, and my now husband is an amazing man, totally different. God saved me from messages like this through people like you, and I hope this reaches even more battered and hurt and searching women!!!

    • Connor

      Thank you for sharing this Denae. I am so sorry you had to go through this. But your testimony is exactly the kind of thing that authors like Emerson need to hear. I am glad to hear that you are now in a healthy place, and by the sounds of it, thriving. God bless.

    • Rachel

      Denae I could have written every word you wrote because I lived that exactly. I wish I could give you a hug! I’m thankful we’re both married to good men now. 🙂

  6. Angela Parkin

    The clip at 13:46 is so incredibly telling. “Mocking women who say, “I’m not going to submit myself to emotional abuse”  “But other than these things I’m really open to hearing what you have to say.”
    So the take away is clear. If you’re “not willing to be a doormat, walk on eggshells, give him license to do whatever he wants to do, feed his ego on narcissism, wave the pom poms, worship the guy, and submit to emotional abuse,” you’re not actually open to hearing what he has to say. Interesting. So being open to hearing what he has to say requires that you’re willing to do all those things involved in submitting to abuse.

    • Allison

      Great point!

    • AnnaMichelle

      What about the part where Eggerich says that men get upset and their heartrate goes up, into warrior mode, but women get upset and their heartrate stays the same. That made my blood boil! He seems to just dehumanize women.
      I appreciate Connor’s comment about the bar being set so low. My marriage has suffered from the bar of what makes a good husband being set way to low. Just because its “not bad” doesn’t make it “good.”
      Also, I would love to see abuse redefined, or rather, re-explained to include more than just physical & sexual violence. It includes so much more than that, but because we’re looking for violence as the definition of abuse, we frequently don’t see all the the other abuses that are right in front of our noses.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes! Emotional abuse is huge, too. We focused on the physical because of his body language, but we also talk a lot about emotional abuse on this blog.

  7. Gina Ventola

    I am parsing through this. However, while waiting for this to come out, I found a radio show appearance that I had many issues with. In this clip, he makes the statement that “women are not commanded to agape love their husbands.” Ephesians 5 does use “agape” for men to love their wives. However, in John 13:35, we are all commanded to love (agape) love others. So, we’re not supposed to agape love our spouses but we are required to agape love fellow believers? He also says that the Bible is silent on this (how women should love their husbands) but that we are to phileo love our husbands. God told him that. I can not find any scriptural support that says we only love with phileo love. God does not contradict His word. Lastly, Dr. Eggerichs says that he’s been studying the Bible for 30 hours a week for 20 years….In that statement, I hear “don’t question me.”

    • Crys Knutson

      My guess is that the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in Jesus time probably studied Scripture that much or more. That didn’t stop Jesus from calling them a brood of vipers and challenging them regularly.

  8. SP

    It is very clear he does not have a high or even semi-high view or regard for women. He mocks women, period! He is condescending towards women, period! He mocks women in a way that sends a message of that when women reach out for help it’s childish and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I find it interesting how his dad trying to murder his Mom is done as a factual story with no sadness or other emotions attached to it. His description of his mom being wounded instead of being abused or a survivor of domestic abuse is very odd. It sounds like he grew up with family abuse and maybe blames his mom for what happened to her instead of laying blame at his dad’s feet. His current attitude towards women also indicates this is a possibility. The way he mocks women is despicable and so disrespectful. Abuse is nothing to be mocked and I pray his eyes will be opened and organizations will speak out about this and stop promoting and allowing his current teachings to be used. Yes, he places men on a pedestal of nobility and honor with women acting as children, unable to make sound, reasonable, rational, intelligent judgements and decisions.

    • Crys Knutson

      I am seeing the same thing—-something in his past experiences has really given him a suspicious and negative lens through which to view women. Watching some of those clips of how he talks about women and the violence he witnessed in his own home shows such a strange disconnect. It is pretty obvious that he is long gone and without some serious intervention and therapeutic healing, he’s just going to keep going on and on like this leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

  9. Maggie

    We are with Dr E if we are picking teams. It is your teaching we find dangerous, permitting of abuse and perverting the scripture. If there is gaslighting going on it’s being done right here.
    We do not agree with you on almost anything regarding the Christian faith and how it’s to be lived out. The quicker we can separate the better. The only good thing I can say is you’ve become a great way to decide if we want to associate with someone or not. If they like your teaching we get as far away from them and the poison as fast as we can. This site is pure leftism, feminism and progressivism wrapped in a fake Jesus wrapper leading women astray by the twitching ears. It resembles nothing of Christ.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      All we want is for women (and men) to not be abused and for women (and men) to be able to have orgasms 🙂 . I’m sorry that you don’t agree! And, frankly, based on your comment, you’re right. We don’t serve the same Christ.

    • Julia

      Do you have any arguments to support this or are you simply here to sling insults and assumptions without any backing of your perspective. Can you explain what in here is not of Christ? Telling men they aren’t destined to be abusive or avoiding or telling women they aren’t at fault for being abused? Which is un-Christlike?

    • Julie Borgdorff

      I would really love to hear your biblical support for anything you just said, Maggie. As someone who has grown up in evangelical teachings for basically my entire life – please explain? Or is it perhaps your traditionalism and lack of true understanding of Jesus that is sculpting your view of what is right and wrong.
      I shake my head and honestly feel like this mindset you are sharing is so similiar to the attitude of the pharisees of Jesus day. It is HARD to have our traditions and interrpretations challenged. It really is! But take a step and ask yourself, is what is being said bothering me because it’s not what Jesus taught? Or is it bothering you because it’s not what your church taught? Huge difference. And every single church must have the humility to be wrong sometimes and have doctrine and teachings corrected if neccesary. How sinful to think we always 100% of the time get everything right.
      God bless.

    • Katrina Burns

      Wow! Maggie, I don’t know who the “we” you are referring to is. Maybe you and your spouse. But let me tell you I am one who follows Sheila and her team and I am NOT a leftist, a feministic, or a progressive!
      I will tell you what I am! I am a follower of Jesus Christ. A Jesus who teaches me that I am Chosen, I am Adopted into His family, I am Adored by Him, I am Worthy, etc. I DO NOT have to be belittled and I most certainly have enough wisdom to take a teaching and discern it for myself.
      If you, and whoever is in the “we” with you, chooses to embrace EE’s teachings, then that’s your right. But don’t tell me that I have twitching ears and that I’m being led astray. Just because I am a female does not mean that I am following someone without using wisdom and discernment.
      Abuse is disgusting and nothing about it is Christ like. I won’t judge your Christian faith on your post, but I will tell you mine is based on the Word of God and those I choose to learn from are filtered through the discernment that I have from being knowledgeable about what God’s Word says and having the Holy Spirit within me.
      And your last remark, “It resembles nothing of Christ.”, maybe I should ask how you see Christ.

    • Amy

      Maggie – I tried the respect route with my ex-husband. He was a selfish, abusive man and no amount of respect will change a man from viewing his wife as an object to viewing her as a real person with a soul. Emerson probably has some good stuff in his teachings. However as someone harmed by teachings like his to the point that I very possibly could have been killed by my husband, the responsible thing to do is to point this out to protect other victims. I strongly believe that God values all people and is angry when His Word is used in ways that result in the harm of some people. Whether intentional or not, Emerson is using God’s Word in a way that is causing some people great harm.

    • Rogue

      This is what I call a suspect comment. Either that or I will burn my Criminal Justice diploma…. If this person believed everything they were saying about the blog and Sheila they would have stopped reading from this site and her social media a long time ago after her first series of Emerson posts. Or they have been a repeat commenter and I have failed to notice any negativity the first times?
      If you ping checked the IP, I wonder who’s house or organization it might go to?…
      Also the use of we? And picking teams?
      I also don’t see most women commenting on here using such accusing vitriolic language…
      Anyway…Keep up the good fight Sheila!

  10. JrB

    Does anyone else notice how this sermon has just set up a perfect environment for horrible family dynamics with in-laws? He makes very declarative statements that “your sons” will be labeled abusive by your daughters-in-law. That your daughter-in-law will gossip about him on social media and will not understand him. Way to perpetuate the evil mother-in-law who can’t let go of her baby boy stereotype. The last thing women who are naturally concerned that their sons marry someone of good character need to hear is that their sons’ marriages are doomed before they start because young women who are concerned with the emotional health of their spouses, themselves, and the marriage are actually bullies.

    • Denae

      Good point! I did hear that too, and it is totally aimed at the emotional response from a woman to protect her child.

      • Michelle

        And it can just as easily be turned around! “Do you have a daughter? Imagine that her husband treats her that way. How heartbreaking would that be?” etc etc. But no just focus on protecting the men.

    • Bethany#2

      Being a daughter-in-law with a touchy relationship with my mother-in-law, I hated that part! She frequently words marital opinions, that have me wondering if she is influenced by EE.
      I know that my parents love his book and think it’s great. In spite of my sister’s marital issues that were made worse by her copy of the book. I don’t discuss marriage with them, because it always turns into an availability for sex, and that’s just awkward! I don’t think they know that I’m married to a *wildabeast* husband.

  11. Jenn R

    I’d really love to see this research he supposedly found about men’s heart rates during conflict being high, and women’s being low. I don’t believe it exists.
    When he describes stonewalling behavior, he’s setting up a straw man to attack. What he describes is NOT stonewalling! I don’t think any healthy women would be upset about a husband who says “I can’t talk about this right now, can we talk at [insert time]?” What we get upset about—and what true stonewalling is—is when he refuses to ever address the issue.

    • wifeofasexaddict

      I call shenanigans on that study about heart rates. Doesn’t pass the smell test. I don’t think it’s true, unless he produces the alleged study.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yeah, Connor looked up the details. Eggerichs’ analysis of it is totally off. We’ll be talking about that in next week’s podcast! It’s a total misunderstanding of how to read statistics.

    • Anon

      On this basis, I am definitely a man – my heart rate shoots up whenever there is conflict around to the point where my breathing goes haywire and I start shaking – and I don’t even have to be part of the conflict, just present when it happens for this to occur.
      Oh, and on the basis of his research, my husband is obviously a woman, since he can keep calm in a conflict and doesn’t feel the need to either walk away or punch someone.

    • Ruth

      It’s funny because I’m an 8 on the enneagram and conflict (certain kinds, at least) actually slows my heart rate because I’m in my element with it! Regardless of gender, everybody has different reactions, physiological or otherwise, to conflict, and apparently Emerson cannot deal with it…

  12. Nicole

    I noticed that when discussing the crazy cycle he described a man’s behavior as “seeming unloving” but he just straight up describes a woman’s behavior as disrespectful. No caveat.

    • Dee

      Nicole, he writes everything from a man’s perspective. So in his mind because the husband knows he loves his wife, when the wife feels unloved she is mistaken and needs to be shown that. But, he doesn’t explore the idea that a wife could respect her husband and his assumption that she disrespected him could also be erroneously based on his feelings.
      It annoys me very much that even if his premise were completely true and biblical he fails to apply his expectations and advice evenly.

  13. T

    I liked this. The bar expectation on the ground is spot on. That’s the thing about expectations. Most people will rise *or fall* to meet them. I teach. Setting high expectations for all students means most students strive to achieve them. If you set low expectations students will meet those as well.
    When we had our first child I had low expectations for my husbands interactions with infant B. I thought to myself he’s always struggled with new social interactions so it would follow he would struggle with this too. When baby two came along there really was no other option and I wasn’t in a great place post partum. Combining the two I watched my husband rise to the challenge. And realized my very flawed thinking first time around. Had I set the bar higher. He would have met it.
    If you set the bar high *most* people will meet it.
    If you set the bar on the ground. All people will meet it.

    • Laura

      Because you brought up strangulation attempts and EE’s glossing-over of that, I wanted to share this study: When a man has made a strangulation attempt against his female partner, he is 6-7 TIMES more likely to attempt or complete homicide against her. For anyone who may hear EE’s comments and dismiss attempted strangulation, please take note: This is a very real physical risk to the victim. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2573025/

      • Connor

        Thanks for linking this study. Sheila had heard of it before, but didn’t know where to find the study, and didn’t want to say too much about it without taking an actual look at it herself.

      • Kaycee

        Cycles are patterns. If you are experiencing the same behaviors 3 to 4 times a month then there is a big problem. If your spouse walks away and issues never resolve neither love or respect is happening. This biggest harm from his teaching is that he NORMALIZES this pattern and says quick just respect or love and all will be better. It took me years to wake up and realize what abuse looks like. The credibility of the evangelical church is waning because of poor, ungodly and not god fearing teachings like this. Evangelicals (as a group, not individuals) are NOT known by their love, they are known by their wanting to control behaviors. Thank you and others in the church who are whistle blowers…..you will be persecuted for it, but great is your reward in heaven.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes! So much of marriage books make things that are NOT NORMAL sound normal. None of this is normal! If it is in your marriage, you need to see a licensed therapist.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I mentioned this stat in the podcast tomorrow. This is really dangerous.

    • Laura

      Yuck! It was disgusting listening to the way he normalizes abuse in some of the clips. As someone who has battled abuse in my own marriage (emotional including gaslighting) this really ticks me off. Obviously he doesn’t understand how hard it really is to pull yourself out of abusive situations when you feel heartbroken and emotionally devastated and your self image is at less than zero. Hoping he sees this and repents. No one should be saying these things about abuse.

    • T

      I’m so confused how this whole thread ended up under mine. All I was commenting on was setting the bar high or low. Lol. Maybe it was accidental.

      • Laura

        T: I think it was my fault. The comments act erratic on my phone and I commented under you instead of at the bottom. I’m sorry!

  14. Tory

    I gotta say, I watched/listened to the whole 43 minute YouTube video on my commute to work, and I didn’t find any of it to be offensive 🤷‍♀️ I think it may be a stretch to say that he is gaslighting abuse victims. What I got from the message was that sometimes women don’t realize how they are coming across or they can easily be contemptuous towards their husbands. I’ve definitely seen women ruin their marriage and break their husband down with their words and attitude of contempt, and I’ve done it myself, in fact my critical attitude towards my spouse was a big contributor to us eventually ending up in counseling. John Gottman identifies contempt to be one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” as far as predicting divorce. I think in the video clip, Eggerichs also pointed out that it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about recognizing our differences and fighting for the relationship. The light humor he added didnt come across as mocking to me; he teased both men and women equally. I don’t know, I agree that the “love and respect” book may be harmful, but I didn’t see anything harmful in this video sermon.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Tory–some of the most problematic stuff was in the second sermon. But the body language when talking about abuse victims in the first was really problematic.

      • Tory

        @Sheila— the second sermon is the one I watched.

    • Dee

      Tory, I haven’t watched the videos but I have read the book but I want to comment on your comments about contempt of you don’t mind.
      My husband and I are both rather intense people so our discussion follow suit. Sometimes things get said that accidentally really hurt or cut. The best way to handle this in a healthy conversation is to clarify and apologize when something sounded disrespectful or full of contempt. This requires transparency by both the speaker and the listener.
      I agree he thinks women don’t know they are coming across as contemptuous. But instead of encouraging husbands to turn toward their wives and communicate their needs in healthy conversation. He shames wives for shutting down their husbands and excuses and even praises men for walking away.
      Almost always in my relationship I am the first one who wants to walk away from a discussion (even though all of the gendered advice suggest that this is a masculine trait.) It has been very valuable for our relationship for me to practice staying open and engaged in a conversation until I understand what my husband is trying to communicate even when some of the phrases he uses sound hurtful or disrespectful to me. I have learned he almost never means them that way.
      In summary my point is this, if we take his assertion that his advice is for two “good willed” people then he should be giving instructions that open up the hearts of both and placing an expectation that two “good willed” partners will create a safe space where both can express needs and resolve hurts.

    • Ruth

      I mean, it’s great that you didn’t get anything bad out of his videos, truly! But obviously, a lot of people got really bad stuff from it. Multiple people, on this site and elsewhere, have told stories of how his teachings destroyed their marriages, or even almost killed them. So while it is genuinely nice that you got the little kernels of goodness out of his words and actions here, your experience is not universal, and the concerns of people who have been harmed need to take priority over the feelings of people who weren’t. With that in mind, I’d suggest you not jump to defending something that has a long history of hurting others, even if you haven’t been hurt.

    • Amy

      In response to Sheila’s book and blogs, I thought I’d take a look at L&R for myself. As an abuse survivor and someone who understands abuse dynamics, it was blatantly obvious that L&R would be harmful to abuse victims. You may not see that if you are unfamiliar with abuse.
      This is found in the introduction of his book. He says the book is for anyone, giving examples including people in marital crisis or headed for divorce, unbelievers, etc. Many domestic abuse victims (me included) didn’t know to label it that while in the midst of the abuse. Abuse victims will read a statement like “people in marital crisis” and put themselves in that category, thinking this will help their situation. Unfortunately, it will only make their situation worse. If you are going to claim that your teaching helps people in “marital crisis” you must consider who might place themselves into that very general category and consider the consequences of how it will impact them. This is one of the major flaws in many evangelical marriage teachings; they don’t understand abuse dynamics or acknowledge that it could exist within their audience. This might have been excusable with some of the older marriage teaching, however there are enough Christian domestic violence ministries now that there are plenty of knowledgeable Christian experts willing to review you material to insure safety for abuse victims. Just the fact that there are multiple domestic violence ministries dedicated primarily to evangelicals and that these ministries include assisting with spiritual abuse from churches should be alarming to those of us in the evangelical church. If our marriage teaching is so good, why are these ministries necessary?

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Excellent point, Amy! And why do we have so many counselors whose job is specifically to help people deprogram from church spiritual abuse and from church counseling? It’s so awful.

    • Priscilla

      Tory – your view on the video obviously comes from someone whom has never dealt with a controlling, abusive husband. What Sheila is depicting is definitely geared towards women who live in these situations in part because of teachings such as this.

    • Lisa M

      You think it’s fine to mock women who say they don’t want to enable emotional abuse? You think it’s okay for fun to say that all their sins will be called abusers by their daughters in law? You think it’s okay to say that his father strangled his mother, attempted murder, because they were stuck in a “crazy cycle?”.

  15. Meghan

    So I was listening to the clips through my headphones while my husband was in the other room. He didn’t hear any of the audio, so he had absolutely no context for the following conversation:
    Me: “Hey hon, when you argue with your guy friends do y’all try to hash it out or do you all walk away from the fight to preserve the relationship?”
    Him: “No, we stay and hash it out.”
    Me: “So y’all don’t have to walk away from an argument lest you do or say something you’ll regret?”
    Him: [incredulous] “What? Hon, we’re not animals. Who is saying this stuff?!”

    • Katydid

      We don’t have crazy cycles because we are mature reasonable people.
      When I was living under the beliefs of L&R I over-analyzed every thing. Hubby is a little curt after a hard day’s work…he’s unloving! I forgot to put a bill in the mail…she’s disrespectful!!! It would start this fear-driven cycle that would lead to unnecessary hurt feelings and controlling “fixing.” Now, we know we are loving and respectful to each other, but we are human and sometimes have rough days and make mistakes.
      All these Christian books and blogs did nothing to help my marriage but only made things worse. My husband is THRILLED I threw all those books away. Funny thing is, a lot of these books excuse the husband and put the onus on the wife, but my husband would say, “why are you (or the church/books) making me out to be the bad guy!?”
      He HATED that I would try to be “respectful” the way these books teach. He thought I was playing games, being manipulative, and making him out to be the monster who needs little wifey to walk on eggshells. “Just tell it to me straight!” he would say to me. “TALK to me!”
      These books created crazy cycles, not fixed them!
      I thought I was doing the mature, Christian thing, improving my marriage and loving my husband better, but in reality, he felt disrespected and like “the monster.” Why? Because this isn’t how normal people in healthy marriages live!!!

      • Dee

        Katydid, I am about to the point of screaming it from the roof tops. Stop telling people what their marriage “should” look like and over emphasizing extra biblical, gendered, cookie cutter advice and start teaching them to study their spouse, created uniquely by God, with a personality and perspective formed from their life experiences, with individual needs and desires,…

      • Meghan

        Meanwhile, I read L&R and started to question whether I had made a good choice in my husband! He’s not a “take charge” kind of man and doesn’t want to be the boss of our family. I thought he was being ungodly/unbiblical/whatever and not living up to his duty as head of the household. I don’t remember exactly what made me change my mind…I think maybe he just slowly convinced me that a partnership is infinitely preferable.

      • Meghan

        Yeah my husband and I have always hashed out our arguments. I think there may have been a few times we had to drop something to pick it up later, but I honestly can’t even remember what they were now. I’m the kind of person who needs a plan for how to prevent the problem in the future or at least start working toward making that happen or I don’t feel like the issue is fully resolved. My husband wants peace and unity too but isn’t as much of a planner as I am. It took us a little while to figure that out and learn how to argue well, but never in our 5 years of marriage (as of last week woot woot!) has he ever stormed off in barely controlled rage lest he do something he will regret.

  16. Tory

    Also, I personally had to walk away from a disagreement many times, so that I didn’t lose it and say/do something I would regret. Not sure what the problem with that is…

    • Jenn R

      It may mean that you have unresolved anger that you are burying. It might be worth discussing with a therapist.

      • Katydid

        Jenn R.
        BOOM! This right here.
        EE and other similar authors have created a safe club of mostly men who think God made them with anger and even abuse issues (not to mention lust) and it is up to women to figure out how to safely navigate these unhealthy, and sinful relationships.
        Sometimes some arguments may get heated enough that it is a good idea to take a breather, but that should be a rare exception, NOT the rule. If you consistently or frequently feel like verbally or physically abusing someone during arguments, you have an anger issue that needs resolving. Normal, mature people don’t become abusers just because their emotional temperature goes up.

      • Tory

        @JennR, I did seek help from a licensed clinical psychologist for my anger. Walking away/taking a break was something that he recommended. This approach really helped me not react in the moment but rather calm down first.

        • Aron Mavros

          Tory, I think few people would disagree that walking away when you are too worked up to continue rationally is a viable plan. A healthy response if one is feeling actual rage that they can’t calm in another way. However I would like to suggest that if that level of rage is still a person’s common response to any perceived offense, then they still have a ways to go in their anger management therapy. It’s great to have a plan for when things get out of hand, but the eject lever shouldn’t be one’s only tool. One needs to also be able to respond to perceived offenses in ways that don’t involve barely controlled rage.

    • Connor

      I mean, I would say part of the issue is that we should have sufficient self control and emotional health to not ‘lose it’ and harm others emotionally or physically, or at least be working towards reaching that point.
      To teach, however, that there is no need to grow emotionally, and that being emotionally volatile and potentially unsafe is normal and healthy, and still fits under the blanket statement that men are honourable… That’s a problem. Men who have this struggle (which plenty of men don’t) can learn and grow past it. But they probably won’t if they believe they can’t or don’t need to.

    • Soup + Celery

      Tory, I don’t think anyone would say it’s problematic to say to your spouse during a disagreement:
      “Hang on, I’m feeling really worked up and am worried I’ll say something mean. Give me 10 minutes to clear my head. I’ll be back.”
      If, on the other hand, you’re worried you might “do” something to them because of something they said, that sounds like a more serious issue. And I’m not blameless in this area. Working on it, though. 🙂

      • Heather

        A give to get relationship is not selfless, it is self serving which is what EE is promoting. Only he wants to be the first to get before giving. I can’t even say that I have read this whole book but I do know the premise because so many of the people I know love it. Our church did a brief sermon on it one Sunday years ago and this among other “Christian” books contributed to my husband and I not getting the real help we needed to heal from the effects of sin. EMB and sheet music were two that had us thinking we were following the right steps to have a healthy marriage and it seemed to work for a while until it didn’t and it was obvious that all we did was put a bandaid on a festering wound. By the time we realized the bandaid was just covering deep seated issues we needed a lot more help than if we had just gotten real help in the first place. I want to share these two other reviews of love and respect which also tackles the many problems with the book. I am hoping it helps spread the message that these books are not good. Sheila is certainly not on a personal vendetta. Just trying to spread a message that many people are trying to send but that many would still rather just sweep under the rug. Thanks for your work.

  17. Amanda

    “Good teaching shouldn’t convince you, intentionally or otherwise, that a harmful situation is actually normally and healthy.”
    Best line of the entire article! Expertly written critique, so important that we dont normalize abuse by watering down our terms or avoiding a topic just because it could be controversial.

  18. Allison

    “And, knowing this, if I chase after him or try to get him to stay and talk, frankly, it will be my fault when he hits me because he is an honourable man who I wouldn’t allow to the honourable thing.” This statement hit me in the gut, because this was the exact situation when my ex-husband first physically abused me. Afterwards, when I was laying on the ground, curled up and crying, he said, “You push me too far.” Ironically, within three years we were teaching a video study of Love and Respect to other couples. The teachings in L&R played right into the emotional and physical abuse in our marriage, especially the emotional abuse and manipulation.

    • Connor

      Thank you, Allison. Seeing comments like yours both breaks my heart for hitting on vulnerable or painful memories, but is also important for confirming whether my critique is really speaking to the experiences of those who have been harmed.
      I am so sorry you went through this, and I hope you are in a safer and thriving place now.

  19. Kay

    A comment on Facebook mentioned whether he has unresolved trauma from his parents’ relationship, and I genuinely want to explore that more. It sounds to me (based on what I know about trauma) like he has tried to hold onto the idea that his dad was “well intentioned” and he can’t reconcile in his mind that his dad was abusive.
    I have seen similar in pastors I know and wonder the same. For one, his mom tried to commit suicide when he was in junior high, and she spent the next few years overmedicated and a zombie. I’ve often wondered if this contributed to his low view of women and why they are “too emotional and too easily deceived” to hold leadership positions. Of course, all the while failing to recognize that the horrible way women are treated is often what causes them to become depressed and traumatized in the first place. Thus the vicious cycle continues. Continue to abuse and mistreat women as less than, then wonder why they’re so depressed and angry. 🤔🤦🏼‍♀️

    • Amy

      Oh my goodness, Kay. I’ve thought the exact same thing. His dad attempted to strangle his mother. That’s not normal behavior. I listen to that and wonder what other abusive behavior existed in his family of origin for it to get to the point that dad was strangling mom. He really needs help from a good, licensed trauma therapist. (Dan Allender or Andrew Bauman come to mind…)

    • Connor

      So interesting to see conversations like this in the comments. After watching through the videos just WAY too many times, there was so much of this kind of stuff, and the nuances of his almost contemptuous (my opinion) body language and tone when talking about “pink culture,” and the weird framing of son vs daughter-in-law, that I would have loved to dive in on. But firstly, this post would have become 10 posts. Secondly, I think I would have weakened my arguments by including personal speculations about Emerson and his motives in the post itself, but I am glad to see people in the comments examining some of this stuff too. It tells me I just might not be crazy.

      • Kay

        And we can’t know for sure; we don’t know enough about Dr. E. But I am confident saying that this pastor I am referring to that I know personally has **not** unpacked the trauma of his childhood. And in general, the church sucks at treating and discussing, trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and Childhood Emotional Neglect. We have GOT to tak more about these, because it absolutely impacts their ministry.

    • Anonymous

      Yes I thought so too

  20. Amy

    As I read the article and watched the clips, it struck me that Eggerichs seems to define abuse as physical violence. Domestic abuse may or may not include physical violence. The end goal of the abuser is to exert power and control over another person. If an abuser can control his victim using non-physical means, he will, because that form of control is not illegal and it’s more difficult to produce evidence. There is a large body of research that supports that. Almost all victims of physical violence in an intimate relationship will have first experienced other forms of abuse such as emotional, spiritual, or financial abuse. These non-physical forms of abuse are devastating to the soul of the victim. Just watching the clips included in the article, I would conclude that Eggerichs either hasn’t contemplated a husband desiring to control his wife or that he has and concluded that that is acceptable behavior.
    What I find very problematic is the assumption that both spouses have good will towards each other. I was in an abusive marriage for seven years. I met my husband at church where we both volunteered in children’s ministry. He was a professing Christian. I assumed that he had good will towards me. He would even say things that would seem to indicate that he had good will towards me. However, at other times his abusive words and behaviors would indicate that he did not have good will towards me. I finally realized and accepted that I was merely an object for him to use to achieve his selfish desires. The positive messages I received from him were just part of the gaslighting necessary for him to maintain his power and control over me. I was not a person to be loved; I was an object to be used. No amount of “showing him respect” was going to change his dehumanized view of me to one of acceptance of me as a person, let alone one of genuine love.

    • Brooke

      So well said!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, this is what he keeps saying in his blog, too. If women write in with problems, he says, “remember that your husband has goodwill.” But what if he doesn’t?

    • Rebecca C

      It was really nice to hear Connor’s voice today. I appreciate how he explained things without assuming motive or intent.
      The red flag I see is that the impulse control issue is not addressed. Rather than explaining how to safely process anger, get help if you’re a danger to yourself or others and make sure that if your partner is struggling with impulse control you and any kids have an active safety plan in place, it’s just glossed over. If someone has enough anger to not be able to control themselves, even if it simply manifests in walking away, their spouse might not be safe. Also, things will not be safe until they take responsibility for their anger. They need to get help and address their own root issues without offloading the blame onto someone else. Only then will they be free.

  21. Kay

    Also, have you seen David Hayward’s cartoon about why there are so many more books for Christian wives than Christian husbands? He posits that it is basically to teach women how to navigate and survive these crappy systems.
    It’s time to reject the crappy systems. Keep up the good work, all of you!

  22. Wanda

    This just makes me so sad… My prayer is that he sees your ministry as iron sharpening iron, rather than as the enemy to his work. May we *all* be willing to be refined by the word of God and the people who faithfully follow Him

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen, Wanda! Honestly, the best case scenario for me would be that he repents, changes his views, and then keeps preaching! He already has the platform. Think of how powerful that would be if he used it for good! I have nothing against him personally. I hope he succeeds in all he does–as long as he is sharing teaching that is Jesus centred, healthy, and biblical.

  23. Em

    His disdain for and distrust of women is clear. Every single laugh or joke is at the woman’s expense. Every play for sympathy and understanding is for the poor, misunderstood man 🙄
    I agree with Connor about this disgustingly low bar for men. My husband and I have been together for 20 years. He served over a decade in the military, through intense training, physical fitness, etc. He is the epitome of a “strong man”….and never would it cross my mind that he might lose control or be violent with me (or anyone else frankly.) NEVER. Because that behavior is NOT NORMAL. To make it seem like barely suppressed rage towards your spouse is the way of most men is infuriating. We have got to stop promoting this view of men. You can be a strong, tough, “warrior” of a man and also have complete respect for your wife and the people in your family. I know because I am married to a man like that. My family and friends are full of men like that. And I spent years around tough warrior men in the military who would be appalled to hear someone call this behavior towards your spouse normal. **end rant**

    • Meghan

      “You can be a strong, tough, “warrior” of a man and also have complete respect for your wife and the people in your family. ”
      YES!!!! I’m married to a man like that too. He’s not in the military but he’s very strong due to his physically demanding job and body build. He plays with fire every day (welder) and moves stuff around with ease that other people have to have help lifting. He’s also the most caring, gentle, empathetic man I’ve ever met. For Pete’s sake, the man goes all giddy over butterflies and baby talks our dog! The only time I’ve ever heard him raise his voice is when he stubs his toe, and the only time I’ve ever seen him get angry is when he witnesses injustice.

  24. Jenn R

    In the videoclip about the Crazy Cycle, Eggerichs says that women will enter the crazy cycle because they FEEL that their husband said something that is unloving…and that men will enter the crazy cycle because their wives said something that was disrespectful.
    Am I the only one who caught that in Eggerichs’ world, it’s always the woman’s fault when a couple enters the Crazy Cycle?

  25. Ruth

    “A lot of antiquated teachings about gender will say “there is a bar, and men who make it over the bar are a shining example of God’s design,” and then they gently and self-reverently place the bar on the ground” had me howling with laughter, even though it’s so sad!

  26. Trevor T

    Wow! I cannot believe what I just heard. I was thinking the same things Connor was and was glad when I read further to see that Connor was thinking the same thing when he wrote, “But as a guy, I can tell you that watching these videos is what makes me ashamed. To men and women both, I want to say that Eggerichs does not speak for me.” Or me!
    It was interesting that “good-willed” and “the honourable thing” was mentioned many times. It’s so important that these hurtful teachings be brought to light. Thank you Connor for dissecting these videos so carefully and Sheila for not backing down.

  27. Rachel

    It’s hard describe the damage when a teacher displays that mockery of women who “cry abuse,” and then threatens them by imagining it happening to their sons. The message is clear: shut up. Take it no matter how bad, how demeaning, how cruel. Don’t be one of “those women.”
    Neither my words nor my deeds toward my former husband of 14 years were ever enough to convince him of my genuine goodwill toward him. He constantly impugned my motives as a form of control. That’s exactly what Eggerichs is doing in the clip mocking victims of abuse. That’s the only clip I could watch because it makes me want to freeze up and go numb thinking about trying to convince someone like Eggerichs of what was going on in my marriage.

  28. MrsK

    We first heard about him and his book at a marriage conference and my thought is this…. He says his teachings are meant for “good willed” couples with healthy relationships….but who are the people who are going to marriage conferences and buying marriage books? I would argue mostly people who are looking for help and healing. I really wish someone had put some sort of disclaimer on the conference promotional material. Something about “if you’re currently struggling with a broken marriage and are looking for help and healing, please note this conference is meant to be a light-hearted, fun way for couples in good standing to learn to grow closer”
    Because I know it’s not just me. I once watched, in passing, one woman hand another (crying) woman this book and say something to the affect of “well, it’s because you need to both be meeting each other’s needs. Read this, it’ll explain.” I later became close friends with the crying woman and found out she wasn’t crying over communication issues. She was crying because she was being abused. L&R should have never been given to her as a response to her vulnerability and crying out for help to another trusted woman. I knew in my gut something felt off about that moment but I didn’t want to butt in and challenge authority in that moment so I tried to brush it off. 🙁
    These are the places where damage is done. Sometimes irreversible damage.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Mrs K! Also, on page 2 of his book he says that his book is for those in “marital crisis”, and includes infidelity in that. He also says on p. 88 I believe that you should respect a man who is drinking or straying, and he gives examples of abusive men. So he may say it’s only for goodwilled couples, but he says in his book that it’s for alcoholism, abuse, and infidelity, too.

  29. Katrina Burns

    There’s so much I could say here. Is it just me or does EE make it seem as if it is always the woman’s fault? The “crazy cycle” starts with the woman being disrespectful and this innocent man is going to make her feel unloved because she disrespected him.
    It seems that EE is still trying to reconcile an extremely traumatizing event that happened between his parents in his youth that tore his family apart. He was sent to military school and separated from all that he knew after such a traumatic event. And I dare say that this was not the first abuse that occurred in that family. A person does not instantly go from a loving, caring, gentle husband to one who tries to strangle his wife! And by the way, he didn’t just “try” to strangle her, he did. The end result thankfully was not death, but EE’s father did strangle his wife.
    I wonder if there were any consequences and rehabilitation for the father? I wonder what support and help the mother got. Given the time period of when this happened, it could have all literally been swept under the rug and EE is still trying to explain it all out with his “crazy cycle” theory. Then he says that they separated because his mother was wounded and shut down and then “they” came to Christ after 5 years and I am assuming that they reconciled and I wonder if the abuse ended there.
    He then says that women have been conditioned through academia to need respect. He even sings R E S P E C T and says that a man wrote it and that women even stole the one song that men had, the one song. So as women should we not be respected?
    Wow, I believe that this man has major issues with women and he blames us for any abuse that we suffer at the hands of our husband because you know the “crazy cyle”.
    EE uses the verse Ephesians 5:33 for his “crazy cycle” theory. I don’t see a “crazy cycle” there. I see in this verse, and the verses above, Paul encouraging husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and yes respect and submission are mentioned in these verses. But I think we get confused on some of these points for the wives. Do we truly define these words for the wives as Jesus would define them? Jesus does not rule women with an iron fist. He does not expect them to answer his every beck and call, to wait on Him hand and foot and He certainly never saw a woman as a sex object. He did not mistreat or misuse women. Jesus lived His life as example to us. To be a Christian is to be Christ like. He gave us the Holy Spirit so that if we walk in the Spirit the fruit of the Spirit will be evident. And if you back up in the chapter of Ephesians that EE is quoting, we are reminded of the fruit of the Spirit.
    To downplay such horrific actions of his father and then to moments later laugh and joke about a wife wanting to kill her husband is absolutely disgusting! Connor gave us a trigger warning before playing this clip of the video. So we were prepared. Just think of the women sitting in that teaching and hearing this that were triggered. Who were very possibly sitting beside their abuser. Who were getting the “crazy cycle” message thrown at them and probably believing that they just weren’t respecting their husbands enough.
    I’ve heard in the church so much about how women need to submit, and how we’re so emotional, and so on. I have this to say. Women, God did not create us to be abused, used, and emotionally torn down. He created us on purpose with a purpose. He loves us, actually He adores us. We are precious to Him and we should be precious to our husbands. Yes, we have a responsibility to walk in the Spirit just as men do. But we are NOT lesser than and we should NOT tolerate abuse at any level.
    Thank you Connor for giving us a man’s perspective on EE’s teaching. It is refreshing to know that there are men who are willing to stand up and speak up. I am blessed with a husband who, like you, sees women as Christ sees them.

  30. Bretta

    I have been married for nearly 25 years. While we have had a mostly good marriage, my husband has NEVER had to walk away because he was so angry he might hit me!!!
    Even in the deepest part of his addiction did I never feared for my life.
    Yes. I am a betrayal trauma survivor.
    We have worked through it.
    Are still working through it.
    He is getting the help he needs and I support him 100%, but had he been in any way dismissive (as in, this is normal behavior for a man) or abusive (as in, I will do what I want when I want) we would no longer be together.
    While I know God wants all marriages to work, He does NOT advocate abuse…ever.
    This is not a man thing.
    It is an abuser thing.
    I love that you, above all, are wanting women to be safe!!!
    When some teachings have been so geared toward helping the men remain the dominate entity or excusing bad behavior because over all he is a good guy trying to do the right thing, it can be very dangerous to women who are in those abusive type of relationships!
    Praying for your ministry as the fight gets bigger.
    Praying for strength.
    Praying for grace.
    Praying for God’s hand of protection while you fight this battle no one else seemed to want to start!
    Praying for peace, knowing you are doing what you’ve been called to do.
    Praying for the hearts that read your blog, FB post, IG posts, wherever you publicly publish, that they would above all hear God’s voice through your teachings.
    Thank you for ALL that you are doing to help women.
    It is way past due.
    Thank you for bringing the conversation to the table and opening up a way for us to make a change!!!!

  31. Melissa

    He seriously minimized his own mother’s physical abuse. His father tried to STRANGLE her and Eggerichs says she shut down because she was “emotionally wounded”????? Maybe she shut down because SHE WAS AFRAID FOR HER LIFE.
    My husband is a far better man than Eggerichs describes. My husband has never raised a trembling fist towards me in an argument. Nor has he ever felt like he might physically hurt me. Men, if you find yourselves on the verge of physically harming someone in a disagreement on a regular basis, you need a good licensed therapist to help you figure that out so that you don’t have to live in that kind of misery. Ladies, if you are in fear for your physical safety when your husband gets angry at you, that’s not normal and you are justified in getting out of that situation.
    Eggerichs doesn’t just set the bar on the ground, in my opinion. It’s buried. It’s in the bedrock. Women are not doormats and men are not animals. He does a disservice to both sexes.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I hear you, Melissa. What happened to his mother was abuse and attempted murder, and it’s so sad that he just described it as a part of the Crazy Cycle.

    • Megan K

      I don’t feel comfortable putting this on facebook (Shelia, feel free to share it anonymously on the Facebook thread if you’d like).
      I was raised with a narcissistic, abusive (emotionally, mentally, and physically). father. I was also raised in “the church.” When the situation was brought to light, our elders told my mother and us kids the same things that Emerson was preaching. We even heard the ideas preached from the pulpit and felt like they were directed at us, “Respect your husband and father and then he will show you love in return and stop abusing you.” Eventually my mom finally left him but not before some of the kids had moved out and had irreparable damage done. As a young woman looking to be the perfect wife I read so many books on how to be a biblical, submissive wife. I am so grateful that I was aware enough to marry someone the exact opposite of my dad but the damage done by such toxic teaching had already taken hold of my heart. Over a decade of marriage and I finally feel like I am finding my voice as a human and as a woman. Not that my husband suppressed it but I thought it was wrong if I voiced different opinions or spoke up too much or didn’t give him intercourse when he wanted, then I wouldn’t be a good wife. I’ve been in therapy for almost 2 years now but these deeply internalized teachings have made progress very slow, and sometimes it seems impossible.
      I can’t express how thankful I am for my husband and how well he treats me, but that doesn’t stop the damage from spreading in our marriage.
      Thank you for speaking out so boldy against these teachings!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, Megan, I’m so glad that you didn’t repeat your mother’s pattern! I did the same thing–I married a man who was the opposite of my father, and I’m so grateful. But it took me a long time to get rid of those toxic messages, too.

  32. Kayla

    Thank you for sharing this harmful message! We need to do better and can do better. Thank you for engaging in your research and working so hard to encourage couples!

  33. Brooke Fuller

    In the clip where Eggerich mocks a supposed woman’s tirade with her saying, “I’m not going to be treated like a doormat, I’m not going to walk on eggshells…I’m not going to feed his ego and narcissism…and I certainly am not going to subject myself to emotional abuse…” He follows it up with what he calls its, the “mantra” and he tells ladies with sons out there, that “your sweet daughter-in-law is going to say all those things to your boy, probably in the first year of marriage.” That took me aback. I never said any of those things to my husband in the first year or marriage or the 16 that have followed! Because guess what? My husband treats ME with respect and we love each other and respect each other. Maybe these women he’s talking to with the sons shouldn’t raise a** holes and emotional abusers? Then he goes on to say that these hurt men are so noble essentially, they don’t go and talk to anyone about this. Well in a gross generalization of women, he says they go and trash their husband on a talk show or basically find men bashers to validate their concerns. There’s so many messages here that harm women. Its ridiculous the unfair generalization that if women get upset about being treated poorly by their husbands and suffering emotional abuse they are irrational and overreacting. So when would Eggerich consider the emotional abuse to be valid? Does the husband have to slap her or strangle her? Well now its valid. The other offensive generation is that if women are having a problem with her husband, she is basically going to be a gossip about it and basically look for other women who like bashing men. Talk about pushing women in hard situations to feel real shame and guilt about needing to speak up. Where is the responsibility for the men? Where is the calling out that a husband should not treat his wife like a doormat, that he should not be a narcissist, that he should not emotionally abuse his wife?

    • Kay

      I had a similar thought. If you are so afraid your DILs are so going to say these things to your sons, then you probably raised abusers with these horrible teachings.

  34. Ylva

    Can I be very honest about how a victim of abuse, past or ongoing, understands that anecdote?
    First of all, they are made to believe that situations like that aren’t unusual and instead logical consequences. I am being “disrespectful” -> my husband will be unloving -> it is a normal reaction for him to want to assault me.
    Second, he implies that even this relationship WITH A MURDER ATTEMPT can be saved and has been, because why else would he include it (at least to a level where the wife isn’t physically assaulted anymore). He does not mention therapy or counseling or anything, he just implies that they managed to get off the crazy cycle…
    How did they do that? Well, what is his talk about? Love & Respect.
    A victim of severe abuse is being taught that reconciliation with their almost-murderer is possible. That the silent treatment, the death glare are green instead of red flags. That if extreme conditions like this can be overcome, their “minor” issues such as emotional abuse or less severe physical abuse are even easier to put aside! Women are told to disregard early warning signs.
    That their reaction to being manipulated or accused such as calling them out is what makes men violent. They are responsible for stirring violent urges. That wives are at least equally responsible for a violent husband because they would not be unloving if she would not be disrespectful.
    I can’t help but think how small my issues with my abusive ex were compared to this. I have been through therapy, separated, no desire to go back and still there’s this little voice in my head for a moment “if his parents made it, you could have made it too. There was hope, and you threw it away.” How much worse must this be for women that are currently under the influence of and close to their abuser.
    Past strangulation is one of the strongest indicators for intimate partner homicide btw. Nobody has to reconcile with such a man and certainly not before he has been through therapy and served a prison sentence for this crime.

  35. Anna

    I’ve been listening to the WHOLE sermon as you requested, Sheila, and my heart rate is sky high. Women are by nature disrespectful? and even when women tell him that they prize respect from their partner, he tells them they’ve been conditioned to by academia! We don’t even know the way we ourselves feel! What a steaming pile of human detritus. His whole sermon is a lecture conditioning women to always feel at fault for conflict.

  36. Taffy Hunter

    It is abusive in and of itself that he consistently portrays men as reasonable and women as unreasonable wenches. He constantly uses outlandish examples of unreasonableness coupled with silly ‘female’ voices and makes the audience laugh at the women. In turn, he consistently represents the men as reasonable, honorable, and rarely if ever makes disparaging jokes about them that would make the audience laugh.
    His story about his father strangling his mother gives a lot of insight!! Possibly this book and his understanding of biblical marriage are his way of trying to come to a mental agreement over the domestic violence he witnessed as a child. He is likely trying to assuage his cognitive dissonance by creating this book and narrative. He can’t address abuse head-on because he would have to face his own abuse head-on including calling out his father. Everything he writes is thinly veiled victim-blaming.

  37. Anna

    Thank you for putting this together, Connor, and clearly showing the fault in the logic that Eggerich puts forward. I was in an abusive relationship and it took me years to realize what I was dealing with abuse and there was nothing I could do to “fix” this relationship. If I had heard this sermon when I was in the lowest points in that relationship, I know I would have internalized this and held on for far longer thinking that what I was experiencing was “normal” or my fault. I don’t want to imagine how much worse things would have gotten, because I know they would have if I internalized Eggerich’s message.

  38. SP

    I already submitted a comment, but just realized as Moms, our sons turn out to be noble and honorable, however, our daughters turn out to trash their husbands on talk shows according to EE.😡

    • Dee

      Yes! I read Love and Respect as a newly wed and thankfully my husband saw that is was too extreme and gendered and rejected its marriage model for us. I have given birth to three beautiful daughters since I first read this book. This message makes me angry and defensive for my daughters. I realized that it is toxic teaching for both men and women. But if fails to call men godliness at the expense of women. I pray that if my girls choose to marry they find men who refuse to accept the bar for their behavior being set on the ground.

  39. Mara R

    Besides all the things mentioned above about abuse and the normalization of male rage and murder attempts, I see other things that Eggerichs and many other evangelical teachers of marriage rarely and/or insufficiently address.
    It has been touched on in the comments here because so many women have dealt with it.
    The things I am addressing are, of course, mental Illness and personality disorders. Yes, Eggerichs brings up narcissism, but it’s during the time he is mocking women and minimalizing bad behavior in men. He is basically saying that it’s not a real thing that women deal with. Or he’s saying that it’s soooo rare that there is no way that the number of women who bring it up could be right about it. Most women are just making it up to use it as a weapon against “honorable men”.
    As a woman who is recently divorced from a narcissist, I can attest the the existence of narcissists AND to the existence of “narcissistic rage”. It is a thing, people.
    Now, I don’t want to accuse Eggerichs of being a narcissist because that would be unfair and a stretch. A person can have anger issues and not be a narcissist. But the anger Eggerichs describes and the accompanying body language he displays is very similar to narc rage. Just saying.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, thank you for raising that, Mara. When I originally wrote the tweets that Eggerichs had twitter remove, I mentioned that 1.5% of men are diagnosable narcissists. So in a megachurch like Houston’s First Baptist, at least 50-75 women in the pews that day were married to narcissists. And he mocked them.

      • Connor Lindenbach

        And that is not to mention the fact that plenty of people can be narcistic or have such traits without reaching the threshold of diagnosis. Especially when their problematic behaviour is facilitated rather than corrected.

    • Ylva

      Narcissistic rage and the death glare are one of the most chilling experiences. I had these sudden moments where I just knew he would kill me eventually. The funny thing is I never panicked in these moments.
      Also, narcissists don’t stop and think “maybe my partner is goodwilled”. That’s not how they work.
      Dr. Ramani is amazing. She’s the mom I wish I had to be my advocate and teach me what is right and wrong.

  40. Maria

    I was brought up in a “crazy circle” where abuse and neglect were rampant and Bible was used to justify it.
    I didn’t read his book.
    From watching a part of his first video, he is not happy about his wife going to Paris, France (just how many times did he repeat Paris, France?!), he has a lot of rage within his body. He knows exactly how to get to people using their good sons as an example.
    This man is a calculated evil person.
    He is well aware of his words and the impact he’s making.
    He reminds me of my father. The body talk, cynicism hiden in repetitive words, the rage that he barely controls, using Bible to justify abuse, painting man as victims of crazy wives etc. I wouldn’t want to be alone with him for a second.
    Excuse my bad English. It’s my second language.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’re English is perfect, and thank you so much for your insights. Great observations.

      • Connor Lindenbach

        Ironic that Sheila used the wrong “your”, haha.

    • Dee

      Interesting observations, Maria. I read the book (and was hurt by it). I thought his words sounded slightly arrogant and held hints of contempt on the page. But, once I had an actual watched him speak the book sounded so much worse. I don’t want to make assumptions about him unjustly maybe it has a lot to do with the message but he gives me an unsettled feeling too.

  41. Anonymous

    So I never did read love and respect. It was recommended to me when I was considering marriage, and the title made me uncomfortable. But I’m realizing I absorbed so much if this teaching through sermons and stories. I still have trouble hearing and not thinking I must be wrong. It’s so helpful to have it broken down like this, thank you!
    One thing that stood out to me is after laying all this out and mocking women, he tells the story of his father’s abuse… I think it’s fairly common for unresolved childhood trauma to manifest as victim- blaming, weakness-hating, self-protecting, and heart-closing. The child distances themselves from the abuse by saying it’s only happening because the victim is deserving it. It’s reassuring when you’re powerless to stop abuse to just convince yourself it’s not abuse. It happened in my grandparents home, the abuse of the wife and the children blaming her as much as much as the husband did. My mom remembers thinking, “if she would just shut up she wouldn’t get hurt.” I can feel my mother’s pain in this sermon.

  42. Dee

    I want to share a bit of my own story with you to speak to how this message effects even “good willed” couples.
    Wide eyed and newly wed I opened to the first page of my first marriage book, Love and Respect. My eyes got wider and wider and my heart sank lower and lower as I read. I read that it was disrespectful for me to expect that my now husband would remember my birthday like he did when we were dating. I read that I didn’t need to be respected, I needed to be loved. But, I knew if my new husband had done everything that Eggerichs expected of him in that book, I still wouldn’t feel loved. Page after page of painfully lopsided stories and pandering references to women’s emotions and desires washed over me bringing a feeling of loneliness and doom into my view of marriage. I felt personally trivialized and misrepresented.
    I wanted so bad to be a godly wife though, so I allowed that book to shut me down. I didn’t pursue our early disagreements until we sorted them out. I struggled to express my needs to my new husband in a straightforward manner. The book made it clear pushing a conversation was interpreted as disrespect by men.
    My husband is a large man, 6,3 260+ lbs, and he is large boned and sturdy not fluffy. I am so thankful he chooses to be gentle and protective instead of believing that the best way he can physically control himself is by walking away. He could be so intimidating if he thought that manly men always “beat their chest” and demand respect.
    Any way when he realized what I was doing and why he began to contradicted the book’s message. We have been figuring out how to open up to each other and be transparent. We find that our conversations were much more productive when we stopped assuming things based on gendered advice and just listened to each other. Since we began doing almost exactly the opposite of everything this book said our relationship has gotten so much better, because we actually open our hearts and communicate.
    If this message did this to me in a healthy, loving relationship. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be for a woman whose husband is controlling and abusive.

  43. Cheri Gregory

    What strikes me is the flippancy with which he discusses serious issues.
    In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis says this about flippancy:
    “But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it”

  44. Heather

    OMG. Reading this blog post I realized I had internalized that message about men needing to leave to resist hitting their wife after hearing his teachings. I often thought my husband might actually hit me one day if he got too angry!! I can’t them you enough for standing up against these teachings!! I’ll put this comment on the blog too!

  45. Bekah Unsworth

    Really insightful, thank you!
    Can I just say how much I cringe at the term “crazy” cycle? I know Eggerich uses it referring to both men and women being out of control, but considering how he’s specifically targeting women in this message it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It brings to mind the antiquated idea of the hysterical woman, unable to control her emotions or make rational choices. Also, just a really derogatory term to use in general. I can’t imagine how I would feel sitting and listening to that sermon if I were in a difficult place with my mental health and having a term like the crazy cycle being casually thrown around.

  46. Ember

    I was so thoroughly disgusted by his mocking of self-respecting women. I PRAY my son will find a woman like that. If a woman who respects herself that much and who doesn’t tolerate misogyny or sexism marries my son, then I know I raised him right.
    Also, only a man would think our culture is “pink”. As if women demanding equality and respect is disrupting an already fair gender balance. He said that a woman like that would be on a talk show while he is literally one of the forerunner spokesmen on Christian marriage giving a sermon to thousands of people while bashing these women.

    • Meghan

      I pray my daughter is like that! She’s only 3 and already has a firm grasp on who she is and what she wants (I mean, doesn’t every toddler though LOL). She has no problem whatsoever telling me or my husband to stop tickling her or that she doesn’t want a kiss. I’ve even overheard her tell a playmate firmly to stop doing something to her because she didn’t like it ( I forget what exactly, but it was something objectively wrong but totally innocent like grabbing a toy out of her hands). Love that little firecracker.

  47. Jane Eyre

    I am just going to say this: Eggrichs obviously does not understand how screwed up his childhood was. He caveats and hems and haws about abuse because on some level, he cannot condemn his parents by saying that it was abuse and it was wrong.
    That is a very understandable psychological reaction. Systematically dismantling your understanding of our family so that you can fully embrace a real, healthy “normal” is hard. But he should at least know that his own childhood was so messed up that he is stumbling around in the dark when trying to explain the problems with abuse dynamics.

  48. Sheila Wray Gregoire

    I also want to say–if you’re ever in a sermon like this, GET UP AND WALK OUT. You have no idea how many abused women in the congregation will see it and know they are not alone.
    We don’t have to sit there all nice and polite when someone is saying something harmful.

  49. Rachel Kohnen

    I am the daughter of the man that strangled his wife. Unfortunately, it was my little sister who had to call 911. Of course, it was my mom’s fault because she was irrational and overreacting because he came home at 2am, drunk, from a strip club.
    It took a couple years before he left our family and we could start healing. But healing takes AGES.
    Because I am the wife that, in the rare incident of an argument, would rather walk away. Not because I might hit, but because…I don’t know…it’s just too much. Too many emotions, too many memories of angry fights, too much desire to run away from it.
    And you know of whom EE reminds me? My father. The bipolar, addicted, angry, “everybody loves me but you” guy who had no problems calling me nasty names and wanting to give me a gigantic loving hug an hour later.
    The personality is captivating to so many people. What I see is a broken man who is convincing people his brokenness is strength and his opinions are biblical.
    Sheila and team – I am praying for you! Praying for perseverance, wisdom, good lawyers, love, and plenty of good hugs at the end of your long days.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Rachel! I am so, so sorry that you went through that growing up. I’m sure that there are a lot of parallels for how EE talks.

      • Rachel Kohnen

        I love your empathy for all your people! God has given you such a big heart of love.
        It was crappy. But my mom and 2 sisters and I are not part of abusive cycles.
        And my children! They
        I must tell you….conversing with my 14 year old daughter, with the intent of “teaching” her how to discern if self-help books are helpful or not, I gave a couple examples of EE talks – mild ones, like “Men should love their wives; wives have to respect their husbands.” She cuts me off with -wow, he sounds like a guy who is okay with abuse and would say rape was a girls fault.
        So, if a 14 year old hears it, then the church at large should hear it too.
        We thank you for all of your work to keep the conversations going!

  50. Katie Hanson

    To the woman who spoke in “we’s”— I didn’t want to reply directly in case your situation really is what I suspect. I truly hope that it is not. I truly hope that you are safe.
    Abuse comes in many forms, it’s not always obvious—even to those being abused. Before you discredit everything that one person has to say because you don’t think it applies to you, please know that there are many people out there that need this message. So many people that have been conditioned to think they don’t matter because someone else matters more. This simply isn’t true. A marriage is a partnership—both partners matter.
    Sheila is fighting each and every day to share this truth. As a professed Christian you should be fighting to make this truth known as well. If you are in a situation where you feel it is unsafe to do this please know that you are not alone and there is help out there for you. Look for it even in unexpected places.
    And to everyone:
    The whole thing about setting the bar higher.
    I can’t say if it’s in the books too. But a quote from the second Narnia movie came to mind when I was reading what Conner had to say “get treated like an animal long enough and that’s what you become” if we always expect men to act like less-than that is what we will get. If we always expect women to act like less-than that is also what we will get.

  51. Lindsey

    One thing that really stood out to me is how he attributes the misunderstandings in marriage solely to gender norms. These misunderstandings DO happen in healthy marriages, but I believe that a person’s past unresolved hurts and traumas have far more impact on their perception of a situation than does their gender.
    I wonder how unresolved trauma (such as seeing ones father attempt to kill ones mother) in a child, who is then cut off from any tender relationship with his mother and shipped off to military school, would influence their perception of situations.

  52. Debra Blaszak

    I am a christian woman who was unfaithful in her covenant to God and went after several unsaved men, and married and had 2 kids with one, who was a wolf, a narcissist, and an abuser. My pastors told me to submit and God would take care of everything. I did. When you submit to a narcissist (who is spiritually imprisoned), he makes himself more of a master and you become his slave. I would argue women that women who are in covenant w/ unbelievers, these scriptures do NOT apply. Things got worse for 7 years of submission, though every single day I graded myself if I submitted and defined my daily success on being a good wife in that area. Thanks for speaking against men of the cloth who have NO idea the battle we are in against deceptive men.

  53. Crystal

    I so appreciate how you sought to handle this with honour while emphasizing that intent *never* outweighs impact. If someone had the best of intentions but finds out that they caused harm, it’s important for that to be brought to light and be given the chance to grow from it. You are honouring him by giving him the chance to see the harmful impact of his words and to choose to make amends.
    Many women who might stay stuck in abusive relationships after hearing his message is a horrific impact of his words and that needed to be addressed to help protect those women, regardless of any “good intentions” on his part. They are the ones who are vulnerable and I’m grateful for you, Sheila and Connor, for taking this on, especially with the rampant rise in domestic abuse since Covid hit. This is a timely word and it needs to be widespread.

    • Anonymous

      A few years ago, I broke free from an emotionally and financially abusive narcissist. I got out with around a hundred dollars with 5 dependents and I only managed that because my narcissist allowed me to go to counseling to fix *me*. My counselor learned of this and devised a plan to allow me to pocket $25 per session. I thrived for almost a year, then a coworker passed me a copy of Love and Respect. This book was one of the main reasons I started second-guessing my decision (there were other factors, too) and I went back to the relationship against my own gut. I am now away from him again and going through my own personal hell. I think Love and Respect has some merit, but really only for couples that don’t have abuse anywhere in their marriage.

    • Aron Mavros

      I so agree with you. And even if it were possible to extend the benefit of the doubt to EE and say his intention is truly just to help people (and the more I learn about him the harder time I have suspending my disbelief), the impact of his teaching matters far far more than his or anyone’s intentions.

      Have you heard of thalidomide? It was a drug developed in the 1960s to help women struggling with debilitating nausea during pregnancy. The scientists who made it weren’t evil masterminds. They wanted to help fix a problem they saw. The doctors who gave their patients this drug also did so from a place of good will, wanting only to help end suffering. But the results of taking this cure were disastrous. Baby after baby was born with severe, life limiting deformities. Families suffered and children suffered. Mamas suffered the mom-guilt of having taken the medication. Doctors suffered the provider guilt of having broken their vow to “first do no harm.” But the intent had come from a place of good will!

      So was it ok? No big deal because nobody meant any harm? After all they were only trying to help. No, of course it wasn’t ok! Governments stepped in and banned the drug as a dangerous substance. In fact in the US this horrible crisis is what led to institution of the FDA. Because IMPACT matters. INTENT is irrelevant.

      EE needs to remove his own harmful teachings. Because impact matters more than whatever his intent might actually be.

  54. Gretchen Baskerville

    If you’d like to see 25 comments from people who read “Love and Respect” in their church’s small group or marriage retreats, and believe Eggerichs’s teaching enabled abuse in the marriage, read this blog post.
    These stories are from church-going Christian women who are either separated or divorced or going through the process who say “Love and Respect” played a role in making their husband worse and drove the marriage to divorce.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Gretchen! I’m going to have Tammy add these to our spreadsheet. I appreciate it.

  55. Christina

    That story about his parents….that explains everything. Oh my gosh how awful

  56. Jenny

    The story about his parents…traumatic yes. But the way he describes a man’s behavior as unloving misses the mark.
    “Is he really unloving? or did I say or do something earlier that was disrespectful?”
    This implies that his treatment of her provoked his unloving behavior.
    If you tie the end of this clip with the entirety of the clip, the strangling of his mother (which is physical assault, a crime btw, not JUST unloving) he is in a round about way connecting her “disrespect” to HIS abuse.
    Words matter. And for a man with such a platform. His mocking and demeaning tone is so self righteous and toxic that I feel so sad for his family. I can only imagine how the females around him are squashed in to his idea of “love and respect” that are most certainly NOT following Christ’s design for men and women.

  57. Boone

    I give my horses and dogs more respect that this man says my wife is entitled to. How can your partner, the mother of your children and the woman you love not be entitled to the same respect that you yourself want? I’ve been married for going on 33 years and I’ve never had to leave my wife’s presence because I was afraid that I was going to hit her. There is nothing honorable about retreating to avoid violence to your wife. You’ve already sacrificed your honor if that thought even came in your head to begin with.

    • Melissa W

      “There is nothing honorable about retreating to avoid violence to your wife. You’ve already sacrificed your honor if that thought even came in your head to begin with.” Exactly and well said!

  58. AJ

    “Your sons will be called abusers”… everyone’s sons? Why is no one questioning this? Is everyone ok for their sons to be called abusive?!
    And what about their daughters? The daughters who are saying their husbands are abusive… do we care about what our daughters say?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I know! I would be appalled if my son was called abusive–because I would have raised my son to not be abusive. The problem is not with sons being called abusive; the problem is with sons BEING abusive. But he never gives the idea that he thinks it’s actually possible for a son to be truly abusive.

  59. Christa

    After watching all the videos and reading this post, I feel so sick. I know you’re not trying to hurt this guy, but I want to say that as someone who has the gift of discernment…he gives me the creeps. There is something very off about him. The anger radiating from him is scary. The gaslighting, and mocking of women…I feel violated.

  60. Nathan

    Paraphrase from above…
    > > I disagree with this because it goes against what JESUS taught
    > > I disagree with this because it goes against what MY CHURCH taught
    Yes, there is a big difference between these two. Sadly, some can’t see the difference.

  61. MS

    I was married 14 years before I realized I was living with narcissistic abuse. I was good willed and my husband wasn’t. Which means that I took every morsel of advice I could get and applied it as best I could and my husband used our one sided relationship to consume me to the point of traumatization. Messages like these perpetuate the abuse in situations like mine. They contribute to what I call the “petri dish.” It’s interesting to me that people are so willing to be dismissive of my pain and experience so they can keep their good willed “teacher.”

  62. Anna

    The thing that frustrates me about this type of marriage teaching is they say “submission only works if the husband is following God’s will. If your husband is not following God, you don’t have to submit.” Well what do you do if he’s not? “Oh then be be submissive and sweet because 1 Peter 3:1.” What? You just completely contradicted yourself! You gave your disclaimer so you can say you didn’t advocate for abuse but then completely took it back!
    I’m so thankful for your blog and the work you have done to show people the heart of Jesus and his love for women. Your writings have helped me put words to those warning lights going off in my head.

  63. Misty

    A HUGE issue I see is that if you follow the tenets of this teaching, men have the recourse to say to their wives, “You’re disrespecting me.” However, women who are wanting love are deprived of the ability to voice that by how respect is supposed to play out. This SETS UP a dynamic where one person’s voice is lost or at the very least HIGHLY diminished.

  64. R

    As a person who was physically and emotionally abused by my father, and who watched him emotionally abuse my respectful mother, I see so many corollaries between EE’s family of origin and mine. My father was also abused in his childhood. I also blamed my mother for allowing the abuse to occur, putting almost more of the onus on her than him. (Because he “couldn’t’ control himself. … I realize now that is a common form of self-preservation in scared children, a way to make sense of an otherwise impossible situation.) When I was about 14, after an episode of abuse from my father, my mother told me: “I always promised myself if he ever hit me, I’d leave.” How sad to live this way your whole life, in fear of your spouse! Sisters, if this is your life, please get you and your children to safety! It will affect your children for LIFE if you stay. All of my siblings have either abused their spouses or have been abused by spouses, and I see them perpetuating similar wounds on their children now. The cycle of abuse continues until someone stops it. I vowed to stop it in my life. I’m in excellent, licensed trauma therapy and have made serious headway, thank you Jesus. I’m in a healthy, decades-long marriage. My husband is APPALLED at the notion that “good-willed” men have to struggle to not hit someone when they’re upset. My husband would never even think of hitting or taking an aggressive body posture toward me or anyone. The normalization of men being aggressive or borderline aggressive is dangerous to women and children and insulting to men. It’s also damaging for the men and women who lived with parents or spouses like my father or EE’s father. They need help to recover from that childhood or that marriage but are told that it was normal behavior and it wasn’t that bad. I used to tell myself that too. I guarantee my mother tells herself that. Actually, it WAS that bad. Thank you, Conner, Sheila, and all of your team for speaking against these emotionally immature and harmful teachings.

  65. Marie

    He mocks women throughout the entire message. It is clear how he views them – he likes men and tolerates women.

  66. Jessica

    Thank you for all the work you do in dismantling these harmful messages that get taught to so many of us!

  67. Rulayne Cassidy

    Sheila, God’s army is backing you up. You are not standing alone. Keep exposing lies so people have the opportunity to have the veil of deception removed from their eyes, healing can come, people can see God for who He truly is, and be restored to reflect the image of God as God created us to be.

  68. Stephanie

    Wow. Just… wow. So according to him, men don’t badmouth their wives. They stay silent, while women just go out of control and badmouth all men in general. Yeah. That’s totally how it works. If I didn’t know better (and I really don’t), I would think that he hated women as a whole and felt that men were God’s gift to society.
    He said, “You don’t wanna badmouth your wife anyway; she’s a good woman.” What if she wasn’t? Would it be okay to badmouth her then? What does a “good woman” look like? What do you tell the good women who still get badmouthed by their husbands? This man… I haven’t even read his book, and I can see he’s an enabler of abuse.
    But hold on, I can’t say that, can I? Because right after he said that, he stated that the man will stay quiet and the woman will go on social media and say he’s an abuser, even if there is no abuse. So apparently, no one can say a man is abusive unless Emerson Eggerichs approves, and if he doesn’t, he will mock YOU on social media, as he is doing in the examples he is using. He is setting the stage for women to not feel safe to come forward about abuse. He is convincing his audience that most women will have an overblown view of their husband and will wrongfully accuse him of abuse, and hey, let’s mock those women. That’s fun.
    But wait…. that’s what bullies do. You don’t think this guy is a…. 😳
    And then to say that a man walking away to calm down will be called abusive…. There are a few people who will blow things out of proportion. But seriously now, the majority of women are still slow to recognize abuse, much less name it. It would be a rare situation that a man walking away to calm down would be called abusive. Yet Emerson makes it sound like all of the women will do it to all of the men (“your sons” — nice little personal touch there).
    (Also, just for the record, 99 BPM is not a high heart rate. Lol, Please.)
    You notice how he always (in these clips, anyway) portrays the women as crazy and emotional, while the men are calm and full of “honor”? And he seems frustrated that the “culture of intimacy is pink in this culture” and that, as he sees it, women are defining who men are. I don’t think we live in a matriarchy. 😛 This just sounds like another excuse to paint women in a bad light.
    He hates women. He just hates women. His attitude is disgusting. He is bitter toward women, and not just a certain group of women, but all of them. Even if he talked nicely about women in all of his other videos and books (which I’m hard-pressed to believe would be the case), watching this video would undo any belief I had that he cared about women. I’m just blown away. Who talks like this? How can he say those things?
    I love Connor’s comment: “If your husband needs to walk away to stop himself from getting violent, you are in harm’s way. If your husband strangles you for any reason (including his feeling disrespected by you), you are in harm’s way.” Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Because the woman isn’t the problem; the woman isn’t responsible for “not setting off” her husband’s violent rages. If a man has a violence problem, A MAN has a violence problem. His wife is not the culprit here.
    Thank you for pushing to bring this information to light, Sheila. I’m not sure yet how I feel about the other authors you have mentioned recently, but I’m continually shocked and disappointed by Emerson Eggerichs.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It really is quite atrocious. And yet why did no one at Houston’s First Baptist notice how bad this was? What does that say about our churches?

  69. Cindy Balch

    Thanks for this! ❤️
    Thanks for all you do! I’m really sad to hear about so many spiritual leaders thinking this way and even focus on the family! I used to love focus on the family. 😢

  70. Abby

    I tried to watch these sermons after reading through the blog post and I didn’t even make it to the 6 minute mark. The man just carries himself with a body language of arrogance, and something in my spirit doesn’t sit right in hearing his voice. I’m so thankful that even though I grew up in the evangelical church, and many other of your recently discussed books were on my bookshelf, the title of his never sat well with me.

  71. Angela

    I have so many thoughts running through my head now. After time to think and pray my response is to say what I see from Dr. Eggerich is someone heard and reacted not listened and responded. There is truth in the saying “there is a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth.” James 1:19-20 says “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Dr. Eggerich’s reaction is the opposite. I don’t hear a humble response like Gary Thomas’s when he wrote this blog post. https://garythomas.com/2016/11/29/enough-enough/ . What I see is someone who hears and reacts. I would never wish that anyone have to endure the abuse I did but I wonder what Dr. Eggerich would have done if he had sat in the room with us as the words he wrote were raged at me because I did not blindly follow my abusive ex-husband, obey him, and never question him. Would he have looked at me and said you are not being respectful and you am responsible for his anger or would he have looked at my ex-husband and said your words and actions are wrong?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I believe he would have blamed you, because that’s what his books and blog posts do. They tend to always end with the wife being told to respect more. And, again, he just doesn’t seem to ever talk about abuse as if it’s real.

  72. Dani

    Appreciated this piece and Connor’s thoughts.
    I listened to the whole first sermon and was struck by something seemingly minor but i think is really profound. Over the last few weeks my husband and I have been having some conflict and when there is conflict he stonewalls which I find REALLY hurtful. I then retreat into myself and blow everything out of proportion and end up very distressed.
    If my husband had heard this teaching early in our marriage, I shudder to think what could have happened. To hear that stonewalling is honourable?!? That we should both not only be ok with the situation but in fact, respect him all the more for it?!? My husband doesn’t stonewall out of a sense of honour, he stonewalls because emotions are hard and he finds it difficult to process both his and mine in the moment. I can understand that but he and I both know it’s not the healthy answer to dealing with conflict. To hear that it’s an essentially male way to deal with things could have done so much damage to our marriage.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly. He actually gets all his stuff on stonewalling from Gottman, but Emerson Eggerichs calls is “honorable”, and Gottman calls it one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” that will ruin your marriage!

      • Dani

        How bizarre. Gottman does not call it honourable at all. How can he agree with Gottman and yet totally disagree with him??

      • Lydia

        Sincere question about the “walk away, come back when cooled down, then talk for another 15 minutes, not 16, not 14…” etc.

        I can totally see how this could come across as controlling, no question. But couldn’t it also be setting a boundary? Like all things, the heart behind it is what matters. I can see someone (male or female) saying “I’m feeling very upset and I need to calm myself. I’m going to step away for a few minutes, come back and try again for 15 minutes.” I know that would seem odd to many, but sometimes people work well with that type of structure and like specifics. Maturity would be to continue with “ok, we have reached 15, but we are connecting and making progress, let’s keep trying.” OR “It has been 15 minutes and we are still not hearing each other. Let’s take another break and try again in a few minutes.”

        There must be a good way to set clear boundaries without being controlling.

        • Aron

          The unhealthy part of EE’s advice isn’t the waking away. It’s framing walking away as the only “honorable” way to avoid driving his shaking fist through his wife’s face. Then he generalizes that level of barely controlled assault to “all men” and calls it normal. For this to be even a rare occurrence between two people should be troubling, but for it to be the default response to perceived “disrespect”? That’s terrifying. It’s psychotic. And the person bound by this level of rage needs immediate intervention while the people around him need to get to safety.

          TLDR version: walking away because you need time to breathe and regroup can be healthy in a stressful situation. Walking away because it’s the only thing stopping you from pounding the other person into the ground is a sign of a serious problem. Especially if that’s someone’s default response to feeling offended.

  73. Chris

    Ok, I am confused. I was looking forward to a few comments at least addressing the copyright issues here. So who is it saying you violated copyright? E.E.? Or Houston Baptist church? In most places in the US the only way they could say you are violating copyright is if you were attempting to profit from it in some way. An argument they could make is you are selling more books because of all this or something.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Emerson Eggerichs did, not Houston’s First Baptist. Again, it was a nuisance claim, had no merit, and I just decided that I’d put up a better video instead. And I WILL fight next time if he does it again. Fair use is fair use!

  74. Dorthea

    I have so many problems with EE’s teachings but the two biggest for me is 1- how he completely dismissed abuse and 2- how he misinterprets Ephesians 5. I’ve had Ephesians 5 shoved down my throat ever since I started going back to church (a legalistic toxic church I left) a year after I got married, and it really hurt my marriage. We are in a much better place now but still have a lot of work to do to overcome these toxic teachings.
    I’m an abuse survivor and hearing EE mock and dismiss abuse victims like he does is awful. It is not loving and it is not Christlike. And it is why abuse victims don’t speak up. And it is why abusers continue they’re evil behavior.
    Honestly it upsets me so much to think of how many people, women, men and children who are being abused are not being helped by the very institution that is supposed to be a safe place. Instead the church becomes a place to protect the abuser and shame the victim. That goes entirely against who Jesus is.
    That should NOT be!
    The church should care about people more than doctrine.
    The church should care about people more than tradition.
    The church should care about people more than power.
    If the church does not then they are not The Body of Christ.
    And secondly what EE and authors, pastors and speakers like him say is NOT what Paul is saying in that letter to the Ephesians. They take it completely out of context to make it fit their own beliefs and sadly this is what the church has been doing for hundreds of years: taking the Bible out of context to make it fit their own agenda. You MUST read the Bible in context! The way the authors of the Bible meant it to be read. We must stop using the Bible as a weapon and start living out what Jesus and the apostles taught. They are to be our teachers not people who say they represent them. Go back to the original source and ask questions. Ask God Himself. He gave us all good minds so let us use them wisely. Just because someone says this is what Ephesians 5 says and even manages to get a book published (honestly how did EE get his book published?!?!) doesn’t mean it is true.
    Jesus said “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt 10:16
    Be discerning and be kind and respectful to everyone.

    • Dorthea

      I wanted to add a resource that has helped me is Bible Project. They do a fantastic job explaining what the Bible is, how to read, etc. They have podcasts, videos, classes, notes and so much more all for free. They helped me at a time when I was ready to throw my Bible away because I was so sick of it being used as a weapon to excuse and justify evil.
      Also after reading TGSR I’ve realized that these toxic teachings are all about power. EE and company do not teach how to love as Jesus loves, how to serve in a self sacrificing way for the good of the other but instead how the powerful can remain in power. And the powers that be in the church are not interested in changing that conversation because they might lose their power. Until that changes they will remain defiant to Jesus’s teaching on loving others by serving and using your power to empower others.

  75. KH

    Perhaps he preaches that “man’s crazy cycle” behavior is normal because it was normal to him. It’s not normal manly behavior, and there are women whose fists fly too.
    You need to get some help if you have to walk away because your default setting is punch someone.
    When I’d get into arguments with my x husband, he’d punch the palm of his other hand before my face to let me know how upset he was getting. It was scary to ever bring an issue before the man because he did not handle any friction well.
    This is not healthy. “Was he unloving, or did you say something disrespectful?” Incorrectly blames her for his temper and behavior.
    Both people in a healthy relationship need to be able to address problems in a loving and respectful way to each other. That’s how you show that the relationship means more than the argument on the table.
    To tell women to get out of harms way, but to downplay the definition of harm to strangling and selling your children… it’s just wrong.
    This message enables abusive spouses and tells the abused that 1) it’s likely their own fault they’re being abused and 2) they should stay there being abused because if they can get themselves right, the abuse would stop.
    Not so.

    • Angela England

      Yes exactly. When your definition of “harm” is normalizing EVIL BEHAVIOR (strangling your wife = evil) then you should not be giving any advice. That’s like a spa owner saying “don’t get overheating in the sauna” but then also telling people it’s normal to spend 2 hours in the steam room and passing out is totally OK. That would be negligent as a result of the warped perspective. So is Eggerich here.

    • Amy

      Your comment just reminded me of something. My ex-husband is self-employed and ran his business out of our home. I have a distinct memory of him raging at me, the phone ringing, him calmly and politely dealing with his business client over the phone, hanging up the phone, and resuming raging at me. So, was the rage uncontrollable or was it intentional in order to send me a message of fear and control? Pounding fists and other physical signs of aggression don’t necessarily mean that the aggressor can’t control his anger. My ex clearly could control his anger just fine in front of those he chose to control it under.

      • Angela England

        So so true. The anger was controllable. He just chose not to. And I’m sorry for your experience. ((hugs)) It sucks that the person who vowed to love, honor and cherish, didn’t.

      • Walking with Christ

        I know what you are talking about! It was using his rage for control.

  76. Mara R

    I used to blog back in the day. I don’t now. So this is not a shameless promotion of my blog. It is pretty much inactive.
    However, sometimes it’s just easier to link an old blog post rather than to write a really long comment.
    Eggerichs is guilty of building up a version of Christianity that normalizes male rage and scapegoats women. Apparently it is easier to build up an entire structure to protect his wounded and traumatized heart than to do the necessary work needed for his healing. He is not alone. Most of Patriarchal and Complementarianism is really just doing this: Protecting men and their wounded hearts at the expense of women and children. I came up with a term for it back in the day when dealing with Driscoll and Piper:
    I believe I have linked it here before, a year or two ago. It may have even been in reference to Eggerichs. But I still feel that it’s relevant.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s awesome, Mara! “The solution to uneasy Manhood is not to reduce Womanhood down to a more manageable size. The solution is for the men to remove their spiritual jock strap and let God heal the broken places in a man’s heart.” Yep.

    • Rogue

      Mara and Sheila, heres a referer post from the blog to another blog that breaks down the love and respect message in much of the same way you did. There’s also several other related posts connected in links at at the bottom.

  77. Angela England

    I think we need to consider the fact that his perspective is so warped that he doesn’t even recognize abuse. In his worldview strangling your wife is normal behavior. THAT ALONE is enough to disqualify him and his advice on the subject because it’s so far beyond normal it’s not even in the same continent. His intentions do not matter when his “norm” is so very skewed to the most dangerous degree.

  78. Shannon Marie

    In his book EE says this:
    “I understand this woman’s feelings. I grew up in the kind of environment she describes. My father would become enraged at my mother. To offset his strong feelings of personal guilt, he would take offense at things my mother innocently did and then explode. But she never saw herself as a victim. Not once in all my years growing up did I hear Mom badmouth Dad. When I griped about him, she would reply, “Your dad lost his dad when he was three months old, so he doesn’t know how to be a daddy.”
    So he is praising his mom for putting up with an abusive man. That. Is. Sick.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely! And we also know that witnessing your mother being abused is as destructive as being abused yourself. So when a person grows up in a home when their parent is abused, that is going to hurt them.
      Think about it: If someone wants to truly torture you, what’s the best way to do it? Hurt someone you love in front of you while you can do nothing about it. Think of the effect of that on a child. It’s terrible.

      • Shannon Marie

        I didn’t say this in my post, but I grew up in a home where my mom actually abused my dad. My mom tried to kill my dad in front of me. You do not get over that without some serious counseling. I am 42 years old and I’m still unpacking what I witnessed. How in the world did this guy ever think it was okay for him to counsel people and give advice on marriage?! Ugh. I am still shaking over these video clips.

  79. Kristen

    This points out the clarion call need for TRAUMA INFORMED LEADERSHIP. If you write/ speak with true victims in mind, you’ll write differently. E..erson never has made that his audience and, unfortunately, the danger is just this: leading more to be less empathetic and attune to the very real needs. 1 in 4 women (standard line, but probably higher) experience abuse in their relationships…this should be at the forefront of EVERY MINISTRY LEADER’S MIND when they address relationships.

  80. Pamela

    Many thanks to Connor for his contribution. It was so well-done. Good work.

  81. Susanna Vaughan

    Thank you, To Love Honor and Vacuum!
    These awful, destructive, dishouring doctrines have been publicly peddled and defended so it requires public challenge to correct and give those led astray by them a chance to learn better!
    In James God tells us “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
    You are engaged in a mighty battle against powerful forces of evil. I pray God strength, wisdom and grace for you and your team.
    To God be the Glory.

  82. Anon

    The biggest issue I have with saying that ‘this advice is for people of goodwill’ is that so often, abusers can appear as people of goodwill. I had a friend whose husband was a physically violent and emotionally abusive porn, drink & drug addict. Yet, in between bouts of addiction-fueled violence, he would cry, say how much he loved her & the kids and how he didn’t want to lose her. The sad thing is, I think he meant it. But not enough to stick to any counselling or addiction recovery programme and not enough to prevent him going into the next spiral.
    But from her point of view – she had a husband who said he loved her & the kids and who wanted to work on the marriage. So he MUST be a person of goodwill. So she stayed and she and her kids kept suffering.
    She was given a copy of Love & Respect when she turned to her church for help – it made her feel that if only she could ‘respect’ him enough, things would improve. Eventually, it reached the stage where the kids were so endangered by him that they would likely be taken into care if they continued to live with him, so she left. It’s taken a long while for her to see that there was nothing she could have done to ‘fix’ that marriage, and also to ditch the guilt over her ‘failure’ not to respect her husband enough.
    I wonder how many others are staying in dangerously abusive relationships because they’re mistaking the ‘love bombing’ stage of the abuse cycle as ‘goodwill’.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Anon! Great point. This is such a common and destructive dynamic.

  83. Jesse

    I couldn’t watch all the videos, but the one I forced myself to view was his caricature of women not feeling loved and that their husbands had not earned respect.
    The main thing that jumped out to me was this:
    Eggerichs speaks to the *parents* of *sons*. Not to the wives, nor to the husbands. But another party.
    Then he creates a caricature and stokes indignation. “Your son”; “your daughter-in-law” — come on, man! Say what you mean. By using these terms Eggerichs has **othered** women and displayed explicit misogyny.

    I also want to talk about the idea of “walking away” from the battlefield. I must admit, this is something I’ve struggled with. I’m a pretty hot-headed, somewhat antagonistic person. This doesn’t mean it’s ok, it means **I have to work harder to engage well** with my wife.
    This idea that ANY interaction with your spouse should be construed as a battle (explicitly laid out by saying men are in “warrior mode”) is deeply concerning. It sets up unhealthy expectations and norms, which I’m so glad are called out in this post.
    I do want to say that I HAVE struggled with this. I still do, in fact. My take is this: if you ever get to the point where you need to walk away from a conversation because you are afraid further escalation would lead to abuse, have ALREADY failed and will need to repent, seek forgiveness, and **work on never letting this happen again**.
    Disagreements happen, and for some couples, I think there is room to realize that you will engage more openly and honestly after taking a few minutes to chill out. I would suggest that usually this still means you have work to do on being a reasonable person(speaking directly to myself here) 😉
    Thanks for the post, and thanks so much for all the great content that has helped challenge a lot of the unhealthy ideas I was steeped in and give me the hand up I needed to start behaving less selfishly in my marriage. Y’all rock.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you for the encouragement, Jesse! And, yes, I totally agree. If you have to walk away because you’re going to lose it, you’re already in the wrong.

      • Jessica

        Thank you so much for this. I have tried for two decades to make an abusive marriage work. I have bore the burden, thinking it is my job to be “Christlike or respectful” enough to make my husband love me, instead of letting him experience the reality that words can *destroy * people and relationships. I tried to go to my pastor and was just shut down. It was awful. Then, in an attempt to control me, my husband went to my Uncle who is also a pastor, and instead of addressing his emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse, somehow it turned into Bible thumping session where I wasn’t submissive enough and didn’t do enough of what he asked.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, I’m so sorry, Jessica! Are you in a safe place now? Do you have support?

  84. Deanna

    Totally agree with the post. What I also found very strange is that was a sermon? What happened to preaching the gospel? The evangelical church has gotten so far away from the gospel that our pastors are teaching how to’s on marriage rather than preaching the gospel. It’s not surprising then that when we “preach” about something other than Christ, we get way off track really fast . Christ shows us how to love perfectly, without harm, unconditionally but with wisdom.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That means that when we teach, we should be focusing on Jesus being big and real in our lives.

    • Kathy

      I had this same thought.

  85. Meri

    Our pastor did a series on this book. A few women complained but he said it was finally a book for the men.
    The abuse dynamics are clear in the intro to the book. He states ‘because he (father) was offended, he would react in unloving ways.’ pg 8.
    He also talks how his wife didn’t allow the baggage of childhood to ‘defile her spirit.’ pg 9 I have heard a Christian psychiatrist say some of the hardest things for his pts is walking them through the valley like Psalms 23. Many don’t want to go there but that is where God meets us and heals us from not only what we’ve done but the things done to us. We come out the other side into full freedom of LOVE that follows us all the days of our lives.
    Eggerechs states his parents ‘had no tools to make a few minor adjustment to turn off the “flamethrowers”.’pg8 and then bingo the secret hidden in one verse! He says ‘the unique feature of this book is the concept of wives showing unconditional respect towards husbands.’ pg 19 Yep a book for the men!
    Don’t know about men’s heightened fight or flight response in warrior mode like he talks about in the clip but I do know they are bigger and stronger. That combined can be terrifying. He himself said it caused the emotional shutdown of his mother. I work in the ER and have taught the science of critical care. The science recognises ongoing high level simulated training so that in the heat of the moment your brain circuitry doesn’t shut down. I believe the renewing of our minds in Christ(Ephesians 4) and the power of the Holy Spirit also work to retrain our brains so when the crisis hits we respond from the core of our rewired selves in Him.
    At the very least he’s misusing definitions of love and respect. At worst he’s teaching abuse. I’m not implying intent on his part and have nothing personal against the author but unrecognised can be incredibly damaging as it’s difficult to detect because he says one thing then undermines it through tone, anecdotes and the very next sentence.
    John 13:3&4 Jesus knew who He was then he got down and served. I want to see all men rise up in full strength and us all to be filled with His Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness & self control. Imagine our worlds filled with this gifted fruit.
    The crazy cycle ends with Christ.

  86. Concerned Sister

    I’ve come across your blog because I’m super concerned for my sister-in-law. She is married to my brother who after years of narcotics and mental (and sometimes physical, although she doesn’t think it was that bad) abuse towards her, has returned to Christ and somehow twisted his role in the home into a controlling, ‘never lets her have a say about anything’ kind of role. He’s got all these ideas about women wearing head coverings, no makeup, has to have lots of babies, no vitamins while you’re pregnant – she’s not even allowed to have coffee anymore (that started before she got pregnant again), not allowed to celebrate Christmas because of pagan origins, the list goes on… and I just feel so helpless. I’ve sent her your blog “letter to the woman with a controlling husband”, but she is constantly deleting our message history so she doesn’t get in trouble. I’m sure he is still struggling with porn, but he watches all these YouTube pastors and sends them to us all to show us our need for repentance – HOW do you reach a guy that acknowledges his failings openly but still believes he’s got it right, spiritually?? “I know I don’t treat her right, but that’s my journey…” IT’S HER JOURNEY, TOO!! And she feels like she has to lie to you to keep the peace!! She’s being robbed of her own individual relationship with Jesus and I’m just over here waving my arms and saying “I’m here for you!! I’m praying for you!! Christ’s love is never controlling!! You need to stand up for your own relationship with God!!” but it’s all she knows and she feels like she’s bad mouthing her husband if she reaches out to me!! I’m so frustrated, I don’t know what the next step is apart from praying like mad that he would see how vile he is being and that she would be able to think clearly in times of conflict enough to respond Biblically instead of just bowing to his every command. Sorry. This is definitely a rant job, but I just really dig what you’re doing on your blog and hope I’m on the right track. I’ve already taken steps to stop his attempts to control me when I’m visiting their home (wasn’t pretty, but God helped me) and am unsure whether to address this stuff with him or just keep reaching out to her… he gets super jealous of my relationship with her, as though I love her more than I love him, but I’m just as concerned for him, as I can see how deceived he is.

  87. ZombieWarriorMom

    Oh my goodness….his words are so hurtful. To say that men “don’t say anything bad about their wives…” but just walk away etc is absolute BS. I’ve heard worse words from my husband that anyone else in my life. There’s been physical abuse in the past too but the words are absolutely crushing. I do NOT give Emerson the benefit of the doubt. To be in a position where you have the attention of many people and to spread false ideas is to be culpable for harm that is done thru the adoption of your ideas. It is SAD that many Christians look to this deluded man (trained to ignore abuse…probably never dealt with childhood trauma) for “justification” of what they already believe to be true. Arrrrgh…. I need to go drink some tea and do some yoga.

  88. Sarah

    I have been thinking about warrior mode separately so was interested to see it mentioned here but applied solely to male physiology. Is that peculiar to Eggereich’s writing? Does he ever speak of warrior mode in relation to women?

  89. PattiLynn Sik

    I was recommended this book from my church. I came from an abusive childhood into abusive adult long term relationship followed by a second abusive relationship that became a marriage. This teaching lead me to feel even more responsible for his actions, behaviors and to develop and unrealistic belief that if I behaved in just the right way I could make him happy and then he would treat me loving and we could be happy. I stayed for far longer than I should have and allowed this man to cause irreparable damage on my life. I find his statements about men not bad mouthing their wives very offensive, as I have chronic PTSD from the things I can’t unhear from him. The controlling and emotional, mental and spiritual abuse was more damaging than the physical and sexual abuse. The gaslighting was the worst.

    • Walking with Christ

      So sorry for what you experienced, and for how false teachings like his increased the trauma.

  90. Lynn

    Sheila, I am wondering about this crazy cycle. I am in a marriage that has been verbally abusive up until last year, and now is merely emotionally abusive because I dared to stand up for myself. Previously I had tried to respect my husband and really love him even though he was not very lovable. I felt like it helped until I was not able to do something he asked me to do, and then his abusive eruption was even worse. Now, I keep getting hurt from his emotional abuse, and so I have detached, not being disrespectful, but not being affectionate either. He sees this as me being unloving, and does not show me affection because of it. My tendency would be to try to defer to him to get him to show me affection again, but I am afraid of getting hurt again. What do you suggest? I tried confronting him about his emotional abuse, but he has this mentality like Egerich, like it’s not masculine to become emotionally mature. I feel like we’re at an impasse, and now I don’t know how to relate to him. Should I keep respecting him and just enact my boundary when he abuses me, thus risking further trauma every once in a while? Or should I continue to detach and not ever have an emotional connection with him?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Lynn, if he is abusive, you won’t be able to have a close relationship with him. Is there a licensed counselor you can talk to about boundaries and next steps?

      • Lynn

        I am looking for a counselor. In the meantime, my husband is only abusive sometimes, and he says he doesn’t want to hurt me. He is just not willing to take the steps to get emotionally healthy. A lot of his harm for me is just left over triggers from when he used to rage and get scary around the house. I know I need to deal with those, and maybe if I stick to my boundaries he won’t hurt me as much. But you think I won’t be able to share intimacy with him even if he is not as abusive as he used to be?

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I don’t know because I don’t know the whole situation. But a man who is abusive is not one who is safe, and you will not be able to feel safe with someone who isn’t safe to be with. The responsibility here is for him to rebuild trust. That’s what I don’t see happening. He broke trust and hurt you and caused trauma; and now it seems that you are responsible to try to fix that. But the problem was caused by him, and ultimately the solution lies with him. If he isn’t willing to try to solve it, that does speak volumes.

  91. Erica

    LOL moment for me: hearing Eggerichs say “Women, you’ve been conditioned through academia, and you’re sitting there thinking ‘But we need respect too'” — in other words, he’s telling me that I only think that I need respect because I’ve been conditioned to think that way. My deepest wish is to be loved, not respected, because his research tells him so. And his research can’t possibly be wrong, because he’s getting the same results each time he asks the questions. (I’d quite like to see those questions, Emerson….)

    Dude! Apart from the obvious presumption of you telling me what’s going on in my dim air-brained little head, you’re ignoring something basic to all of humanity, as spelled out by none other than Jesus: the Golden Rule is ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ … I treat people respectfully because I like being treated respectfully. Are you suggesting that if I’m released from the mental cage of academic conditioning, then I can stop treating people respectfully?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So good, Erica!

  92. Becky S

    In the section about sons being called abusive, my immediate thought was: Why didn’t he ALSO say, “Your daughters will call your sons-in-law abusive.” (Those poor sons-in-law…aww.) I mean, it stands to reason that if most women call their husbands abusive, then your daughters will do that too, not just your daughters-in-law! I feel that EG’s way of stating this will end up creating a system of suspicion for females outside one’s immediate family…put another way: by using language that makes the accusers only female and only the ones outside of their family. It’s so subtle, so wicked. And the people in the congregation might not even notice all of this while sitting there. It might be only in slow analysis, like we’re doing here, that we can nuance all of these harmful things out. And those congregants are probably not sitting down to watch a replay later to be able to figure it out.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s such a good observation! And so scary.


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