The Podcast Where Emerson Eggerichs Ignores Marital Rape

by | Jan 20, 2022 | Podcasts, Uncategorized | 40 comments

Emerson Eggerichs Ignoring Marital Rape Podcast

I’m all fired up about the fact that people still consider Emerson Eggerichs an authority on marriage and sex. 

As most of you know, every year in this week in January we revisit the problems with the book Love & Respect, in the hopes that more and more people will see and churches will stop using this as a resource. It should not still be the #1 marriage curriculum in North American churches. It has to stop.

Today Connor walks Keith and me through a podcast with Emerson Eggerichs and his son Jonathan, talking about a woman who is crying in the shower before sex, even though she still initiates obediently every 72 hours. Eggerichs praises her.

Connor wrote a long, thoughtful article about Emerson Eggerichs ignoring marital rape yesterday, but Keith and I are hearing all of this for the first time in this recording. 

We get angry. I spit all over the counter. It’s quite the show.

So listen in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

0:10 A TLHV Anniversay
4:20 Connor recaps the episode
11:00 A woman’s coercive sex expeirence is badly handled
20:00 Is disobedience applicable to both sides?
23:00 Men’s v Women’s Sexuality
36:15 Sheila’s Educational Corner
42:00 Both people need Honour & Respect
52:15 Red flags to watch for

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Main Segment: Emerson Eggerichs Not Recognizing either Marital Rape or Arousal

For this podcast, we are taking apart Emerson Eggerichs’ podcast episode 39–a Good Woman’s View of Sex. We do use some clips of it in our podcast, based on Fair Use doctrine where we are using the clips for commentary.

In this Bare Marriage episode, we show how Emerson Eggerichs shows he thinks:

  • women threatening divorce is a normal occurrence that isn’t a big deal
  • women crying before sex is “not wasted” and is glorious to God because of her obedience
  • initiating every 72 hours is duty and obedience
  • a man acting badly if he doesn’t get sex isn’t a big deal
  • women don’t need foreplay because they don’t actually get turned on (except perhaps at ovulation)
  • women DO get turned on merely from men vacuuming
  • You can’t actually tell if a woman is aroused

Listen in. Please, really listen.

This is what is considered the height of marriage teaching in the evangelical church.

This is the man that is constantly featured on Focus on the Family. His curriculum Mothers & Sons is constantly marketed to its listeners, setting up the next generation to be just like this one. His book is the #1 marriage curriculum in North America.

The original letter writer who was crying in the shower commented on yesterday’s post.

She talked about how destructive Emerson Eggerichs’ advice was:

This is/was me. I am the one who wrote the e-mail in 2015 after listening to one of Emerson’s previous podcasts. I am the “Susie” Emerson E. talks about. He didn’t even bother to change my last name, which at the time was [redacted]. He also didn’t ask if he could read my letter on air. This podcast was after my “good-willed Christian” husband (now ex) taught the L&R series at our church twice. This was after years of living in an abusive marriage and being manipulated by him and convinced by others that this ridiculous every three days like clockwork rule would make our marriage blissful and of course make him stop being abusive. It was always my fault my husband was psychologically/emotionally, spiritually, and sexually abusive towards me.

I heard the obligation message for years, I didn’t know anything different. There were no books I was aware of debating this nonsense. Scripture was quoted and this stuff was taught as gospel. The teaching was coming from so many Christian authors and leaders I truly thought God required this of me. My walk with Christ was and is my most precious relationship and these teachings manipulated that desire to please Him and created deep pain in the depths of my soul because I truly thought Christ was grieved by me (like I was the one being selfish when in actuality I was being coercively raped). Tortured like Christ no, abused and mistreated in a soul-crushing way, yes. Gaslighted into thinking my emotional pain was crazy and unwarranted, yep. After all who doesn’t love to be raped, er I mean, have sex right?

At the time I didn’t but now I think it is funny how Emerson turned the podcast into a how to turn on your wife sexually, he completely missed the point. (vacuuming is not and never has been an aphrodisiac for me) I was still so confused about my own marriage, but I was trying to make a point. BE NICE, BE KIND. It’s amazing how that works.

My marriage lasted another 4 horrendous years after this podcast. I never gave up seeking help, I never stopped crying out to God. I just kept hearing this same message over and over again while in my Christian circle of influence. There did finally come a point when everything fell into place and started making some sense. I stepped into the wonderful world of Google search and learned something different. I learned about something called covert narcissistic abuse. Within that same time period, I also found out that my husband was and had been cheating on me for some time.

I found out about the women, then men, then those “men” who looked to be of questionable age. I found the hidden porn addiction, the xxx job searches, alcohol, the trips out of town to gay bars, the double life. Crazy as it sounds he hid it so well no one knew, not our church family, not our friends, not my family or his. I found out about all of it in a matter of just a few weeks. I wonder if Emerson would still think my ex-husband is a “good-willed man”. (Smirk emoji) Seems in his eyes pretty much anything goes and men are still labeled good and worthy of undying respect.

I was faithful for 17 years, I stayed and put up with abusive treatment because I was raised to believe adultery was the only grounds for divorce. I was constantly told to do more and try harder and things would improve, they didn’t. I’ve been happily divorced now for over 1 1/2 years. This “Good-Willed man” put the last nail in the coffin by requesting termination of his parental rights from our three children this December. All I can feel is gratefulness that I am finally free and my children are now safe.

Please keep teaching and calling out the bad theology of these “Christian” authors and please keep teaching us good theology. People who are desperate will seek these books out and devour them to try and find help and the best thing that most of these books offer is more pain and bondage. I know I’ve read almost all of them. In 17 years I’ve come across only a few that have really made a difference in a good way. That is just sad and needs to change. I am grateful for what you all do. Thank you Conner and Keith for showing us what it looks like when real men love their women. Some of us have never seen or experienced that. Thank you, Shelia, Rebecca, and the rest of the team for putting yourself out there and taking the blowback that I’ve seen y’all endure. You are truly a gift from God to those of us who have been in a dry desert with no water for quite some time.

This needs to stop. For more on the problems with Love & Respect, please see The Great Sex Rescue, and find out why it literally scored 0/48 on our rubric of healthy sexuality teaching.


The woman crying in the shower was featured on our podcast two episodes later! Listen in here. 

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:


Podcast where Emerson Eggerichs of Love & Respect Ignores Marital Rape

Other Posts in our Love and Respect Series:

Plus our Resource Pages:

The Biggest Supporter of Love & Respect is Focus on the Family

They publish the book and heavily promote it, and promote video series with Emerson Eggerichs. They also heavily promote his book Mothers & Sons, which primes the next generation of boys to feel they deserve unconditional respect, regardless of how they act. Please consider your giving to Focus on the Family, and contact them about your concerns. Without Focus on the Family’s support, the Love & Respect ministry would dwindle considerably.

The Following People Have Endorsed Love & Respect

  • “Millions of lives and marriages – and in many ways, our whole culture – are completely different today because of the work of Emerson Eggerichs and Love and Respect ministries.” Shaunti Feldhahn, best-selling author of For Women Only
  • “Occasionally I run into somebody whose material, what they’re teaching, and the quality of the person rocks my world.” Dave Ramsey
  • “probably the most helpful [marriage book and seminar] we have ever experienced.” Michael Hyatt
  • “With his Love and Respect concept, Emerson Eggerichs has discovered what can only be described as the Holy Grail of marital counseling.” Eric Metaxas
  • “Dr. Emerson Eggerichs …is … balancing this scale [towards respect]” Dr. James Dobson
  • “People around the world, in every kind of business need to hear this simple yet life changing message.” Anne Beiler
  • “I couldn’t recommend Dr. Eggerichs highly enough. I call him the Billy Graham of marriage.” Kendrick Vinar, lead pastor Grace Church of Chapel Hill

If any of these people would like to rescind or qualify their endorsements, please reach out, even confidentially. If any would like a confidential conversation about the problems with Love & Respect, please reach out. 

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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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Sheila Wray Gregoire

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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. Jo R

    So, if he’s a “good-willed man,” then his actual behavior doesn’t matter. The outcomes he generates from his actions don’t matter, because he at least “meant well.” Um, what? Can we turn that theory around, please? She’s a “good-willed woman” who means to have sex, but she doesn’t actually have sex, but isn’t only her intentions that matter? Just like his? Goose-gander?

    Strong, emotional man? Guys, watch the scene where Boromir fights and dies in the first Lord of the Rings movie. Aragorn is a fierce warrior, and he has no problem showing strong emotions thirty seconds later as he watches his friend, compatriot, and brother die from his battle wounds.

    If men are naturally so physically energized by sex, why do they so frequently roll over and go to sleep (and all too often leave their wives hanging in sexual frustration)?

    If the husband is the boss, and he’s acting this way, then maybe the wife simply needs to “quit that job.” And other women ought to take note and maybe not take that job in the first place. 🙄🙄🙄🤣🤣🤣

    • Codec

      The road to hell is paved in good intentions. Good will can not make abuse not abuse.

      Aragorn is awesome. Heck even more machismo characters are more emotional than people think and I can prove it.

      Conan the Barbarian described by the author Robert E Howard explicitly as being moody.

      The character of Ogami Ito from lone wolf and cub is at once a cold blooded murderer and a conflicted highly emotional single father in ancient Japan.

      I could go on. Aragorn is however an example i can recomend wholeheartedly.

      Never had sex or even a girlfriend, but if i ever did I would want to be respected and loved. Frankie Vallie and the four seasons have a pretty famous song about how being expected to crawl on the earth is not cool.

      Only a woman deals in absolute language. That is as dumb as the star wars line i am mocking.

      • Jo R

        “Good will can not make abuse not abuse.”

        Yep. 👍 💯👏

    • Jo R

      Followed some rabbit trails the last couple of days and found this (rather long) article about what Ephesians 5 would have meant to the people who originally heard it.

      I particularly liked how, near the end, the passage was rewritten in today’s language to show the original societal context. When we understand what marriage was THEN… Well, it’s hard to see how that passage even applies in the twenty-first century western world (if that isn’t too heretical).

      • CMT

        Yes I love Kristin Rosser’s writing, it’s a shame her blog isnt active anymore. Her posts are really well written and insightful. And this is a good one!

      • Jane Eyre

        That’s a great blog post. In context, “submit” to your husband is just “leave and cleave.” In a legal system in which you need a male authority, that authority ought to be your husband, not your father. We are not supposed to submit because men are to be in charge of us, like we are glorified children; it is because the marriage relationship trumps the parent-child relationship.

  2. Jessica

    Thank you for sharing this response. I related to the original post, but hearing her perspective looking back is even more powerful and relatable as I am dealing with these realizations and the divorce process now. Thank you for giving voice to the damage these teachings can do.

  3. Kay

    Her body knew. I hate how much women are taught that we cannot trust the wisdom of our bodies.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is actually a fascinating area of study. How much of vaginismus, for instance, is our bodies reacting to traumatic teaching? How much of low libido and anorgasmia is the same thing?

      And then there’s her panic attacks. Our bodies and our minds are trying to protect us, but our churches are telling us it’s a sin to listen.

      • Andrea

        I grew up with what I would in retrospect call purity culture light, but I’ve been following the exvangelicals on Twitter and found that two verses have been used to teach people starting at a very young age not to trust their bodies: “The heart is deceitful above all things.” and “Lean not on your own understanding.” This, of course, affects women worse than it does men, plus mainstream complementarian theology actually teaches that women are naturally more easily deceived, as evidence by Eve, so you see how it snowballs.

        • Jo R

          Except, of course that MEN get to fully trust THEIR bodies, to the extent that they think they’re entitled to an orgasm every time they get an erection.

        • CMT

          My experience tracks with that. The self doubt is a killer but I’m unlearning it. Work in progress!

  4. Katydid

    So, EE is saying that in good, Biblical, Godly marriages between “gpodwilled” husbands and “goldmine” wives the woman needs to pretend to want sex frequently and the man needs to pretend he cares about her occasionally.

    Women suck at sex and men suck at emotional connection, so marriage is pretending you don’t. She needs to be a porn actress and he needs to gaslight her into thinking that so long as she’s his porn star he’ll give half a darn.


  5. Margie

    I think the whole teaching that we’ve been hearing in our churches about the men being the boss is exactly what this man’s opinion produces it makes the wife nothing but another one of his children ?

  6. G.G.

    So I did a short dive into his Love and Respect FB page.
    Absolutist language. Interesting that on his Love and Respect FB page, Jan. 12th post he uses the word “always”. “Often the apparent issue isn’t the real issue; the real issue is always a matter of love or respect”. Isn’t this what he said women always do—use the word “always”?
    Also, has he changed his “tune” from his book. His post on Jan. 14th said that “God has made women so that they want to be honored and respected”. That doesn’t sound like his book where he says men need respect and women need love. (I won’t even go into the start of his post –“Husbands, do you want God’s favor? He favors you when you submit to your wife’s need for love, understanding, loyalty, and honor!”) Has he heard the pushback and is trying to back peddle, because can’t admit he was wrong?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s too funny that there’s absolutist language there! If this weren’t so harmful I’d laugh some more, but instead it almost just makes me want to cry at all the people they’re hurting.

  7. Melissa

    A few Christmases ago my in-laws gave me the Mothers and Sons book. (Passive aggressive hint taken, thanks) Knowing how Emerson thinks of women I was not terribly motivated to read it. Still haven’t read it. Might burn it.

    • Nathan

      I understand your feelings, but I would suggest not burning it. Instead, write a VERY critical review inside the book, then donate it to a used bookstore. That might give somebody else some surprise insight.

    • Laura

      Burn that book!

  8. CMT

    Is no one going to mention Sheila’s hysterical breakdown at the “you can’t tell if a woman is turned on” line? Connor and Keith were on point, but incredulous, helpless laughter has to be the best L&R hot take ever.

    • Jo R

      Yeah, and he’s married, so apparently he lives by what he preaches: women don’t need sex, women don’t enjoy sex, and sex doesn’t take very long at all.

      So if you’re not sure if your wife is turned on or not, maybe you ought to, I dunno, spend a little more time doing the sexy things…and specifically the things SHE likes? Assuming, of course, you’re open to listening to her on the subject and letting her LEAD you. 😱 😱 😱

      • CMT

        Yeah apparently anything less obvious than an erection is just so darn “subtle” that it’s functionally invisible. Must be those blue glasses, they make it hard to spot anything past the end of your nose.

  9. Nathan

    Reply to one of Sheila’s comments above…

    Yes. Very often, some of the outrageous commentary regarding the patriarchal hierarchy of love/sex/marriage would in fact be downright hysterical in its insanity … IF it wasn’t hurting so many people of both genders.

  10. Another Lisa

    What amazes me is how painfully obvious it is to all female listeners that Emerson Eggrich is REALLY bad in bed. So bad, he doesn’t even notice his wife isn’t aroused. On the other hand, we know his wife is extremely good in bed even when she’s not into it. So kudos to her, I guess.

    If you’re that bad in bed, it seems that guilt is your best tool for getting women have sex. What man ever thinks he’s bad at sex? I mean, he got what he came for, so how could it be bad? So, yeah, guilting your wife becomes the defacto method for getting to orgasm, and since it works you get to build this whole “ministry” advocating men should guilt their wives for sex, and women should feel extremely guilty for even questioning this system.

    What I don’t believe is that he never felt the Holy Spirit judge him and say, “well, that’s not quite what you should aim for.” He sets the bar for both genders: he mounts the women’s bar to the roof a three story building and sets the men’s bar in a groove in the dirt on a downhill slope.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! The difference in standard between men and women is astounding. And I think many of these “teachers” hardened their hearts towards the Holy Spirit years ago because it was never about God; it was about power (or getting to be in authority so much so that you can make your wife feel guilty simply for asking you to stop leaving wet towels on the bed.)

    • CMT

      “how painfully obvious it is to all female listeners that Emerson Eggrich is REALLY bad in bed”

      Agreed. I think it’s probably very obvious to most male listeners too, if they have even a modicum of interest in pleasing their partners.

    • Jane Eyre

      Painfully obvious that he is bad in bed, painfully obvious he doesn’t even know he’s bad in bed, and painfully obvious he has no way of helping men who are bad in bed become good in bed.

      “Bad in bed” may well be the default standard for inexperienced men, sort of like most everyone takes time to be good at things that require skill. I’m just not clear why it should be the standard for men who have been married for years.

  11. Ceci

    This is the first time I have heard what I experienced described as marital rape. It certainly felt like rape at the time. And I do relate to the tears. Sometimes I would cry in the middle of that, and then I felt guilty!

  12. Sarah O

    Susie, I don’t know if you will see this, but I am so sorry. So many of us are so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ll send up a prayer for you and your kids and I hope other readers will too.

    It was enough when you were crying in the shower. It was enough when you found out he was unfaithful. It was enough when you found out about the women, enough when you found out about the men, it was always enough to God and He cared.

    He doesn’t wait for torture to care about us. He doesn’t only rescue those who “win” the suffering competition. He is faithful to work all things together for good, but “He definitely doesn’t enjoy affliction, making humans suffer.” ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:33‬ ‭CEB‬‬

    I sincerely hope you are well and getting better all the time.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Susie saw it! She’s Wendy and she’s been commenting. She’s doing really well now!

      (And Sarah O, you can comment again? I’m so excited that it’s working for you!!!!)

      • Sarah O

        You and me both!!! I’m so glad. Her story just hurt my heart. And I hated the whole “it’s not like she’s being tortured.” IT STILL MATTERS THAT SHE’S BEING HURT. I know there so many women struggling with “milder” forms of this issue that get hit with “at least it’s not x, at least it’s not y, and least it’s not z.” If it’s not of Christ it’s not of Christ and HE SEES YOU.

        To paraphrase CS Lewis, we can’t take with us to heaven even the fondest remembrances of hell. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to tolerate willful sin. And to your points – we should care when people are hurt! You don’t ignore a broken arm since “it’s not a heart attack”.

  13. Anon

    *dons amateur psychologist cap*

    I think Emerson Eggerichs is in denial that he witnessed abuse in his family of origin and is on a quest to convince himself his father’s behavior was normal.

    *takes off amateur psychologist cap*

    Furthermore, I don’t think Eggerichs has a clue what healthy relationships look like in general. Men shut down and walk away from their best buddies so they don’t punch said best buddies in the face? What? Even if this is true, you can’t treat your wife like your best guy friend. Someone who has counseled couples for decades should know this.

    There’s even a line in Love & Respect where Eggerichs describes a wife screaming “I hate you!” at her husband because the husband is 6’ 9” and weighs 260lbs so she thinks he must be able to handle it. If a friend told me “I scream at my husband and tell him I hate him. But he’s the size of an NBA player so he can take it” I’d tell her she should seek immediate mental health treatment. Because either she knows she’s abusing him and doesn’t care, or she sees nothing wrong with her behavior which is a whole different problem. Eggerichs tells this story like it’s normal. His view of marriage and even just interpersonal dynamics is completely deranged.

  14. Aaron

    Could stuff like this that was talked about in the podcast be the reason for so many Christian marriages ending in divorce? The woman might be filing for divorce because her husband doesn’t respect her whatsoever. God doesn’t expect us to be walked all over. My best friend just happens to be female, and if I want respect from her, I have to be respectful of her. Respect goes both ways. She and I have a wonderful friendship today. She doesn’t allow me to walk over her, and I don’t allow her to walk all over me. I appreciate that when I’m pushing things too far, she speaks up.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Most definitely, Aaron. I think it’s a big reason for divorce! We’re taught marriage dynamics that are fundamentally toxic and dehumanizing.


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