It’s one year this week since I ran my huge Love & Respect series.
I’ve written about how Love & Respect treats sex horribly and harms marriages off and on throughout this last year, since the original week-long series ran.
And now, on this one year anniversary, I’ve been tying up some loose ends, including dropping my 5500 word open letter to Focus on the Family questioning their support of Love & Respect, as we cap off our discussion.
I’ll have links below, but listen in to the podcast where Rebecca shares about an interaction with the Love and Respect crew, and later my husband Keith joins me to share what he learned wading through our survey responses about Love & Respect. Both got pretty fired up and passionate, and they have things they really want you to hear.
So listen in!
No, Confronting Your Husband Does Not Mean You’re Showing Contempt
In our main segment, my daughter Rebecca shares the saga of an email thread she started with Love & Respect.
She reads excerpts of the emails on the show:
This week, on the blog, we’ve been continuing our Iron Sharpens Iron series, talking about how confronting your spouse when they’re doing something wrong is not a sin. Books like Love & Respect treat it as “disrespectful” (and thus sinful) if a woman were to confront her husband, as this email thread shows.
For context, here are the other posts that we’ve written on Love & Respect:
See what else we’ve written on Love and Respect:
Love & Respect was the #1 most harmful resource mentioned in our survey of 22,000 women.
We recently closed our Bare Marriage survey, after 22,000 women responded. We asked some open ended questions, including “are there any books/resources that are proven harmful to your marriage?”
Love & Respect was the most frequently cited resource that harmed marriages, with 13% of women who answered that question mentioning Love & Respect. For every 10 women who said it helped them, 15 women said it harmed them.
We originally had the computer generate the results, but Keith volunteered to be the human eyeballs that actually read all of the comments, to make sure that the computer classified the responses correctly.
He wanted to come on the podcast to talk about what he read. Specifically, he was very upset about how much the book enabled abuse.
Please listen–Keith and Rebecca were both very passionate in this podcast, and they share things that need to be said.
In this segment, I also referenced these posts:
- It’s Not Okay if Christian Books Harm People
- My Open Letter to Focus on the Family Regarding its Support of Love & Respect
- The Podcast in which Keith and I show how Emerson Eggerichs Gaslights women whose husbands are treating them badly
- Video clips from Emerson Eggerichs’ sermon series where he uses emotional abuse as the butt of jokes
Where do we go from here with regards to Love & Respect?
I feel as if I have said everything I can. I keep thinking I’m done, though, and then somebody sends me something else to comment on that’s so egregious I have to say something (like that sermon series or that terrible blog post we talked about in the gaslighting podcast). But I truly hope that I’m done. I saved these last few things to talk about this week as we mark the one-year anniversary of our series in January 2019.
So I have said it all; I have called out those who support Love & Respect; I am shaking the dust off of my feet.
And now I am passing the torch.
It is now up to all of you. If all of you speak up and send these posts to your church librarian and ask them to remove Love & Respect; if you comment when you see it on a friend’s bookshelf; if you speak up when your church is using it as a Bible study; if you let Focus on the Family know you won’t support them if they support this–we will make a difference. And not just that–you may just save a woman’s broken spirit; a woman you may not even know, but who may be being beaten down by this book right now in your church.
We’ve created a summary page for all of the resources on Love & Respect, and you can share that with people (and there’s also a sample letter that’s linked there that you can use as you see fit).
And tomorrow as we end the week I’ll be sharing some of your comments.
Thank you for listening. May God take this even further!
Rebecca’s Final Thoughts on Love & Respect
Rebecca wrote this synopsis of her thoughts after this last tumultuous year, and I think they’re a fitting end to our contribution on the book (though tomorrow we’ll be officially ending as I share some of YOUR comments from this week). She said:
My takeaways with engaging with the Love and Respect blog are as follows:
- They inherently misunderstand intent and action. Because Emerson’s intentions are good, his actions must be good. This is simply factually wrong.
- To Love and Respect, abused women are an inconvenience to be ignored, not treasured sisters of Christ to be comforted. There was not a single “I am so sorry for the pain that those women are experiencing” or “I apologize for any way they feel that our materials harmed them or their marriages.” Not once was their pain acknowledged except to blame them for remaining in abusive marriages (and completely ignoring the fact that many of them name teachings in Eggerichs’ book as one of the reasons they stayed for longer than they should have). Not even after I gave them chance to make a public statement did they come back with compassion.
- Love and Respect conflates Eggerichs’ take on scripture with the Word of God itself. None of us is infallible, and this conflation means that it is impossible for Eggerichs to ever actually recant what he has said. Much like a cult leader, his ideas are worshipped as Scripture and questioning Emerson means you are questioning God.
At the end of this all I was emotionally exhausted (granted, I was 38 weeks pregnant while this was happening). It is depressing and discouraging to see people who claim Christ act with such blatant disregard for their fellow human beings in favour of ideology and rules.
And so I am left with these conflicting feelings of intense isolation when I think of the fact that so many large Christian outlets have hardened their hearts against the stories of those abused in favour of one charismatic man with toxic teachings. But at the same time I feel closer to God than ever before. I find that when there are harmful things and people around you, telling you mixed messages about who God is, sorting out the wheat from the chaff is exhausting but leaves you with a much more clear picture of Christ and what it truly means to follow him.
I’m not saying I have everything right. But I can rest easy knowing that I am doing my best to stand up for those who have been mistreated and abandoned. And I hope God convicts those who lack the compassion to see that “they tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matt 23:4).
Other Posts in our Love and Respect Series:
- THE MUST READ: An Open Letter to Focus on the Family about Love & Respect and Emerson Eggerichs
- A Review of Love and Respect: How the Book Gets Sex Horribly Wrong
- Love and Respect: Why Unconditional Respect Can’t Work
- The Ultimate Flaw in the Book Love and Respect: Jesus Isn’t at the Center
- Dissecting a Sermon Series where Emerson Eggerichs Gaslights Abuse Victims
- Is It Okay if Christian Marriage Books are Just a Little Bit Harmful?
- PODCAST: Why Unconditional Respect Isn't a Thing (and how the verse the book is based on, and the survey data the book is based on, don't hold water).
- PODCAST: An Example from Eggerichs' blog of Eggerichs Gaslighting Women (we work through line by line)
- PODCAST: Dissecting Eggerichs' Love & Respect Sermons at Houston's First Baptist Church, with His Dismissal of Abuse
- PODCAST: Our Love & Respect Wrap Up
- I’m Passing the Torch on Love & Respect. 10 Ways You Can Pick it Up