FamilyLife Today® Podcast

A Cheerleader’s Purpose

with Robyn McKelvy | January 24, 2014
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When was the last time you cheered your man on? Robyn McKelvy and her husband, Ray, tell you how to build up your husband through encouragement. Robyn explains that as your husband receives encouragement, it will give him the confidence and support to know he is valued. Knowing you value him, Robin says, will give him the determination he needs to accomplish all that God has set before him to complete.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • When was the last time you cheered your man on? Robyn McKelvy and her husband, Ray, tell you how to build up your husband through encouragement. Robyn explains that as your husband receives encouragement, it will give him the confidence and support to know he is valued. Knowing you value him, Robin says, will give him the determination he needs to accomplish all that God has set before him to complete.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Robyn McKelvy and her husband, Ray, tell you how to build up your husband through encouragement. Robyn explains that as your husband receives encouragement, it will give him the confidence and support to know he is valued.

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A Cheerleader’s Purpose

With Robyn McKelvy
January 24, 2014
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Bob: As a wife, your belief in your husband can go a long way in helping him grow as a man. Here’s Robyn McKelvy.

Robyn: If you are cheering your husband on, one of the things that he will recognize is that the only way that you can cheer him on is because of your relationship with Christ.

Bob: Right.

Robyn: If you’re telling your husband, “I see Christ in you,” you’re going to see him maturing in the Lord. And that would give the wife what she needs to be able to continue to cheer; but it also will give a husband something that says, “I need to continue to grow in Christ so that I can continue to lead this family.”

Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know, I love one of the things I read in the book that we’re going to be talking about today. Our guest says that a cheerleader, without the cheer, is like a soda without the bubbles. [Laughter]

Dennis: No fizz.

Robyn: No fizz.

Bob: There’s nothing there.


Dennis: That’s really good.

Bob: Isn’t that good?

Dennis: That’s good. You know, here’s the thing about husbands—they can detect when the soda’s flat. [Laughter]

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: I mean, we know—it’s like we look at our wife’s face. It is like, “No, there’s no joy there.”

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: “There’s no encouragement there.”

Bob: I was driving home yesterday. I called Mary Ann to say, “I’m on my way home.” I could tell, over the phone, I was not headed home to a place of joy.

Dennis: A cozy spot; huh?

Bob: A place of joy. Mary Ann had had her cell phone stolen, earlier in the day—

Dennis: Oh, yes.

Bob: —and not only the violation that happens when something like that is stolen; but now,—you know, how attached you are to your phone; right?

Robyn: I need my phone.

Bob: Yes. Well, without her phone, there was no joy in Mudville. I mean, it was a dark night that I was heading home to. Now, I’ll say this—by the time I got there, Mary Ann had kind of recognized where her heart and attitude were and—

Dennis: Ah, there you go.

Bob: —there was a little course correction; but there were—


—to your point about husbands being able to detect when there’s no fizz in the soda. I was heading into chilly winds. The good news is the front had moved through and the weather had turned by the time I got home.

Dennis: Well, I want to speak with the woman who made the statement that: “Being a cheerleader to your husband is like putting the fizz”—

Bob: In the soda.

Dennis: —“in the soda,” because this woman, not only didn’t have fizz, she had poison in the soda, especially concerning her attitude toward men. Robyn McKelvy joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Robyn, welcome back.

Robyn: Thank you so much for having me again.

Dennis: Robyn and Ray have been married since 1988. She has ten children. She and Ray speak at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways and have done so for 18 years. They live in Nashville.

Bob: And tell our listeners a little bit because some of our listeners have never been to a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. You’ve spoken at dozens of them, now.

Robyn: Dozens.

Bob: Tell our listeners a little bit about what the experience is like. Can you do that?

Robyn: I can. And let me tell you how much I enjoy them—


because I don’t only go as a speaker anymore. Every time I go, I go as a participant because God teaches me something different every time I go. I think a lot of people have this idea in their minds that the Weekend to Remember is for couples that are having issues, but I look at the Weekend to Remembers as marriage insurance. I go because it’s something that sets me up for success in my marriage. I have the tools to be able to overcome those storms.

Bob: And you say you’ve sat through this dozens of times, and you still get something fresh every time?

Robyn: Let me tell you—I’ve sat through this hundreds of times; and I still get something fresh, every time.

Bob: Well, that’s a perfect opportunity for me to let folks know that this weekend is the last opportunity they will have to take advantage of the special offer for the Weekend to Remember that we’ve been making for the last couple of weeks. It’s a buy one/get one free offer. If you want to take advantage of that, you need to go to and click on the link for the Weekend to Remember.


You have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener when you do that. Put my name—put “BOB”—in the promo code box on your registration form. That will take care of everything. You’ll get the buy one/get one free offer, and you can attend one of the upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. We’re hosting about—I think about 65 of them this spring in cities, all across the country.

I know there are places that don’t have a Weekend to Remember coming. Instead, folks are getting together and hosting an Art of Marriage® video event in a local church or, even, in their living room. In fact, we’ve got a lot of churches doing that on Valentine’s weekend, 2-14-14, coming up in just a few weeks. Again, you can go to and get information about where The Art of Marriage is being hosted in a city near where you live and just plan to attend one of those upcoming events.

Or if you’d like to host your own, go to and click on the link for The Art of Marriage. Right now, if you order five couple sets—


and take five couples through The Art of Marriage with you—we’ll send you the DVD’s for free. We’ll send you the whole event kit so that you can host your own event. Again, get the details, online, at Just click the link for The Art of Marriage. Of course, you get to see Robyn McKelvy do her cheerleading in The Art of Marriage video. Then, you get to hear a little bit about the path that God has each one of us on as He takes us along the journey of marriage.

Dennis: And speaking of a journey, you had one. I mean, you grew up in a home—a daughter of a pastor who was pretty autocratic. You were poisoned. The soda didn’t have any fizz toward men because you were poisoned—

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: —about men.

Robyn: And I was in one of those denominations that had the hierarchy of the bishops, and the elders, and the pastors. Just to see the way that these men were so exalted bothered me. They were—really, as parishioners, we bowed down to them.


Bob: Wow.

Robyn: And so, it scared the living day lights out of me because I knew some of the affairs these men had had. I knew some of the ways they treated their wives. So, all I saw was hypocrisy.

Bob: I want to stop you here, too, because we’ve already heard you endorse the biblical idea of submission this week. You are not saying, when you endorse that, that submission means affirming that kind of ungodly behavior—

Robyn: Absolutely not!

Bob: —on the part of a husband or any man; right?

Robyn: Absolutely not! And one of the things that is so neat—about having a husband or a wife—is that we are both commanded to speak the truth in love. So, when you see these attitudes or these areas—where you’re in a perfect position to say: “This is not right. This is not God-honoring.” You have to say it in love because God loves us enough to tell us when something isn’t right or God-honoring. He wants us to become this person, that’s so redeemed, that we reflect the love of Jesus Christ.


That’s how good He is. So, when our husbands have these areas, we need to make sure that we can get into a place or get to a place where we can say exactly what we need to say to him—but that he would want to not bristle against it—but he would want to say, “I’ve got to overcome this.” And the way that he will overcome it is going to the Lord—going to his personal Savior.

Dennis: Okay, I want to—I just kind of want to put this in context. So, here you go. Alright, you are a soda that has poison. You’re not necessarily drawn toward wanting to submit to a man—follow a man. You get married, and you start your marriage out in the midst of your internal battle toward men. What happened, early in your marriage, when Ray made a dumb choice or really did something that was foolish? What—

Robyn: Well, it was on—it was on—and it wasn’t pretty.

Dennis: And when you say, “It was on”—


Robyn: The battle was on.

Bob: What would you have done? I mean, take us into the living room.

Dennis: What did you do?—is what I want to know.

Robyn: Okay, let me just give you an example; okay? Now, I came from a family of fighters. The women fought—my mom was all of five foot one, but she thought she could take my daddy on. When she—are you laughing at that? She thought she could.

Bob: I just got a picture in my mind.

Dennis: Yes.

Robyn: So, I mean, my dad’s six foot; you know? Let me just say this—there were glasses flying and words flying. They never—

Dennis: There was what? What did you say flying?

Robyn: Glasses—no, not this water bottle—I’m talking about glasses flying to—

Dennis: She threw it?!

Robyn: Oh man! You better duck if you are in the way because she was aiming for daddy. This is all my parents knew. It was a battle. I watched some of my sisters get married—and the same glasses and plates are still flying.

I didn’t want that, but there are ways that you can make glasses and plates fly without actually having them fly. When I say the battle is on, I could freeze Ray out or not respond to him.


There was one time when I got in the car and tried to run him over to leave. I mean, just craziness! I’m talking about we were the ones who were leading the youth—we’re leading Bible studies—and this craziness is going on in our house.

And I remember—and I’m giving you this—this is really my personal business, but I don’t mind sharing it if God will be glorified. But I remember, one time, when I wanted to go to Kansas City because my mother was sick. I wanted him to get me there. Ray was like, “Well, I would have had a ticket if I was you.” So, I went into the bedroom and closed the door. Ray comes in and like, “We have to talk about this.” I did not want to see Ray, at that time. I tried to push my way out of the bedroom by pushing him to let me out. Ray was saying, “No, we need to talk about this.” I remember getting ready for battle—you know—because I didn’t want to look at him. So, I started battling Ray—


—pushing at him—just pushing at him. Ray chose to restrain me. It wasn’t pretty; but I remember saying to him, “Let me go. You’re hurting me!”—

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Oh, yes.

Robyn: —“You’re hurting me!” and I started crying. He immediately released me. He said, “Robyn, we don’t have to fight.” I just wanted to get out of that room. So, I pushed him again because I’m like: “I’ve seen this all my life! I’ve seen my mom and dad have these battles.”

Bob: Right.

Robyn: And even though it might not have been as many as I remember, it’s what stuck with me. So, I thought this was the way to handle discrepancies in a husband/wife relationship. So once again, Ray restrained me. As we were sitting on the floor, huffing and puffing, the phone rings. It’s my sister calling, saying, “Mom’s doing okay.”

Bob: So, I’m going to jump ahead 25 years. You’ve now been married a quarter century. You’ve got ten kids. God’s done a remarkable work over the years—



in your life, in your heart, in your marriage. Now, you’re mentoring younger women and telling them, “Don’t do what I did.” In fact, the book, Say It Loud!, with tips for being a cheerleader, is really the antithesis of what was going on in your bedroom that day; right?

Robyn: Yes. And let me just say this—God didn’t do a remarkable work—God did a miraculous work. That’s how good God is. He refines us in such a way that we do come out looking like gold. I am the epitome of that because—my attitude, my heart, everything about me— was like, “This man isn’t going to tell me anything.” As a result, what am I saying?—“God can’t tell me anything.”

Dennis: I’m picturing glasses flying in the air—plates—things being thrown, trying to do harm. Then, I’m picturing a cheerleader, on the sidelines, with a megaphone—

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: — with a smile on her face—


saying, “Go team, go! Go, team, go!” You’re—

Robyn: You did that well.

Dennis: Yes. Well, I wouldn’t have made the squad, trust me; but I’d rather play the game; alright? But you switched from throwing verbal glasses and verbal plates to verbal encouragement—

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: —and to planting positive statements of belief and encouragement—to cheer Ray on in the battle he was facing.

Robyn: Yes, but—

Dennis: What brought that change?

Robyn: But let me just say this—I don’t know if it was so much of a switch as a maturing in Jesus Christ.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: Yes.

Robyn: And that’s it. If you—Isaiah says, “If you keep your”—“I will give you perfect peace if your mind is stayed on me,” because you trust. That’s the thing—it was all about my trust in Christ. God didn’t give me Ray to fool me. He gave me Ray to mature me in Him.


If we can see that, then, you have something to cheer about.

Bob: Alright; so, let me seat you in front of a young Robyn McKelvy.

Dennis: Yes, we’re going to turn this into a NCA Cheerleader Camp.

Bob: That’s right.

Robyn: Okay.

Bob: And you are one of the instructors. Sitting out in front of you are a bunch of young Robyn McKelvy’s, who are going: “I don’t know that I want this job. I’m not sure I can trust the team.” You’ve got to rally them. What kind of counsel are you going to give to them?

Robyn: Let me just say this: They are sitting there because they absolutely do want the job. I mean, that’s the thing. We so desire this relationship. We desire it because it’s right, and it’s godly, and God is glorified in it. So, we desire it; but all of the other stuff, that’s playing out, is because of our experience that we’ve had in the past. So, we desire it. I’m sitting here, looking at these ladies. I know they are afraid and that they are fearful. They have all of this skepticism.


And I’m looking at them and saying: “You know what? God will keep you in perfect peace; but not only that, He does not give you a spirit of fear. So, if you take this relationship that you have, and you lay it before the throne of grace, then, God is going to make sure you have the grace and the help that you need in your time of need.”

Dennis: You’re saying that, if they try out for the squad, God’s going to enable them.

Robyn: As long as they remain and make sure that their relationship with the Lord doesn’t get stagnant.

Dennis: Yes.

Robyn: It’s so easy for us to—especially, when those babies start coming—especially, when you have a job—it’s easy for you to put those things first, but you have to fight for your personal relationship because there’s where the hope comes. I can be Ray’s cheerleader—I can be his personal cheerleader because my hope isn’t in Ray. My hope is in the Lord. The Lord can do exceedingly, abundantly above whatever I can even ask or imagine!


I want to see him do that.

Dennis: Robyn, I don’t share my soapbox with many people; but you just took over.

Robyn: Well, let me tell you this—I’ve heard your soapbox. So, I think that I’ve heard it. I was so encouraged by it that you need to give it to everybody who is listening.

Dennis: Well, as you were talking, I was thinking about the famous passage that has the “s-word”, the submission word, to wives. But the passage begins in First Peter, Chapter 3, verse 1, with one word. It’s “Likewise.” So, your cheerleading is really all about calling Ray up—calling Ray out—encouraging him to follow Christ, as well.

Robyn: That’s right. I think that’s what we, as wives, are called to do. I mean, if we’re not concerned about how our husbands look when it comes to who he is in Jesus Christ, we’ve missed the mark.

Bob: I think there are some wives, though, who are concerned that, if they affirm their husband too much—


he will become complacent. He will think: “I’m meeting the standard. My wife says I’m doing a great job. She’s cheering me on. I guess I can kick back and relax. I don’t have to work so hard.” I think there are some wives who feel like, “Yes, I’ll cheer him on; but he better give me something to cheer about before I cheer.” So, which comes first—the performance or the cheering that brings it about?

Robyn: Can I just say this? That if you are cheering your husband on, one of the things that he will recognize is that the only way that you can do that—when you see how, really, inadequate he is—how imperfect he is—the only way that he can see that you can cheer him on is because of your relationship with Christ.

Bob: Right.

Robyn: So, that should spur him in his own relationship with Christ. If you’re telling your husband—one of these 30 days is saying, “I see Christ in you.”


So, if your husband is spending time with the Lord—is growing with the Lord—you’re going to see him maturing in the Lord. That would give the wife what she needs to be able to continue to cheer; but it also will give a husband something that says: “I need to continue to grow in Christ. I need to continue to be what I need to be so that I can continue to lead this family.”

Dennis: That’s where life is found— right there. If a woman is a cheerleader, pointing her husband to that and to Jesus Christ, she’s a winner.

Robyn: Absolutely!

Dennis: And ultimately, they’re going to win the game.

Robyn: The family wins together.

Bob: You know, my daughter—my oldest daughter went to Texas A&M University for college. If you go watch the Aggies play football on a Saturday, and they are at Kyle Field—their home stadium—there is a big sign across the top of Kyle Field. It says, “Kyle Field is the Home of the Twelfth Man.” It says that because there are 11 players, who are out on the field—


but everybody understands, at Texas A&M, that—if the 11 guys are going to win, the 12th man—the crowd—

Robyn: —is the man in the stands.

Bob: —the cheerleader—they’ve got to be there. There’s a reason why teams play better at home—

Dennis: Yes.

Bob: —win more games on their home field, and on their home court, than they do when they’re away. It has to do with something that goes on inside of every one of us when others are cheering us on.

Dennis: And those cadets stand—

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: —for the entire game.

Bob: Yes, and they kiss if there is a touchdown scored, too. I’ll just mention that.

Dennis: Not each other. [Laughter]

Bob: No.

Dennis: They kiss their girlfriends.

Bob: That’s right.

Dennis: But what Robyn’s calling wives to do is to stand on behalf of your man.

Robyn: And just know this—that your man wants his wife to be his greatest supporter. And so, he needs to hear from you. I don’t care how many people are in the stands cheering him on.


Bob: Yes.

Robyn: Like you said earlier, Dennis, it’s only that one person that will really be honest with you. You know this is the truth that you’re getting.

Dennis: I think it’s the wise woman who gets a copy of your devotional here to become a cheerleader. You want to make any promises, at the end of 30 days—if they go through all 30 of these cheerleading tips, and look them up in the Scriptures, and see how they’re to behave as a cheerleader—do you want to make any bold—

Robyn: I can make some bold promises because I can say that God has used this book in my own personal life. I can make some promises that you will want to, not only cheer him on, but you will want to see women in your sons’ lives that will want to cheer them on.

Dennis: Barbara and I wrote a book, a number of years ago, called Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem.

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: And we compared our words to seeds. That’s really what you are calling women to plant—

Robyn: That’s all.

Dennis: —in the heart of their husbands and their family.


You’re calling them to plant good seeds.

Robyn: Good seeds.

Dennis: You know, there is one last thing, Robyn, I’m going to ask you to do before we’re done, here on the broadcast.

Bob: Before you ask her to do anything, can I let our listeners know how they can get a copy of Robyn’s book? It’s called Say It Loud! We have it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. The subtitle is Becoming Your Husband’s Personal Cheerleader. Go to You can order a copy of the book from us, online, if you would like. Again, the website,; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and ask about Robyn McKelvy’s book, Say It Loud! We can get a copy sent to you.

Let me also remind you that today is the last day to sign up for the special offer that we’ve been making for the last couple of weeks for FamilyLife Today listeners to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. It’s a buy one/get one free offer. If you want to go to a Weekend to Remember this spring—you’d like to save some money—go online right now,


Click on the link for the Weekend to Remember. When you sign up, put my name—put “BOB”—in the promo code box. That will qualify you for the buy one/get one free offer we’re making this week. It expires on Sunday. So, plan to join us at an upcoming Weekend to Remember. Go ahead and take advantage of the savings, this weekend, when you sign up online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY—say: “I listen to the radio. I want to attend one of those Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.”

If there’s not a getaway happening near where you live, you can host your very own getaway using The Art of Marriage video event kit. We’ve put together a six-session DVD series that is designed to be used on a Friday night and a Saturday. It’s been hosted in all kinds of locations—local churches, community centers, living rooms—anywhere where you can show the DVD’s, and turn on the sound, and give everybody a workbook, and go through these six-sessions together—a couple sessions on Friday night—


four sessions on Saturday—some projects to do. It’s your very own private marriage getaway. In fact, we’ve got hundreds of churches that are going to be hosting one of these on Valentine’s weekend—just a few weeks from now, February 14th and 15th.

If you’d like to host one that weekend, there is still time for you to do that. In fact, our team’s got an offer, right now, where, if you will order five sets of manuals for couples who are attending, we will give you the DVD’s and the entire event kit for free. Get the details, online, at Go there and click the link for The Art of Marriage. Either host your own event or check and see where there’s an event near where you live and plan to attend. I know the folks who are hosting it would love to have you out for an Art of Marriage couples’ event on Valentine’s weekend—Friday night, the 14th/Saturday, the 15th—great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

So, Robyn’s book, the Weekend to Remember, The Art of Marriage—all of it—go to—


or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY.

Sorry—got a little long-winded there, Dennis.

Dennis: It’s been our privilege to have a good friend on FamilyLife Today, Robyn McKelvy. Thanks for sharing your life with our listeners. You know, you shared about the poison that was in the soda of your life—

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: —because of your relationship with your daddy and how he was an autocrat. I want to give you the chance to do something, here, that I just give a very select few guests on FamilyLife Today. I’m going to seat your dad across the table, here, from you. You said there had been a transformation in his life.

Robyn: There is.

Dennis: I want to give you an opportunity to give your dad, your 85-year-old dad, a tribute.

Robyn: Yes, let me just say this first [Emotion in voice]—I’ve sent my dad both these books. My dad read it through, from cover to cover, in a matter of hours. He called me. He said to me, “I would have raised you guys differently had I read this book first.”


What a man!—because I didn’t tell perfect stories on him in these books. I told my version of the truth in these books. And so, for him to be able to see this—if I could sit next to him, I would say: “Daddy, you are all that and a bag of chips, too. You’re amazing because one of the things that kids want to see most is a father that’s maturing in the Lord. You have matured before my eyes. I recognize it. I admire you, and I honor you. Thanks for being my dad.”

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