FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Becoming Your Husband’s Cheerleader

with Robyn McKelvy | January 23, 2014
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Go! Hubs! Go! Author and FamilyLife marriage conference speaker Robyn McKelvy, along with her husband, Ray, explain why being a wife is a whole lot like being a cheerleader. A wife can't stop cheering until the game is over, and the game isn't over as long as she's a wife. So go out there ladies, and encourage your men! Their game depends on it.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Go! Hubs! Go! Author and FamilyLife marriage conference speaker Robyn McKelvy, along with her husband, Ray, explain why being a wife is a whole lot like being a cheerleader. A wife can't stop cheering until the game is over, and the game isn't over as long as she's a wife. So go out there ladies, and encourage your men! Their game depends on it.

  • 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.

Author and FamilyLife marriage conference speaker Robyn McKelvy, along with her husband, Ray, explain why being a wife is a whole lot like being a cheerleader.

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Becoming Your Husband’s Cheerleader

With Robyn McKelvy
January 23, 2014
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Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 23rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Every husband needs a cheerleader. Are you on the sidelines cheering your husband on, or in the bleachers throwing peanuts? We’ll talk about that today. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know, whenever I see our guest today,


I just want to break out into, “You’ve got to want it”—

Robyn: Yes.

Bob: —“to win it!” That’s as far as I can go, but—

Dennis: And the reason is?

Bob: She is featured in The Art of Marriage® video series doing that cheer for the family team. There are a lot of folks who are going to get a chance to see her do just that when they attend an Art of Marriage video conference, coming up Valentine’s weekend, because we’ve got hundreds of churches—hundreds of groups—that are going to be hosting Art of Marriage events in cities, all across the country, Valentine’s weekend—


You can go to our website,, and click on the link you see there for The Art of Marriage. Find out where an Art of Marriage event is being held near you. You and your wife can attend—Friday night/Saturday—Art of Marriage couples’ event on Valentine’s weekend. If there is not one in your area, there is still time for you to host one. In fact, you can get in touch with us, right now.


If you order manuals for five couples—that’s all you have to have is five couples—you order manuals for the five couples, and we’ll include the event kit for free with the DVD’s—everything you need to do this. You could have couples over to the house and do your own Art of Marriage event in your living room. This is a six-session video event for couples all about how to have a stronger, healthier, happier marriage relationship. You can find out more, again, at

Whether you attend or whether you host one, you’ll get a chance to see Robyn McKelvy break into her cheer.

Dennis: She is a cheerleader.

Bob: Yes, she is.

Dennis: We have seen her in action. I’ve spoken at a conference—a Weekend to Remember®. Do you remember which one that was?

Robyn: In Washington National Harbor.

Dennis: Yes, I think we had like 2,500 people there.

Robyn: Yes!

Dennis: And I saw Robyn in action.

Bob: Yes?

Dennis: Oh, yes. [Laughter] She can—

Robyn: He cheered.

Bob: Did you cheer?

Robyn: He cheered. You cheered for Barbara.

Dennis: I did cheer for Barbara, but you were encouraging women to cheer for their husbands.


Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: Anyway, welcome to our broadcast.

Robyn: Thank you so much for having me.

Dennis: Well, Robyn is a good friend. She and her husband, Ray, have spoken at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways for almost 20 years. They’ve been married for 25. So, you’ve got the silver now. You’re going for the gold.

Robyn: We are going for the gold.

Dennis: Go for the gold. Now, here’s what I want our audience to know—this is a woman of great experience. She has 10 children—10 children.

Robyn: I have 10 children.

Dennis: In her spare time, she speaks at the Weekend to Remember. [Laughter] Now, when she speaks, there is a lot of reality.

Bob: Just to get away from the kids—she speaks at the Weekend to Remember. In fact, she calls us from time to time and says: “Can I speak at one of the conferences? I need a weekend away.”

Robyn: You guys, I love my kids! So, you are not supposed to say that out loud. [Laughter]

Dennis: We know you love your kids; but she has written a book called Say It Loud!: Becoming Your Husband’s Personal Cheerleader. Now, how did you come upon this theme?


Because I think it’s a good one, I really do.

Robyn: I just believe that God has so given to a husband and a wife support. As a wife, I want to be Ray’s personal cheerleader. I love sports. In my family room, I go crazy when my team is winning.

Bob: Who is your team?

Robyn: I love the Heat.

Bob: The Miami Heat.

Robyn: The Miami Heat.

Bob: Okay, this interview is now concluded.

Robyn: I’m sorry. Lebron—

Dennis: Bob is a Spur fan. So, you just hurt him bad.

Bob: This is sad.

Dennis: Well, anyway, what you are really talking about here is Ephesians 5, verse 33. It begins by addressing husbands. It says, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself.”

Robyn: That’s right.

Dennis: I think it’s important that it begins with the husband; but the passage goes on to say, “And let the wife see that she respects”—

Robyn: Respects, yes.

Dennis: —“her husband.” Cheerleading, in its essence—

Robyn: It is.

Dennis: —is a multi-faceted cheerleader on behalf of your husband.


Robyn: That’s right.

Dennis: Again, how did you come to be a cheerleader?

Robyn: Well, back in the day—

Bob: Back—this would be about 1980 East High—

Robyn: Well, yes.

Bob: —Kansas City?

Robyn: East High School, Kansas City, Missouri—rah, rah! Do you want the song? [Laughter]

Bob: If I had the yearbook, your picture would be in the yearbook—

Robyn: Yes, it would.

Bob: —in the uniform?

Robyn: Let me tell you—my senior year, I was the mascot. So, I was the East High Bear.

Bob: Wow!

Robyn: Yes.

Dennis: Oh.

Robyn: Oh, yes.

Bob: So, you, probably—

Robyn: Tons of fun.

Bob: You—so, you were dancing on the sidelines.

Robyn: Doing it all—rallying the troops.

Bob: And how was the team?

Robyn: The team was pathetic! [Laughter] But that had nothing to do with us. We had a blast on the field.

Bob: So, you are here, cheering—I mean, it’s got to be hard—in the fourth quarter, down by 20 points—and you’re out there trying to get the fans to cheer the team, and you know there are not going to win.

Robyn: Well, let me just say this—even back then and even today, I think God is a miracle-working God. [Laughter] So, He can pull out 20 points in a five-minute time.


Dennis: Alright.

Robyn: He can do that.

Dennis: Yes.

Robyn: That’s how big He is.

Dennis: So, to cheer for Ray, when did that concept occur to you—after five kids—ten kids?

Robyn: You know, I think it’s still occurring to me. I just—I think when God gave me Ray—I was the one who was never getting married. I was never getting married, I was never having children, and I was never going to be a Christian. Those were some things I didn’t want to be because I grew up in a home of a pastor. I thought every Christian was a hypocrite.

Bob: Wow.

Robyn: So, when you see that—when doctrine is messed up, when lives are all about bowing down to the preacher because the preacher is all that—then, you have problems with the kids. I left home saying: “That is not what I want. I don’t ever want a man telling me what to do.” So, for this transformation to happen, only God could do that.

Bob: Okay, well, I’ve got to hear about this transformation happening, though. What—

Robyn: At 21 years old—

Bob: Yes?

Robyn: —when I was, back then, a computer operator and programmer.


I loved technology, and I was so busy with the beeper—back then, they had the beeper.

Bob: Yes.

Robyn: And so, I was always on call. I worked, and I supervised computer operations for a huge corporation. Make a long story short—I was exhausted. I felt like: “Lord! This is not worth it.” So, I said, “Let me try You.” But one of the things I didn’t want to happen is—I didn’t want anyone to tell me anything. If I—

Dennis: Well, that’s a bit of a problem if you’re—

Robyn: Well, but let me tell you what I wanted to do—if I saw it in God’s Word, I was going to do it because I wanted to be led by truth because I had gotten a lot of untruth, growing up.

Bob: So, at 21, God starts to work in your heart—soften your heart.

Robyn: Yes.

Bob: You’re responding to His Word. Then, when did Ray come along?

Robyn: At 23. Praise the Lord because, at 21, I was a Christian with still a bad attitude.

Dennis: A bad attitude toward men?


Robyn: Toward men, yes. I had issues with men.

Dennis: And was that because your dad was autocratic—a dictator of sorts?

Robyn: Yes. And let me tell you something—it is so neat to have—my mom passed away last year from Alzheimer’s—and to watch my dad care for my mom—I now have a different dad. It’s really neat watching how God, even at my dad—he’s going to be 85 this year—

Bob: Wow.

Robyn: —transformation. God can transform—and I want everybody to have that hope because, if you’re hope is in the Lord, nothing is impossible with Him.

Bob: Right. So, at 21, it’s a good thing you didn’t meet Ray because if you had, what would have happened in the relationship?

Robyn: Oh, he would have run.

Bob: Because?

Robyn: Because I would have ran him off. [Laughter]

Bob: It was just: “Nobody’s messing with me,” kind of thing?

Robyn: Oh, no.

Bob: Yes.

Robyn: I mean, even to meeting him—okay, number one, I think we broke off our dating relationship a couple of times.


And we broke off our engagement, at least, three.

Bob: Wow.

Dennis: And is this because of the attitude toward men?

Robyn: Yes, absolutely. I mean, if I felt like, in any way, he was telling me what to do, I had issue—or if I felt like, in any way, that he was like my dad—I had an issue. Let me just say this—it wasn’t only me breaking the relationship. Ray had his stuff, too.

Bob: Right.

Robyn: And so, there was fear there. We were 26 when we got married. We were into careers and loving our singleness. So, then, to get married—it was like, “Are we going to love marriage as much as we love singleness?”

Bob: So, at 26, when you finally get to the altar—after these stop/start, stop/start kinds of things—had your attitude toward men changed and softened when you said, “I do,” to Ray?

Robyn: Somewhat. [Laughter]

Bob: There was still—

Robyn: Oh, absolutely.

Dennis: A lot of edge there?

Robyn: Absolutely because I was so afraid that this could be a trick.


Dennis: You didn’t trust men, either.

Robyn: I didn’t trust men.

Bob: I’ve heard you say that, when a woman puts on her wedding dress, she’s putting on her cheerleader uniform.

Robyn: Yes.

Bob: When you put on your wedding dress—

Robyn: Did I put on a cheerleader uniform?

Bob: Yes.

Robyn: I had it half on [Laughter]—

Dennis: Was it—

Robyn: —because I definitely believed that, even as women, we believe in the institution of marriage.

Bob: Right.

Robyn: We do. We want somebody to love. We want somebody to connect with. We want somebody who is going to be our confidant. We desperately want and need that. And so, I believed, I wanted that; but I was so afraid that it would be a trick and that he would turn out to be my dad.

Dennis: So, half of your wedding dress is white. The other half is camo?

Robyn: Well—[Laughter]

Dennis: You’re engaging in battle.

Robyn: I was engaging—yes! Yes, that’s a good one. That’s right; absolutely.

Dennis: And so, you said, “I do.”

Robyn: I did.

Dennis: That, obviously, creates a permanent relationship. I mean, you’re in this thing now. There’s no—this is what Barbara said after we first got married—


she said, “I realized there’s no going home.” I think Barbara locked herself in the bathroom a couple of times, just to get away from me, because, you know—

Robyn: Well, I don’t know if I would have gone to the bathroom. I really felt like I could make it by myself. I don’t know if I came into marriage thinking this was permanent. I might have said that with my mouth, but it wasn’t my heart.

Dennis: So, it wasn’t a covenant, to begin with?

Robyn: No, it absolutely wasn’t.

Bob: So, God was still at work. Tell us about how God took you from this halfway to the all-the-way that you write about in your book, Say It Loud!, where you call women to be fully-committed, as cheerleaders, for their husbands and for their kids.

Robyn: It’s a process of growing in truth. It’s a process of growing in your personal relationship with Christ. If a woman doesn’t have a personal, growing relationship with her Savior, then, there is not going to be much transformation. God transformed me. I was transformed in my heart—


in what I believed. Now, I will say that there is never going to be divorce in my house.

Bob: Was that transformation an evolutionary process that just kind of slowly, over time, began to take down some of the walls you’d built up; or do you remember some specific moments, in that process, where you got confronted with truth and you thought, “I’m going to have to live differently than I’m living right now”?

Robyn: I think, for me, it was ongoing—you know, as I watched Ray live for Christ, in front of me. It’s a hard place to be because, a lot of times, he would say things that would be just that thing that I did not need to hear; but he was absolutely the truth.

I’ll give you an example. Right after we got married, I wanted to go to Midnight Madness. I was going to meet my sisters there, and we were going to shop like crazy. [Laughter] And Ray—I had to go through a certain part of town—and Ray was uncomfortable with me going through that to meet my sisters.

Bob: At midnight.


Robyn: At midnight.

Bob: Right.

Robyn: It started at midnight.

Bob: Yes.

Robyn: And Ray did not want me to go. And we were just barely-married—maybe, two or three months. So, he still couldn’t tell me anything; but I remember being so angry because he didn’t want me to go. Finally, Ray, exasperated, said, “Robyn, I may not be able to tell you that; but I leave you in the hands of the Lord.” At this time, I had such a relationship with the Lord that I wanted God to be honored. Ray was trying to be my protector, and I wasn’t letting him protect me. I was either going to trust him or not trust him. That particular night, I chose to trust him.

Bob: Robyn, you know there are women who hear you tell this story and say, “Well, if I was married to a guy like Ray, I’d easily be his cheerleader. But the guy that I’m married to is the one you were afraid of. I’m not going—I’m not going to buckle to that.”

Robyn: But buckling is a whole different ball game. There is a thing called submission—


that is wonderful for us, as women. Let me tell you—you are not so much submitting to that man—you are submitting, wholeheartedly, to God. You have to be at this place, where you are saying, “Am I more concerned about what I feel, or am I concerned about how I represent Christ?”

Even when you have a domineering, adamant husband, who is like, “You have to do what I say!” it is easier for you to say, “I want to be what God wants me to be to him,” and to die to yourself because, at that point, with me, it is all about my pride. It’s time for me to lay down my pride.

Dennis: And that’s the basis of being able to be a cheerleader for your husband.

Robyn: That’s right.

Dennis: You outline 30 practical tips for being a cheerleader. We’re, obviously, not going to have time, on today’s broadcast, to go through all 30; but give—

Bob: Not this week—we won’t have time to go through all. [Laughter]

Robyn: Because I—

Dennis: But I want to train some wives to be better cheerleaders for their husbands.


It’s not a matter of it being less of a position on the team because your husband is on the floor, playing the game—you’re, on the sidelines, cheering. That’s your responsibility—to cheer him as he does play his game—as he lives out what God’s got for him. Where does a cheerleader start?

Robyn: A cheerleader starts by recognizing, number one, that she has everything to do with the outcome of that game because, as she cheers, she rallies troops and she rallies herself behind her team. If we can get to the place where we understand that everything that we do—everything that we say, how we represent, how we lift up our husbands—has everything to do with how he responds to God.

I mean, you guys are in this studio every day. I am sure that the enemy throws his fiery darts at you in a whole lot of ways. If he can’t get to you and Barbara, or you and Mary Ann, he comes at your children.


We see that because God has you in a position of leadership. It doesn’t mean that He values us, as the cheerleaders, any less; but that’s where He has you. You are going to be thrown these fiery darts; and you need to be able to come home and say, “I have one person that I know, no matter what, is going to stand up for me—that is going to cheer me on, that’s going to be there to rub the salve on my wounds.” So, that is who I want to be for Ray McKelvy.

Dennis: When I speak at the Weekend to Remember and I finish, it’s, obviously, nice for people to come up and say: “Oh, I really enjoyed that. This is powerful. This is transforming our lives, our marriage, and our family.” I enjoy hearing from the guests who come to our events; but there is only one person, in the audience, that I really want to know what she thinks about it.

Robyn: That’s right.

Dennis: That’s my cheerleader, Barbara.

Robyn: That’s right. You want to hear—

Dennis: Because I know she loves me enough to go,


“You know, Sweetheart, you really—you really swung and missed. You didn’t connect.”

Bob: I remember—this was before Mary Ann and I got married. I remember going to an event where a husband and wife were speaking to the leadership team that was assembled. I was a part of the leadership team. The wife spoke first, and she was very animated. She was engaging as a speaker. She was somebody that I just thought: “She’s sharp. I enjoyed listening to her.”

Well, her husband got up afterward, and he was a little dry and a little dusty. [Laughter] I was—honestly, I was starting to lose focus; but I kept looking over at his wife, watching him speak. She was fixated on him. She was nodding. It was like she thought he was the best speaker ever. I’m thinking, “He’s not;” but the second thing I was thinking was, ‘I want someone to look at me like that.”


Dennis: Right.

Bob: “I want somebody to believe in me like that.” You’ve talked, many times, about how Barbara’s belief in you was fundamental to you becoming the man that God created you to be.

Dennis: That’s exactly right, Bob.

I want to go back to what Robyn said, a bit earlier in our conversation, here. She said, “The key, in her life, to being able to do this was her relationship with Jesus Christ.” What we’re trying to point you to here, on FamilyLife Today, is—if you are rightly-related to Christ, and you are allowing Him to live in and through you, and you’re taking Him at His word—He is going to enable you to be able to do what seems to be impossible, right now.

Ephesians 5:33—the passage I read about wives respecting their husbands—is within the context of the fifth chapter of Ephesians.


Another passage, that sets up this great marriage passage, that goes from verse 22-33—but right before you get into the marriage relationship, verse 21 says, “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ.” That’s what Robyn did. That’s how she was able to submit to Ray—to believe in him, to cheer him on. She was able to say: “This is a spiritual battle. I’ve got to surrender my soul—my will—to my Heavenly Father, and to Jesus Christ, and allow Him to love Ray through me.”

Bob: Well, I’ll back you up a few verses from there because, before we ever get to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” the real place where this whole passage starts is “Be filled with the Spirit.” Part of being filled with the Spirit is husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church and wives respecting their husbands. You can’t do that unless you are filled with the Spirit.


Dennis: And what every wife—and for that matter, every husband—who is listening to this broadcast, needs to know—when you trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, at that moment, you were sealed—you received the Holy Spirit.

Robyn: That’s right.

Bob: We talk, at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways, about how important it is for us to have our relationship with God right if we’re going to have our relationship with one another right.

Dennis: And we spend a whole hour talking about—not only our relationship with God through Christ—but also this work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives to empower us to be able to be—the wife, the husband, the father, the mother—that we want to be.

Bob: Well, that’s foundational because the techniques—of how to have better communication or how to resolve conflict—those only work when our heart is right and when we are under the influence—under the control of—God’s Spirit working in and through us—


because this really isn’t, ultimately, about having the right techniques. It’s about having the right heart. That’s why we make sure that, at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, we talk about the importance of the spiritual foundation in every marriage relationship.

Let me just remind our listeners about the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners that is good through this weekend. It’s a buy one/get one free offer. If you’d like to attend any of our upcoming Weekend marriage getaways—you want to come to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where Dennis and I are going to be, along with our wives and with our friends, Dave and Ann Wilson—or any of the upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways—go to and click on the link for the Weekend to Remember. You can register online. If you do, type my name in the registration code box—just type, “BOB”—and we’ll know you’re a FamilyLife Today listener. You’ll qualify for the buy one/get one free offer. You sign up at the regular price for you, and your spouse comes at no additional cost to a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.


Again, the offer’s good through this weekend. So, let us hear from you.

Then, if there’s not a Weekend to Remember happening near where you live—or if you’re looking for something to do on Valentine’s weekend and you don’t live near Hershey, Pennsylvania, or some of the other cities where we’re having a Weekend to Remember that weekend—you can host your own special event and have Robyn McKelvy show up and cheer for you because Robyn is featured in The Art of Marriage video event that our team has put together. It’s a Friday night/Saturday video event.

We’ve had more than 350,000 people go through The Art of Marriage so far. And coming up on Valentine’s weekend, there are hundreds of locations where The Art of Marriage is being hosted. There is still time for you to host an event on Valentine’s weekend. If you’d like to do that, and get on the map, and let folks know about the event you are hosting in your church or in your community—invite people out to join you for The Art of Marriage—if you want to host an event, we’ve got a special offer, right now, where—


if you will order five sets of manuals for the couples who will be attending—at least, five—we’ll send you the event kit, with the DVD’s in it, for free. Go to Click on the link for The Art of Marriage. All the details are available there. Again, go to

And whether you join us at a Weekend to Remember, or you host an Art of Marriage event, or attend an Art of Marriage event in your community—do something for your marriage this spring—recalibrate—make sure your marriage is aligned and that you’re headed in the right direction; alright? Again, find out more at If you have any questions, we’ve got a team of coaches that can answer any question you have about our events. Call 1-800-FL-TODAY and just say, “I want to talk to somebody about a Weekend to Remember,”or, “…about The Art of Marriage.” We’ll get you connected.

Let me also mention we have copies of Robyn McKelvy’s book, Say It Loud!: Becoming Your Husband’s Personal Cheerleader.


You can go to to request a copy of the book. You’ll find it online. You can order from us, online, at; or call 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to continue our conversation about cheering on your husband with our guest, Robyn McKelvy. I hope you can be back with us tomorrow.


I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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