FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Protecting the Woman in Your Life

with Rod and Sheri Hairston | January 6, 2015
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Are you protecting your wife and children? Dennis Rainey talks with Rod and Sheri Hairston about a man's assignment to love and care for his family, especially when it comes to helping his children navigate relationships with the opposite sex.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Are you protecting your wife and children? Dennis Rainey talks with Rod and Sheri Hairston about a man's assignment to love and care for his family, especially when it comes to helping his children navigate relationships with the opposite sex.

  • 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.

Rod and Sheri Hairston talk about a man’s assignment to love and care for his family, especially when it comes to helping his children navigate relationships with the opposite sex.

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Protecting the Woman in Your Life

With Rod and Sheri Hairston
January 06, 2015
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Bob: Working as a chaplain in the NFL, Rod Hairston has had to challenge men to think differently about the women in their lives.

Rod: The conversation is difficult in our culture of men who refuse to grow up and to simply walk in responsibility and commitment. What we’ve found is that, when you can help men begin to grab a hold of relationship with God, something inside of them changes. The thing men need to know is: “We can do this.”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, January 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. NFL players aren’t the only men who need to be thinking differently about how to care for women in their lives. We’ll talk about that today. Stay tuned.


And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I want you to have our guest tell about the time that his apartment got broken into, back when he was a kid. It’s a great story.

Dennis: Okay, let’s get right to it. We have with us today Sheri and Rod Hairston on the broadcast. Sheri—

Sheri: Hello.

Dennis: —Rod, welcome back.

Sheri: Thank you.

Rod: Thank you. It’s great to be back.

Dennis: Rod has written a book called Cover Her. He is a pastor. He is the former chaplain of the Baltimore—I keep wanting to say Colts—

Bob: Colts; don’t you?  Yes.

Dennis: I keep wanting to say the Colts.

Bob: So, do a lot of people.

Rod: Don’t say that.

Dennis: But it’s the Ravens. I’ve got to tell our listeners this story—in fact, some of them were there. I spoke in Washington, DC, after they won one of their two recent Super Bowl rings—

Bob: After the Ravens won.

Rod: Ravens, yes.

Dennis: Not after Washington.

Rod: Not the Redskins.

Dennis: I don’t remember the last time Washington won.


And that’s just the Cowboy side of me coming out, at that point. Anyway, but I had a Raven ball cap because I got a chance to go to Monday Night Football in your stadium, probably back when you were a chaplain. I had a guy who put me with some of the best seats in the place and bought me a hat, and I thought it would kind of be fun to wear it there—

Bob: In Washington, DC—

Dennis: —at the Washington, DC—

Bob: —to put on a Baltimore Ravens?! 

Dennis: Well, I did—like: “There has got to be a lot of Raven fans here,” because Washington was out of the playoffs—they hadn’t done that well that year.

Bob: And Baltimore’s just real close up the road; right? 

Dennis: Yes, so, you’d think that neighbors—they’d kind of be—I nearly got booed off the stage at the Weekend to Remember®. You’d think you’d be among friends there. [Laughter] 

Let’s go to the story, Rod, about your apartment being broken into.

Bob: How old were you when this happened? 

Rod: I’ll never forget—I was probably about ten years old.

Bob: Okay.



Rod: My mother was going out with some friends one evening; and you know, I was raised by my mom—we lived in the projects. She’d gone out to have some fun with some friends. When she came to get us, we returned to the house, only to discover that the TV was missing and her jewelry was missing—

Bob: Wow! 

Rod: —the drawers had been ransacked. So, we were startled. We were trying to figure out what the heck had gone on. I remember, at ten years old, feeling extraordinarily vulnerable, but feeling like my mom probably feels more vulnerable. I saw my mom cry. I saw the fear come over her, just for a moment, because she realized, in a moment, “But I still have to protect my boys.”  Something went through my mind: “I don’t want anybody to ever harm my mom.” 

So, I made a black club—it was a piece of metal pipe. At ten years old, I wrapped black tape around it—very carefully / very meticulously to cover every portion of the metal.



I put a little piece of white string in two holes at the end of it, like a billy club. I told my mom—I said: “You take this club, and you keep it by your bed. If anybody ever comes in here while I’m gone, you take it and crack them upside the head.” 

Bob: Were you the oldest of the boys in your family? 

Rod: No, actually, I was the youngest.

Bob: So, you are the youngest; but something inside of you was saying, “I need to step up and be a protector to my mom.” 

Rod: Absolutely. I just—it was something that I sensed as important. I knew the pain of growing up without a man in the house, and I always felt this kind of undercurrent of vulnerability. So, the only way—and my grandfather actually kind of modeled for me, before he passed when I was eight—this strength.

Dennis: So, you caught a picture of it from him.

Rod: I caught a picture of it from him.

Dennis: You grew up in the hood.

Rod: Grew up in the hood.

Dennis: What about you, Sheri?  Where did you grow up? 

Sheri: I grew up in Trinidad with my grandparents.

Dennis: And what kind of family did you come from? 

Sheri: I came from a broken family as well. My parents got divorced when I was five years old.



My grandparents really stepped in and took my sister and me and raised us as their children. I thank God every day for them.

Bob: Rod, if we just looked at statistics—for you, growing up where you grew up, with a single-parent mom, trying to hold the family together—the odds that you’re going to be married today, with a job, taking care of a wife—you beat the odds.

Rod: Significantly. And I think about that often. I think about it with tears in my eyes, and my mother gave us extraordinary vision. Even though we grew up in the hood, she would always make home very nice. She would make sure that we had what we needed, and she would take us out for dinner and train us how to have etiquette when we went out to eat.

Bob: Wow.

Rod: So, she cast vision tremendously for us. I began to see myself in other places. And she told me: “You are going to go to college. Either you go to Army, or Air Force, Navy, Marines or college.”



I said, “Give me college.”  [Laughter]  Amen.

Dennis: Is that where you guys—where you and Sheri met? 

Rod: Absolutely.

Sheri: We met at a Campus Crusade for Christ—Cru—Josh McDowell’s “Why Wait” conference.

Bob: That’s a good place to meet. [Laughter]  That’ll set you up right—yes.

Dennis: I’m going to be with Josh next month—I’ll tell him he’s a great matchmaker.

Sheri: He is.

Dennis: So, what about the first time you met Rod? 

Sheri: The first time I met Rod, he was such a gentleman. I had never had anyone ask me—for the first time ever—“So, how long have you been a Christian?”  I said, “Since I was nine years old.”  And that began the conversation—our conversation was about Christ and about His work in our lives. It never stopped. He’s being a gentleman was incredible, and I just felt honored and cherished in his presence.

Dennis: So, how did he ask you out for a date? 

Sheri: [Laughter] That first day—

Bob: Remember? 

Sheri: I remember—we were at the conference. Josh would speak and, then, he’d take a little break.



He came up to me during one of the breaks and had the conversation with me. Then, he said: “Well, what are you doing for dinner?  I’d love to take you out for dinner.” 

Dennis: So, he didn’t waste any time.

Sheri: That very day!  [Laughter] 

Dennis: He asked you when you became a Christian and then asked you out.

Sheri: Yes, he sure did. [Laughter] 

Rod: I knew I was seeing something different—I did!  [Laughter] I really did. So, you’ve got to catch this part of my journey because—up to this point, before I met her—I recently made a commitment to live pure before God, which had not been a part of my story and my upbringing. I told the Lord, “Make me the man You need me to be for the woman You have for me.” 

Bob: Wow.

Rod: I prayed that prayer—I’ll never forget it. Then, I saw her. I just said, “Okay, God, I’ve messed up enough. I don’t want to mess up anymore. I just want to go to dinner.”  And the conversation we had—I just thought, “Oh, my goodness—really, this is alright.” 

Dennis: Bone of my bones / flesh of my flesh? 

Rod: Flesh of my flesh—wow!  Wow—something.


Dennis: So, back to your book, Cover Her. You believe that the mandate for this is given in the greatest marriage preparation manual of all time—the Bible.

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: And in the book of all books—Judges?! 

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: Explain to our listeners what the passage is and what you are talking about here.

Rod: Sure. So, really this covering principle is born out of God’s theology of hospitality. We see it throughout the Old Testament—particularly in Deuteronomy 24. He says to Israel, “Remember when you were slaves.” He says, “Don’t ever treat anybody the way you were treated,”—in essence.

We get to the book of Judges. We see in Judges, Chapter 19, there is this young woman, who is in the story as a concubine, and her husband is a Levite. She leaves him. Then, eventually, he pursues her at her father’s home.



Her father lets him in. Now, you know, if she’s a concubine—means she has no marital rights / she’s not really his wife—she is his sleeping partner. The father lets this man in. I was just mesmerized, watching this picture in the Scriptures unfold. You are a father, and you would entertain, for some five days or so, a man who didn’t have enough respect for your daughter to make her his wife. So, the husband doesn’t cover her—this Levite, or rather, this man of God, I would say. The father doesn’t cover her.

He recovers the woman. They leave—head back to his hometown. They run into this old man, who offers him hospitality—they go into his home. He seems like a great guy; but then, these characters come to the door of this older man. They say, “We want to sleep with your guests.”  He says: “Well, don’t do that. Don’t dishonor this man. I’ll send you my virgin daughter.”


And then, the Levite says, “No, let me send my wife out,”—he sends her out. The horror of the story is that they abuse and rape this young woman all night long.

Bob: Wow.

Rod: It’s—I told people, “You’ve got to read it for yourself because, otherwise, you wouldn’t believe it’s in the Bible.”  No one covered her—not the Levites, not the father, not the old man, not the men in the culture—these, what I call, filthy men. None of them covered this woman. She dies there, on the doorstep.

Bob: We read a story like that in Judges, Chapter 19, and our jaw drops. We go, “This is horrible.”  But then, the next morning, we get up, read our newspaper—there are stories like that all through the—I mean, we can be shocked when it’s in the Bible—but it’s in our neighborhoods; isn’t it? 

Rod: It’s everywhere. It is everywhere—it’s in India / it’s in Nigeria.

Dennis: Yes.

Rod: It’s in Little Rock / it’s in Baltimore.



These stories are everywhere—women who are being neglected and abused—sometimes as wives, sometimes in the church, sometimes by men who just commit these vile acts against them—it’s everywhere.

Dennis: Let’s talk for a moment about how you protect Sheri and your three daughters.

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: One of the things that I did in an attempt to protect my daughters was I interviewed their dates— 

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: —okay?  I don’t remember reading Judges— and thinking and really learning from that—that a man ought to protect, but there was something within my chest that told me, as a father, I could not afford to be passive in this culture—that I was sending my daughters and my wife into a culture that was truly dangerous, both spiritually, morally, physically. I needed to be the man to protect them. How did you do that with your daughters? 


Rod: Very similarly. My principle was—listen—I’ve invested way too much / we have invested way too much in our children / our daughters to just hand them over to some careless young man. So, it’s very clear to our girls—we set this standard: “Whenever you begin to date, he needs to come to me.”  I said—

Dennis: Why? 

Rod: They are my responsibility, and they are my investment, and they are my assignment—is to cover them because I’ve been down the road longer than them. I know what guys are like / I know what guys want. I know what a responsible, caring young man looks like; and I know what a creep looks like.

Bob: So, did you ever meet with one of these young men—

Dennis: I know what a creep looks like, too, I want you to know. [Laughter] 

Rod: I used to be one!  [Laughter] 

Bob: Did you ever meet with one of these young men and then come back to your daughter and say, “No, no; you’re not going out with him”? 

Rod: Yes; absolutely. One of my daughters became interested in this young man. They were developing a long-distance relationship.



He wanted to come and visit our home. I said, “Absolutely.”  So, I had begun talking to him by phone. In fact, I said, “I’ll buy the plane ticket.”  I want him to come to my home so I can have a conversation with him. After about a day, I told my daughter: “He’s not the one. He’s not the one.”  I said: “You are far more mature than he is. He is really just all over the place. He’s got so many things that don’t make sense here that it’s not going to work.” 

One of those things that I found was—on one occasion, he was going to be driving to our home—his car broke down. He got mad because my daughter wouldn’t drive five hours to come and pick him up. I said: “My daughter is never going to drive five hours to come and pick you up. So, that’s never going to work. Don’t even ask.” 

Bob: When you said, “No, this is not the one for you,”—now, that’s a risky thing for a dad to say because your daughter could have said: “I’ll decide for myself.



“I’ll run away. I’ll do what I want to do.”  That was a risky choice. Did that produce tears for her when you said, “No”; or did she say, “Thank you, Dad”? 

Rod: It produced disappointment for her, but we have developed a relationship over the years to the point that she knows what covering is all about. She knows, if she will allow me to lead her, that God will honor that in her life. She came back and she said: “I’m disappointed, but I see what you mean. Thank you for covering me.” 

Dennis: Sheri, you’ve, undoubtedly, had some conversations with your daughters—

Sheri: Yes.

Dennis: —some side conversations about this. What are they thinking about this as all this is taking place?  Are they feeling truly valued, and loved, and feeling safe or are they really just flat-out rejecting it? 

Sheri: They are not rejecting it.



I think they definitely want to be covered and experience the blessings of being covered. They are provided for / they are cared for and they appreciate that. I think there are times when it seems over-the-top—especially, my youngest daughter. She would say: “This is a conversation I don’t want to have with Daddy. I want to talk to you about ‘Why is he asking me about boys?’  This is not appropriate!” 

Dennis: Oh, yes, it’s appropriate because you were a boy.

Rod: Exactly; exactly. So, she just has to get over that. She’s kind of—she’s more introverted. It’s kind of a stretching subject for her—

Dennis: But you are gentle with her? 

Rod: Yes, I am; absolutely.

Dennis: You are recognizing she’s a little shy about the whole deal, but you are still pressing into it. And the reason I’m making that point is—what you are doing is really demanding a chest from you—

Rod: Yes; yes.

Dennis: —a courageous heart.

Rod: Yes.



Dennis: And you’ve refused to allow your fear, her words, her pushback—which is understandable—

Rod: Sure.

Dennis: —to define who you are and your responsibility, as a man; right? 

Rod: Absolutely. Listen, Dennis, one day my daughters are going to be launched from my home, as is my son. I don’t want to launch them with regret if I can help it. So, to not have offered them covering, guidance, and council would be—it would be a disservice to them, as a dad. So, I just say: “You’ll love me one day. You may not like me today—I’m cool with that. I’m really cool with that.”  [Laughter] 

Dennis: You’re really not running a popularity contest.

Sheri: Right.

Rod: I am not. I tell them, “I don’t run my house on democratic votes.” 

Sheri: Or public opinion.

Rod: Or public opinion.

Bob: Rod, what you are talking about, in terms of how a man should care for the women in his life—a wife, daughters, even other women in his sphere of influence—I’m trying to put that message with—



—and forgive me here—the impression I have of the NFL culture. You are working with NFL players, as a chaplain, for ten-plus years—fourteen years at the Ravens—the hip-hop culture that’s a part of all of this. You are suggesting something that is so countercultural. I mean, men today are raised to think a woman’s primary purpose in life is to satisfy whatever urge I might have at the moment.

Rod: Absolutely. The conversation is difficult in our culture—whether it’s the NFL or whether it’s in this culture of men who refuse to grow up and to simply walk in responsibility and commitment. What we’ve found is that, when you can help men begin to grab a hold of relationship with God, something inside of them changes. They begin to see their relationship with women—with their daughters, even women around them—very differently.


Dennis: Well, Rod, I just want to thank you for your courage—not only in providing a covering for your wife / your daughters—but also providing an example to a lot of guys, who don’t have a man like you in their life, who is hammering this out in a culture that doesn’t want daddies involved—they’d much rather do their own thing.

And as you’ve been talking here, I think about a verse that I’ve shared ,many times, here on FamilyLife Today—it’s 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. It says: “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong.”  But it’s not just being strong; the verse concludes by saying, “Let all that you do be done in love.” 

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: So, you are never heavy-handed—

Rod: No.

Dennis: —as you interview these young men; but you are firm.

Rod: Yes.

Dennis: You say, “No daughter of mine is going to drive five hours…”—you know what?  I am absolutely with you.



That’s not who you want to be your daughter’s prince, you know.

Rod: No.

Dennis: He’s not going to treat her like a queen.

Bob: I’m thinking, as you read through that verse—I’m thinking that’s really the antithesis of what the men did in Judges 19.

Rod: Yes.

Bob: They were not watchful—

Dennis: No.

Bob: —not on the alert. They were not standing firm on anything. They were not acting like men. They were not showing strength, and they were not responding in love to what was going on.

Rod: Yes.

Bob: They were just doing what felt good to them at the moment; right? 

Rod: Absolutely. And the thing men need to know is: “We can do this.” 

Dennis: And men just—well, shall I say it?—step up.

Bob: I knew that’s where we were headed with this. [Laughter] 

Dennis: I mean, step on—

Rod: Absolutely.

Dennis: —don’t straddle the steps.

Rod: Absolutely.

Dennis: Turn your back on adolescence, and all the foolishness of childhood, and be the man God made you to be.

Rod: Yes.

Bob: And if you’d like a little coaching with that, you can get a copy of the book that Rod has written—



—it’s called Cover Her. It’s a book we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go to and click in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, where it says, “GO DEEPER.”  You’ll find out more about Rod’s book, online. You can order from us, online, if you’d like.

You’ll also find out information about the Stepping Up® series that FamilyLife has created for men. We’ve had more than a hundred thousand guys already go through this material. It has been really encouraging to hear from dads and sons who have been through it together—to hear from guys who have been doing this with other guys at work. Before the work day gets started, they get together and watch one of the videos and go through some of the questions once a week—guys who are doing this in their local church.

It really is very simple for any man to lead this study. All he has to do is get a group of guys, get the DVDs, get manuals for everybody—



—and you can go through this ten-week Stepping Up series. In fact, our team decided that this month ought to be renamed “Manuary” because our goal—our team is praying that we might see another 50,000 guys, this month, engage in this study. Of course, if that’s going to happen, it’s going to mean folks, like you, have to step up—have to say, “I can lead one of these studies.” You rally a group of guys—get them together—and then, go to to order the Leader’s Kit and the manuals that you need for the guys who are going to be in your group.

Right now, our team is offering all of those resources at a discount; and the discount is only good this week. So, if you want to take advantage of this, you need to go online today to Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” Look for the information on Stepping Up and start one of these groups in “Manuary.”  Maybe, you can’t start until February, but let’s get a bunch of guys going through this material.


We really believe that the spiritual health of men is vital to marriages, to families, to everything that’s going on in our culture. That’s why we created the series, and that’s why we are hoping we’ll see a lot of guys going through this material, here at the start of the new year. Our website, again:—you can also call for more information at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.” 

We’re also hoping, as this new year gets started, that a lot of husbands and wives would form a new spiritual habit—a new practice / a discipline in their marriage—where they would get together on a daily basis and spend some time in God’s Word and spend some time praying together. In fact, Dennis and Barbara Rainey put a book together called Moments with You that has daily devotionals for each day of the year—



—a Scripture verse to consider, some discussion questions, and something you can pray about together, as a couple. It’s designed so that a husband and a wife can, in five or ten minutes a day, have some time together with the Lord.

And this month, we want to make that book available as a thank-you gift to all of you who can help support this ministry. We are listener-supported. All that we do, here at FamilyLife, is made possible because folks, like you, make it possible with your donations—your financial support. So, if you can go to, click the link in the upper right-hand corner that says, “I Care.” Make an online donation. We’re happy to send you the Moments with You devotional book from Dennis and Barbara Rainey as our thank-you gift for your support. If you’d prefer to call to make a donation, our toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY. Ask for the book, Moments with You, when you get in touch with us. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR.



Our zip code is 72223. Again, ask for the daily devotional, Moments with You, when you get in touch with us. We’re happy to send that out to you.

Now, I hope you can join us back tomorrow. Rod and Sheri Hairston are going to be here again, and we’re going to find out about the day that Rod took his daughter to jail. I hope you can tune in for that conversation.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with 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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