John Farrell: What was your inspiration for writing Cover Him?
Roderick Hairston: I was inspired to write Cover Him after we published Cover Her. A lot of women were interested to know what their husbands and significant others were reading. When they got ahold of Cover Her, they said, ‘What are we supposed to do? Can you write something for us because the men that we love don’t talk. They don’t tell us what they’re feeling. They don’t tell us what they’re thinking. We have no idea what’s going through their minds.’
It took me a number of years to write Cover Him because I was having a difficult time finding the language to convey what men needed without sounding chauvinistic. Then, of course, the unveiling of the ‘Me Too’ movement began to take place, which made it that much more difficult because I thought, ‘How can I write about what men need in an environment where men are behaving so poorly or it’s becoming clearer that men have been behaving so poorly toward women?’
JF: Why do you feel that women may benefit from this book?
Roderick: It’s one thing to rail against the failures of men and I think there’s call to do that – to expose the sin or to expose the brutal mistreatment of women, whether it’s emotional, physical, financial, or otherwise. But women also need some solutions because what I find is that in all of our relationships, and especially where men are not very kind to women, most men are responding out of failures. Or I should say out of brokenness in their own lives.
I’m not saying that women should tolerate that; I’m simply saying that it’s important for women to have some keys, clues, and practical principles that will help them understand the man they’re close to that they love. That’s really the point of Cover Him.
Here are some things that you can expect, some insights into what he’s thinking and feeling oftentimes and some ways that you can you build intimacy with the man not from the standpoint of how a woman thinks, but from the standpoint of how a man thinks.
JF: Outside of the obviousness that Cover Him is meant more for women and Cover Her is meant more for men, how do these two book differ and how are they alike?
Roderick: Cover Her was written initially for men – how to create a safe place for the ladies in your life physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. It was designed to help a man see that his role is not to conquer and consume a woman, but to actually cover her, create a safe place for her, and help her become who God created her to be – to help her fulfill her dreams as a woman.
Cover Him was written to help a woman understand here’s the support that a man needs. In the marriage relationship, biblically women were designed to be helpers and I talk about the esteemed place that that is. That you can actually help a man become who God designed him to be. They’re similar in the sense that the principles help either sex understand how they can help the other person become their best – their God-designed person and personality. I think they’re similar in that regard.
They’re different in obvious ways. One is that the conversations are directed toward the respect of sexes. I think another similarity is that both books give helpful insights to the extent that men are reading Cover Him as well because they want to know what are these women reading? What are they learning about me and how true is it? Women were doing the same thing with Cover Her. I think it gives both sexes insights both into the other sex as well as into themselves.
Consistently, I’ve heard people say, ‘This stuff is right on point. It makes a lot of sense.’ That doesn’t surprise me necessarily because all the principles are thoroughly biblical. The focus comes from the scriptures and how God has designed men and women.
JF: How does the Bible play into the overall message you want readers to take from the book?
Roderick: In Cover Her we try to help men see that when God designed men – and when we think about men’s and women’s relationships we start before the fall – we go back to just before Genesis 3:15 where the fall happened and sin entered not only the world, but into the male-female relationship dynamic.
We hope men understand that they have been designed to do a number of things. That is to be praisers or worshipers, to be providers, to be protectors. That’s God’s design for us. When Satan gets into the picture, all of those things begin to take a hit. Men become oftentimes either poor providers or manipulating providers. I’ll provide for you, but men oftentimes leave their role as protectors and become anything but a protector — sometimes harmful and hurtful to women.
The same thing is true for women. Before the fall, God gave Eve a highly esteemed role as a helper. God said to Adam, ‘I’ll make a helper suitable for you.’ Then He put Adam to sleep and out comes this woman who blows his mind. I think she blows his mind because he never could have imagined that kind of help and that kind of spirit and that kind of beauty to come alongside him.
God did exceedingly and abundantly above all that Adam could have asked or thought. The woman is designed to function that way and I think both of us, men and women, we are our absolute best when we keep defaulting to the biblical principle and the biblical call. The more we do that, the more harmony we discover in our relationships with one another.
JF: I read in the press release for Cover Him that you were afraid that the book might offend some people who read it out of context. Why is this?
Roderick: I think the offenses are reasonable and understandable, but they are rooted primarily in a humanistic understanding of the male-female relationship dynamic. In other words, we have societally moved away from God’s understanding to our own derived understanding. That makes sense also from the perspective that many people have been hurt in these relationships.
When women think about what a man is supposed to be and vice-versa oftentimes they’re looking through the lens of their own pain and the failures of the other sex toward them. We almost always start from the place where we’ve been hurt or disillusioned so it’s understandable. That’s why I was concerned that people would begin in that place.
Most people – even people who are believers in Christ – have not been taught God’s principles about how relationships are designed to thrive. I think it’s a big opportunity in the church for discipleship when we teach these principles.
When I was coming along – early in my development as a believer – I began to learn that God had a lot to say about sex and how we were supposed to handle our sexuality. In all of my upbringing in church, I was never taught any such thing. It radically changed my entire mindset about women and sexual relationships between men and women.
For fourteen seasons, Rod Hairston served as chaplain and life coach to the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, earning two Super Bowl rings during his tenure. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he now serves as Senior Pastor at Messiah Community Church just outside of Baltimore. He has been married for more than 28 years to Sheri, and they have four adult children. He is author of two books, “Cover Him: Caring for the Hidden Needs, Thoughts and Feelings of the Man You Love” and “Cover Her: How to Create a Safe Place for the Ladies in your Life…Physically, Financially, Emotionally, and Spiritually.” Learn more at RodHairston.com
John Farrell is the Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org.
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