JF: In what ways does having a strong Christian faith and relationship with God affect one’s ability to be able to cover him or cover her?
Roderick: To cover her, I have to be under the covering and authority of Christ as my head. Moses said God is the head of every man. I have to submit to His headship in my life. I can’t even pray to God if I’m mistreating my wife because the scripture says that if I’m not leading and loving my wife properly then God’s not listening to my prayers.
To be thoroughly connected to God in the right way and in submission to him opens a door for me, not only to be blessed as a man, but also it requires that I treat the woman I love the right way. I’m speaking specifically of my wife and my daughters. That trickles down to my mom and it vectors out to every woman I come into contact with. I realized that if I’m under Christ’s headship, then I have an obligation for how I treat them.
In fact, Cover Her was written based on Judges 19. One of the themes in Judges is that there was no king in Israel. There was no leader some translations say. In Judges 19 is the terrible story of several men who failed to cover one woman and her life ended in disaster at the end of the chapter. It set off a war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes in Israel.
The same is true for women. If a woman takes her cues from the principles of scripture, it will always give her hope that man can become what he’s supposed to be because she’ll be acting in accordance with God’s principles for how she relates to him.
Two simple principles – all men need respect and all men need affirmation. When a woman understands that, it really colors how she responds to the man she loves. If he’s mistreating her, she has biblical grounds to not sit there and suffer through that. There’s no place in scripture where a woman is called to stay in an abusive situation.
JF: Cover Him is split into thirteen chapters each focusing on a different action a woman should do for their man — affirm him, pray for him, feed him, etc. Which of these do you feel is the most important for strengthening the bond between husband and wife?
Roderick: The one that’s missing the most from the relationship. I think a woman should ask her husband, ‘Of these thirteen things, which one of these do you need most from me?’ A man who is not afraid to be honest will say, ‘I need this, this, and this more from our relationship.’
Cover Him was not written to suggest that the only one who has any sort of responsibility in the relationship is a woman or that she has to take this list and do all of these things. It’s far less about doing and more about being aware that these are needs that men have typically have. Which ones can I work on in my relationship so that I’m thinking more from the perspective of what he needs versus what I assume he needs?
JF: How did your own upbringing and your professional career affect the overall message in Cover Him?
Roderick: I didn’t see a lot of wholesome relationships growing up. In fact, in the neighborhood I grew up in, there were just a handful of marriages, maybe two or three in the neighborhood that I could point to. Most of the relationships that I saw were not whole or healthy. I also saw a lot of the aspects of Cover Her. I saw a lot of women who were mistreated.
As I grew spiritually, age-wise, and in my work, I engaged many men who said, ‘Rod, my wife doesn’t get me.’ I saw men growing depressed because they felt stuck in a relationship. During the last 30 years with the advent of the Promise Keepers movement, men are being challenged to be all they can be for the women in their lives. That’s a necessary message, but what was missing was what men needed from the women in their lives.
Men were also complaining, ‘She doesn’t get me. She doesn’t cook for me. How long does she expect me to go without sex? I’m married, but I can’t have sex outside of my marriage and be pleasing to God. It’s been too much. It’s been three months.’ In some cases it had been two years. I’m watching these men who were depressed and had no way to convey to their wives that they had some needs.
Many women said to me, ‘I didn’t even know my man had emotional needs this way.’ That’s what I saw in my own journey of walking with people as a chaplain, as a pastor, as someone who’s graduate work was in the area of counseling.
JF: What’s next for you?
Roderick: I’m a pastor full time, so that’s where a lot of my energy is focused. My church is aware of and celebrates my coaching practice. I work with leaders to develop satisfying marriages. I currently work with a number of couples in the NFL.
I’m just starting a writing project to help men learn how to come out of sexual addiction. I wanted to help people who are great people but have fallen into sex and porn addictions and have no idea how they got in there or how to get out. The good thing about it is that it’s more of a discussion now; there are now more ways for people to get help and get free.
JF: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Roderick: My desire for these books is that when couples read them they would read them together, even exchange them. I pray they will be used to promote relationships that are healthy and whole. I’ve heard from a number of couples who said these books have changed their marriage. Recently, a couple was headed for divorce court when a friend of theirs gave them both books. After reading them, they decided not to divorce because they had gained hope for their marriage.
Roderick: I want people to know that there’s hope. Some of the hopelessness is because people don’t know that there are really simple, practical, realistic things that people embrace that will make a big difference.
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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