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Men and Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2021 6:00 am

Men and Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 26, 2021 6:00 am

Authors Greg Smalley and his brother Michael help men know how to better communicate and interact within their primary relationships, especially their marriages. (Part 1 of 2)

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Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly

Allie's husband was an alcoholic and verbally abusive. She wanted to leave but a Focus on the Family broadcast convinced her to stay think I can't make one more day on Jim Daly today.

Allie's marriage is thriving. Working together we can provide hope to more marriages like hers.

Please give family life. Sounds like quite a bit of construction going on, doesn't it, and whether you're in the house working on his repair or you got something a little more complex.

You need the right tool for the job today on Focus on the Family were going to talk about different kind of handyman project that might challenge you as a husband and a father, but with the right set of tools you can't succeed your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John John. I've admitted this many times but I am not a handyman that was never really part of my skill set is more like run as a kid and I never really learned a lot of the basic stuff, but I do have an outstanding tool chest in my garage that's filled with all the right tools fact I know my brother brother laws come over, they always go wow you got some amazing tools like a circular saw, never use that one is they want to, yet yeah they could start up a wood shop there in my garage with stuff I've got, but it just makes me feel proud that I got the tools never really know how to use but that's the point.

So much in our life is like that right we we have the tools, but we don't know how to use them, and we want talk today, particularly two men. I think women are going into the students that yeah that's my husband because it's the 8020 rule about 80% of us guys operate pretty much with the same kind of modality, and there may be 20% that are outliers, but were going to cover today why it's hard for us as men to do the things our wives want to do. It's that simple and got two great guests to cover it with that we do in the context for program today is for healthy loving relationships were husbands and wives and parents and kids generally get along, not facing serious issues. That's right, John, and we have many other broadcasts where we address concerns about marriage or parenting for that matter if you're struggling in those areas in a deep way.

I want to urge you to contact us here. Focus on the Family got great Christian counselors you can help, and even refer you to other counselors in your area. But today's conversation is more like communication 101 were going to do a refresher course to help us analyze what's working and where we may need some improvements right and by the way, Greg. I have an issue yet, but Greg Smalley are VP of marriage.

You did a great job with that assessment tool on marriage. It's free people can go to our website take it we had over million people do that and that's great success. Yeah it's fun just to see couples understand where the strong so were showing their strengths as well as a few growth areas and it gives couples to sit in a nice easy simple way just to focus on what what what can we do just to have a stronger marriage this year yet you think that it takes 5 to 7 minutes to do it and if you don't have that much, type your marriage. You definitely need to call her counselors, but what a great way to just assess where you're at and obviously have and it is great you know around the bend, but his brother, Dr. Michael Smalley is also with this new CEO of small Institute in Houston, Texas.

Good to have you, Michael. Thank you. Your dad and unfortunately passed away a while back and he did all browser, but you really proud of the two of you. You both followed in his footsteps right and he was more proud of me but not really going to use that I was.

It was you interrupted me you can see where this is going to childhood all over. You also have just a poor sister cc her oldest sister yeah she she she lives in Dallas Texas with her husband and family get together. How does she fare with the two of you how I think she holds her own winds.

She's remarkably strong. Maybe that's next book about sibling rivalry in our family love languages. It's a kind of a slightly unpopular love language and I've actually talked with Gary many times 20, get him to add this one, but the love language of sarcasm family mode so she hangs in the real well, that's not typically one year healthier love languages that I get it. It's fun. Will Greg and Michael have written a number of books together about marriage and family life, and they do have decades of experience as Jim is mentioned a counseling couples and families. In speaking to family issues and a few years ago they wrote a book with the late Gary Smalley called man's relational toolbox and we have that here give us a call 800 the letter a in the word family or stop by the episode notes for more were finally back to the toolbox analogy took me a while to get there but tell us why the toolbox is so good when it comes to the men's metaphor of marriage you think so many times it's easy to pick on me and it's easy to talk about our deficits. What were not doing well and we really wanted to write this book to encourage guys to go God is given us some amazing tools to help us to be successful at work and in as a protector is a provider within our family and we need to celebrate those so those are those are important tools and so were not asking men in suggesting will you need to change what were encouraging them to do is just to add some other tools into their already full toolbox that will help them within their marriage within their family as they do with relationships.

We just knows there some tools that can really really help and that Mike let me this what you what are some of the stories are examples that you have about how men love and even revere their tools well you kinda mentioned at the beginning the 8020 that 80% of men are generally the same. I am an outlier, so I I'm horrible with tools, but men generally love them. The help for me, the most important thing behind the book for me was to honor men to go lay I'm just out we got tired of hearing men being constantly passed and I say this all the time it at my live events that look men are dumb relationally. We do relationships different. That doesn't make it wrong. It's just different. Right. And where women can get in trouble trying to even relate with her husband is they can belittle how men are. How we relate we are more physical when you're on a little playground you can see all the little boys. What we don't wrestling jumping around tag with the girls doing sitting around talking and we do that all all the way into adulthood and and so it it's really just to make sure that guys understand you can do this. There's just some stuff that you need that yeah and it it is a cognitive exercise because if we just left to our nature.

The nature of the run around the playground and tackle each other like this again want to wrestle all the time like man. We play were the ones you know in the parenting model were playing and wrestling flowing. The story of how we revere our tools. I think it is the example of Robert in the book to somehow lost as to what was that story about yeah someone actually found it so yeah I think someone came in and it actually took his his price tools out of the garage and he was so disturbed he was so discouraged and depressed and then another guy just randomly just finds his discarded toolbelt in that you know that the tools were taken in Canada brings that back in a visit great moments of embracing.

He's all teary eyed guys are like are you serious is more like you that I'm not particularly handy in in winter. Father did pass away because we lived in the same neighborhood in Colorado.

He II can got all his tools, Michael Kamen took what he wanted, but tools only melt therefore I did never come over and were talking and she spots something is like oh my gosh, what did you get this and I'm I'm I don't even know he's rummaging looking and he's like oh my gosh this is so impressive and he instantly than thought I was. This is amazing handy man and I never could work up the courage to say I really don't even know what that tool is yeah I bought a router something I think that's posted cut grooves. What is it I just call my car so I know you mentioned the God-given tools that he gives to us men describe what a couple of those are just give a subscription what normally a man is gifted with yet the one is just the ability to pursue and deal with facts in yeah like when I'm talking to my wife hearing me I'm I'm listening so I can hear the facts, what would I need to solve fix this Valentine's Day couple years ago I asked Aaron okay so you were on a budget Simon to give you X dollars you know towards your flowers, candy gift card. Do you want all is a gift card or spread it out initiating his arm in on task.

You know oriented, focusing on facts and so she goes had to skip its music is just one gift card I fell for that because in I don't know if Jim if you remember this but then she ends up the grocery store right before we were going to cook a meal together at our home and she's staying the register looks and notices some flowers.

The member she said that she didn't want she buys them or is in line to buy them in. Who would you know stand behind my wife with one Jim Daly look at her, holding flowers on Valentino. You remember the why is the wife of my vice president of marriage minor in flowers so still mock me if you're still handy so that she was laughing so I got when I got sucked into that effects by the you know the task. The problem-solving, which is what we really do well, which can be very helpful. I think men generally can can be great problem solvers because of that men tend to be able to compartmentalize, which is also a good thing right. You can't necessarily allow chaos in one area now destroy all the other things you're doing in life, so men tend to be better at compartmentalizing which is a good thing. Not bad, but really I think the heart of the book for me is is going hey you've married a woman so guess what, there are things that we need to learn but it's not about changing who you are is a guy you will be honored is that I can add to it.

Yeah, let me let me met there were four guys sitting at a table here.

You know you got a lot of women listening to us and men to but we do need to acknowledge that I think we come in the marriage thinking we've got all the God-given talent that we need to make a successful why do those gifts as you describe them Greg why why do those gifts become insufficient in marriage.

All of a sudden you know the fact-finding. The accountability of the know idea to detail problem-solving were also there nodding yes that's very good that I see it here. You can't tie your are awesome and then our wife step in here and the four of them are sitting around table going to believe just that so describe that that very conflict right there that what they're looking for is what will with the women in your life.

One of their primary needs is just to be not just value but validated to be heard to feel understood and if you get too stuck on the facts, then you're going to miss an opportunity to connect with your wife or to connect with their daughter because it's not about the facts. It's about the feelings and so if you get stock and raise her focus. I did not say that while that might be factually true, but that's not the point. Your wife is wanting to be heard right now in this moment she wants to be validated. She wants to know that hey I matter it's one of the ways we can really help our wife feel valued by listening and I don't mean this as an excuse but we because of our nature. We do need to develop that ability and it takes thoughtfulness it doesn't come naturally to us.

I mean, if your wife is coming to you you nothing that's gotten play some basketball in the driveway right but she's looking for that emotional intimacy have you guys develop that muscle that ability to say okay it's not about fixing a problem. It's not about collecting data. It's about being a good listener that that gets really tiring in your ear tank for that ability to my being a little too self-aware. I mean it. It drains you pretty quick because you're not wired for that. So how do you compensate how do you mentally go okay I got a B in fill up the tank and go for this is just recognizing that when I'm dealing with with my wife Karen is requires a different tool so that that that's the point.

It's not that I have to abandon what I'm so good at it.

Just recognizing that the other day and asked me to help her move the chair into her home office is she's a counselors so so she knew this chair and so would sound like a totally easy win for marriage will within seconds we are in this big argument because I'm young take. I'm using the take charge tool amusing the problem-solving tool me the things I do really well and she was already frustrated because she was late for an appointment with with one of her clients in a had texted St. were here and so she had to run to the office to do that in so she just asked me to help her real quick in and so I'm just going to eat. We've got a lift this thing over your desk. We can put in there and were done in the chair just we just we wasn't working some till I co-opted legs shot me this look that said, did you seriously just tell me to live with my legs in. That's we got this big argument in looking back see that the problem was I was I was really using the natural tools well in that moment I needed to recognize that what she really needed from me was that understanding tool that tool that's patient listener. That's noticing that she's already overwhelmed and frustrated. Something's going on. I could see in her body language, but I was so trying to solve this problem of moving the chair that I missed it's I think for for for a lot of us, it's just recognizing those moments that they deal with with our wives is probably gonna require different tool. So what what's going on, switch tool do I need to reach into the tool bag and grab and I wish I could have done the whole patient listening tool is that it's is hard to me. We miss it at time and I would I would argue that Jesus does not give us an out on improving on understanding others on loving them in ways that are meaningful to them and so just because I might not be naturally gifted. That's why that relationship with Christ is so huge because because of the Holy Spirit, right, I might not be naturally gifted at something, but because of Christ because of the power the Holy Spirit living in me. Yes, you can become a better listener.

You don't have to be whoever I can't think of one famous good listener well but you know what you're saying there. Michael is perhaps the very definition of why marriage is marriage.

The reason the Lord that it write down this for us to be more like him. Which means selfless and laying our lives down really hard, yeah. It's like my father is a great example. He was a knucklehead you you was raised in a home with a criticism I was disfavor by the way you want is our dad's dad so our grandfather was kind of an abusive man, an alcoholic, they were very, very poor. I mean he does. He had zero example. So when he got married. I know that their first five years was rough. It was like. Apparently my mother at some sort of come to Jesus conversation with them like look when he missed you know you would get do really miss Valentines the play basketball junior high kids yell stuff like that. Not even be aware that I have a wife and so he and and what we encourage everybody to do this as he went on a journey to learn and by the time I was born. He wasn't a hugger he wasn't soft. He wasn't a physically affectionate kind of guy that's not how he was raised at the time I was born because he made the choice and Jim that's what I would probably hone in on his. He said this is important.

My wife needs is my daughter.

My sons knew this and I want to be the best father possible. So I gotta learn to hug and it starts awkward like anything like I'm not good at this, but I'm choosing but through the Holy Spirit and just through doing it.

It gets easier and easier.

Where then eventually it really does become more natural. The that's good.

This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today are Dr. Michael Smalley and Dr. Greg Smalley and they've written this book men's relational toolbox and we have that. Just click the link in the episode notes or call 800 K in the word family. Gary had such a great observation capability and I know one of the things that he talked about was the word usage between men and women, and many of us in the Christian community refer to that.

Now it's it's become kind of just part of our vocabulary that it was your dad that really honed in on that describe it here at Focus on the Family many times with Dr. Dobson but speaking about how many words a man uses in a day. How many a woman uses refresher memory on this yet think it's like women typically use about 30,000 words. I think men about half of that's about 15 for me when when I'm at work did in going to meetings and doing what were doing here. Focus that it it is hard. I've used a lot of those words and in it is hard to come home and then I know that my wife so longs for me to review what's really going on and that's why one of the first tools that we talk about is the open sharing tool right. That's because women so crave that.

Did you and God created us to know and be known in. It's easy for me to ask your questions and into know her. It is harder for me to be more vulnerable to be more transparent and to be open and allowing her to really see what's going on inside. It's easy for me to answer when she says yes to how you doing I'm good I'm fine in in in yet.

I've I've learned that when Aaron and I do have that opportunity. She wants to know me and so I want to give her insight in one of the ways we done this really easy because that's hard. You even for the work that Michael and I do with with couples and counseling it so hard for me just to be super enthusiastic about yell at me to start talking to Aaron in what she's done over the years. As you asked me what was the hire of your day and what was the lower of your day was the Rose of your day.

The thorn whatever picture picture picture but it's really good because that's helpmeet said then just describe.

Here's what happened that there was actually really good.

You know I had to present something to Jim Daly actually liked it from finally. Or, you know was really hard. That's just fantasy. I know I was seething that you like, as I do have to make a presentation here shortly to Jim some seating. What I hope he says to me let it get to the point.

The point is, that's a really simple way to use that open sharing tool is to ask each other was the height of your day in the Lord.

Let me ask you this, Michael and Greg certainly jump on but the I want to hone in for the women about that compartmentalization that men so easily do, and I think that's part of our biochemistry is little boys in the womb.

We have the testosterone wash and it kind of you know takes us in a certain direction, but one of the powerful things we can do is we can compartmentalize you World War II you ever talking by that live through that that participate in those guys never talked about it had to do. They can survive mineralized and in the we do that in so many ways we don't want to be that open about things because we just put it in that drawer and we don't open it again.

How do we become more in touch with that sore wives feel like they actually know us. Yeah, I think it starts by being open to getting to know your wife getting a PhD in your life that is critical because we are talking a lot of generalities right and I happen to marry a woman that's not very talkative and I rarely keep my mouth shut.

So were kind of opposite in that. So for me to hear this program right and then just to run home and go. Let's talků Yet that's not can inexorably be meaningful for my wife. But when it comes to guys really put their feelings in a box right that they have to understand their wife is interconnected with every thing. Yeah, right.

And so one of the mistakes. Both men and women make is we look at that and we just go that's wrong because it's different, right. Like I don't do that I can have this bad thing going on and I can put it in a box and keep it there or not worry about it. Your wife can't.

So trying to be empathic about that trying to be understanding about that.

Recognizing that hey if I'm wanted to engage intimacy wise with my wife. It does matter to my wife that the house is clean. As I got.

I'm like I don't need anything happened just they have, to be with you, but it's important for her.

So to have a heart want to meet those needs right to be able to have a great time like early on what we were married in Branson. Amy was doing in intensive all day so I had the kids but we'd already had already come to turn that crockpot on in the morning like hey, maybe tonight you like, maybe which guys don't be discouraged by those answers when they don't just you know men are not always right were elected were Andre to go and so my life is definitely a crockpot when it comes to sexual intimacy so by the end of the evening or by lunch.

We talked you like.

I'm actually excited about that I might when I realized she was about to come home. I knew I have to have the kids in bed and it was about 435 putting in bed, but dad, the SunStar might quiet boy this is a very important time for me. Good night down. I run downstairs excited about an evening with my wife and realize it's all the disaster so I'm cleaning everything up. I'm actually spraying ammonia in the air because that's a natural aphrodisiac for my wife why it sucks. I ran out everywhere and then I actually put the dishes from the sink in the dishwasher you turn it all out and I can't make this up, this is honest, what happened, so now I'm just ready and I'm sitting watching ESPN or something.

I hear my wife come in the back by the through the garage which comes into the kitchen. It's like the point of entry-like oh gosh, what I mean is yeah exactly it so all I hear from behind me is my wife in a sultry, very sexy voice say, and I quote is that dishwasher. I thought I get the tone I like the tone I don't understand the word I stood up and played along with. I went yes it is that is so sexy and with all well I do have it on hot cycle where we were obviously having some fun in the studio. Michael and Greg Smalley and Focus on the Family talking about the book they cowrote with their father the late Gary Smalley.

It's called men's relational tool by John, one of the reasons I love the Smalley families because they are so genuine and open about their lives and they have a great sense of humor as we can tell that there honest about the mistakes they've made, and they share good insights about how we can love, serve and sacrifice for one another in marriage, and for the men listening. We really need to step up and learn how to communicate better with our wives and we pray get tired of hearing that, but it's so true. And it's not hard to do and Greg and Michael have gotten us off to a great start with the tools they describe today and working to dig and even deeper on the subject matter next time.

Meanwhile, contact us about getting a copy of men's relational toolbox. It's an easy read and I know you're going to relate to the practical encouragement in the book and if you can send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family will put a copy into your hands as our way of saying thank you for helping us to help others and this is such a great resource donate and get your copy today by calling 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or click on the link in the episode notes John.

We discussed marriage in pretty upbeat terms today, but we know their husbands and wives listening to us right now who are struggling in a deeper way.

And Focus on the Family is here for you as well. We have lots of resources to help you in that's best illustrated by comment we received from a woman will call her Joanna who asked to speak with one of our Christian counselors. Joanna said my husband and I were going through a rough patch about three years ago and then we found out I was pregnant with our third child. The timing was very stressful for us. We argued over everything. The focus counselor offered some godly advice about resolving their conflict and pointed Joanna to our marriage assessment where couples can quickly learn what's working well and maybe what's not working as well and as a result of these resources help Joanna and her husband get their marriage back on the right track and today they are healthier and happier than they've ever been and that's why Focus on the Family is here helping real families find real hope, no matter what their situation may be. And if you've never supported Focus on the Family. Let me encourage you to partner with us to rescue hurting marriages today.

Working together we can bring godly encouragement and hope to more couples like Joanna and her so please be generous with your support of Focus on the Family.

Contact us today to learn more about how to donate management counseling services or to find that marriage assessment. Jim mentioned number again 800 K in the word family or details are in the episode on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for this episode of Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time is continue the discussion with Greg and Michael Smalley and once more help you and your family driving Christ can spend a lot of time away from home working on the pipeline in Alaska, but our podcast has become his lifeline on the family help my marriage by leaping down so much. Think about focus on yourself and yourself as you were they going through down there. 10 signs are content so helpful that he's eager to share it with others, like bread that will work who might not know who might be having a bad day. Get to know them on family.

I Jim Daly help us spread the word and bring real hope to more marriages like Ken every couple can benefit from godly encouragement and you can be part of our marriage building team donate families or call 800 K and the word family

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