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Men's Relational Toolbox [Secure eReader]
eBook by Michael Smalley

eBook Category: Family/Relationships/Self Improvement
eBook Description: Using the right tool for the job makes sense when it comes to building or fixing things around the house. But when it comes to significant relationships, men often grab the tools that make them successful in the workplace--and then wonder why the tools didn't work. Through humorous anecdotes and practical advice, this engaging book will help men discover the set of tools they need to build and repair the relationships that are most important to them.

eBook Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Published: 2003
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2003


1 Reader Ratings:
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Introduction

Something We're Good At

If you've been paying attention to my messages on love and relationships these past thirty years, you know one thing for sure -- I don't have it all together. In fact, I've made my living reporting not just my failures as a husband and father but also the ways God helped me use those failures to restore the relationships between my family and me.

So why do you want to hear from a rusty old nail like me?

Because it warms your heart to know that if I can blunder my way through love and survive, so can you. The process has been riddled with laughter and tears, but the reward has always been gaining understanding about relationships.

Like any dad, I've tried to pass on what I know to my adult sons -- Greg and Michael. And like any dad, I've done more than pass on the good stuff. That's right: God has a sense of humor, and Greg and Michael are just like me -- two more rusty nails in the Smalley toolbox. Here's the proof:

* Not long after Greg and Erin got married, they were one argument away from splitting up.

* Michael wasn't speaking to his new bride eighteen hours after the wedding ceremony. He and Amy spent their first six months together camped on the rocks of discontent.

But there's good news too. Even though we are a trio of rusty nails, we're willing to do whatever we can to get our relationships right. And that's what this book is about -- helping you develop your own relational toolbox that will help you make all your relationships exciting and successful.

My sons and I may be rusty nails, but when we realize we need to add the right relational tools, we're willing to do whatever we can to get the ones we need.

So you see, the beat goes on. And the message I bring you about building your relationships is now made three times stronger by the efforts of my sons. Yes, we still bumble our way through conversations with our wives every now and then. But we've learned something about relational tools, and it's this: With the right tools, we can build stronger, better relationships than we had before.

That's what we want to share with you in the pages of this book.

The information here will not answer all of your questions or solve all of your problems, but it will equip you with the tools to truly love and understand the people who are most important to you.

Now let us tell you a little bit about how this book came to be.

It happened one weekend when we three Smalley guys were together. Instead of swapping boasts about who had the better jump shot or the sweeter swing on the golf course, we were brainstorming.

We had been asked to write a relationship book for guys. Our conversation went something like this:

"I don't know if I can do it," Greg said as he stretched out his legs. "I'm tired of men-bashing books."

"Yeah, I'm tired of being portrayed as the 1940s inept relational guy. Things have changed. Men aren't bumbling idiots when it comes to relationships. We're just different from women," Michael said. "Can't we write a book about guys and relationships without coming off like a bunch of well-meaning, bumbling idiots?"

"Can't we write a book about our good points?" Greg suggested. "The reasons we excel as providers, protectors -- that kind of thing?"

We started to catch Greg's passion. "You mean, take a look at our strengths, at why we're good at certain things?" I asked.

Greg was on his feet. "Exactly!" he said. "Why are we good at providing, for instance?"

"Because we have the tools for it," I said. "God-given tools."

"You're right," Greg said and pointed at me. "The take-charge tool, the fact-finding tool, the competitive-drive tool, the problem-solving tool."

"There it is!" Michael said. "Of course, our tools don't work in a relationship. We need other tools for that."

"When you build or repair something," I said, "what's the first thing you ask yourself?"

Greg grinned. "Do I have the right tools?"

"Yes!" I answered. "See, we're good at using the right tools for a lot of really important jobs. But maybe not the tools we need for relationships."

"And if you don't have the right tools...?" Greg began.

"You get them!" Michael interrupted.

"Right!" I said. "We already have a fantastic, God-given internal toolbox. For most of us it's just a matter of adding a few more tools. The patient-listening tool, the tender-touch tool, the open-sharing tool. Things that'll help us relate better."

"But where does a guy find these new tools?" Michael asked.

And then it happened.

In a moment that seemed frozen in time, the three of us looked at each other and said in the same breath, "The Bible!"

"With our relationship book as a kind of instruction manual," I added.

And in that instant, the idea for this book was born.

The three of us agree on all the material in this book. It's what we're using today at the Smalley Relationship Center. In fact, it's the core of who we are as a team of relationship counselors. For that reason, we'll talk in this book in terms of we and us. We'll offer things we've seen, things we've picked up, research we've conducted -- that kind of thing. All three of us have been counseling men about their relationships for years.

But until that conversation, it didn't hit us what we've really been doing.

We've been giving men tools. Relational tools.

You may already have some of these tools. Others you may need to add to your relational toolbox. If that's the case, consider the following pages your one-stop-shopping place when it comes to matters of relating. This book features tools you may never have considered, and it tells you how -- through God's grace -- you can own them free and clear.

GUY FACT

A man's self-esteem is career related

If your relational toolbox has rusty hinges, you may need a full-scale shopping spree. Even the best of us struggle in one or two areas of relating to those we love. But we've found that those areas are often weaknesses that -- with the proper tools -- can become strengths.

Ever tried to use a pair of pliers to drive a nail into a stud? Once when Greg's hammer was missing, that's exactly what he did. The results? A crooked nail, a bruised thumb, and a heavy dose of frustration.

Why? Because he didn't use the right tool.

The same is true with relating. Without the right relational tools, we're going to struggle when it comes to building relationships. It's that simple.

So grab your toolbox and follow us. You're about to embark on a tool-gathering trip that will help you build or repair any relationship. Along the way, we've tried to make the journey a bit more fun by including stories, warnings, and tool tips. For those of you who like facts (Greg loves this sort of thing), we've included "guy facts" in the margins -- fun, zany facts about... well, just about anything.

But before we go shopping, let's take a look at the tools you're already familiar with, the tools most of you have and use well.

After all, the last thing we want is another men-bashing book.

Copyright © 2003 by Smalley Publishing Group, LLC.


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