Men and Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t

I have an outstanding set of tools in my garage. My brother and brothers-in-law are jealous of my collection. I have hammers, a circular saw, a miter saw, a router … everything I need for a decent workshop.

The trouble is, I’m not much of a handyman. That circular saw … I’ve never used it. And the router? I’m not entirely sure what it’s for. I never really learned how to use all of those tools.

Which means they’re not particularly useful to me.

Relationships are often like that for men. It’s why we struggle with communication problems. It’s why we struggle to understand our wife’s love language. We have every tool imaginable to us, but we don’t know how to use them.

Our guest on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Men and Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t” are brothers Dr. Greg Smalley and Dr. Michael Smalley. Greg is the Vice president of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family. Michael is CEO of Smalley Institute in Houston, Texas.

They describe how men can learn to communicate more effectively. And it’s a lot easier than you think. They explain the six relational tools every man needs:

  • Open-Sharing tool: Talking, sharing details, exploring motives, and articulating feelings.
  • Patient-Listening tool: Not only hearing your wife’s words, but also discerning the meaning behind her words. Women communicate to share their feelings more often than facts.
  • Win-Win tool: Give and take. An attitude and approach that avoids competition and reduces conflict.
  • Selfless-Honor tool: Valuable for every relationship in your family. In marriage, this tool helps verbalize love to your spouse through compliments.
  • Tender-Touch tool: A simple hug can dissipate exhaustion, fear, frustration, and anger.  Tender touch for your wife includes things like holding hands in public, giving a backrub, holding her when she’s crying.
  • Time-and-Energy tool: Intentionally spending time together to build your relationship. For your wife, this means things like household chores, sharing jokes, date nights, and complimenting her in public.

One of reasons I love the Smalley family is because they are so genuine and open about their lives. They’re 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. Listen to our full conversation on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app.

This program is designed for healthy, loving relationships where husbands and wives have generally healthy relationships. If your marriage is facing serious issues, we have caring Christian counselors on staff, and it would be their privilege to offer you a free consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).

While you’re here online, why not take a few moments to try our free Marriage Assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and identify areas where you may need some improvement.

I’d also like to offer you Dr. Greg Smalley and Dr. Michael Smalley’s book Men’s Relational Toolbox for a gift of any amount. Visit our website for more information. If you can’t afford it, we’ll find a way to get it to you.

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