I am going to share here what Gary, Greg, and Michael Smalley said in their book "Men's Relational Toolbox"
It all centers on the toolbox.
After thousands of hours researching relationships and thousands more counseling others about them, we've stumbled onto a truth we believe can help any man build or repair his relationships. The truth is this: We build and repair our relationships much the same way we build and repair anything else - by using the right tools.
That's right. Our ability to effectively build or repaire our relationships depends on the quality and number of items in what we call our "relational toobox."
If you want to build or repair deck around your house, you need a box full of right kind of tools. The same is true if you want to build or repair a relationship. However, the problem with many of us guys is that we lack the right relational tools for the job. That doesn't make us the dimmest lights in the harbor. It makes us different.
For every relational tool we guys might lack, we possess different internal tool - usually a factual and practical tool that makes us independent and skilled at providing and protecting, the two things most of us are best at.
The book discussed that we (men) are best at being providers and protectors.
Robert is a teacher, a guy whose most dangerous work tool is a pencil. He spends his hours instructing students about the wily ways of the English language. But like most guys, Robert has a toolbox on the garage shelf at home.
One day Robert's wife took the car on a carefree trip to the supermarket with their three toddlers bucked in the backseat. Unfortunately, she forgot to close the garage door when she left. When she and Robert met up at home at the end of the day, Robert announced that something tragic happened.
His toolbox had been stolen.
To hear Robert's wife talk about his reaction, you'd have thought the house had been burned down.
Robert stood in the garage, pacing in small circles, a vacant look in his eyes, "My tools," he said over and over. "Someone took my tools."
Robert's wife felt bad about the incident, but she was still able - with very little effort - to put the matter out of her mind long enough to help the kids safely into the house, unload the groceries, and start dinner.
"She told me I could get new tools." Robert explained later. "Can you believe that?" New tools? As if that would somehow replace the tools I'd lost."
Robert eventually became excited at the prospect of getting new tools, but he wasn't thinking about that in the minutes after he found out about the burglary. Standing there staring at the empty garage shelf where his toolbox once sat, he thought, What if I need to fix something? What if something's loose or something squeaks or something falls off?
We believe Robert speaks for most of us guys when he said to us, "Guy, I fest naked."
We men often feel this same sense of inadequacy when we try to build or fix important relationships. We often don't have the necessary relational tools, and that leaves us feeling helpless as Robert felt without his toolbox.
We may not be builders or mechanics or carpenters, but we feel secure knowing our toolbox is out there in the garage. It's reassuring, giving a sense of completeness. And we believe you can have that same feeling once you get the second half of this book and stock your internal toolbox with the right relational tools.
If you checked inside the toolbox belonging to the average guy, you'd probably find some basic tools, including the following:
Hammer - used to pound or deliver repeated blows, especially when driving nails into wood.
Wrench - usually operated by hand, used for tightening bolts and nuts
Screwdriver - used for turning screws with slotted heads
Pliers - used for holding and gripping small articles or bending and cutting wire
Tape measure - used for measuring
Saw - used for cutting solid materials to prescribed lengths or shapes.
Lots of guys we know never build things and rarely even repair them. But almost every guy has a toolbox with at least these tools. Most of us aren't sure when we actually acquired our toolboxes, but we have them all the same. It's almost as though we woke up one morning and there in the garage was a toolbox with the basic tools that go along with being a man.
Why is this/?
Because there are some things most guys are god at, and one of them is using tools to build and repair things. Our guess is that whether you are an accountant or a truck driver, a doctor or a delivery guy, you have a toolbox stocked with tools that you know how to use to acomplish some basic tasks.
Here's a list of the things most guys can do with the basic tools in their toolboxes:
-Hang a picture
-Install basic shelving
-Tighten and loosen things (like door hinges)
-Install a screen door
-Replace a faucet
-Change furnace filters
-Install a new light fixture
-Fix a broken toy
-Repaire a leak
-Measure the size of a room or window
-Trim or cut a piece of wood
-Grip or hold something steady as it is being repaired
Now granted, you might be the kind of man who has traded in his toolbox for a tool chest, the man who has enough tools to allow you to assemble a 747 in your garage. But even if you can't tell the difference between a rachet and a crescent wrench, you can usually handle the tasks listed above.
Certainly some guys don't own toolboxes - though we'd venture to say that they are for the most part, very young or very old guys. And we're equally certain some women have toolboxes like one described above. But for the purpose of this book, we'll generalize a bit and say this: Toolboxes are primarily a guy thing.
There's a reason for this: Men and women are different.
This is probably not earth-shattering information to most people. In fact, it's usually in negative terms. We see women as having an "inborn relationship manual," while we see as stumbling about looking for ways to get along in their relationships.
Or, as Greg said, we men-bash.
We aren't going to do that in this book. Instead, we will take a look at what we're trying to build. This book is a manual for building relationships, mostly relationships with women - girlfriends, wives, mothers, daughters, coworkers, bosses, committee members. Of course, guys need relational tools to relate with other men, but generally guys are already equipped with the tools necessary to do that. The relational tools that work between guys wil not always work when a man tries to relate to a woman. In fact, that kind of relationship usually requires a different set of tools altogether.
With that in mind, let's look at our internal makeup and at what types of tools we guys have in our internal toolbox.
to be continued...