I like to think myself as a decent handy man. I recognize I don’t come off that way. I’m clumsy. I get hurt easy. And yes I did once glue my knee to a tile while redoing my bathroom. But overall, I’m pretty good.
Because of that side of me, one of my favorite things to buy, outside of socks, is tools. Consider it the Tim Taylor in me. I will make up excuses to buy a tool. At one point, Home Depot workers just left me alone. Probably because I put in more hours there than most of their workers.
The “tool” mindset came because of a quote I came across by Abraham Harold Maslow. He was an American psychologist. The quote that got me thinking says…
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
Don’t get me wrong. A hammer is a great tool (coming from a person who owns 6 hammers of different types). BUT if it’s your only tool in your “arsenal” of tools, you may be in trouble.
I don’t know what comes to mind when you think of a “hammer” in your marriage. I think of those that don’t possess (or choose not to possess) the skills/tools necessarily to handle conflict and communication. THIS IS NOT A GUY ISSUE. If you are harsh with your spouse…if you are brash…if you have no patience…if kindness no longer exists in your tones…if you treat your friends better than your spouse…if you ignore your spouse…
…then I already know what’s in your “marriage tool arsenal.”
A few thoughts come to mind about people who only own a hammer:
1 – You are not ready to fix anything. At the site of a problem, it’s a good chance that it either it won’t be fixed or you’ll get to it later.
MARRIAGE TIP: The worst time to learn about your marriage is when it’s going through turmoil. As I’ve blogged before, become a student of your spouse. BUT take it a step further, become a student of marriage. Go the God’s word. Why? He’s the creator and builder of marriage. He’s the one that originally said, “it’s not good that man should be alone.“
2 – You are not equipped to do technical repairs. Back in the day, a few hits to the side of my TV did the job. That doesn’t work for my flatscreen. It seems like every new car that is produces has more and more computer technology, thus, making repairs takes specialized tools…most of which, excludes hammers.
MARRIAGE TIP: Sometimes the problem isn’t really a problem. It’s a symptom of a larger issue. I’ve heard people say to me, “I took care of the problem.” What I hear: “I fixed the momentary problem without bringing any change to my lifestyle or habits.” It’s a hammer mindset. Pier under the surface. If you are dealing with similar issues all the time, I venture to say that you are spending too much time on one symptom of a bigger problem. I think of 1 Samuel 16:7. We look at the outward. God looks deeper. So should we.
3 – You are not equipped to do delicate repair. Small, fragile objects, cannot be fixed with the swing of the hammer. You need tools that are sensitive and/or work with your sensitivity. I think of when I needed to fix the wiring of Anne’s hair straightener, I never once grabbed my sledgehammer.
MARRIAGE TIP: Have you seen it from their side? Slip out of your self-centered mindset and see it through their eyes. Lay down your desires and be sensitive to their perspective. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count your spouse more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3.
4 – You may not have the knowledge to know what tools to get. Some people say ignorance is bliss. Tell that to a leak in a pipe or a weak spot in your roof. You can choose ignorance if you want. But it won’t fix itself.
MARRIAGE TIP: Stop saying “it’s his/her problem.” That mindset is cancerous. It’s always a “WE” problem. If the two truly become one, then a problem for one is problem shared by the two. Don’t approach by choosing ignorance. Better yet, don’t allow your spouse to be ignorant of the issue. In fact, in Hosea 4:6, God says it was destroying his people.
5 – You may have no desire to get involved. You don’t have the time for it. Or…you have a fear of results and therefore, you don’t want to deal with it.
MARRIAGE TIP: Passion begets passion. Lack of passion begets frustration. You want frustration? Show a lack of desire in your marriage. You want frustration in bed? Show a lack of desire your spouse. You want frustration with finances? Show a lack of desire to deal with budgets. You want frustration with communication? Show a lack of desire to be assertive (clearly communicating) and use active listening (hearing and stating what has just been said). Get your passion back. The only way I know how to do that is to discover my passion in God and he makes my joy full. The byproduct of full joy: passion for my spouse. John 15:11-12
6 – Your spouse may never ask you to fix anything. The driving force is fear. Fear that it won’t be correctly handled. Your spouses’ response: I WILL find someone else who is equipped to fix it.
MARRIAGE TIP: This has nothing to do with marriage counseling!!! Get help if you need it!! What this is saying, if you choose to consistently mishandle your spouse, you will push them to someone who will. You need be approachable. You need to stop being reactionary. You can’t seed fear because of how you handle things. The atmosphere of your home cannot be fear. 2 Timothy 1:7
You are not Thor.
You cannot approach your marriage in a “hammer” manner expecting it to get healthier. Know this, the Lord hasn’t abandoned you. In fact, His Word is there as a help and guide toward health in your life and in marriage.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
I want you to be fully equipped. Invite Christ into your marriage. Invite His word to help “equip you.” Ask the Lord to help you with the tools necessary to build a strong, passionate, and God-glorifying marriage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…