When you first become a parent, you notice the 4,300 ways your child could meet an untimely death. Every package of wipes, every jar of baby food, and all toys carry some kind of ominous warning label.
If you took all the warnings seriously, you’d put your child in a hyperbaric chamber and wait till they grow up.
But now with three children and one on the way, I’m a hardened skeptic when it comes to warnings. At this point, if the kid isn’t guzzling CLR, we’re figuring he’s okay.
But while I eschew the lawsuit-ready labels on my children’s toys, I’m wondering if the Federal Trade Commission should look at another prominent product in our home: marriage books.
Not because Gary Chapman and Kevin Lehman and the Raineys are dispensing damaging information. It’s because they are giving great advice I’m often tempted to misuse.
I’m the Expert.
I like to read a lot of books. I like to read books on marriage and family and relationships and leadership. As a pastor, it’s actually part of my job. As a husband and father, well, it’s just a good idea.
My wife, Angela, on the other hand, is busy raising three young children, cooking five-star meals, cleaning up after me, and making sure our house doesn’t fall in. She doesn’t have much time to kick back and enjoy the latest marriage tome.
So I do the reading for both of us. That’s good, except my internal marriage meter tends to take good advice and fashion it into an effective weapon against Angela.
In fact, there isn’t a more dangerous man in the world than me after polishing off the latest marriage bestseller. I’m particularly apt at focusing in on my own unmet needs and diagnosing Angela’s inefficiency in meeting them.
Take Love and Respect, the classic by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I loved that book, because it offered me great insight into the very real differences between men and women. Men, I realized, are not the thick-skinned Rambos we portray. We’re really fragile souls with engines that run on respect.
But I conveniently missed the first part of this book. That whole “love” part. After downloading such great spiritual insight from Dr. Eggerichs on the “respect” part, I began a not-so-stealth mission to extract more respect from my wife.
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