Any time you read a marriage book, go to a marriage conference, or even read a marriage blog you are walking into a mine zone. I know that sounds strange coming from a marriage blogger, but it is true. When you get advice, even great advice, you could be entering a trap.
Wouldn’t That Be Nice!
The great book, Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an excellent example of this trap in action. This book does a great job explaining how a husband can give his wife the love she needs and how a wife can give her husband the respect he needs. This book has tons of great information! I love it. However it is so easy to get stuck in the section that is ABOUT you rather than focusing on the part that is FOR you.
It doesn’t take long to find yourself thinking, “Wouldn’t that be nice” and “if only my spouse would do that for me everything would be perfect”.
This same risk is inherent in any marriage information. We see something that we wish our spouse would apply or we hear some other husband or other wife who explains the “secret” of their success and dream about our spouse doing that same thing for us.
That’s it. The trap has been sprung. Now rather than getting anything positive out of the great information we put down the book or walk out of the conference feeling worse than when we started.
Not only is it easy to despair when looking at what you desire but don’t have, you also miss an opportunity to change yourself. When you focus only on what your spouse should do different, it is easy to ignore the very same lessons about ourselves.
Jesus warned about this lesson in Matthew 7: 3-5:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Avoid the Trap
Any time you get a marriage book or even read our blog start by simply focusing yourself on the question, “What can I get out of this?” and “What does God want to teach me about myself?” Try to focus on only what you need to do to grow. If you start feeling the trap, stop, pray and ask God to help you see your own weaknesses and areas where you can grow.
What other books do you feel need to be “torn in half”?
Have you had to escape this trap in the past? Let us know in the comments