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2 Stars Out Of 5
some good nuggets, but old material (some stolen)
May 2, 2013
I've appreciated Dr. Gary Smalley's contributions over the years to the improvement of marriages in this country, so I've always been interested in what his sons are doing in the same field. Anyone following the material recognizes by now that Greg is not exactly in the same league as his father, but it's always interesting to check in once in a while. Unfortunately, in Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage, Greg Smalley simply recycles quite a lot of material that we've all seen before. I did enjoy the discussion on pushing our spouse's hot "buttons," although that's been done before, too, even by Dr. Gary.
Probably the thing that hurts this book the most is Greg's ongoing habit of borrowing "cute" anecdotes from other sources, things we've all seen before. It veers into outright plagiarism of a couple older stories and Internet jokes. It's a shame to see a respected name in marriage counseling tarnished by these fibs. He didn't even change the wording!
I hope, in the future, Focus on the Family respects its audience a bit more and reigns in Smalley's tendency to fabricate and steal. He seems to be a nice guy who could really help a lot of people, but it's hard to trust him.
For those of us that have been married for any length of time, we are bound to come to an impasse of sorts. Call it a disagreement, a conflict, an argument or even a fight, but they are bound to happen. No one can simply agree on everything all the time. Even those in personal relationships can nod their heads yes, that this is simply a part of a relationship. However in marriage those issues are likely about, money, sex, in-laws, and kids. But what if instead they could simply be about trust, respect, intimacy and understanding? Is it possible that conflict in a marriage could be a good thing? I think the answer is YES!!! I personally believe that unless you have conflict, you can't grow.
In the book, Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage, Dr. Greg Smalley, author and Executive Director of Marriage at Focus on The Family, takes a deep look into how these conflicts within our marriages can lead us to deeper intimacy in our relationships. He takes readers into his own struggles in his marriage and shows us how some of those fights didn't produce the desired results and how he has subsequently learned from them in an effort to show us how we can grow from our own situations. The book illustrates the following areas I am sure you can relate to:
Breaking old ineffective patterns
Ways to guard against being too comfortable or too complacent, which breeds mediocrity and boredom.
Reduction of tension as emotions are vented and stress is released.
Higher levels of marital satisfaction every time you manage conflict well.
Dr. Greg Smalley show cases just how we are programmed to react when someone or something pushes our buttons and how we can change how we have always reacted to those times. Maybe it's one of these situations:
The drive-through line is too long at your favorite coffee place or fast-food restaurant.
You wake up to dirty dishes in the sink (One of mine).
Your favorite TV show or game didn't record.
There's a long wait at the doctor's office.
Someone cuts in line.
Your child tracks mud or spills something on your clean floor.
A driver tailgates.
Feeling a little stressed? Perhaps you can even add a few items to this list. Dr. Greg Smalley shows us how we can often times store that up and unfortunately release this irritants on our spouse when they had no control over them, what I like to refer to as a silent, ticking time bomb, just waiting for the right light to our fuse. The best part about this book is we can change how we react to things and work towards making things better in our relationships. The road is never easy but the results are well worth it in the end.
I received Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I am always looking for ways to improve and make my own personal marriage better and some of the ideas, Dr. Smalley shares is bound to hit home for some of you. You begin to see ways to improve things on your own end, instead of simply handing the book to your spouse telling them they desperately need to read this. We all need to be personally responsible for dealing with our own issues in marriage and working together I think, we can all grow and have the marriage we have always imagined if were are willing to try. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.