“The views expressed in this book are solely the opinion of its author and do not reflect how all men think and the author in no way suggests he has such knowledge.”
Had “Think Like A Man” ( I will use the abbreviated title, TLAM, of the book throughout this series) opened with that disclaimer, I’d have no reason to write any of the posts I’m about to write. But it doesn’t. In fact, the title of the Introduction to the book purports to offer everything you need to know about men and relationships. And it offers it in 229 pages (Kindle Version) of material. Sure everything from the title of the book, to product placement in the movie, to the title of each chapter in the book can be dismissed as a mere marketing ploy. And honestly many people wouldn’t think they’d find EVERYTHING they needed to know about men and relationships in one source. But what if we’re crazy enough to take those words to mean exactly what they express? What if we do believe this book holds the key to unlocking the mind of all men? I wouldn’t walk up to someone and tell them that a book offers them everything they need to know about any subject. That is, unless I really believed that. There’s only one book that fits the bill for me. And its Author is the Creator of the universe.
I have a hard time dismissing the title of the introduction as a marketing tool. Because there are people who actually believe it. Think about more extreme examples. There are people who actually think The Da Vinci Code book and movie are grounded in factual evidence. And they stand by that evidence to this day. On that same note, there are people who feel like they know everything they need to know about men (at least how men think) after reading this resource. And that’s a problem. Even on my blog, I try to make sure the posts I write on faith are supported Scripturally. Otherwise, they are merely my opinions. And when I express my opinion, I hope I don’t use words that would make others feel otherwise (i.e. words like everything or all). But let’s hop right into some things I observed in the book’s introduction that raised some red flags. Here are a few quotes:
“…Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is a playbook of sorts…” TLAM p. 5
“…the playbook you all have been using is outdated, and the plays don’t work.” || TLAM p.6
“…with this book, you can get into the a man’s mind-set and understand him better, so that you can put into play your plans [and] can figure out if he’s planning to be with you or just playing with you.” || TLAM p. 8
As an illustration, Harvey talks about the unfair advantage gained by the New England Patriots in secretly videotaping other teams’ practices. In doing so, they were at an advantage on the field. They basically read other teams’ playbooks. And this caused them to win. Playbook. Games. Play to win. I know we’re dealing with an analogy here, but are relationships really a game to play (Harvey talks about the game aspect in this interview)? Is the game really as simple as seeking to gain an advantage by understanding a guy’s mind? Here’s the thing: In relationships, you only need a playbook if you decide to play games.
I never opened a playbook for a game I never intended to play. If I decide games are best left to those who want to play them, a playbook is unnecessary. Remember playing Battleship growing up? It was a simple game. And it had a playbook. At its most basic level, it was a guessing game played by two people. Sounds a lot like dating right? Many relationships often turn out to be a great big guessing game. And this is the mystery Harvey sets out to solve by giving women the playbook they need to win. Because when relationships are a game, you need a playbook.
A lot of the time relationships start to look like a game of Battleship. People with playbooks tend to push one another’s buttons until they get a hit. Once they get on track with that hit, they keep on pressing. That is, until they sink another person’s battleship. Once we find the place in the other person’s life that allows the tide to turn in our favor, we keep pushing. That’s what the playbook requires. Thinking like a man allows you to play the game. Pushing buttons. Getting in his mind. Understanding his mind-set. And you’re not in it just to play the game, but to win! That can be problematic. If your goal is to win, then you missed the point of having a healthy relationship.
What’s In Your Harbor?
Let’s be real. If you looked into the harbor of your soul you’d probably see sunken ships all over the place? And this is probably why women are open to trying a different approach. Maybe thinking like a man will work. You’ve tried everything else. Here’s what I want to encourage you to do. Give up trying to think like a man. Turn in your playbook. Employ this principle from another Book:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (John 15:13)
Can you lay down your inhibitions, your doubts, your fears, your insecurities, and your emotions for another person? True love is characterized by this type of selflessness. It moves you outside of the mindset of a relationship being a battle. It takes the playbook right out of your hand and places your trust in a God who created relationships to be whole and holy. It causes you to operate in love (laying down your “life” for someone else)?
The same word for life is used in the following verse: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33). Isn’t it funny how the more we employ playbooks in the dating game the more draining a relationship becomes? Come on now. Be real. It’s draining to try and think like a man. And while we are being real, most of us have default mode. Self-preservation. I want to encourage you to follow Jesus’ example when it comes to relationships. He turns the idea of self-preservation on its head. Become selfless and lay down your mind, will, and emotions for others. Even if the relationship doesn’t work, you still leave knowing that it was not your choice to battle that caused it to end. In doing that, you’ll also likely find out soon enough whether that man has geniune interest in you. All without having to use a playbook. Because you made a conscious decision to not play the game in the first place.
I know there are some other folks who are tired of playbooks, games, and trying to win. They just want to find true love. As much as I love Milton Bradley’s Battleship, I grew tired of playing it when it came to relationships. I put down my playbook. I walked into a relationship with my wife with one thing in mind. Lay (my life) down. My wife will tell you that she did the same thing. She didn’t try to THINK like me. That’s unnecessary when there’s no games being played. I encourage you all to do the same.
Posts in this Series:
1. Introduction: Thinking Like A Man Won’t Always Get You A Man