Marriage and falling in love with the front end of the puppy

Today in staff meeting, we listened to a CD by Scott Stanley, a researcher and co-author of “Fighting for your Marriage.” I came in late and so missed the full context but he was talking about the fact that we fall in love with the “front end of the puppy” but never the back end. But, every puppy has a back end. Dealing with the back end, he says, isn’t rocket science, but if it isn’t regulated, it will be a problem.

Like every dog, every marriage has a back end. Our challenge is to accept this fact and not try to make our marriages not have a back end. Communication skills are the primary way, for Stanley, to manage the back end of the puppy. If you don’t take turns talking and listening and validating, pretty soon, there’s a lot of poop all over the place and no one feels responsible to clean it up.

Like the image?


Filed under marriage

7 responses to “Marriage and falling in love with the front end of the puppy

  1. judi lemay-lusk

    i love the analogy, the front end of a puppy!!! i have the feeling that may become a buzz phrase in our house!
    but it’s soooo true! having had two puppies now, i can see it sooo easily!

  2. jangle

    I like the image and immediately pictured the adorable puppy with the cute eyes, puppy breath and tongue hanging out…….then the poop, not only doesn’t anyone want the responsibility to clean it up, but how about the long hours that go into making the puppy a great “best friend” ?

  3. aling5

    I really like this image. In marriage, you commit to taking the whole puppy package, with whatever joys and “cleanups” come with it. It reminds me, too, that as individuals we each have our own front and back end. Sad to say, when I look in the mirror, I often see only my own front end! My husband has to deal with my back end all the time, and I his. It’s easy to gripe about one’s spouse’s poop while forgetting that we all create some!

  4. Scott Knapp, MS

    I’m not an experienced marriage counselor (and I’m staying as far away from that venue as possible in practice, thank you very much), but I am experienced as a married man (20 years). Granted, I’m going on the summary of Scott Stanley’s work by what I’ve read here, but I get irritated whenever the so-called experts tout improved “communication skills” as the great fix to the problems of marriage. It reminds me of something Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden,” when he said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil for every one striking at the root.” Larry Crabb nailed the true culprit attacking marriages, and human relationships in general, when he pointed toward basic human selfishness as the “root.” Two basically selfish humans bonded together as one flesh in matrimony can communicate impeccably to one another, and come away with merely an enhanced understanding of one another’s selfishness, which spurs on more informed efforts to successfully manipulate the other into more compliant and effective cooperation with the other’s selfish strategies! Improved communication techniques serve some helpful purpose if the heart is better exposed and repentance is forthcoming. Self-worship and self-serving relational patterns are truly the worst part of the back end of the dog!

  5. Scott, I don’t think that Scott only pushes communication skills. He does think they are the best way to stop some bad habits.

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